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Principals of the Pandemic: "A Celebration of Leadership"

For several years teachers and principals have walked into their schools and classrooms and greeted their students with handshakes, hugs, and high fives. Now with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators across the globe have had to find new ways to communicate, collaborate, teach and learn, all while building trusting relationships.

Normally equipped with a smile, faces are covered with masks hiding that warm greeting we usually see in the morning and throughout the day. This new normal has changed our educational system forever, and a new type of educator and school leader has evolved, one that is not only focused on the academic outcomes of students, but one who understands how important it is to do the “heart” work in our schools while being open and vulnerable.

Brené Brown, researcher, author, and fellow Texan, says that vulnerability can be defined as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure…,” but also as the “birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity.” She believes that, if we’re seeking greater clarity of purpose, vulnerability is the path to get there. One of my favorite quotes from her book, Dare to Lead, she turns her attention to vulnerability at work and the power it can have on culture. She says, “[t]he courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.” Wow! The courage to show up! Showing up means that we bring our authentic selves to work each day – even the parts that we are unsure about. This opens us up to listen more to others (teachers, students, and yes, parents) as we are challenged with new problems. Our leaders have had to learn how to conduct conversations, gather feedback from their constituents, and use this information to guide them in their leadership.

With the addition of virtual classes, school leaders have had to create a new blueprint for teaching and learning. Leaders that found success during the pandemic understood that this time was more about helping people feel safe and providing proper resources to help them function in their new normal. It also required a certain vulnerability that allowed leaders to ask for help and to recognize they didn’t have all the answers.

On Saturday, June 19th, we are taking a moment to celebrate and recognize school leaders who courageously led during the COVID-19 pandemic. This full-day, in-person, experience will feature talks from leaders consisting of superintendents, teachers, principals, and other voices that will uplift and inspire leaders to move into the new school year with strength and optimism.

In addition to motivational talks by leaders in our community, there will be food, giveaways, networking opportunities and even dancing to celebrate and recognize those that courageously led us during this pandemic.

We want to encourage you to not only sign up a courageous leader to attend this event, but write a brief account telling us what makes him/her special. These messages will be read or provided to your principals as a gift as we recognize them for their leadership.

It's a celebration of leadership and courage!

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