Over the past year or so, I’ve been witnessing this incredible transformation within myself that I find quite surprising, actually. I never viewed myself as a leader until the school principle where I work pulled me into her office one day to tell me she wanted me to apply for Gwinnett County’s Teachers as Leaders program (TAL). TAL is designed for teachers who wish to become leaders in their schools and their communities, while remaining in the classroom. Each year, 30-35 teachers are chose to go through the program, which includes two retreats and four day programs, each examining leadership and community needs. The program also has a study group component that meets to discuss how each program relates to leadership. I can honestly say TAL has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my professional career. This is when I really began to reflect on my personal shortcomings and how I could take baby-steps into transforming myself into more of a leader for myself, and for my colleagues, my students, and especially for my young mentees (more on them later).
So that was the beginning. Now I find myself a grad student at Clark-Atlanta University pursuing a Master’s add-on in Educational Administration and Leadership. My professor, Dr. Noran Moffett, is certainly a transformational figure. He’s slightly off his rocker because the “method to the madness”, as he says, is more than a little unconventional; but this man has probably taught me more about what it means to be a leader than any other professor I’ve ever had. Our first day in class, he stressed the importance of something called the ELCC Standards, the governing body of guidelines that every leadership candidate should abide by and apply to his/her professional and personal life. In a nutshell, here are the ELCC Standards:
Educational leaders have the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and ability to promote the success of all students by:
- being a VISIONARY
- Promoting a POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE and APPLYING BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURE THEIR ACADEMIC SUCCESS.
- Effectively managing TIME and RESOURCES
- Collaborating with the COMMUNITY and FAMILIES
- Acting with INTEGRITY
- Understanding the LARGER POLITICAL, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, LEGAL, and CULTURAL CONTEXT.
Although I hold each of those standards near and dear to my heart, ELCC 5 is the one that penetrated my gut. I’ve been thinking seriously thinking about leadership lately, but my actions are not lining up with my vision. I refer to the last 6 years of my life as the “Dark Ages” because I’ve made most of my life mistakes here and a few of which still plague me til this day. I’ve recently made a few mistakes that certainly don’t classify me as “acting with integrity.” The class with Dr. Moffett is allowing me to realize that leadership is not something you put on and go to work in, and then take it off when that last bell rings. Effective leadership should embody every thing you do, every decision you make. Leadership is the willingness to have a vision to TRANSFORM people. It is about having the power and influence to transform something out of nothing. An effective school leader is the epitomization of the ELCC standards listed above. After that first class and my first introduction to those standards I really began to do some soul-searching and really trying harder to transform myself. How can I lead and transform people without transforming myself FIRST?
This is why I decided to create this blog. I want to chronicle my experiences as a school leader, a community leader, and as a transformational leader in my personal life. This is not a celebrity gossip blog, sports blog, or any other trashy nonsense people like to indulge in these days. No one may ever read this, and you may never read this again but this is more so for me; a journal of my own transformation. I will log my experiences as I matriculate through Clark-Atlanta University, my everyday highs and lows as a professional educator, and the successes and failures of being a mentor.
To navigate this blog:
If this blog is to chronicle my experiences into my transition from 7th grade science teacher to transformational school leader, I will post evidence as to how I’ve demonstrated characteristics and activities of each of the ELCC Standards listed above. To see how I’ve demonstrated each standard, simply click on the pages at the top of this home screen. They are listed as: Visionary, School Culture, Management, Community Liason, Ethics and Integrity, Politics and Society. The last page, Black Male Outreach, was created to demonstrate activities and lessons learned as the program coordinator of Positive Young B.r.o.t.h.a.s. a mentoring program designed for the aforementioned student population.
Thank you for reading and I hope you come back. Stay tuned…