What is vital to the strength of a school is that its students feel the warmth, acceptance, respect, and success when they enter each day, regardless of their ages. School must first welcome the student into the environment where he will become an active participant in the learning process. The curriculum must be rich with opportunities to delve deeply into content, engaging the student by providing the initial hook to pique interest while offering a variety of pathways of support to access information. Each student possesses many talents and an intelligence about which he is an expert – musically, verbally, mathematically, poetically, artistically, athletically, spatially, and technologically, to name a few. His strength in a particular talent will be a source of pride, confidence, and success as he uses it to learn in a different way from his peers. He can benefit from their talents and work cooperatively in a learning environment to enrich any course of study at any age.
An excellent educational program must balance a rigorous academic curriculum with the arts and athletics to enhance the whole child as a learner. School offers models of collaboration in its teachers and administrators, showing that a successful approach to problem solving comes from combining different ideas and experiences. School engages the parents as partners as well as the students in support of goals for each student’s learning, sharing values, and modeling the cooperation inherent in those partnerships. Teachers are vital to this partnership as they work most closely with the student, the curriculum, the parents, and each other. Collaboration must be at their core and must be supported by an enlightened leader through thoughtful conversations and evaluation, the resources of materials, time, and money, professional development initiatives, and a shared vision of global education in the 21st Century.
School is community and offers the opportunity to learn how to be successful from its youngest to its most experienced members. Sharing insights and participating in reasoned dialogues about how to treat others, celebrating successes, understanding and learning from mistakes and constructive criticism, discussing models of good character and behavior through service learning and the study of past and present “heroes” are all ways to build community. A place where mutual trust and respect between teachers and learners is the norm and expectation, school is a place where all members must feel valued, welcomed, and parts of the whole.
A prudent school wants faculty and administration in its midst who have vision, integrity, strong interpersonal and organizational skills, energy and enthusiasm to inspire and motivate, empathy, compassion, an enviable work ethic, a well – developed sense of humor, a thorough understanding of good teaching and learning, and an ability to represent the institution well in the community at large. School is an exciting, challenging, and nurturing place for young people and adults to spend time growing together.
In summary, I am passionate about helping schools demonstrate the following characteristics representing my educational philosophy:
- A school should be an exciting, diverse community of learners. Academic standards should be high; enrichment opportunities and the arts should abound; and athletics need to be varied.
- Leadership should be an integral focus. Each learner should experience what it means to make a positive difference in service to others and should understand the importance of caring for more than just individual success.
- Diversity should be the cornerstone. The more varied the student population in a school, the richer the opportunities for respectful understanding of differences for everyone involved.
- Teachers and administrators should be role models of openness to life’s challenges and should epitomize the value of lifelong learning for every community member.
Perhaps my “ideal” school could be yours.