This is the beginning of my fourth year of owning my own business. Before that, I was district administrator and prior to becoming the district’s curriculum director, I taught 2nd grade. Some might say that I’m still in the beginning stages of my leadership role, but I would argue that I have been leading my entire life.
I am a middle child and relished the role of “leading” my younger brother. He, however, wasn’t a very cooperative follower. ? Growing up, I sought ways to lead from starting a girls’ club at school when I was seven years old, to being the vice president of my senior class. I have always enjoyed spending time with young children, and have always enjoyed learning and growing. Those two passions led me to a career in education. That took leadership to a whole new level.
Each day I would enter my classroom ready to lead my students a bit further down their path of life and learning. I was able to shape how they viewed themselves as writers, how they solved problems, how to be a good friend, and what it means to be a responsible citizen.
I never thought I’d want to be a school administrator, but suddenly I found myself beginning my third year as a district administrator, and I was excited once again about leading at a different level. Not only did I get to have an impact on what and how my students learned, but I got to do the same with the teachers. I got to learn from them and alongside them. I shared new ideas and new knowledge with them. I was fortunate to get to attend a large variety of professional development opportunities and pass on what I had learned to the other members of the administrative team and their teachers. I got to connect with educators from all over the world who love what they do, too.
Now as an education strategist, I have taken that leadership role to a larger platform. What started as leading my classroom, spread to leading my district, and now involves leading in classrooms, schools and district buildings in many districts around the world. I still relish sharing knowledge, experiences, and passion with those I’m working with. I had a video conference last week where a brainstorming session with a 3D printing company turned into exciting new possibilities for both of us. I got off the call at 6pm completely energized. I have spent my morning today on Google Hangouts with different principals I’m coaching in Texas. These quick check-ins between onsite visits help us stay focused on the goals and action steps they are each taking to work toward those goals. It’s individualized just like the learning of my students when I was a classroom teacher, and similarly, it’s fun because I get to walk alongside them as they carry out these plans. Later this afternoon, I’m joining an amazing educator, Noa Daniel, as she interviews me for her podcast. We have never met in real life, but have been Twitter and LinkedIn “friends” for quite some time. I learn just as much from my global PLN as I do from the people I work with in person. So coming back to the title of this post: Why do I lead? Because I love to learn and the best way to learn is from others and the best thing to do with the new knowledge learned is to share it. Continuous learning in and learning out is leadership. And that’s why I lead.