Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moving to a New Position? Bring Your Own Shoes!

New Position? Bring Your Own Shoes

Summer is just around the corner, and in our profession, summer is the time when changes in position happen. As an administrator, you may be accepting a promotion. You may be making a lateral move to your ideal location. You will certainly be hiring others.

In many cases, the shoes being filled will be large ones. How will you approach your new position if the shoes being vacated are large? How will you coach the teacher you hire who is replacing a “legend”?

I am reminded of how a particular pastor handled this sort of situation. He is someone I had known some 15 years ago when he was first starting his ministry. Over the years, his career blossomed, and he found himself appointed to lead the largest church of that denomination in the United States. His parishioners included George and Barbara Bush. Furthermore, he was following a very popular predecessor. How would he fill such gigantic shoes?

This church's website included links to past sermons, and so I listened with great interest to the first sermon the new pastor delivered to his new congregation. What would he say? How would he begin to follow someone as respected and beloved as his predecessor? How would he, an outsider, begin to lead this large congregation? That sermon would answer my questions.

Bringing Your Own Shoes
The sermon began with the new minister acknowledging the congregation’s attachment to the former pastor. He went on to point out the importance of that person's ministry in his own life. Then, he began to relay advice offered in a phone call, a call from an older and very wise minister.

“Let me give you the most helpful advice I received... Someone said to me, ‘Don’t worry about trying to fill anyone’s shoes, because you need to bring your own.’" The new minister followed by asking his congregation, "If I can, let me ask you to let me bring my own."

Seven years have passed since that first sermon. In short, the church has flourished under the leadership which began that day.

This summer sees new leadership in schools, school systems, bands, athletic teams, and classrooms all across our country. Many of us have been in those positions. We were perhaps uneasy about how we would handle the transition and how well those we lead would accept us. Others who are in the process of making transitions will come to us for advice. The transition is made more difficult when the shoes to fill are big ones. The advice
 given to this minister may be good advice for us as well.

About to fill some big shoes? Don't try. Instead, bring your

A special thank you to Dr. Frank Buck for this guest post.  He regularly blogs about getting organized.  He is also the author of Get Organized!  Time Management for School Leaders and Organization Made Easy!  Tools for Today's Teachers

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