A New Balancing Act

Change is good.

I’ve recently learned I’ll be moving to another elementary school in our district for the 2015-2016 school year.  I’m super nervous.

Here at my current school, I had been a teacher for a long time, a teacher leader and now the principal.  The transition couldn’t have been more smooth.  Shockingly so to most people who were expecting a rocky road.  Not wishing it on us but generally expecting the move from “us” to “them” to be a challenge.  I attribute the ease of transition to the healthy culture of our school and community.

And now I begin for real.  I’m looking at this new opportunity as my “real” first administrative job.  The time to listen, build trust, learn the culture, feel the climate… that’ll be a new experience for me.  Am I patient enough for the time it takes?

An intact staff who’ve mostly been together for a long time.  I’ll be a new person.  The boss. The leader.   What routines will I inherit, bring in new, want to change or fall in love with?

And students.  The students bring a smile to my face.  I know a handful of them.  But those smiling faces, excited stories, earnest introductions and shy looks… it’s why I get up in the morning.  Will they miss their former principal and be wary of me?  Will they match my warm smile, arms out for a hug or hand out for a high five?

What about the community?  Are they wondering who I am?  It’s a small town with a healthy rumor mill and I’d imagine they’re hearing positive things and asking questions of their friends who know me.  Parents are the cornerstone of a successful education.  I can’t wait to meet them all.

So I balance.  Standing on one leg, on a wobbly ball, holding my arms out for balance.  And I struggle.  And I know why.  It’s a sad farewell, a hand off to a new principal for my school (I’m really excited for her), a time for welcomes and questions as I pick up the reins at a new site with the management tasks of two schools as the transition unfurls.

It’s going to be an extra long summer.  Not time wise but task wise.  So much to learn, think about, plan for and communicate.  Change is good.  Right?  I’m already learning so much about myself, my leadership, my methods and needs.

photo (15)For my own Mother’s Day treat, I went for a walk at the beach.  I even took a selfie.  #silly  I was thinking of my #7wordstory as I walked and listened to the waves, birds and wind.  The crackling, sucking sound the sand makes as the water moves in and out.  There’s even a buoy’s bell I could hear now and then.  The ball I balance on was still for a few minutes.  It was perfect.  I’m ready for the week ahead.  And I’ll count on another walk on the beach for a bit of balance along the way.

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People. My #oneword for 2015

Who are these People I dedicate my precious #oneword to for 2015?

My boys.

Josh and Jacob are growing up so quickly.  They need my listening ear and focused attention for friendships, homework, digital and analog creations, life lessons…. all of it.

The hubby.

Life just speeds by… our relationship needs me in it 100%.

Extended Family.

A lot of people to spread myself between.  Whether it’s a 5 minutes phone call or an overnight visit, it’s valuable time.  Make the most of it.

Grant School Staff

My office door is (almost) always open.  I visit their classrooms, talk about their accomplishments and challenges, their families and plans, their needs and wants.  I try to be a completely present listener and allow my teacher-self to be a part of my decision-making.

Grant School Students

What a hoot!  I love these kids.  They also benefit from my open door office policy bringing fundraising and philanthropic ideas, suggestions and notes for my wall, recess concerns and hugs.  How can you not make time for students?!?!  #1 in my work day.

My PLN

It’s a beautiful time suck.  Oxymoronic but true.  My few but amazing Voxer groups, my local colleagues, my overwhelmingly inspirational Twitter feed, this blog… and all the other ways I connect.  I just love the learning, sharing and connecting.  It’s rejuvenating for me.  And of course these are part of my People.  These are People who keep me fresh, challenge my thinking, inspire my work and make me laugh.

So the bottom line is People come first.  And of course down time is necessary.  Exercise, reading, blogging… all of that.  But as I prioritize and choose one precious word, I choose People.