Click the link and watch this First: https://youtu.be/TjXKS6ONtLQ
I shared this video with the teachers at my school and I also wrote the text that I will copy and paste into this post. It reads as follows:
One of my strengths and weaknesses is I’m just about willing to share every aspect of my life with the people I work with. This has become a bit more difficult as I’ve transitioned into the role of Principal because no matter what happens to me, I have to transform into a Power Ranger (my sons’ favorite show), and make it happen. My life can be falling apart, but one of the things I’ve been able to do is leave everything in the car, transform, and walk through the doors of Kennedy Road Middle with a smile. Many people don’t know I lost my step-father to cancer in 2005. He was 40 years old. Some people don’t know I lost my mother unexpectedly in 2013 to blood clots in her lungs. She was 46 years old. So one of the things that I fear that I can’t shake, no matter how hard I try, is the fear that I will be taken away from this earth before I’m able to make an impact. One of my mentors told me that FEAR was only False Expectations Appearing Real, but the feeling that I have is why I try to use every opportunity to change someone’s life. I’m not the best at it, but I TRY.
… Living up to P.A.W.S, whether you’re a teacher or a scholar, should be life-changing. Whether I’ve connected with you and gotten to know you or whether we’ve been distant, my hope is that our work together that we have done and will do for the next few weeks will make a difference. I’ve developed a perception of the faculty and staff, and I know that you’ve developed one of me. In your eyes, my actions may or may not solidify the vision and mission that I have for Kennedy. Truly, there’s nothing I can do about that. But for the remainder of the school year, I want us to get back to our accountability. Show up because nobody can replace you. Do the work. Be present. School will not be over until May 31, 2019. Let’s keep doing the work. Let’s tighten our link, and keep our team in the running for the championship. As I’ve stated, if one of the team members isn’t giving it 100%, everyone can feel it. Don’t be that person. Be a Dwayne Wade…leave an impact, and make someone feel important. You may or may not get your flowers at that time, but the feeling that comes out of it is priceless.
Dwayne Wade’s video brought tears to my eyes. There are people that surround us that do awesome things everyday. There are some teachers in my building that literally have given students the jacket off of their backs. Those people change students’ lives, and although those students may not know how to communicate their tremendous chest of thank yous to their champions, I know that one day the sacrifice will show itself. It always does.
I’m only 35 years old, so I’m also connected to pop culture. There’s a rapper and activist, Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in front of his clothing store a few weeks ago. His story has been all over the news because he started out as a gang member but evolved into something more than that. Some will shun him because of that, but his story is the story many of our students have. People become a product of their environment when no one steps up to show them the right way. He became and entrepreneur and put plans in place not only to bring peace to the community where he grew up in, but he also was trying to bring along those people that he grew up with. One of my friends shared some of Hussle’s music with me last year, and I was impressed. If you don’t know by now, I’m intrigued by words and stories and things that motivate others, so I started doing some research on him. In fact, I shared a news clip of Hussle with some of my fraternity brothers which showed some of the things we needed to do to truly make an impact on the communities we serve. His work spoke volumes to the people who encountered him. Believe it or not, if you’re doing great things, your work speaks volumes as well. People don’t always give others their flowers while they walk this earth. Sometimes, it takes people losing you or losing your presence for those people to appreciate and recognize what you do and what you mean to them and their situation. This was true for him.
So as we all gear up to finish out our 2018-19 school year, I want you to remember that people may not always remember the things that you’ve taught them or the professional learning you led for them, or the feedback that you gave them…but those people will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. To my principals, I know that I’m a rookie at this role, but I can bet on it that there are some teachers that love and work hard for you because of how you made them feel. There are also some people that are moving and trying it again somewhere else because of their perception of you…that perception came from how you made them feel. One’s perception is one’s reality, whether it’s true or not. To my teachers, there are some parents and students that love you, some that are on the fence about you, and some that don’t think highly of you. This has come from….you guessed it…how you made them feel. To my central office personnel, there are some principals and colleagues that follow the same pattern. What do those that work for you say about you? The answer to this question can shape and make change for an organization, but the reality is people only share their true beliefs with one another. It can be impactful if that were not the case, so we have to figure out how to implement a system where we can be transparent. Culture and climate are important. Accountability is important. Everything is important, essentially, but don’t get caught up in all that you have to do and forget about your people. That’s a line that I have written in my notes for next year. “Everything is important, essentially, but don’t get caught up in all you have to do and forget about your people.” It’s true.
As I shift into gear for next year, I’ve made this one of my priorities. Truly, there are a million things I have to make sure I have in place next year and even more that I have to push for the year after that. I came in knowing that I couldn’t settle for baby steps because in three years’ time, I know that the powers that be expect me to have completed most of the mission and vision I put out to them. Whether that happens or not, when my journey at my school ends, my hope is that those around me can say, “Now that’s an awesome man of God.” If they feel that, then my work will be complete anyway.
Be great. Be accountable.