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Leadership Circle - Fear Setting

Circle has been an incredible opportunity to connect with and learn from educators committed to caring, compassion, connection, equity, and making a difference in the lives of the students, teachers and families they serve. Last week was another lovely evening of learning and sharing, hosted by Azizi Williams at Sequoyah.
We started with a quick round of speed dating to share tips for effective meetings, interview questions and how we use storytelling at work. Here are the interview questions we shared: - Tell me a story about how you deal with conflict. - What are you excited about these days? - How do you create an inclusive classroom? - Why are you choosing to leave your current school? - With so many schools to choose from, why are you applying to this school? - What makes you smile? - Share a challenging moment with a student and how you handled it. - What buttons of yours do students push? - (A question for their references) If had PD money to spend, how should I use it to best support t…
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Leadership Circle: Storytelling

A big thank you to Sarah Stehman for hosting our March Women in Leadership Circle gathering at
Buckley. The evening was all about telling stories. While yes we had wine and cheese, it was quite a
contrast to the usual experience of a work mixer. Having just attended one such mixer at NAIS, where I
left feeling tired from the constant introductions and status focused chitchat, I was hungry for our circle.
Circle is a place for real connection, thinking and support. There is no need to fane coolness - circle
is a place for feelings, laughter, questions and trying out half ideas with nary a blue blazer in sight.

Storytelling is essential for connection. Stories engage people and help people relate to us. But, how
might we use our own experiences to engage our community? It seems natural to look for examples of
mission and vision during the school day (Example: I saw this great lesson in 7th grade science in which
kids were working collaboratively to solve a problem - this supports our missi…

Leadership Circle: Difficult Conversations

Last Thursday we gathered at Echo Horizon School. A big thank you to Peggy Proctor for hosting
and helping us facilitate and plan the evening. We reflected on the idea of Difficult Conversations
(see articles here). As the evening progressed, we thought about what is gained by reframing these
conversations as Powerful or Crucial. How might our language around difficult powerful conversations
influence our willingness to lean into them?

Overheard… Real listening is being willing, actually willing, to change your mind.Practice is failing.Finding allies, wherever you can, is key.Rarely is something actually an emergency. Take a breath and wait a day.We get upset in conversations because we are trying to please and fix.Nothing good happens at 11pm; that email can wait a day.Read Brene Brown’s new book and consider this: People are hard to hate close up. Move in.Recharge your mindset before a difficult conversation - that little voice is more powerful than you think.Consider reframing a di…

Leadership Circle: Thoughts on Feedback

Last week we had a lovely evening at Josie’s home (I am a bit behind on things). Thank you to Josie for being such a generous host. Our conversation centered on feedback - both giving and receiving. We chatted most about the difficulties of giving feedback both in a way that it is received as it was intended and so that it contributes to positive faculty culture. We talked about the value of feedback being hot it allows the receiver to be seen, to feel like their actions matter. As such, the format for feedback proposed in this Quartz article on giving praise is helpful: describe the actions you like, describe the impact and express appreciation. It was also said in our conversation that the point of feedback is highlight the behaviors that are “vision building.” The impact peice of the praise formula might be the hardest to phrase, but it also might be the most important.
Also, It was suggested that when giving more constructive feedback, it is helpful to give only one piece of criti…

Women in Leadership Circle Kicks Off 2017-2018

I am so excited about Circle for this year. Azizi and I spent time over the summer thinking about our goals for our group. What resonated, was the importance of communication skills for leaders. We felt that creating space for the women in our circle to reflect on the ins and outs of communication would be particularly impactful as often perception of a leader's communication is gendered. We are hoping that by providing a space for practicing and thinking about key skills, we will leave feeling confident to engage in difficult conversations, facilitate group discussions and tell our school's story in an engaging way.

For our first meeting we were lucky to be joined by Malika Williams, sister of Azizi, Actor and body language coach. Framed by Amy Cuddy's familiar Ted Talk, Malika facilitated a discussion about our mind - body connection, as it relates to how we are perceived. She made the point that as we meet new people, in a way we are the commodity and the new people are…

Women's Circle May 22, 2017

Our final Women in Leadership Circle for the school year was on Monday evening at Marlborough School. Thank you to Regina Rosi for hosting and feeding us yummy sandwiches and enormous brownies. What I love most about the circle is the social gathering aspect; snacks and wine make it fun.
Our topic for the evening was inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s advice for living boldly as well as her We Should All Be Feminists Ted talk.  One piece of her advice that stood out advised women to stop worrying about being liked. When I read this, my initial reaction, “well not me. I say what is on my mind.” While I am not one to hold back my opinions or ideas, even when unpopular, I would be lying if I didn’t worry about the impact of my contributions after the fact. I have been awake at 3am on countless evenings running back the play by play of an interaction at work. I have sent many an explanatory email just to make sure my comments or intentions weren’t misunderstood. While my need to be lik…