This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of Kathleen Pelletier
When I came to interview for my current position last year- roughly around this very time of year- I sat for a few minutes in the front office, anxiously waiting my interview and observing the activity occurring around me. I took it all in. I watched how the staff interacted with students and each other, what the hallways looked like as the classes changed from second to third period, the general feel of the building.
I had been at my previous school for twenty one years as a teacher in every special education program and as the department chair for the last thirteen years, I was comfortable there. I wanted a change, I needed a change. I could feel my professional self slowly sliding from feeling comfortable to complacent. I decided to counter that by changing things up professionally- a new school, a newish position and a new level.
This is scary stuff for someone who likes routine and structure. So it was important to me that wherever I landed, I had to feel something good on a visceral level. It had to be the right change and the right place to support my growth- because let’s face it, most changes come with some growing pains.
Every organization today, schools in particular, face the challenge to change and adapt, either as a response to what is happening in our world outside of our organization, or simply to review and reevaluate what we are doing within our organization. Change can be a scary idea to most adults and generally, people are inclined to defend the status quo and resist change for a multitude of reasons. Resistance can range from a straightforward intellectual disagreement to deep seated personal factors- as my case in point- a moderate level of discomfort.
How do we cope, as an organization, with the significant changes impacting us?
Good leaders and leadership among staff are pivotal in creating effective change, which is no surprise. And the united vision and leadership role of all staff is needed to create effective and sustainable changes.
But I see something else here at Owings Mills, something that caught my attention almost a year ago, waiting for my interview. The intangible things, that are special and inherent of this school community.
I see a staff that cares about student learning and achievement
I see a staff that cares about the safety of everyone in this community
I see a front office staff that has a smile, kind word, or wise crack just when you need it.
I see an administrative team that keeps their cool in the face of all sorts of adversity
I see teachers and staff, working late with students
I see a community that cares about the well-being of their students and each other.
These are just a few of the many facets that contribute to the support that is needed as we approach changes, we are a team, a community, a support system.
As it turns out, Owings Mills has been the right change and place for me, and that is due to the strong support you, as a staff and community, have provided me and continue to provide each other.
We will continue to see more changes in the world around us and within our community, it’s inevitable. From what I see, our OM staff is ready!