“Serving members by supporting effective leadership in education
through representation, advocacy, and leadership development.”

As the President of the BCPVPA, I want to be able to connect with members regularly and provide updates and information that influence and affect principals and vice-principals around the province. As I work on your behalf to advocate and support the work that you do I want to use this blog to offer updates, information on emergent issues and share the stories of principals and vice-principals around the province.

The opening statement is the vision statement for the British Columbia Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association. For a phrase that is clear and concise there is a lot more going on below the surface. For my first blog post I want to unpack that phrase and provide my thoughts about what that vision means to me.

Serving members by supporting – As a Master’s degree student I was exposed to a number of theories and models of leadership. While I appreciated and connected with a number of theories, there was only one model that spoke to me. I have tried to adopt that model in my own work as a school leader. The phrase, Servant-Leadership was coined by Robert Greenleaf, a management consultant fascinated by the concept of the servant as leader. According to Greenleaf, a servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and the well-being of the people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by the leader at the top, servant-leadership is different. The servant-leader shares and distributes power while putting the needs of others first. Greenleaf’s contention was that the servant-leadership approach more effectively facilitated growth and capacity in those served. When the roadblocks are moved for those served then they are freer to take their own leadership capacity to the next level.

…effective leadership in education – There is no end to the research on effective school leadership. A Google search will provide countless hits from researchers and bloggers alike about what effective educational leadership is and should be. After nearly 20 years in school leadership, I recognize that all of the well-researched finer points of leadership are all relevant and valid. However, I like to keep things simple. If pressed to describe what effective educational leadership is in a single sentence, I would say effective leadership in education is about creating a collective vision. The most powerful work that I have had the pleasure to be involved is is all about a shared, collective vision. A shared vision provides purpose, power, and passion while bringing filtered clarity to the work that we do together. Everything else is just management.

…through representation, advocacy, and leadership development. – This  summarizes the work that we do on behalf of our members; this is our purpose and the reason we exist as an Association. Each of us are likely to have personal definitions of what these things mean and what they should look like. As we work together these issues may, at times, be a source of great pride for our organization and the individuals that we represent. At other times, these issues may be sources of disagreement and contention if the Association is not being viewed as influential in these areas.

For me, the work that we do in representation, advocacy, and leadership development is the investment that we make in our membership. The BCPVPA is only as strong as its members. This purposeful phrase is about ensuring that our members are served as well as they can be. We will all have different perspectives on why serving our members is of such high importance, but for me the purpose is clear; great schools have great principals and vice-principals. Educational researchers will agree that there is not one documented case of significantly increasing student success without talented school leadership.

There is no question that our vision is clear and our mission is purposeful. As we continue to work towards achieving that vision I look forward to sharing your voice and stories with me.

[posted April 26, 2016]