mixing and remixing to find a balance….
I was recently accepted into the 2010-2011 cohort of the NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring Heads. I’m very excited to have this opportunity and am thrilled that Dane Peters, Head of the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, has agreed to act as my mentor in the program. I have known Dane for a number of years through the NYSAIS Tri-Committee (Professional Development, Diversity, and Technology) meetings and have always enjoyed our brief conversations, so I am looking forward to being able to work closely with him during this process. Dane is an avid blogger about education, which is one reason I decided to dust off this blog and use it to document my journey through the Aspiring Heads program.
Dane and I met for the first time last Friday over lunch to discuss the Fellowship. I feel fortunate that Dane is so supportive of the Aspiring Heads program; I am the sixth (or was it seventh?) mentee that Dane has guided through the process. His enthusiasm has already put me at ease since when I first approached him, I was afraid that my request might be a burden given the many demands he has on his time. Instead, he seems as genuinely excited about working together as I am. What more could I ask for?
Our first conversation gave me much food for thought about the journey on which I’m embarking, and Dane has already focused my attention on aspects of a head’s job that I hadn’t really considered. For example, he told me about an article he’s working on that examines the dynamics of the crucial relationship between heads of school and boards of trustees. He also gave me an article about the 2009 NAIS Leadership Research Study and recommended two books to add to my reading list: Saying Grace, a novel by Beth Gutcheon, and Daniel Pink’s Drive, a book about motivation (that Pat Bassett also mentioned in his keynote at the NYSAIS conference this year, and a topic Pink addressed at TED). I was struck how Pink’s notion of the importance of autonomy as motivation parallels an example of the power of positive reinforcement versus the “hot poker” approach to management that I’ve carried with me since James McConnell’s psychology class eons ago.
I head to San Francisco on Tuesday for the NAIS Conference and have my first Fellowship meeting Wednesday morning. Off we go!