Author: Kelly Springfield, Instructional Coach for Collegiate Edu-Nation
A few weeks ago I attended the lamb exhibition at a local stock show, and as I watched, I began to notice the leadership skills of the young exhibitioners. As each showperson circled the ring, the level of leadership was apparent and I noticed some specific characteristics in those who were obviously at the top of their class, such as security, relationship, and support. When compared to the others showing, the elite exhibitioners and their sheep were a team. The animals were confident and secure. A strong relationship had been developed between the two to a point where the sheep willingly followed the lead of their shepherd, easily getting into show position with just a tap of the leg and light prodding, whereas those who were more novice had to use a little more force to achieve the same result. It occurred to me that I see some of these same characteristics as I travel through our CEN districts, and I realized that if we want to produce elite districts, it will be necessary for the leadership in our districts to become a team with our flock. We need to ensure that there is an environment of security and support and that strong relationships are built with the individual sheep.
As a preacher’s kid, it is natural for me to look at the role of leadership from a Biblical point of view. The Lord is the epitome of a great leader and this theme recurs numerous times throughout the Bible. Christ repeatedly reminds His disciples that God is a good and gracious leader. He desires to give security, provide for needs, and guide His sheep through the darkness. In return for this protection, all that is required is the disciples’ willingness to follow.
What would happen if our superintendents, principals and all of our leaders approached their role with this frame of thought? Imagine the school environment if our teachers and students walked into our buildings knowing they were safe, secure, and supported. What if students and staff were reminded daily through action that the primary goal of the district is to provide the best environment for them? How many lives would be changed if all students knew they were being led on the right path so that their lives would be enhanced and blessed? Envision a district where everyone from the top down knew each teacher and student and desired to have a relationship with them.
God reigns from on high and is involved in our lives on a daily basis. Shouldn’t our school leaders be doing the same in our districts and on our campuses? We are told that we are to model Christ as our goal. Are we in the classrooms enough to be effective models and leaders? Do our sheep know our voices? Do they know who to follow and know which direction they need to go? Or are they wandering out in the world lost? It is time for our districts to gather our flocks, ensure they are protected and supported, build relationships with them, and ensure that they know our voices. In turn, they will loyally follow us in the direction we desire to lead our districts.