A Love Letter to Academic Leaders
Our blog post this week was inspired by your own responses to our Pulse question last week, asking what you enjoy most about being an Academic Leader–you’ll see some quotes from the inspiring responses we received.
Academic Leaders, this Valentine’s Day, we want to share a little bit of the love we feel for who you are, what you do, and the essential role you play in schools everywhere.
We love the way you provide high quality education in service of your schools’ missions. You devote yourselves to developing a rich, multifaceted learning experience for everyone in your community, students and teachers alike.
We love the way you innovate, the way you’re constantly wondering what more is out there, what further possibilities there could be for change or development. You push the boundaries for the students in your schools.
We love the way you do your homework, the way you dive into conducting and absorbing current research. The One Schoolhouse team is home to people who got in trouble as kids for reading under their desks, who asked questions that couldn’t be easily answered. As students, we adored the educators who took our questions seriously. That’s another reason we love working with Academic Leaders–when you aren’t satisfied with the status quo, you challenge accepted wisdom and seek out more information. You take all questions seriously, even–especially!--the ones that can’t be easily answered.
We love the value you place on growth: in your students, your faculty members, and your own pedagogical approach. You steer learning at your schools, as one Academic Leader told us, “elevating, recognizing, and appreciating growth and the knowledge that you can help students and faculty feel supported and seen.” You also acknowledge the link between professional growth and student growth, and you know that communities improve when every member has the resources that allow them to thrive.
We love the way you collaborate with other Academic Leaders and the way you mentor emerging leaders in your schools. You make yourself available to colleagues far and wide. You give up your time to share your ideas across the digital universe in meetups and on our listserv. You thrive on thinking through initiatives and innovations in community with others.
We love the way you balance the tiniest of details with the biggest of strategic questions. You never forget about the impact of your decisions on individual students’ lives. One Schoolhouse Strategic Planning Chair Naa-Adei Kotey, Academic Dean at St. Paul’s Schools in Maryland, reflected, “When we are all in concert about what deep and meaningful learning is and strive to make it happen for our students, that’s a gift. It’s a joy to see curricular work translated from the theoretical into the actual as students engage with meaningful curriculum and with intentional instruction that stretches them to see themselves and others.”
We love the work you’re doing to build what one Academic Leader described as “an inclusive and progressive culture where students can thrive and feel supported.” One Schoolhouse board member Sean Raymond, Assistant Head for Enrollment and Tuition Assistance at York School in California, wrote, “As an educator, I’m motivated by creating meaningful learning opportunities for students. As an academic leader I enjoy supporting educators who wish to inspire and prepare youth toward a positive and productive future.”
We love the way you’ve supported and guided your communities through the past two years, even when you felt overwhelmed, or when you struggled with grief or fear. You’ve encouraged resilience in learners who have struggled through a barrage of challenges. You’ve also fostered resilience in yourselves and the other adults in your communities.
We love how much you love the students you serve, and we love the way you love each other and your schools.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)