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Showing posts from 2017

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…

Saying Yes to Leadership Circle

Our April circle meeting was a small but mighty gathering at Pilgrim School. Thank you to Julia for hosting and providing yummy snacks. After introductions we discussed what we might want to “say yes to” more often, inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ Ted talk (and book). Shonda decided to say yes to things that scared her (slowing down to play, public speaking). She embraced these risks because her work stopped making her feel the hum or creative flow it previously had. Perhaps it was how tired we all seemed to be, just two days back in the swing of things post spring break, but we instead landed on longing to say no to more things. With the elusive work/life balance occupying a permanent place on my own goal list, I too had a hard time agreeing with Shonda’s thesis. However, in the course of our conversation, we reframed the idea of saying no to some things as saying yes to self-care or breathing space. A strategic “no thank you” may give way to time to think, exercise or read for pleasure.

How to start a leadership circle?

I wrote this for the CATDC blog last week.

It includes a bit from my previous summary of Women in Leadership Circle plus a section on what I have learned along the way that might be helpful for others looking to start  a group. On my to do list is to plan a meeting for March...

My Bujo February to do list:
Get the baby to take a bottle
Prepare to teach my class at UCLA
Pull together my thoughts to finally write a definitive educational philosophy blog post
Organize 2016 photos
Get kids cleats for soccer
Print all my retweeted articles to PDFs and organize them in my google drive
Plan next WiL Circle Meeting
Make a Facebook group for WiL
Plan a trip to Disneyland
Find Daycare for Luke
Decide if I am going to my master's graduation
Make playlists on Spotify (obvi not crucial)
Declutter the house
Exercise/lose baby weight
Start doing thinking about what I need to do to be ready to go back to work on March 27
Update the baby book and journal the magic that is motherhood

... But since a…
I look forward to going to the CATDC Women in Leadership workshop every year as I find it inspiring and reinvigorating to hear the stories of women who have sought out leadership opportunities. Their stories are powerful because they don’t hold back. They share, earnestly, stories of frustration, failures, risk taking and heartbreak, along side examples of opportunity, success and exacting positive change.
This year we gathered at The Skirball Cultural Center and heard from several leaders in independent schools whose stories centered around the theme of Yes...and, culminating in an improv activity to encourage better collaboration and communication skills. We also heard from Dr. Tina Bryson who shared her research on the brain and how it relates to discipline and engaging cooperation. Her talk helped me to see the science behind attachment based teaching and parenting. Say your student (or coworker or child or spouse) is upset and behaving badly. Rather than pointing out that his or he…

Women in Leadership Circle - Vulnerability & Leadership

Women in Leadership Circle met again on Monday evening at Campbell Hall School. A big thank you to Marina Kheel, for hosting and providing a lovely spread of snacks.

We began our conversation by with Speed Stories; 2 minute introductions in which each person shares their their journey to education and leadership. I think it is important to know your story and the ability to tell it succinctly, allows you to know what parts are truly important. Brevity also allows you to tell people who are before their attention span dwindles. It was fascinating to learn a bit about everyone’s path. I learned that I need to polish my speed story both for content and time. Everytime I share my story, it gives me a chance to reflect both on which experiences have influenced my practice and helps me to recommit myself to my profession.

As we were sharing, I noticed that the stories were resonating because the person sharing was doing so from a place of vulnerability and authenticity. Sharing stories and e…

Women's Leadership Circle

Long time no blog... I thought I would have SO much time on maternity leave. Ha! It turns out that newborns need constant holding, swaying, feeding, bouncing, changing and shushing, leaving nary a free moment to reflect on teaching, learning and leadership. Given that this is my 3rd maternity leave, it is a bit silly of me not to remember that... alas, Luke fell asleep and let me put him down and I have time to talk about something I have been up to since last spring: coordinating a (somewhat) monthly meeting for women independent schools interested in leadership and personal growth. Here is how this came to be...

One of my favorite workshops that I faithfully attend every year is CATDC’s Women in Leadership. It is invigorating to spend the day in a room filled with educators, passionate about leading schools.
It is a day away from our normal routines, to spend time listening to stories of reinvention, connecting with like minded educators and reflecting on personal growth. At the end o…