In response to the posts on “Why You,” a reader writes:
“Obsessed with work? You, no way! Just joking.
I always admired your work ethic and that you held us accountable. Even though there were a few things that I disagreed with, they were never the really important things. I always felt backed by you, but most of all, I felt that you valued my judgment and my commitment to doing what was right for kids. When you left it was a very sad day of us who cared about our schools. You’re first replacement did a wonderful job for as long as he could, but now the system is broken. The critical leaders have left. Ethics and values are a thing of the past. Decisions are no longer made in the best interest of kids.
If I were not so close to pulling the plug, I would be out of there. I continue because I care about these kids, this campus, and this staff. When I leave, it will be sad for me, but I can hold my head up and will leave with no regrets.
Just had to let you know how I feel! I know the Cain Train has lots of passengers! I was fortunate to have been on that train with you.”
I can tell you that you are one of the last assets in a morally bankrupt system. And you (as always) have diagnosed it correctly. Once the focus moves from students to adult convenience and kingdom building, the sense of greater purpose simply evaporates. You also exemplify what Brezina and Brown constantly remind us, that the two most important positions in the system are Superintendent and Principal. The Superintendent because he or she sets the tone and focus for the organization as a whole. The Principal because he or she is the only pure advocate for students. In addition, you are living what we preach, that without support, the Principal can keep the campus student centered only until the organization wakes up or the principal burns out.
Working with you was always a learning experience for me and was instrumental in my leadership development. I learned the importance of creating systems and scripts for the novice and marginal staff and then to coach them up to improve performance. More importantly, I learned that when you occupy a central office position that if you do not collaborate with and support your expert and the driven campus leaders, you are actually subtracting value. You taught me when you let your superstars be superstars, the whole organization benefits. For one brief moment in time, we were “World Class.” My regret is that we didn’t know it until after the ride was over.
I leave you with this, Brezina once told me that a good principal was difficult to manage and a great principal is almost impossible to manage. Keep being impossible.
Think. Work. Achieve.