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MASA Leader Winter 2013

Courageous Journey Feature Purpose: Required for Lifelong Learning By Dr. Rick Repicky “L highlight these words as schools solve answering to the board, staff, and is required to drive the application ofthe first 20+ years of children’s lives?Purpose is what drives parents. PurposeSuperintendents learn everyday from theparade of unique situations they face andifelong learners” are what educatorscrave. School mission statements purport to develop inquiring minds constituents. But these learning exper- lifelong learning from educational leaders. capable of sifting through myriad iences, as challenging as they are, lie only conflicting messages in search of the at the expected managerial competency Each superintendent must find a niche truth. Election seasons serve as Exhibit level of the job. Today’s superintendents that makes sense in terms of driving A as to why society needs lifelong, must be more than managers of their students to perform at a higher level. independent learners. districts. They must be educational leaders, The niche can lead in such directions as and that requires a constant commitment technology, literacy, service, arts, civility, In order to lead, superintendents must to new learning and implementation. leadership—anything that advances also become lifelong learners to advance student learning. their students in a competitive world. In Now, it must be stated that the demands on today’s economy “learning for all” must district leaders are enormous. Creating Void of educational purpose, routine be more than a slogan—it is a moral the right multi-million dollar budget pressures tend to squelch superintendents imperative that forces district leaders to formula has never been more difficult, into managers, not educational leaders. conquer previously undefeated learning and the onslaught of state initiatives While acceptable in the past, today’s obstacles. This requires new knowledge has never been more pressing. Top these superintendents must find a niche that and new practice. Unfortunately, pressured off with negotiations, relationships, puts their district and students a cut above. educators sometimes avoid new initiatives, discipline, bonds, etc., and it’s clear how Effective leaders find their purpose, study preferring to surrender to quotes like arduous finding time to learn and lead a it, and make it happen. the following: district in an educational direction can be. “If a child’s MEAP score impacted a parents’ The secret to becoming a lifelong learner Dr. Rick Repicky is an MASA Executive Coach ability to claim them as a dependent on their under these trying conditions is PURPOSE. and a graduate of the MASA Courageous taxes then I believe we’d see a lot more effort Unless a superintendent recognizes and Journey. Contact him at rick.repicky@gmail.com. on the parent’s and child’s end to ensure their answers the call to lead in a direction success.” that awakes a sense of – A frustrated teacher’s Facebook post purposeful passion, he or she will never find Schools cannot move forward if “learning the time to focus on for all” is countered in this manner by more learning and leading than 10 percent of the staff. Since most of consequence. school superintendents graduated in a past century—a time when society could It’s been said that afford to lose students to middle class parenting is an example factory jobs that have since dissipated— of purpose trumping new learning is required to develop 21st time. What non-parents century learners. could ever see them- selves finding the time Fortunately, there is no problem developing to do and pay for all superintendents who are lifelong learners. that is required during www.gomasa.org 29


MASA Leader Winter 2013
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