New Start, Fresh Perspective

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For a variety of reasons, I changed school districts and schools for the coming year. I am now the proud principal of Gatewood Elementary in the Hopkins, Minnesota, Public Schools; the district I live and vote in and pay taxes to.

In my 35 year career as an educator, I have always said one of my favorite things about my work is there is always an end to the school year and a fresh start to the new year.

That sentiment is more pronounced for me as I ended an 18 year career in one school system and started a brand new one in another. Boy, you sure learn about yourself making this kind of change. You learn about your priorities, your virtuosities and strengths, and about areas in which you need to grow and develop.

I made an offer to all staff members in my new school to meet with me so I can ask three questions: What are you proud of?; What should be maintained?; and, What could be improved? Many staff members took me up on my offer and I have enjoyed listening to and learning from them. I realized that I have not taken the opportunity to do this since I started in my previous school eleven years ago! I recognized I need to make this talking, listening, and connecting a regular part of my practice, and not just when I move to a new school.

So, if you are an educational leader thinking about your practices, consider meeting with, listening to, and learning from your stakeholders. It will give you a perspective of things you may not be aware of and it validates the voice and input of others.

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