There are some questions I don’t like being asked. Even more, I admit that some questions annoy me when asked repeatedly. But, there are some questions I actually like being asked, such as:
- How did you meet your wife?
- How did you become a Christian?
- How did you get in to education?
Yet, there’s one question I have been asked a lot lately that is quickly becoming my most favorite to answer: How did you get in to administration?
In 1999, I started my career as a high school math teacher for Ashland City Schools. Through my early years as a teacher, I came across great leaders and mentors who had a profound effect in me becoming an administrator – Michael Tefs, Randy Stepp, Bobby Moore, and Dwight McElfresh. Although I began my career thinking I would be a classroom teacher for life, I witnessed and grew from the mentorship, collegiality, and inspiration from these leaders.
It was through their time spent with me, that I was encouraged to see education at a deeper level. They fostered my development by answering my questions and allowing me to observe them. I appreciated the time they gave me in looking behind the curtain of their leadership to view the good, bad, and the ugly. It was through that time and those experiences, I decided to become an administrator.
As we cross over the halfway point of this school year, I continue to reflect on the journey and all those who inspired me to learn and grow. Have you taken the time to reflect on who mentored and supported you to take the leap in to administration? Do those mentors know the profound impact they’ve made in your life? Have you shared with them the legacy they built in you?
Even more than reflecting back on who supported you in your journey are the questions about whom you are leading today? Just as someone took the time to mentor you, who are you inspiring to take the next steps in administration today? Who are supporting as a young administrator to ensure they blossom and grow? Our goal must be to support and lead our younger administrators and give them that first chance and opportunity to grow as someone gave you.
Even if you are in your first year as an administrator, I encourage you to look around and find potential leaders to support and grow. I have found that my learning exponentially grows when I am coaching and working with other administrators. The more you are connecting with others and encouraging them, the more your influence and leadership skills will develop. I love hearing stories from other leaders who are able to pinpoint their leadership mentors that seem to interconnect like a family tree with mine; those who identify their start in administration from leaders like Dr. Michael Tefs.
For the month of February, I encourage you to grow your circle and professional learning network for the next generation of leaders by looking to mentor and support future administrators. Good luck!