In July 2016 I left the security of my principal position to venture out and pursue my passion of transforming culture in schools. For years I have been what I refer to now as a Culture Cre8or, someone who wants to create a community where everyone feels safe, valued, and appreciated. Even as a young girl, I wanted to provide everyone I met with a magical experience, whether it was family members who would visit our home or friends whom I played with at school.
When I became an educator and a school leader, I found myself prioritizing the culture of my classroom and school over everything else. One thing I learned early in my pursuit of creating a positive culture is that a positive life begins with you. I found that focusing on personal culture led to better relationships among students, teachers, and staff, and there was a willingness to go above and beyond an assigned job description to help create a place where teachers and students wanted to be, including me.
The culture of a family, organization, business, or any group for that matter, is the combined energy of the people that make up that union, and the more team members can take responsibility for their outcomes, be aware of how they show up, and be open to people and ideas that may differ from their own, the more we can create healthy communities of peace. Setting goals, boundaries, and values (behaviors) creates communities where people feel psychologically and physically safe. This is what being a Culture Cre8or is all about.
In my first book, The Beauty Underneath the Struggle: Creating Your B.U.S. Story, I take readers on a journey of discovering themselves as they experience the tough times. Because it was written during the pandemic, when we were on lockdown, it was easy for people to identify the struggles we were facing—schools and businesses were closed, our loved ones were getting sick with the virus or losing their lives, and the political atmosphere was toxic, to say the least. We learned that our lives can be a potpourri of good times, celebrations, and struggles. These webs of experiences can be challenging for us, especially with all the changes we have experienced since COVID-19 turned our world upside down. I believe this moment has stressed the importance of caring for our mental and emotional well-being as we attempt to adjust to all the changes in our personal and professional lives.
This moment is about not only renewing our culture but renewing our minds to move beyond this moment, so that we can ultimately feel the freedom that comes from living in our peace.
Renewing the mind requires us to become more whole. It requires an understanding of how our thinking patterns and beliefs impact the way in which we experience life. This means that we should give attention to supporting and nourishing our mind so that it doesn’t become weak, unable to deal with the complexities of today’s world. Renewing our mind forces us to look within to determine our core beliefs and consider whether these beliefs about ourselves, others, or the world are serving us well or not. If there is one lesson we learned from COVID-19, it’s that time waits for no one. Life is short, so we shouldn’t waste time thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future. The time to live is now!
Many of us spend so much time searching for the answers to life’s struggles when the answers we seek can be found within; we need only to ask the right questions. This is why I am excited to bring to you my second book, The Culture Cre8or: A Principal’s Journey to Shaping a School’s Values, Goals, & BEliefs. My hope is that this book will become your personal guide as you create not only a positive work culture but a positive life. I believe that a positive mind creates positive energy, which will create positivity in schools and in our world.