- Ask more questions than tell answers. I can't remember where I heard this, but I read once that, in your first year anywhere, you should be asking more questions than telling answers. This is so you can learn some history and get a pulse for the culture and where people are at. I have been consciously doing more asking than telling, and I have learned so much in the two months that I have been at my new position that has helped me out.
- Don't be afraid to not know all the answers. This tripped me up last time I was a curriculum director, and I am determined not to let it make me fall on my face again. I refuse to feel like a failure every time I don't know something; I won't let my perfectionist personality do that to me again.
- Develop and articulate a clear vision. In my last stint as curriculum director, that particular district had been without one for two years and had a new-ish superintendent. I'm not sure they knew what they really wanted me to do, so I felt my role was largely undefined for a few months until I started to define it. But this year has been very different, and I already have a direction and vision as to where we need to go (probably because I asked more questions this time around).
- Relentlessly pursue the vision. In a leadership workshop I attended once, the presenter said that good leaders that accomplish good things in districts are the ones that relentlessly (and ethically!) go after their vision. Now that I have a vision, I now plan on asking for what I really need to make that vision a reality instead of holding back out of fear of repercussions or a "no" answer.
- Be present. There are four buildings in my new district, and I plan on being physically present in classrooms one day a week. In fact, I plan on blocking out time on my calendar for each building so I can get around and see what good teaching and learning is going on. And I also plan on asking questions - lots of them!
So far, my first two months have been amazing. While I will always love teaching, I have never felt more at home in a new place than I have felt at my new district. I feel that great things are going to happen, and I am happy I will be a part of it. Here's to a fantastic year!