Why I Lead
It was a typical school day and I was a happy third grader. My principal had called me into his office. It was a place that no student wanted to go. His polyester brown suit merged with John Wayne cowboy boots in packaged figure that seemed to be a cross between the old Marlboro man and a traveling shoe salesman. I sat across his desk and he told me I was going to be an elementary principal some day. I thought I was in trouble….!
Not sure why, but the story above is true. Today, I am just that, an elementary principal. As I pen this note, I find myself setting resolutions as tomorrow is our first day of school. Educators are truly blessed with two days to start new resolutions, New Year’s Eve and the First Day of School Eve–but I regress!
Leadership has always been a part of my inner core. I honestly dislike the word a bit because it sounds of arrogance–I will lead you. In fact, I find it essential to be just the opposite, I will serve you. Art Athens, fantastic leader from the US Naval Academy ethics department, states it best as the most significant determinant of leadership success is humility. And in the battlefield, an ego can cost lives. Every day I humble myself by reflection on just how lucky I am to be able to be called a leader.
Growing up, I always found myself a bit separate from the masses and peers. I was not necessarily on the outside looking in but rather more of an old soul. In recess, I would often use sticks and rocks and draw up plays in basketball that my peers would run. Growing up on a farm, I built a herd of sows (mother pigs) based on strong genetic pedigrees and my age 15 had over herd of over 40. I always found a great deal of compassion for the kid who never had a friend. I just could not stand the “loner” and still can’t today. And, I love people. I learn something from every soul I encounter.
Leadership kind of found me because of my passions in life. There is no greater feeling in knowing that you made someone’s life a little better. Typically, I get more out of helping that the receiver!
I would like to give a special shout out and thanks to George Couros for setting up the Virtual Mentor program. I met George this summer at an E Learning conference and know he has led great work for youth. Thanks George, you are a great Canadian friend!!
Also, thank you to the mentees that I am paired with! Guys, I have been busy getting school started this week. I am greatly excited about learning together in the near future.
Holly Berry (TX), Kyle Moore (WI), Edward Gallegos (TX), Lauren Carter (GA), Michelle Meracis (AUS), Mandy Vasek (TX)