Leadership can look like the pinnacle of success, but to whom much is given, much is required. One of the major things to remember when in leadership is who is affected by your decisions. If you are in educational leadership, may you never forget that children are affected by each and every decision you make. I am reminded of a tale of what happens when leadership fails. There is a situation going on at a district where the superintendent resigned and it was quickly realized that the district is in trouble financially. This district has gone from thinking they were in great shape, financially, academically, and in extra-curricular areas to the realization that what they thought was not true at all.
This situation has caused me to reflect on leadership. This situation is a direct result of failed leadership. This is not an attempt to point fingers, but as a leader, it is an opportunity to learn from others’ actions. The single most important lesson I have learned from this is to never forget who is most effected by decisions I make… students. When we lose sight of who we are serving, our priorities change from what is best for students and our decision-making becomes cloudy. This situation is a product of failed leadership on many levels. The school board, the superintendent, and the chief financial officer must take responsibility for the situation the district has found itself. I don’t believe any of them intentionally placed the district in this position; however, I do believe they should have been more cognizant of every decision made.
For those in educational leadership, every decision you make directly effects children. This is important to remember the further you get from the classroom. May we never forget that we are here to serve children and that every decision made will affect them negatively or positively… we decide which one. It is a heavy weight to carry, but we placed that load on ourselves when we decided to serve through leadership. When leadership fails, students lose.
Paula Patterson is a Superintendent of Schools who shares practical points on leadership.