I want to share with you a communication I sent to teachers as I feel it applies to our whole community.
Over the last few weeks, I've been thinking a great deal about leadership - what makes a great leader? Who are the impactful leaders in my life? How does one continue to lead through difficult times? And finally - who am I as a leader and where do I need to grow? I can't claim to have answered all of these questions fully, but I do want to share some of my reflections with you.
A great leader is willing to be vulnerable - to share where she has made mistakes or errors in judgment. None of us are beyond reproach, but we can get a bit closer to it by being candid even when it hurts.
A great leader takes accountability for what happens under her watch - it's easy to own the good things and enjoy the successes. It is much more difficult (and much more important) to take equal ownership when things go sideways.
A great leader demonstrates perseverance - that means that even in the most extraordinarily difficult times, she not only sticks with it, but doubles down to do whatever it takes to ensure the success of the team.
It would be an understatement to say that yesterday's Board of Education meeting was challenging for me personally and professionally. I want you to know, however, that I hear you, and that I am taking your feedback to heart.
It's clear that there are areas where I've made mistakes and missteps, and I own those fully. I ask that you give me grace and patience while I work with the Edison leadership team, our teacher leaders, and the TCTA to better understand your concerns and experiences. As a team, we will use those understandings to develop both immediate next steps and a longer-term plan to improve relationships between school leaders, teachers, and students, and to ensure that you have all of the supports that you need to be successful as we navigate this time of both change and opportunity at Edison. Please know that I stand ready to work alongside you, our parent advocates, and the larger Edison community to develop productive solutions that will move us forward in a positive direction.
Edison is an exceptional learning community and a beacon of academic excellence in our district and in our state. We have a world-class AP Capstone program, phenomenal young artists, actors, and musicians, and an educator team that is second to none. I believe that this moment in time presents an opportunity for all of us to come together, reset around our expectations of each other and of our students, and align on some team agreements about how we will work together to make sure that this continues to be one of the best schools in our state. I know that every single one of you is deeply invested in our students and in our school, and while the road there may be bumpy, I'm confident that we can get back to where we need to be as a team.
Thank you for your candor, support, and partnership. Please know that my door is always open if you have concerns, questions, suggestions, or ideas that you'd like to share.
There have been some adjustments in the last few weeks I would like you to know about. First, I have regular check-ins scheduled with Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association representatives from Edison each week. Second, I have bi-weekly check-ins scheduled with PTSA. Third, our faculty meetings are now optional focused on relationship building and round table discussions topics submitted to our anonymous staff suggestion box. Also, I have weekly check-ins with the HS Department Chairs as we implement Khan Academy and look at filling current and 2018-19 vacancies. I have relied on their expertise and opinions as we seek the best in teacher talent for our Edison students.
In the near future, I will be soliciting students, teachers, and parents for three separate advisory councils. Ideally, I would like to have two parents/ guardians from each grade level who are committed to moving Edison forward. Details on signing up for advisory councils are coming soon.
We have an opportunity to model collaboration, vulnerability, accountability, and perseverance for our students. They are looking to us as to how we navigate difficult times.
In closing, know I am listening, I am open to your feedback and insights, and I am deeply invested in serving everyone in the Edison community.
Below is an email that was also sent to parents on Wednesday:
Greetings Edison Parents,
Student safety is of the utmost importance to us at Edison. Below is a statement from Tulsa Public Schools regarding a news report that may air this evening about an allegation of misconduct against one of our teachers. I hope you can understand that while we want to ensure that our parents stay updated on any news related to our school, we also must balance the privacy of our teachers and staff, so I’m not able to share further information. I want to assure you that we follow all appropriate laws and policies pertaining to personnel matters.
Positive and supportive teacher-student relationships are foundational to great learning experiences, so we respond as quickly as possible to investigate and respond appropriately to any allegation of misconduct. In the event that we receive this type of allegation, we would take immediate steps to ensure that our students remain safe. We would also work with any involved students and families to ensure that we are addressing concerns and taking any necessary next steps. While we are not able to discuss confidential personnel matters, we are following all appropriate processes and protocols.