Monday, September 21, 2015

Not All News is Bad News

Good News: Pictured with me is senior Christian Holcomb. Christian is also a lifeguard who received his training and certification from Mrs. Carrie Butler, one of our Physical Education teachers. One day recently he was with his mom at a local restaurant and noticed a mother who was becoming frantic because her baby was choking on food.

The baby had been choking long enough that he had stopped crying and was beginning to change color. Christian told the mom to hand the baby to him. He turned the baby over, stopped him from choking, and removed the piece of food from his mouth. He handed the baby back to the mother as emergency crews arrived. He and his friends continued on with their own meal. The family he helped did not speak good English, and Christian actually never spoke to them again.

What makes the story more remarkable is that Christian did not tell me about what he did.  The story came from others. When I met with him he asked if we really had to feature him because he did not want it to look like he was seeking attention. I featured Christian because he deserves it. In a world of negativity, stories like this one continue to give us hope that there are still good things happening around us. If you see Christian, please give him a pat on the back; not because he wants it, because he DESERVES it.

In the Media: West Genesee is featured in the media A LOT! Some people think that we are attention hounds and cannot go a week without seeing ourselves in the paper or on television. That cannot be further from the truth.

I have been teaching graduate courses in educational administration since 2006. For the leadership courses, I always talk about what it takes to be a successful leader. The recipe for success that I have always used and believe in is to establish trust within the organization and the community and then work each and every day to keep that trust. Part of trust building is always telling the truth, always being transparent, having and communicating a clear vision, celebrating success, learning from shortcomings, and ALWAYS being genuine. Sounds easy right? If you want to call yourself a leader, it should be.

I have been very fortunate that both Districts I have led have been very successful. The downside of success sometimes is that people are looking for those cracks in the armor. The media (who I respect and work with very happily), cover what viewers are going to watch or read. Our transparency causes the media to pick up on stories, both positive and negative, at a higher rate than others. I do not have a problem with that because I know if a community member sees a positive story or a negative story about our District, they know there is nothing else that we are hiding from them.

The result is a community that helps us celebrate the successes that they hear about, and they understand that while a situation might be challenging, we have control of it and will be okay. They can go on with their lives. There are no rumors, no "wondering when/if a story will break". You would not believe the energy I can then spend on the more important things.

This formula has worked, does work, and will continue to work.

As we finish up open houses this week, I again want to thank you for your support. Our attendance thus far by parents has been over the top, and we absolutely would not want it any other way!

Enjoy the week.