I’ve always yearned for the principles of Extreme Leadership to find their way into the world of education, and–little by little–it’s starting to happen.
I’ve written before on this blog about elementary school principal, David Pinter–and he continues to be a deep source of inspiration, to be sure.
Recently, I’ve also come to know Jim Wipke, who is the principal of Crestview Middle School in the St. Louis area. Jim and his team have been applying The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and–more recently–Greater Than Yourself to the way the teachers, administrators and students work together and with each other.
Jim was kind enough to capture some of his initial thoughts on why GTY is so important to educators and students today.
Here’s Principal Wipke:
“To me, that message of Greater Than Yourself (GTY) fits so well to the field of education. The best of the best teachers want this for their students. They want to share their knowledge and give so much of themselves to their students that when the year is over, their students are not only prepared for the next school year, but are better prepared for life.
“Is this not also so true for coaches? The best coaches obviously love the sport they coach, but relish the opportunity to make their players and teams better than any team they were ever a part of, and they totally give of themselves to get this done. As we educators know, money is not our reward. Our reward is the experience of giving ourselves to our students. I’ve been an educator for 16 years, so you can trust me when I say that when a student (or a player you have coached) says thank you for making a difference in my life…well, that’s much more of a treasure than a paycheck at the end of the month.
“I also feel that Greater Than Yourself has key concepts that carry over into other areas in education besides student/teacher relationships. How about student/student relationships? So much is already being done through character education programs, but here’s an opportunity to help students understand the value of helping fellow students. And how about teacher/teacher and teacher/administrator relationships? The days of teaching in isolation are long gone, and we are now in an era of education where Professional Learning Communities are valued, where we look at individual strengths and put teacher-teams together based on these strengths, and then we encourage them to collaborate.
“Greater Than Yourself heightens the respect for this collaboration and promotes true investment in each other to catapult team members to becoming greater than they ever imagined. Our keeping an open mind to the application of Steve Farber’s work to the field of education can truly change our schools and the communities in which we work.
“I highly recommend Greater Than Yourself for educators. Not only will it serve as a great refresher for the teacher-to-student relationships, but it will serve as a huge motivator for teachers to help their colleagues become greater than they could have ever dreamed.
“As for me, I have a GTY project of my own. She is an educator who wants to become an administrator/principal. She is in the final rounds for an administrative position in a neighboring school district. Regardless of whether or not she lands this position, I know she will be a great administrator sooner or later. And if I have done my job well, she will go on to be a better principal than I.”
Now, here’s the epilogue:
Jim has just been asked to step up as the Principal of Eureka High School.
And his GTY project? What about her and that position she was shooting for?
Yeah…you know the answer.
She got it.