Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Two Year Journey Begins...

Tomorrow, my two year secondment as an Associate Superintendent for the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese officially begins

I'm both excited and unsettled

What unnerves me....

I am unnerved to leave the comforts of being a high school principal. I like comfort. And yet to grow, perhaps I need a little "discomfort".

I am unnerved to leave behind a highly functioning and active learning community.

Over the years, I have noticed that everyone involved education has an opinion about the "the central office" - from policy decisions, HR issues, programs, funding models - it seems that everyone has a "better way". And of course, there are those that will look to "blame" the central office for those complex and "unsolvable" problems. Working in the central office, I wonder how I will respond to these stereotypes?

It unnerves me that some folks may expect a quick and easy answer to their issue if they call on me. Chances are, I may not have an answer immediately. Chances are my suggestions may be wrong. There will be a promise, however, to assist and support the person work through the issue.

With this new role, some may expect a certain perfection or "getting it right, 100% of the time" from me. I am not perfect nor am I an "expert". I consider myself an active learner. I am a firm believer in the growth mindset. I am successful when I am vulnerable and honest with my myself and those around me regarding my shortcomings, challenges and gifts.

While I am excited about thinking and problem solving from "35,000 feet", I am more unnerved about losing touch with day to day student life. I am worried about losing the daily interactions with students. As a principal, my daily conversations with students kept me focused on what truly mattered in the school. 
To be effective in this new role, I need to manage the tension between system thinking and student thinking

What excites me....

I'm excited to work with some amazing people both in the central office and throughout our school system. 

The opportunity to think and problem solve at a macro level. Viewing issues and challenges from "35,000 feet" will be new and exhilarating

I'm excited to be able to more easily connect and dialogue with fabulous professionals across our school system. I look forward to leveraging those connections and amplifying the best practices happening across the our school system. 

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to have those connections and amplifications create meaningful collaboration and dialogue.

Tomorrow morning marks the beginning of an exciting and unnerving two year learning journey. I look forward to bringing all of you along....


  1. Hi Johnny,

    I love and appreciate your honesty in this post. This is why you will do fabulous in your new position! You are a constant learner who wants to help and support. People will appreciate your openness and willingness to learn.

    Good luck! I look forward to reading about your journey,

  2. I do empathize with this tension.
    However! I am confident you will balance it perfectly, with your balanced perspective, levelheadedness and wisdom. I have ever confidence in a seamless transition and your ability to create a cascade of leadership, that will reach each and every child.
    Best to you Johnny,

  3. Carolyn and Tia
    Thanks for great words of support and affirmation. It is great to have you guys in my pln. Best of luck to both of you this coming school year. And Carolyn, I look forward to hearing about your new role as well. Nothing but awesomeness ahead for you....