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Leadership Through Navigation

By PrinciPal Connection posted 09-10-2020 09:01

We've asked the 2019-2020 IPA Region Award winners to give us a few sentences about their why, education leadership philosophy, or just something special they are working on. We hope these dispatches will lift you up, give you inspiration and remind you of your why. 

This note comes from @Duane Ehmen. Duane is Iroquois West Middle School.

Leadership can seriously be attributed to navigation. With navigation, you have to continually be making forward progress. Essentials to this would be knowing your destination, employing a crew that will help this become achievable, and remaining cognizant of the reefs and storms that will happen. At IWMS, I have been blessed with teachers that love their students, know their curriculum, and empower students to strive for improvement. Though we are a small school, we strive for our students to be competitive, become well-rounded, and seek to attain success. We share that success can come in many shapes and forms but that the relationships forged and the knowledge that we attain during the journey are also highly valuable. Another positive attribute of our teachers is that they are problem solvers instead of problem starers. They attack problems and desire to find out the root cause of the issue, the behavior, or the crisis. They have taken an active role in sacrificing their time to help students see the error and learn to correct it. They have candid conversations about how they can help their students reach success. Moreover, my teachers work well with each other and play well with each other. Each year, we seek time to spend together and have fun together. Whether it is a joke, a prank, or a competitive game, these are the vehicles that spread joy and make coming to work more desirable. If students see us laughing and enjoying each other, they will be more prone to see coming to school as enjoyable. Education is the most rewarding career because we are helping to propel our students forward. Ultimately, they will scatter into other careers and ventures but they will take the experiences and the knowledge that they have gained here at IWMS and beyond. We desire for IWMS to be their launch pad to not only high school but also their future. Through the adaption of our schedule, with the unification of our curriculum and with supports that have been put in place (RtI, SEL, and technology), we are producing students who are academically and socially propelled forward. With these initiatives and supports, we affirm that though the destination is important, the journey and those that are with us, are just as valuable.