Friday, May 25, 2007

How We Are Changed III: The V-POY Becomes The POY

It doesn't quite have flavor of the-king-is-dead-long-live-the-king, but our vice-principal was recently promoted to principal. Good for her, and good for us.

Once it became clear the POY would not be returning, this became the ideal and logical move. The V-POY is smart, works well with kids, and understands everything we've been trying to do -- from the ability grouping approach to scheduling, to the encouragement of teacher leadership. Her promotion gives our school the chance to continue to grow, rather than needing to survive a transition year even more demanding than this year's expansion to include the sixth grade. The loudspeaker announcement asking teachers to report to the library for an announcement came with a not-insignificant amount of whew.

And a little surprise, too. The forehead-slapping obviousness of this situation made it seem somehow less likely to occur, given the history of decision-making in this part of the 408. Long-haunted and rightly derided for its marked inability to retain quality school leaders, the District deserves a certain amount of credit for making decisions in this instance using the only rubric applicable: doing right by kids.

We're still in the game.


Blogger Nancy Flanagan said...

I always chuckle when school boards announce a search (sometimes, a "national search") for the walks-on-water administrator who will come in and use their new, ground-breaking ideas to fix the school or district. There is no such person. The best and most qualified administrators all go through a period of transition where their ideas and management style are tested by the employees below them in the hierarchy.

I have had 23 different principals in my 31 years in the classroom. Overwhelmingly, the best have been people who worked in the district prior to becoming principal. At the very least, they knew the district's habits of operation, which boats were rockable and which sacred cows to avoid. I think it's easier for people who have been around awhile to lead change. Part of that is trust, of course. Even the most charismatic and effective leader's new ideas will always go through a period of suspicion ("so--that's the way they did it at your old school, so we should do that here, huh?").

You're very lucky that your VP was a viable candidate. Onward and upward, and good luck.

7:39 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Thanks for the comments Nancy. Your 23 in 31 is a pretty extreme number; I'm 1 in 5, so we're at opposite ends of the boat on this one.

What is it with that suspiscion, huh? It seems to disproportionately inhibit teaching and learning, doesn't it?

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Nancy Flanagan said...

I'm a music teacher, and for a number of years taught in two buildings. Plus, my HS once went through four (count 'em) principals in one year, which perhaps artificially inflated my total. Still, 23 principals is a lot of bosses.

5:28 PM  

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