Relationships that Transform Schools – A Gardener’s Approach

I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Jay Willis from Educators Lead (via Skype) about the journey from teacher to educational leader with my friend and colleague, Kevin DeForge.

It was great to connect with Jay and the work he is doing to bring the work of educational leaders to the fore and, as always, it was great to talk with Kevin about the “why” of what we do. Kevin and I worked on the same admin team for three years and we garnered the nickname “the dynamic duo” for the number of innovative (and sometimes crazy) projects we took on.

One of Kevin’s favorite sayings is, “Leadership is action, not position” and I couldn’t agree more. Leadership can come from any number of places in a school community; administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, students, or community members who care about the school. As formal leaders we can choose to control the mechanisms of change – tightly controlling our schools and the people working in them. Or, we can choose to lead like a gardener: by creating a fertile environment where new ideas can grow, where leadership can come from unexpected places, and where change grows from the ground up.

Kevin and I will be presenting in a few weeks at the uLead Conference in Banff, Alberta. Our session is titled, “Transformational Leadership – Turning a Spark into a Flame” and we will be looking at ways that educational leaders can create fertile environments where innovative ideas are not only sparked, but have the opportunity to grow into sustainable change. We hope to see you there.

In the meantime, here is the link to our podcast where we discuss the road to admin and why building relationships is the first and most important job of any school leader/gardener. Enjoy.

Educator’s Lead Podcast with Kirk Linton and Kevin DeForge


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