Age & Leadership

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A big win for Canada last night…the Liberals and the Jays all in one exciting night!

So how did Justin pull it off? In my humble opinion I think his win was solely due to hard work, determination and a fantastic message of optimism and inclusion. His morals and values sold me from the get go. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak on Saturday at his brief stop in Thunder Bay and the passion with which he spoke, despite a very horse voice, was nothing short of remarkable. His slogan of “Better is Always Possible” really sold me.Yes, the fact that he’s a former teacher helped too.

I also believe the Conservative’s “He’s Just Not Ready Campaign” really backfired. This campaign equated leadership skills and readiness with age. As someone who became a Vice Principal and the leader of a school at 32 years old, I have a huge issue with this. Leaders have vision, the ability to inspire, are competent and honest and can communicate and collaborate. I see these leadership skills in some of the 12, 13 and 14 year old students at my school and in many of my staff, regardless of their age or the amount of “growing up” they have to do. I believe leadership skills are partially innate. Yes, they can be developed over time and with experience but so many leadership skills are associated with you who you are as a person and the morals and values you stand for. I am extremely grateful this morning that our country’s new 43 year old Prime Minister is a true leader.

Short blog…lack of sleep last night!

The Power of a Team

Most people would be excited that the weekend is here (don’t get me wrong I am too) and that Saturday morning finally means a morning to sleep in. Not for me, for me Saturday mornings give me a chance to pour myself a Bailey’s coffee and have two hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet.

This morning when my eyes popped open I was pondering technology and about all that I’ve learned in a year. Twitter, Google, …embarrassingly enough, even Facebook was new to me. Then as I rolled over blogging became my next thought. My colleagues Flora Love Jedruch (@FloraJedruch), Peter Prochilo (@PeterProchilo), Mike Filipetti (@filipetti) and of course my sister, Cynthia Gordon (@cynthiagordon) are doing it, why couldn’t I? My initial thought was that I needed to write a blog in an effort to “keep up with the Jones”. But what struck me next (and what I couldn’t wait to get out of bed to write about) was that this was not my attempt at keeping up with Jones..this was the power of a team. The power of a team who constantly push each other forward, sometimes without even knowing, and work together collaboratively to make each other better.

The more I thought about it the more it dawned on me that my life is about being part of a team. Growing up with a twin we have been on the same team since conception! My husband of 15 years and I joke about being on the same team and playing “man to man” with our two boys, 10 and 12. As a busy hockey mom I’ve come to value and appreciate what it means for kids to be part of team and how inevitably the parents become part of that team too. Last night after the school’s Open House as the teachers, the Vice Principal and myself sat at the DaVinci eating delicious wings and nachos, I once again reflected upon how blessed I am to be part of such a great team who’s energy and enthusiasm for the profession are simply contagious and make going to school every day a joy.

The power that comes from knowing that someone’s got your back and that someone is there is push but not judge, is simply amazing. In such subtle ways teams have the ability to motivate and inspire each other like no one individual could ever do. Time and time again teams have opportunities to celebrate successes and reflect upon failures and the incidental or planned dialogue that comes from these opportunities is further proof that “alone we can do so little but together we can do so much”.

As a principal, I am referred to as the leader of the team. It’s funny though because that term often makes me a little uneasy. I don’t like the hierarchy. Don’t get me wrong it’s an honour to, as my boys would say, wear the “C”, and I know I need to fill that leader role in order to maintain structure and order but what I really hope for is that as I’m filling that role I’m also viewed as just another teammate. One more person who is moving towards a common goal, who is striving to ensure that our team is the best we can be, who wants the outcome of our work to not simply be measured by test scores and report card marks but by smiles and laughter.

Regardless of the team you’re on, or the role you have, being part of a team is a great gift. I hope that each and every one of you who has chosen to read my very 1st blog treasure this gift and realize how lucky you truly are.

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