Developing and Facilitating Leadership

When I first started teaching I had no aspirations to become an administrator. I remember stating this with some conviction. My first stint as an acting assistant principal came about because I was new to a school in a new division and I found out we were overstaffed. After the current assistant principal took a medical leave, the principal approached the staff to find someone who might take on the role temporarily. In an attempt to secure some job security I took on the role. I was shocked about how much I enjoyed the job. I knew sooooo little about what it really entailed, but I did like what I had a part in accomplishing. I was hooked!

I assert that one of our tasks as leaders is to work with the people in our schools to find and develop their own talents. There are a lot of great people out there. When we interview to hire the right kind of  people, we can then work with them to grow and become great teachers and leaders.

I really love working with up and coming leaders. I am in a great situation with a very talented Vice Principal and a number of up and coming teacher leaders. My mantra of Distributed Leadership is relatively easy to maintain at Bon Accord Community School.

  • I have worked to create a teacher/staff driven Professional Development program that builds upon the strengths of our staff.
  • Because of our Leader in Me Program, I have focused on the priority that “Every child is a leader”, as defined by Stephen Covey’s, “The Leader in Me” book.  Through our staff focus on finding the passion of every child, we have seen a drastic reduction in student referrals to the office..
  • Our focus on distributed leadership at the school level has trickled down to our students.  Almost all assemblies at Bon Accord Community School are student led, including parts of our Remembrance Day Ceremony. (We hope to increase their involvement every year.
  • I have placed several staff members in leadership positions within our school, including Lighthouse Team, School Leadership Team, Curriculum Leads, LIFT Team, Technology Coordinator, ATA reps, Literacy Leads, Healthy Interactions, and Leader in Me Certification Team.    This ensures that we have several experts in different areas within our school.
  • Three years ago, I set a goal of improving leadership capacity in the school. I started with a couple of our younger teachers in developing some skills and provided opportunity for them. The leadership in our school has totally changed. Almost all staff are in some kind of leadership role.
  • Currently we have three teachers on the Leadership Cohort, one of which is working on a Master’s Degree and two other teachers who have completed the Leadership cohort who are working on their Master’s Degree.
  • I have learned to take the appropriate time to make decisions, and to gather necessary information to best inform me of needs, resources and outcomes in making important decisions.
  • I am currently serving as a member of the ATA Provincial Curriculum Committee. This provides me with opportunity to look at current and upcoming trends and issues so that I can engage in discussion with the leaders in my school. I find when I have cutting edge information to share with them, they are keen to engage in the discussion about how that will play out in the province.
  • We have been working at developing a better feeling of team in our school and have implemented some fun activities to bring our team together. Staff have made comments around the positive feeling they can sense.
  • We have had some difficulty garnering involvement in our Parent Fundraising group and are pleased to see a group coming together.We are utilizing parent input on our Leader in Me program and have a parent rep working with us on training and in the implementation of the program.
  • Having a new VP has been a great opportunity for me. I try to meet with her at least every day and make it a point to have her sit on meetings that will increase her skill and knowledge around the necessary aptitudes required to be a successful administrator.

Developing Leaders… definitely pays off!
Darryl Propp

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