Sunday, May 23, 2010

Forgive Me, It's Been Wonderful Jayne!

I am a grade eight teacher in Saskatoon, Canada. I have had a long and fun career, teaching from grade 5 to 12 over many years. I have had the opportunity to work with great people and great administrators. The school I am proud to be at now is Confederation Park Community School. It is truly a great place to be. Our school's touchstone statement is "sharing our gifts through respect, responsibility and postive relationships." Guided through the process by our principal, Jayne Hudson, we took significant time to develop this statement. I believe we work hard to live it.

Jayne Hudson has been the principal of our school for the last number of years and is retiring this June (who knows what she'll be involved with now!?). She is a person blessed with many gifts. She has been a great inspiration to me and to all of us. She has all the great qualities of a true leader. She is passionate about doing what is right for kids, parents, teachers and the community. She is tough as nails when she needs to be but a loving mother figure by nature. She leads by consensus but will let you know in no uncertain terms where she stands on important issues affecting students, parents, teachers and the community. She sets an amazingly high standard of professionalism, compassion and exemplifies dignity in her every action. She recognizes the sacredness and dignity of every person and every relationship.

Even though our principal for next year is a gifted person and professional in her own right, Jayne Hudson will be missed by our school and our board. I do not believe she will retire in the true sense of the word, she simply has too much to offer schools and new administrators with her wealth of passion, skills and experience.

As you know, I am interested in educational change management. I was reading the book "Transforming School Culture", (Muhammad) the other day and was pleased to find the author list the characteristics of great leaders. He must have interviewed my friend and principal before he wrote this list! Here it is. It describes her to a tee. I challenge you to rate yourself as a leader in your field based on the criteria below. She:

1. doesn't make promises she can't keep
2. backs people when it counts
3. takes responsibility and is publicly responsible when times are tough
4. holds regular celebrations
5. stays away from the limelight, she is humble and unassuming
6. does not violate the rules she expects others to follow and for which she holds others accountable
7. uses "we" or "you" in describing accomplishments and plans
8. does what she promises
9. does not ostracize "fundamentalists" (people who are reluctant to change)
10. knows her staff
11. leads teachers in learning
12. knows her school and community
13. is a lifelong learner

Jayne, it has been my extreme pleasure to have worked for and with you. You are a cherished colleague with a shared passion for kids and a true friend. I wish you well in the future and may our paths cross often. Enjoy your grandchildren (but don't forget there is still much to do!)

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