What an incredible honor to be a member of such a caring, nurturing, and affirming community of educators!!! To be honored with ACSA’s 2013 California State Administrator of the Year Leadership Award for Professor of Education is quite a surprise, and an honor such as this most certainly makes one humble and reflective on being a contribution, living in possibility, and making a difference in other’s lives. I often think of what Linda Lambert said at the 2012 Cognitive CoachingSM and Adaptive Schools Symposium: “How we define leadership determines our identity, our actions, and our sphere of influence.” I’ve taken that statement to heart and hopefully embedded into my students’ identity, empowering them to make a difference within their organizations and beyond.
I often reflect on why I continue to teach at Pepperdine, even though, as adjunct faculty, I put WAY too many hours into my classes and in serving my students in the Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy (ELAP) doctoral program. I do this because our doctoral students, as educational leaders, have extraordinary power over the future of our children and the quality of the teachers and leadership in our educational systems. And, the blessings I receive from my work and the lifelong relationships that evolve are far, far beyond the time and effort I put into teaching.
Many have journeyed with me throughout my educational career. I have learned and continue to learn so much from each of you! Thank you for your engaging presence, attention to excellence, resiliency, persistence, and contributions to my receiving this humbling award. I most certainly have a lot to live up to!
First of all, thank you, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) for recognizing me along with 21 other California administrators for our contributions in leading the education of California’s youth.
I want to especially thank my Pepperdine ELAP students. You provide me with insights into how I am doing, what is appreciated, and how I might continue to support your learning. You give me great pause and purpose to reflect on what I do to support you, and how I might continue to improve. As a member of Pepperdine’s first ELAP Cohort, I know the time, commitment, and support it takes to successfully complete this rigorous doctoral program. I will continue to do whatever it takes to support your success in my courses. Having taught in the ELAP program since the week of my graduation, I have continually sought out your voices for how we might improve our program, to maintain relevancy, to connect content and assignments among the various courses, and to make this program as meaningful as possible for you in your current work context and areas of focus. Stephen Covey (2008) says in The Speed of Trust that in order to build, sustain, and repair trust, we must “engage in straight talk.” Thank you for having the courage to be transparent and to engage in straight talk about what is and isn’t working for you! ELAP’s foundation in equity, cultural proficiency, rigorous participatory action research, and transformational change raises the bar to another level. As I’ve experienced and continue to say: You will be a different person when you leave this program. You will either reinvent your current work or find another position that provides greater opportunities to maximize your passion for excellence and equity and to expand your sphere of influence. Your intended legacy, as you have so clearly stated, will guide you in your journeys.
Thank you, Dr. Duneen DeBruhl, for nominating me for this award. Your belief in me and your support is always close to my heart. Your passion for doing what is best for ALL children continually shines brightly for all to see! Thank you!
Thank you, Dr. Linda Purrington, Academic Chair for our ELAP program and my soul mate in many collaborative ventures, for believing in me and continually challenging me to explore greater and greater possibilities. You are the light and foundation of this program. Your belief in extending trust, developing relationships, and continually raising the bar of excellence, are solid rocks upon which we build this program. Thank you!
Thank you, Dr. Phil Mirci, for your leadership and guidance over many, many years. Your passion for excellence, equity, and doing whatever it takes to serve others is a model for me and others to live by. Thank you!
Thank you, Dr. Ron Williams, for your exuberant leadership, your laughter, and your endless living in possibility! I can hear you now saying: “Oh, hello there….” with a lift in your voice that brings sunshine to a cloudy day 😉
The Professor of the Year award honors an ACSA member who: (a) promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community; (b) promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth; (c) promotes the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment; (d) promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources; (e) promotes the success of all students by modeling a personal code of ethics and developing professional leadership capacity; (f) promotes the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context; (g) promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining the use of new technology; and (h) participates in ACSA on a regional and state level.
So, I have a lot to live up to. You, and others who have traveled with me, each leave a mark. We never know the difference we make in other’s lives. Always, always take that opportunity to connect, build a relationship, mold an identity of possibility, and to let the jewel within each individual shine for others to see!
As always, Take Care, lj