We All Play a Part

So this week I’d like to talk a little bit about distributive leadership, and how if the right people are placed in the right places, and empowered to lead, then a division will pretty much run itself. I just spent a week out of the country on a school visit to South America, and while I was gone our Middle School didn’t miss a beat. To be honest, I felt a tiny bit redundant and I now wonder (only half jokingly) if they need me around at all anymore! We’ve done such a nice job over the past few years, in my opinion, of creating a leadership structure which allows educators to find their areas of passion, and to truly take on a leadership role in a position that suits their specific area of expertise. This not only gives educators a real sense of purpose beyond their regular classroom responsibilities, it also allows for people to take ownership of what we are collectively trying to accomplish for our kids……I find myself wondering how we functioned at all before we had this structure in place!

If I look around (which I did at the end of last week), I notice that every one of our teachers in the Middle School play a tremendously important leadership role (or in a few cases more than one), which directly affects the day to day educational experience of our students in a positive way . Currently we have leadership positions for teachers in the following areas…….and I think it’s a beautiful thing:

9 Heads of Department/Curriculum leaders
3 Grade Level leaders
1 Head of Service Learning
1 Head of our House System
2 Heads of each of our 5 Specific Houses
1 Head of our National Junior Honors Society
2 Heads of the Student Leadership Council
1 Head of our Student Run Television Program

We also have educators who are in charge of technology, ESOL, student support, activities/athletics, our advisory/pastoral care program, and more……it’s fair to say that we all play an equally important role in the success of our Middle School and our students, and that each of us has an area where we authentically LEAD. It took some time to get these positions up and running, and it took just as long to get the right people in the right places and truly owning their roles…..but now that our structure is tight, and we all feel empowered and valued and that we are all contributing in our own specific way, our Middle School has become a fine tuned machine. The best part about this for me as a Principal, is that it has allowed me to focus and spend my time on the parts of my job that really need my attention, like the students and student learning…..what a feeling! Anyway, as we speed toward the end of the first semester, I want to thank you all for your leadership, and for being such strong role models and mentors to our kids. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week……..
The most important thing going forward is to break the boundaries between people so we can operate as a single intelligence – Albert Einstein

Attachment #1 – Leadership is in the Conversation (Marshall Memo) Leadership is a Conversation
Attachment #2 A Wallace Foundation Report on Leadership (Marshall Memo) A Wallace Foundation Report on Effective Principals

Articles and Websites…..
http://www.managementexchange.com/blog/no-more-heroes
http://emedia.rmit.edu.au/distributedleadership/?q=node/10
http://www.greatleadershipbydan.com/2010/06/establishing-culture-of-distributed.html
http://www.distributedleadership.org/DLS/Home.html
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr10/vol67/num07/When-Teachers-Run-the-School.aspx
http://www.uknow.gse.harvard.edu/leadership/leadership002a.html

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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