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A School Board Answers the Call: What Do We Need to BE in this Moment?

After months of navigating through changes in our education system during a global pandemic, schools all over the world are finding educators physically, mentally, and emotionally burned out. We’re getting more and more calls to support educators in learning ways to take care of their mental and emotional needs. With each day that passes, schools are observing more and more educators who are preparing to leave the field altogether.

More and more we are asking ourselves, what do I need to BE in this moment?

At the start of the year, I was asked work with a team of 8 in the state of Texas. After speaking to the leaders of the board about some of the challenges they were facing, we developed four sessions that would support the team in creating a positive culture while building stronger relationships, and grow in their leadership, both personally and professionally. These leaders realized that in order to help respond to many of the changes we face in education today, they would need to lead the way in building a healthy culture.

On Saturday, while hosting our second session, something magical happened that opened up a door to help all district members respond to the call - what do I need to BE in this moment?

We started our time together by reviewing the content from session one which was centered around taking 100% responsibility for our thoughts, actions, and results. The conversation started to take a turn as we begin to discuss owning and telling our district story. I reminded the group that each day we wake up we are given the opportunity to add a new page to our stories. We are writing two books- our personal story as well as our district story.

We discussed the difference between “fault” and “responsibility” and how successful leaders own everything that’s happening in a district, instead of blaming others or events for the things that are not going well. I asked the team to think of ways they have taken personal responsibility and how they can empower others within the district to do the same. I said, “Imagine a district in which all members were able to take 100% responsibility – no more blaming parents, district leaders, students, or the community for the things that were not going well, but everyone taking ownership. How would this change the atmosphere in culture in your district?”

One member shared his desire to have district values that we could begin teaching in their elementary schools that could follow students throughout their academic career. While the district had done a great job creating a mission, vision, belief statements, and team profiles – they wondered how they could take these values and make them clear at all levels of the district.

I asked them to take a deeper look at their mission statement and think about what each person in the district needed to BE in order to make the mission a reality. In other words, I wanted them to think of traits they would need to embrace so that their energy was aligned and moving in the same direction.

The last hour of our meeting was uplifting and inspiring as these leaders worked as navigators to come up with traits that would become their beliefs for Becoming a Prideful Panther.

What these board members realized in this moment is that morale and culture was not just something they were to oversee, but something that they were to help create. Let’s face it, the changes that have taken place in our schools since COVID-19 will require a different type of leader. It’s not one where leaders isolate themselves into their individual job titles and descriptions – but one where each person understands the power of learning to lead themselves so that each person is focused on the opportunities rather than the challenges.

By the end of this session, these leaders were ready to respond to the call, what do I need to BE in this moment to BE a Prideful Panther? And as we continue our work together, every person -starting in elementary school- will be clear on these qualities too!

P = Positive

A =Active

N= Noble

T =Teamwork

H = Heartful

E= Excellent


What do YOU need to BE in this moment?

With something to think about.

Niki Spears,

Author, Motivational Speaker

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