I wrote recently about principal, Jim Wipke, and his endeavors to bring Extreme Leadership into the world of education.
Well…here’s evidence of his influence on another teacher in a very personal, direct way. The following email is from Paul Godwin (posted here with his permission). I don’t share this to toot my own horn–even though it sorta does, I guess–but more to give you a glimpse into the quality of heart that resides and thrives in the world’s great teachers. And also to underscore something I’ve come to understand about my own work: more than anything, it serves as a confirmation of the instincts that are already there, and simply lends the courage to act on the power of those instincts.
“Two weeks ago I attended the Rockwood School District PLC Collaboration Summit in St. Louis, Missouri. I was fortunate enough to sit in on Dr. Jim Wipke’s presentation on his perception of leadership as it pertains to educators. As I walked out of the room I felt as if the clouds were separating and a beacon of light was shining down on me. Dr. Wipke spoke extremely highly of you and the books that you have written.
He was so energizing and motivating that I emailed him the next day to ask if we could talk about being a leader in the educational world. From what I have heard about Dr. Wipke, he is an amazing leader, educator and person.
I immediately went to Borders and picked up two of the three of your books he recommended (The Radical LEAP and Greater Than Yourself).
I would have bought The Radical Edge, too, but they were out. I just went to the Borders website and purchased it through them. That is what sparked this email.
For the past 10 years I have dedicated my professional life to kids and the field of education. I have taught 6th, 7th, high school, and 5th grade in suburban and urban districts around St. Louis. In December of 2007, I completed my Master’s in Educational Administration. In January I began my doctoral program in Instructional Leadership.
For the past year I have had my sights set on obtaining an administrative position. I was the runner up for 3 different positions and final four for a few others. I felt like I was just missing something that put me out in front of the other candidates or gave me the edge.
Until two weeks ago…
I have read [Leap and Greater Than Yourself] and felt a strong connection with the ideas behind your writing. You put into words and actions through your storytelling everything I believe leadership should be in education. I have never been able to express those thoughts or ideas for some reason or another until now.
Now the thank you part…
Last week I went on another interview for an Assistant Principal position. I felt as if I had no chance of getting this position based on many factors that had nothing to do with my capabilities as an administrator. It was more of a hierarchy within the district. I would have to ‘hop’ over people with experience in and out of the district.
Well, as it turns out, I was able to clearly convey my love, energy and passion toward children and education during the interviews more vividly than I’d previously been able to do.
I got the job!
I truly believe your books were a huge part of the inspiration and motivation I needed to help me overcome my previous ‘defeats.’ Thank you!
My wife, Kristin, has even made reference to the fact that I am ‘a more inspired person’ after reading your work. Your books were all I talked about each time I set the book down. So, Kristin thanks you too. My two little girls don’t know what I am talking about, but if they did, I am sure they would thank you.
Greater Than Yourself is a book I am going to purchase for all my grade level leaders. I really believe this book will help generate a more caring, focused and collaborative staff. I feel this book will ultimately help our teachers help our students!
Now, Dr. Wipke mentioned you might be coming to the Rockwood School District in September. I would be honored if I could thank you in person.”
No sir. The honor will be mine.