The Value of Leadership
I am pleased to report that our 2015-2016 Association year began with a historic meeting with the Joint Committee on the Public Schools (JCPS). We held our first Executive Committee meeting on September 16th at the State House and then proceeded to the two-hour session with members of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly.
While the stated purpose was to review and present our Vision 2020 document, I felt the most value was during the question and answer period. During that time, a wide range of topics from salary CAPS and other aspects of the accountability regulations to the creation of curricular vision for the future to practical suggestions regarding school finance were discussed. It was clear to me, that the JCPS will invite further comment from NJASA and work in partnership with us on some of these endeavors.
However, the most exciting aspect of the conversation was the recurring emphasis on the value of leadership. As I mentioned previously, our Association continues to explore the effect of leadership on public schools. Further, some of our members are doing additional work. Recently, Chris Manno, Chief Education Officer of the Burlington County Special Services School District and Institute of Technology published an article entitled, “Ten + Three = Success: 10 Principles of School Leadership + 3 Axioms of Fulfillment” where he explored some traits of effective school leaders. An edited version of that article appears in this issue of On Target.
Matthew Murphy, Chief Education Officer of the Ramsey School District, and the 2016 Northern Regional Superintendent of the Year is also exploring the responsibilities embedded in school district leadership. The six essential elements are – strategic planning, instructional leadership, financial stewardship, technology integration, facility maintenance and communication. Clearly, it is a tall order for one person to integrate all these things but that is precisely what good school leaders do. And to our own detriment, we often make it look easy which perpetuates an indifferent attitude from our communities.
Combating this indifference is difficult but achievable. In addition to our appearances before New Jersey Legislative Committees, we must engage our local legislators in meaningful discussions. As an Association and as individuals, we need to communicate “One Vision – One Voice.”