By Jenn Hayhurst
On September 1, 2016 #G2Great concluded our five-part leadership series, Exploring Seven Big Ideas to Maximize Schoolwide Potential with guest host Dennis Schug. Dennis is the principal of Hampton Bays Middle School in Hampton Bays, NY and he reminded us that leadership and learning go hand-in-hand: “It’s critically important that we as school leaders model that we’re learners first. Our colleagues and students will follow.”
How do we get to that “sweet spot” Dennis describes so that we can encourage learning and growth for all members of a school community? Promoting a positive school environment begins with three building blocks: Communication, Collaboration, and Professional Learning.
Everyone who participated in Thursday night’s chat embraced these building blocks and began an important discussion that needs to live beyond our chat. How do we continue to evolve our practices to expand our circle of influence? Learning and leadership are both within our grasp, and this how we will begin to unlock our personal and professional potential. The conversation that followed revealed the dedication and “can do” spirit that these remarkable educators bring to the table every day when we open up…
Building Block One: OPENING UP to what is possible – a free flow of communication:
Building Block One: Dennis inspired us all to think about how communication opens the door to professional learning. My friend and mentor, Amy Brennan has been know to say, “I think better in the company of of others.” I completely agree! It is our professional responsibility to engage in a healthy back and forth dialogue about the issues that matter most in our schools. This is extremely complex work and it requires us all to think deeply to find common ground. The time is now to build on a plurality, through compassion and a shared vision that welcomes many views and ideas:
Building Block Two: OPENING UP to more – unconditional collaboration:
John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” To this I say, Dennis Schug, you are a leader to admire because you began a conversation around the importance of collaborative work. As you said, “In 2016 isolation is a choice.” Our students will inherit a world that depends on pragmatic problem solving and we can all lead by example. Let’s look for opportunities to learn together:
Building Block Three: OPENING UP to vitality – professional learning in action:
Great leaders are like beacons who light the way and begin a chain reaction for professional learning and growth. We selected lighthouses as the images for our administrative series because great leader like Dennis Schrug are sources of enlightenment. They take away the darkness and bring clarity where there might otherwise be confusion. They achieve this through supporting professional learning. This is the spark that lights the fire inside all of us to learn and grow. We can all be learners. We can all be leaders. We can become beacons who light the way for ourselves, each other, our students, and their families:
How can we work together for what is in the best interest of our students? We begin by saying “Yes.” Yes to what is possible if we open ourselves up to communication. Yes to more if we open ourselves up to collaboration. Yes to vitality if we open ourselves up to professional learning. Dennis you made us think of our collective potential and have inspired us all to dream. You have stirred our excitement for a new school year. Thank you for hosting #G2Great and for your service in the name of students everywhere.