“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
While this quote from the 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, was penned almost 200 years ago, his words have as much impact today as they did in the early 19th century. Indeed, this practice of inspiring others to dream more, learn more and do more captures the very type of leadership we are building in PSD – with parents, students, staff, administrators, and community partners.
In PSD, we believe that leadership has more to do with the actions you inspire than the position that you hold. As our values and beliefs statements highlights, “We value leadership in all places – everyone in our Division has the potential to be a leader.” For me personally, I believe it is incredibly important for PSD to build capacity and provide leadership opportunities for all staff, students, and parents and to provide encouragement along the way. Our success as a school division is dependent upon us working together in moving our vision and mission forward. We all have a meaningful role to play in these exciting times for PSD.
For those of you who might be wondering about the leadership and engagement opportunities that I’m referring to, here are but a few.
Student representatives from grades 9-12 meet with the PSD Board of Trustees throughout the year. The purpose of the Student Advisory Committee is to have direct conversation with the Trustees about any matters related to education in Parkland. Schools Councils play a significant role in advising administration at each school and their collective organization, the Council of School Councils (COSC), is a voice focused on the bigger picture of the School Division and provincial initiatives. Exploring Leadership is a cohort group of teachers who are participating in a program that provides opportunity to learn and reflect on their own professional journeys and the multitude of leadership situations that arise for teachers. And finally we have many staff, students and parents who participate in presentations and activities that teach others. In Parkland School Division we are very public about our learning and very generous in sharing and so we are called upon regularly to celebrate our successes and to assist other school divisions and organizations. Some recent examples include presentations at Teacher’s Convention and at the Shaping the Future - Engaging Healthy School Communities Conference.
I’m not saying that building leadership has to be a formal process – through a program, course, or committee. While we do have a number of quality opportunities like this, building leadership can be as simple as teachers collaborating with grade-level colleagues, students leading fundraising or awareness initiatives, or school council members working with community partners to build a playground or coordinate school lunch and snack programs.
We are incredibly fortunate in PSD to have so many talented leaders helping us become a place where exploration, creativity, and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams. Your actions are inspiring others to dream more, learn more, and do more. While we still have more to achieve in moving our new vision forward, it is inspiring to see so many leaders emerging throughout our division.