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In Context I – by: Melinda Tsapatsaris

By |July 26th, 2017|Categories: Westland Community|

In Context Volume I For a glorious, packed enriching week in early July, I attended the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) Institute for New Heads. Picture if you will 85 earnest, ambitious, and hardworking educators stepping into (some sheepishly, some confidently, most somewhere between) their headship through a “boot camp” of sorts: learning and grappling about essential issues that new heads will tackle, seemingly all at once: Overseeing strategic finance management Growing diverse communities built on equity and inclusion Being astutely aware of trends in education Managing healthy governance Implementing effective entry plans and setting the tone at your school Co-creating and overseeing impactful strategic plans Facilitating enrollment management Leaning into difficult conversations Building and leading highly functioning teams Implementing effective marketing and communication strategies At this point in my processing, I am still actively unpacking my learning and key takeaways, synthesizing and connecting the dots. The expert staff loaded us up with essential information. I collected the gem-quotes, which came at warp speed: “You promote what you permit” “Understand your school’s place in a changing market” “Diversity is a ‘need to have’ versus a ‘nice to have’” “Take your own learning public and admit your mistakes” “Aristotle said, ‘You learn courage by doing courageous things’” “Be conscious of ‘innovation fatigue’” “In ‘relationship-based systems,’ it’s tempting to balance harmony over truth’” “Be cognizant of ‘mission drift’” I collected questions too: “What is your school’s capacity for change?” “How might you strike a balance between preserving your school’s values and encouraging healthy disruption of your school’s culture to better promote authentic inclusion?” “What’s going to be different about independent schools in 20 years?” “Where are the overall risks in your school?” “What are challenges that

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