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Feb 06

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- February 2017

Earlier today we finished our second round of Continuous Improvement Plan reviews. Based on feedback from our school leaders, we structured the reviews where three schools came together to share their successes and challenges around our three priorities. The sharing was incredible but it was the honesty of our leaders on their challenges that made me most proud. In a world where competition seems to be “the only way” it was collaboration and sharing that dominated the conversation.

The meetings demonstrated the importance of not being on an island or doing it on your own and showcased Holy Spirit as a school division and not a division of schools. That may seem like something so simple but many divisions have yet to realize that shift. That shift has really been forwarded by our leaders. It is not that they should stop advocating for their own school but not at the expense of another. Great leaders can see the small and big picture; they can be on a dance floor and the balcony at the same time. We are fortunate to have that type of leadership in our buildings and maybe we should share a few lessons for the larger than life leader down south!

While I’m not often political in my messages I just can’t miss the opportunity to comment a little on President Trump and on the divisive environment he has created not only in his own country but around the world. His supporters are so proud that he is doing something rather than just sitting on his hands and waiting. It doesn’t seem to matter whether his actions, “Executive Orders” are in fact legal or constitutionally sound. “You’re fired” can’t be the response to every matter of disagreement! I understand how rules can inhibit or slow what we sometimes want to do but I’m not sure any school division would benefit from a Chief Executive Officer who operated without guidelines, procedures and policy. Rules or fences (not walls) actually protect us and assist us in upholding standards to follow.

Image result for trump you're fired

Leadership is not about power, position or authority and organizations (or countries) need to incorporate loose/tight structures and have a balance of top down and bottom up decision making. There are times when I do wish I could make more decisions unilaterally or speed up a process but in the end, our success as a school division comes from we not me. This always hits home for me when I get a chance to share our Holy Spirit story to outside divisions and to external stakeholders. They seem quite amazed at the culture we have developed without any fancy visuals or illustrious documents. We just do what we need to do and constantly look to improve.

As we enter into the second half of the school year, I want to again extend my gratitude to all those in our system who continually push to make our vision come alive ensuring that within this Christ-centered environment, students are cherished and achieve their potential! Have a wonderful Family Day long weekend and enjoy your learning at your upcoming conventions and conferences.

2 comments

  1. Mark

    Well said

  2. Deb

    Thank-you for your wisdom and leadership.

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