I had my third planning meeting with my new principal last week, and it reminded me how energy-giving change can be. I say this as someone who absolutely adored my last principal (and the one before him—I’ve had excellent luck where school leadership is concerned).
And—no doubt—there have been moments of anxiety this summer as I’ve wondered about the changes this new year (with a new principal) would bring.
Our school has been under construction all summer, so she and I have been meeting at a coffee shop. Maybe that facilitates the relationship-building vibes, to be sipping a favorite caffeinated beverage with indie rock playing in the background. I do think being outside the school grounds separates the talk from any pre-established patterns that might be too easy to fall into.
With a new leader, it’s a chance to reflect, to branch out, to forge new paths.
The urgency of elevating what is most important demands transparency and high level discussion.
At the end of our meeting, we swung past school to check out the construction progress. Teachers return tomorrow (today, when this goes live), and as we planned for meaningful collaboration on those initial days back, we were also trying to figure out where we would be able to physically meet.
The library is stacked almost to the ceiling with boxes of books, so that’s out.
Next we checked out the Collaboration Room, which has been my space the past couple of years. Last year, it was also where I taught remote kindergarten, and since we couldn’t meet face to face as colleagues all year, it didn’t feel much like the Collaboration Room.
That day of our third meeting, standing in the middle of a freshly carpeted room, empty except for the tables waiting to be put together and a variety of chairs stacked around the perimeter, I was filled with hope.
Launching our year together in this shared space will be a necessary reset, an opportunity to be physically close as we plan for the return of kids. Knowing that my colleagues will not have had the opportunities I’ve had already to get to know our new principal, it will also be an opportunity to leverage the energy of change into a collective vision for the year ahead.
This afternoon, she and I worked together to ready the space for teachers to arrive tomorrow. With the new furniture—completely different from the hodgepodge of scavenged tables and chairs that I had before—the room reflects the potential I feel. I’m ready to break out of patterns that might not be serving kids well enough yet—to innovate, dig in deeper, and explore new possibilities.
I can’t wait!