Friday, July 13, 2012

Professional Goals for 2012-2013

Michael Lepene
Associate Principal
Richmond Middle School
2012-2013 Professional Goals

1.  Promote collaborative problem solving and open communication through all levels of our learning organization.
-Participate in school-wide efforts to improve problem solving and communication.
-Ensure actions, interventions and responses to issues are consistent with high standards of integrity, honesty and respect for all stakeholders.
-Share resources and activities with staff in variety of formats and meeting configurations.
-Develop and promote opportunities for staff leadership.

Supervision and Professional Development
2. Effectively supervise, support, and evaluate staff.
-Visit at least 3-5 classrooms each and every school day.
-Develop and utilize observation tools to improve quality and quantity of feedback following observations.
-Connect staff with high quality professional development and resources that furthers personal and organizational goals and initiatives.

Personal Growth
3. Pursue personal development opportunities specific to the principalship.
-Work with Principal Jim Nourse to further knowledge of budget process and procedures.
-Explore development of local peer group to engage in professional study and discussions.
-Continue development of PLC through Twitter, Blog and other online resources.
-Attend a national conference and post reflections and notes.
-Utilize a principal evaluation rubric or tool to focus efforts, improvement, and discussions with supervisor throughout the 12-13 school year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Reading - Shifting the Monkey

Summer Reading List #1
Shifting the Monkey - Todd Whitaker

“Monkeys are the responsibilities, obligations and problems everyone deals with every day. You can easily handle your share of normal monkeys, but you can just as easily be overwhelmed when you get stuck shouldering other people’s inappropriate monkeys (p. 3).”

It didn't take me long to be interested in "Shifting the Monkey" by Todd Whitaker. In a sense I view my role as an Assistant Principal to do whatever is needed to facilitate the day-to-day operations of our school while at the same time keeping an eye on the future and opportunities for us to grow and improve as an organization. That involves everything from observing and evaluating teachers, supporting and learning alongside students, facilitating and organizing initiatives and discussions, to managing the building use and calendar, and on and on. For a long time I have been working at finding the balance between being the person who makes things run by doing whatever needs to be done and also being the person in the position of leadership who helps facilitate the work that needs to be done. This quote resonated:

“Delegating is a major key to success. When used well, it ensures employees are doing what they are best at. Never do something someone else can do, because there are certain things only the leader can do, and that’s where you must focus your attention (p. 92).”

As I develop my professional goals this year I am focused on strengthening my skills in doing some of the things that only the leader can do. Delegation can easily become viewed as giving someone else the work that you could be doing. That is why I liked how Todd described it, "It ensures employees are doing what they are best at." This is a positive statement and approach that values the strengths, skills and backgrounds of each member of the organization.

“Treating everyone well validates the good, responsible, productive people and makes the irresponsible, lazy, unpleasant people feel uncomfortable (p. 34).”

“Telling people when they’re doing a good job spotlights the good employees, models good behavior, and gets the group in general to think about how they can prevent future problems (p. 61).”

I liked both of these ideas as they again focus on the power of being positive. Recognition is a crucial part of a successful organization but it should be given where appropriate and with consideration of how that recognition might meet a higher purpose in moving the organization as a whole forward. I feel that I do this well but after reading some of Todd's ideas I am both reaffirmed and inspired to make a more concerted effort to validate those who are making the mark.

Finally, I really liked this set of questions:

-Is your organization as a whole treating the customers and clients well, or behaving as if they were untrustworthy or guilty?
-Does management help all workers understand how they are coming across to others?
-Do the least-effective employees shoulder at least part of their own monkeys?
-Do the managers issue rules that make the good people resentful?
-Are your top performers forced to follow procedures that may be helpful for the so-so ones, but get in the way of the best people? (p. 27)

I hope to informally examine these questions with staff this fall as we get together to meet and talk about professional growth and goals for the year. The answers to these should greatly inform the work that we are undertaking as a staff to improve our professional learning community and also my own work in developing my skills as a leader.

Great first read of the summer with a ton of great quotes, thoughts, and ideas that I can't wait to implement. I will definitely be recommending this read to my leadership colleagues.