LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 4 | 2021

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Editorial

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.

Editorial   Murray Fletcher

Tēnā koutou ki te whānau o NZEALS

E mihi ana ki ngā mana whenua

Mā ngā hinengaro ketu o ia whakatipuranga e hura ngā mea hou.

The searching minds of each generation reveal new things.

(Acknowledgement: Library - University of Otago)

I have had the privilege in the last few weeks of being with leaders in schools and centres, who each have a certain way about them. It has nothing to do with the number of years of service as principals and team leaders, as, in fact they each have very few years in their respective roles. It seems to be about something other than acquired knowledge, skills and experience gained on the job and through professional learning.

Each of these leaders was dealing with current circumstances, as all school and centre leaders are, each was concerned about the well-being of others, and each was learning to let go so as step back themselves and to take self-care.

Each of these leaders was concerned for, and focused on, successful outcomes for ākona. Each created a culture that both supported and challenged deliberate and intentional teaching practices, and which led to empowered learners, within a culture that was increasingly culturally aware and responsive.

Each of these leaders had a connection to the greater good to something larger than themselves; they were in service to others, as seen in their actions and heard in their words.

We talk about ordinary people undertaking extraordinary things and magic happening.  J.K. Rowling says it like this

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.

As I reflected on how these leaders were as they dealt with what came their way, I realised I experienced, with each of them in different ways, a sense of reverence, a respecting of others for what they brought to the precious mahi, and a sense of dignity and integrity. Each attended to the space - in - between, as they created relationships. We could use the term transcendence, as seen in their sincere appreciation of others, their being an inspiration by being who they were, their being purposive, optimistic, creative, and future-oriented. Each had a sense of humanity, as shown through their consideration of others, a forgiving nature, a sense of compassion, and an empathy with, and for others. Each showed true humility through their ability to be self-aware, modest, highly reflective, grateful, a continuous learner and vulnerable.

This could be termed their presence, not a tool or technique, and definitely not a rational strategy. Rather, it is a way of Being that goes beyond the rational mind, tunes into a personal wisdom, and becomes effortless and natural with matters falling into place, as though they were planned.

You are a human being not a human doing.

This is where whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, awhinatanga, hūmārie, hauora, pono reside; where mauri, tikanga and mana give rise to rangatiratanga, as we each seek to ‘lead’ in several worlds. This is where a focus on co-creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world happens.

Gergen (2021) in The Relational Imperative: Resources for a World on Edge, states that working together is non-negotiable or imperative and for successful collaboration to occur, a radical transformation in our understanding of relationships, needs to happen. This transformation, Gergen proposes, means reversing our understanding by not viewing relationships as made up of separate entities – people, communities, organisations or nations; rather, viewing the process of relating and our care for this process, as central. It is what we take to be entities and their character, from this process, that is different.

Margaret Wheatley Calls for ‘Warriors of the Human Spirit’

We need leaders who recognise the harm being done to people and planet through the dominant practices that control, ignore, abuse and oppress the human spirit. We need leaders who put service over self, stand steadfast in crises and failures, and who have unshakable faith that people can be generous, creative and kind. These are Warriors for the Human spirit.

I have recently met some warriors for the human spirit!

In this edition you will find

  • The President’s Pen - Jeremy Kedian, National President
  • An acknowledgement of the contribution to educational leadership and administration by the late Emeritus Professor Wayne Edwards in a tribute from Emeritus Professor Ross Notman
  • Leading in a foundation school - Shelley McKay (Deputy Principal at Suzanne Aubert Catholic School, in the Bay of Plenty)
  • Research focused on collaborative leadership in contemporary settings - Karyn Gray (Principal at Raphael House, an Integrated Rudolf Steiner Area School )
  • Leading from the Middle - an introduction (Dr. Murray Fletcher)
  • DP/APs in a network that focuses on their growth – Dr. Sylvia Robertson
  • An opportunity and initiative in Auckland to grow middle leaders, which though postponed during lockdown, has been rescheduled for 2022 – Sandra Jenkins
  • NZEALS supports Middle Leadership, a membership opportunity
  • NZEALS focuses on Middle Leadership: an online opportunity (Emeritus Professor Ann Briggs)
  • Conference 2022: for your diary
  • ‘Becomingness’ focuses us on coaching and mentoring as leaders - Professor David Clutterbuck (Coaching & Mentoring International Ltd). David is read widely by educational leaders undertaking study in coaching and mentoring and has been a keynote speaker in NZ.
  • Impact of coaching on racial justice, equity and belonging; research report - Dr. Murray Fletcher (a commentary)
  • What’s on the bookshelf - Educational Leadership

I trust you find some reading snippets to add to your thinking.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui

Ngā mihi mahana

Murray Fletcher (Editor)

Unravelling fern frond closeup, one of New Zealand symbols.

References:

Gergen, K. (2021). The Relational Imperative: Resources for a World on Edge. Taos Institute Publications. Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Roche, C and Passmore, J. (2021). Racial Justice, Equity and Belonging in Coaching. Henley Centre for Coaching. Retrieved from Racial Justice Equity and Belonging in Coaching | Leeds Beckett University

Wheatley, M. (2021). Warriors of the Human Spirit. Retrieved from https://margaretwheatley.com/warrior-training-2022/