The title of this blog, Leading Blended Learning, came out of a deeply held desire to change the way school looks and feels for kids in my district. It came from a place where I looked at what school was offering and realized that the phenomenal teachers and leaders at each of our 51 campuses had the capacity to give kids more than what we were giving them. We could challenge them to be great and they would rise to it. I have spent the better part of the last ten years trying to figure out how to lead an authentic shift from good enough to amazing. Its not so much about wanting our district to have national exposure, or to be the best in show across the State of Georgia, but rather its about making sure that those kids that I met in my office as a middle school principal who had a twinkle in their eyes could see a future where they made it happen.
I look at the community that I have adopted as my own, after 15 years and having left and returned, it is my hometown now and I see tremendous intellect, strength of spirit, and ingenuity. I see compassion, dedication, and work ethic. I see possibilities. But, I also see self imposed limitations. I see hoops and rules and low expectations. I see bias and hear way too many "bless your hearts." So many of the young people in our community don't believe that they have the power to change not only their world, but the grander world that is at their fingertips. We are now globally competitive, but so limited in global awareness. We can see video of a conflict in a country 2500 miles away and espouse solutions, but seem to be willing to look deeply at the conflict in front of us that limits our impact. We want to protect our kids from the harsh realities of the world, without realizing that those same arms that hug and protect also stunt and limit growth and opportunity.
A wise advisor always said you got to start, and end, with the why. People have to know and see and feel and believe in the vision of the future that is better than the world they believe they exist in day to day. They don't have to understand it deeply, commit to it passionately, or even necessarily agree with it... but they have to be able to see it. Leadership towards this requires time, conversation, commitment, clarity, understanding, and steadfast focus. It requires meaningful interactions, engaging dialogue, and courage.