“why we do, what we do every day…”
Managing other human beings is a tremendous privilege. In schools, those who manage others are typically referred to as administrators – which I happen to think is an awful word. It’s a word that does little to capture the deeply human and emotional challenge of leading any human endeavor. Rather, use of the term administrator focuses us on the technical aspects of the work we do in schools – program administration and implementation, roll-out and accountability. Of course technical and managerial know-how are key ingredients to successful leadership. As we say in schools, you have to be able to get the buses running on time. Similarly, financial mismanagement is what gets school leaders written up in the newspaper. Not good. Yet we know that leadership goes far beyond technical expertise.
Thoughts on leadership is a series of short videos designed to explore precisely what it means to exercise leadership in a way that motivates those around us, builds momentum towards common vision and goals, and ultimately gets the results that bring positivity into our work places. It’s an opportunity to celebrate when we get leadership right. Each month, I’ll interview a Santa Ana Unified employee who will share insights into the attributes and experiences of quality leadership that have built shared commitment and improved learning for our students. I’m hoping to surface the stories of those who often work behind the scenes, whose contributions are critical to our success, and whose perspective on leadership can help us understand what it means to generate momentum and commitment throughout an organization.
I start this month with an interview with Eddie Leon, plant custodian at the district office on Chestnut St. From my first day on the job, Eddie emerged as a talented and friendly team member. His consistent enthusiasm for both his work and our shared mission of educating students rubs off on all of those who work with him. I like to joke with him that aside from the superintendent, he is probably the most well known team member in the building. I knew immediately when thinking about this project that I wanted to interview Eddie first. I’m not sure Eddie knew what to expect with my request, and he kept reminding me that he was used to working in the background. He didn’t disappoint.