Visionary Leadership


A visionary leader in education that I have crossed paths with was my former Junior High Principal, Paula Husar. She was named principal a year before I was hired at an elementary school within the district and played a role in my desire to move into a middle school mathematics position a year later. Though I loved the atmosphere at the elementary school, I jumped at the chance to move because of her ingenuity and her genuine desire to make an impact on the community and the changing educational platforms.
She wasn’t making waves for the sake of making waves but wanted to lead a change in thinking in the building that would later her the principalship in our district’s high school. She inspired staff members to incorporate technology into the classroom and made a push for a one-to-one initiative which would later produce carts of Chromebooks for instruction. Her leadership style promoted collaborative processes in the form of different teacher-led committees that was aimed to improve the overall wellness of the school and community. Her door was always open and conversations were always professional. They aimed at acknowledging and improving situations and not dwelling on the negatives or things we couldn’t change. Her vision was powerful and she was able to effectively share it with the school’s stakeholders. “Generating a common identity, fostering risk-taking, and encouraging new ways of thinking and activating maintain the purposes for creating a shared vision with all the school's stakeholders” (Born, 2013)

I hope that I share some of her same leadership characteristics that led to the change in culture in the building. I never felt alone in the battles that I faced throughout her time at the Junior High because of her team-like mentality. To do this, you have to have your ear on the pulse of the classroom to ensure teachers and students have the tools and resources to be successful in their classrooms which means you have to be receptive of a changing cultures and climates in education which include the use of technology. A simple example would be when I created, with the help of an existing committee, an online survey tailored to improving our PBIS. A survey of teachers and another one for students promoted a collaborative approach to enhance our experiences.

Comments

  1. Hi Ralph, I like your statement on having your ear on the pulse of the classroom statement. After reading chapter one in Sheninger's text, I was wondering if the reason it is so hard to reach our middle schoolers is because we are not acknowledging their learning style, which has everything to do with growing up so tech savvy in such a fast paced world.

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    1. At our middle school, it can be difficult to reach students through technology because of their lack of exposure to technology as an educational tool. This may come as a shock to some of your but brace yourself. Students do not have any technology class or training in our district from grades K-6. There only exposure to technology happens when their teacher takes them to a computer lab. This results in keyboarding lessons dominating their 7th grade technology course. I can say the dynamics in my class change immediately for the better when students open a Chromebook instead of a textbook. Even if they open their Chromebook to access the online textbook lol!

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  2. Written by Taylor Good:
    I've always been an Apple guy, but the more I work with Google the better the education product is on full display. It is seamless, creative, collaborative, and simple for even the youngest elementary students to save work, create profiles, add to portfolios and share their work with the community. Since the iPad and Google are slowly becoming more compatible due to Google's all-web based platform I am loving the combination. The reason I bring this up, is that I can only imagine how perfectly everything works on the Chromebook. I even just moved to Chrome in January from Firefox/Safari due to the easy transitions of information. Have you ever worked with iPads in the classroom? If so, how do you feel it compares to the Chromebooks? Thanks for any advice!

    Taylor, though I have an Ipad at home, I don't or have not had any in my classrooms. This previous year was the first year my building had Chromebooks for students (at about a 2:1 ratio) and it was fantastic! There were hurdles along the way for all of us and we still experience issues with outdated routers that sometimes struggle to handle the necessary bandwidth. I set up my Google Classroom day 1 and it is great to see them now log into Classroom and see all the other teachers experimenting with this technology as we have some staff members that do not have the experience with this type of platform. I can't give much of an opinion between the two devices but I will say when students don't see a laptop cart in my room when they walk in, students will often question "Are we getting laptops today" or "Do you need someone to get the laptops" as they want and have come to expect to use them.

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