Setting a Vision

The topic of having a personal vision for the school has come up a couple of times recently. One of my staff member recently asked me directly what my vision was. The easy answer is to recite the school vision :

Lifelong Leaders

Lifelong Learners

Strengthening our Community

There is nothing wrong with that vision at all! I think it’s a great vision for a school – we developed it as a staff last year and we were pretty much all happy with it. So, wouldn’t it make sense that it is my vision for the school as well? Can’t my personal vision and the school vision be the same? I have spent quite  a bit of time reflecting about it. At first I couldn’t say for sure; it almost seemed too easy to say that that was my vision.


In our last Leadership20 session the question of administrator vision was posed to a presenting teacher. Her response outlined how she saw vision being developed by the administration. I thought it was interesting, but again, I’m not totally sure I agree.

  1. Realize the staff owns the school
  2. Listen to the staff and find where they want to go
  3. Support the staff vision
  4. Empower the teachers to accomplish that

I think those aspects are VERY important. I need to know the staff and where they want to go. I need to know what they see as important.  I even have to support them in their endeavours to get where they want to go. But, I am looking through a slightly different lens than the teachers. I have to have a broader perspective on the factors involved in operating a school and teaching the students. Ultimately, I have to be able to guide the staff towards a vision that I have. Hopefully those two visions should have a lot of common ground, making the task a lot easier. With that in mind, how can my vision be the same?

So, the question for me is, What is my personal vision for the school? Is it the same as the vision set by the staff last year? I was involved in coming up with that vision. My input was valued as much as the input everyone else had. If I remember correctly, someone even had the notion that the final decision around wording was up to me!

I am glad the question was asked. It has prompted a lot of thinking and I have come up with a response. I do have a vision! It is my personal vision, and it is the same as our school vision statement. It’s a great vision statement and I not only believe it, but endorse it. It is my vision for the School.


Darryl Propp


  1. George Couros (@gcouros)

    Do you think the principal should be the “carrier of the vision” or the “visionary”? I think that there should be elements of both. Here is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately as well. Shouldn’t the “leader” be able to describe to some degree what you are saying looks like in the classroom? There has to be some element that is open to ensure that teachers are innovative but your personal vision of what that could look like in the classroom is important. The 3 things that you list, “Lifelong Leaders, Lifelong Learners, and Strengthening our Community”, are said in some context at every school but don’t you think that the leaders that will make this vision become a reality will be able to articulate what this looks like? We have been saying “lifelong learning” for as long as I can remember but what does that ACTUALLY mean? That I read a book once a year? That I go to teacher’s convention? If I go to Teachers’ Convention once a year until I die, does that make me a lifelong learner?

    In “Good Boss, Bad Boss”, the author discusses how to be successful with a vision, we have to break it up into smaller steps to ensure that people know what we are talking about so that we can have them achieve success along the way to the BIG vision. These are pretty BIG goals that you discuss but what do they mean to you in the context of a classroom? What do they mean to your teachers? I think we need to start breaking down what this looks like in the context of our schools or will schools really improve for what our students need?

    Just some things I have been thinking about…thanks for posting this so I could push my own thinking as well.

    • dpropp

      Great comments and questions. I have to thank my VP for clarifying my thinking around this after I posted the blog. We have LOTS of things going on at school, as I am sure every school does. We have been talking about clarifying what we do around our vision.
      Lifelong Leaders – Our Leader in Me program
      Lifelong Learners – Currently, this ties into our AISI project around guided reading and literacy
      Strengthening our Community – The opportunity to celebrate our traditions in and with the community.
      Focusing on these projects/programs, really helps to clarify what I am looking for when it comes to evidence of our Vision. It also helps clarify for all staff what to focus on. If we set one goal around each aspect every week, it will be very evident what we are working on and easy to discuss and follow progress. I look forward to how breaking these goals down to workable areas of focus will make the vision clearer.
      I welcome the input and feedback.

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