Last week, my friends at the Orange County Department of Education hosted our inaugural Extreme Leadership in Education event at their facility in Costa Mesa, California. (Read my previous post about it here).
It was a phenomenal day, that, frankly, I had very little to do with. I showed up and did my thing, but the OCDE team did all the heavy lifting.
I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with them.
Fellow OCDE “Leapster,” Deborah Granger, wrote the following brief synopsis of the morning’s events. More details to come; in the meantime, this will give you a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of what transpired. Here’s Deb:
Introduce “Distinguished School” principals to Tenets and Frameworks associated with Extreme Leadership
Develop and Share Personal Leadership Stories
Expose Themes Undergirding Extreme Leadership
Consider possibilities of Extreme Leadership principles in action in our schools
Event and Process:
Over 40 elementary school principals representing schools recently recognized in California as “Distinguished Schools” attended a breakfast celebration. Each guest received a copy of The Radical LEAP, and Steve Farber provided an inspiring and energizing presentation on the principles of extreme leadership.
Dave Pinter described how LEAP principles influence his work as principal of Finnegan Elementary School in Florida. OCDE “Leapsters” provided the event guests with LEAP-related guiding questions, as well as a protocol for telling their leadership stories and discovering the extreme leaders within each of them.
As the principals shared their stories with one another, key themes emerged, including the critical importance of communication, relationship building, and creating a space in which their teachers can do their best work.
At the event’s conclusion, guests were invited to reflect on and share the impact of the morning on them. The response was unanimously and overwhelming positive, with principals sharing how the event provided them with a new paradigm: Where they had felt like isolated islands, now they felt like lots of ships in the same sea rowing in the same direction. They shared some of their audacious goals and actions as well as a number of OS!M examples (i.e., one principal who dramatically shared with the staff that their students will not be victimized by the financial situation of the state, and another who fended off policy managers until the school could prove that its home-grown plan for student success was working).
Steve concluded with a GTY challenge: that each principal should find at least one person to take on as a GTY Project.
Many guests lingered in the foyer following the event. They spent time talking, sharing more stories, and trading contact information. Many others approached those of us involved with the event and offered highest praise and appreciation. We concluded the morning with a promise to send a Survey Monkey shortly (currently being developed) to glean their ideas about how to move this forward – and look forward to their responses.
Quotes From Principals in Attendance:
Erin K: “When today came around, I didn’t want to come. I almost turned around. It was the best decision in the world to be here. I cannot tell you how much I needed this!”
Michelle M: “Now I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Anon: “I thought it was crazy to be invited to something at such an impacted time of the year, but now that I’ve been here, I cannot imagine not attending. I cannot thank you enough.”