Dr. Lynne Miller(pictured far right), Principal of Springfield’s Disney Elementary School, spoke to the members of Principals of Leadership Class 3 earlier this fall. She reflected on her experience in the program’s inaugural year and offered advice to the current class. Though the message was targeted to the current Principals, we asked her to write down those thoughts and share them with the rest of Leadership Springfield’s alumni.
It was a literally a "dream come true" when I was selected to the Principals of Leadership Program last school year. I have long wanted to participate in such a professional learning experience.
However, this program involves training that occurs during the school day. As a building principal, it is always difficult to be out of your building, no matter how solid the reason. I have learned through my years of service as a principal that communication and follow-through are essential. By being very transparent with my staff about what was happening, the purpose of the program, and most importantly, how this learning experience would benefit them and Disney, they were understanding with regard to my absences for this professional learning experience.
The real key to success was to be very intentional with bringing back those networking and leadership development benefits to my school, and also making sure my staff understood that those ideas were a direct result of the Principals of Leadership training.
So, what does being “intentional” mean? Principals of Leadership is such an awesome experience that one could easily just go along for the ride and truly enjoy it. But being intentional is taking your experience to the next level. It means always thinking about how what you are learning and experiencing can benefit your school community. This frequently means thinking "outside the box," and finding different ways to implement what you’ve learned within your school. This is when the learning truly comes alive, and you realize the power of networking with those in our community. You truly get a sense of how we can unite people from different backgrounds and compliment each other’s efforts.
And, when you are very public about this with your school community, they embrace your time away for leadership learning, and best of all, the learning has a positive ripple effect!