Honestly, I am not very sure!
You see, like most teachers, I trained to teach. My passion is teaching and learning. I think what adds to my confusion to the position I am in today as Principal of one of the first primary academies in England is that I never set out to lead a school.
I grew up and trained in the USA. Then, I went on to teach in the USA for 10 years. When I moved to the UK, I was able to think long and hard about my career. Would my teaching practices be accepted? You see, I have some deep philosophical ideas about teaching and feel very strongly about my own style and abilities. I have been known to do things a bit differently, to put it mildly, and try things that few have tried before. This could have been disastrous!
Fortunately, I had the great fortune of landing in an inner city, multi-culture school that allowed me to be the teacher I am and accepted my, sometimes unorthodox, practices. It was in this school that the road to leadership began. The belief in my abilities by the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher supported my growing ethos and philosophy and desire to make a difference beyond my own classroom.
In the blink of an eye, which was two schools later, I found myself interviewing to become a Headteacher. I had visited the school and immediately fell in love. Realistically, I didn’t think I had a chance. But, I felt honoured to be able to be a part of the process.
Unbeknownst to me, the governors were looking for someone like me for the school. They weren’t scared that I was a bit different or put off by my ethos. They embraced them and, in this environment, I continued to grow and develop as both an educator and a leader.
I clearly remember my first day as I walked up to the doors of the school. My heart started beating fast and felt a bit panicked. I was in charge of this whole school! The buck stopped with me! Oh my!
I don’t have a secret formula for leading a school. What I do know is that I must always keep looking ahead and not be satisfied to sit back and wait. I try to instil that in the ethos of the academy and give it the room to grow. When I decide to take a leap, the staff embrace the challenge and leap with me. At the end of the day, the top priority is what is best for the children right now!
So, how did I get here? I was in the right place at the right time and, scary as it is, I keep leaping off the cliff into the unknown because it is what I believe is the best thing for the children.
What do you believe in? Will you take a leap into the unknown for that belief?