Educational Leadership

I Am A Leader


The following statements are a reflection of how I see myself as a leader today (December, 2019). Each idea is born from an experience and together they capture the story of my perfectly imperfect adventure so far

I am a Leader

I set out to make a difference.

I lead with passion and my passion inspires other to follow.

I radiate optimism, energy and humility. I see life as an adventure.

I embrace the responsibility for serving others. I strive to leave the world a better place by keeping my students and staff fired up about learning.

I set an example.

I create environments where all feel welcome, valued, included and empowered. Places where people feel secure enough to praise the accomplishments of others.  

I have the courage to make tough decisions.

I am comfortable with being uncomfortable. I can sit with uncertainty. Learning to lead is a daily practice. I try, I fail, I learn and I try again.

I ask for help.

I do everything I can to continuously grow myself. I get better EVERY day.

I recognize my biases. I reflect on situations through many different lenses.

I empower others to lead. I make sure that my impact will continue in my absence.

I make space to care for myself. I lead a balanced life.

I throw myself outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. I set goals and celebrate the journey.

I surround myself with those that inspire me. I tap into the ‘wisdom in the room’.

I know when to lead and when to follow. I make sure all the ideas are heard.

I believe in the power of a team. I build synergy within my school.

I TRUST. Leadership is relationship, not a position.

I care for those around me. Compassion above the day’s fires. Always.

I forgive.

I let go of my mistakes and the mistakes of others while upholding the expectation to learn from failures.

I accept criticism. I actively encourage others to give healthy critiques. I listen to everyone, no matter how painful.

I am a simplifier. I wade through arguments, debates, and doubt to create clarity.

I am a coach.

I build and engage my team. I provide feedback, encouragement and stimulating work as I guide those around me towards translating a vision into reality.

I celebrate success.

I embrace change.

I support my staff and students to think outside the box.

I am persistent.

I have high expectations. I take responsibility for moving my school forwards no matter what’s in front of me.

I use data to create learning opportunities that engage others, align efforts and strategically allocate resources.

I reflect frequently on my school’s progress and alter the course as needed.

I am the kind of leader that I would like to follow

Educational Leadership


For the last week or so, I’ve been following the #oneword2018 hashtag, mulling over what exactly my word is. I’d come up with many ideas, but had no firm inspiration until the morning of New Year’s Eve.

9:05 a.m. and I’m standing in the warm-up circle getting ready to tackle what will inevitably be a grueling (yet incredibly fun) CrossFit Endurance workout. Our coach (and all around awesome guy) asks us all to take a step out of our comfort zones and try a breathing exercise aimed at generating energy.  Lights off and eyes closed, we work our way through 20 breaths while focusing on the one word that encapsulates our vision for the upcoming year.

CrossFit is all about community. For those who are part of it you’ll know what I’m talking about. For those who aren’t, picture being part of a group made up of the kindest, most generous and driven people you can think of and you’ll have a good idea of what I mean. Standing within this circle of postive energy, I finally hit on my word for this year. POWER.

Not POWER in a negative, “Do as I say because I’m in charge,” kind of way. But POWER in the sense that I have the POWER to bring about change.

As we move into a new year, I am reflecting on the fact that . . .

I have the POWER to lift others (and myself) up.

I have the POWER to continually strive to be ‘better than yesterday’ in all that I do.

I have the POWER to inspire others to find what inspires them.

I have the POWER to set the scene that will encourage others to try something new.

I have the POWER to seek out others that will inspire me to reach outside of my comfort zone.

I have the POWER to provide others with support and feedback that will help them to set and reflect on their goals.

I have the POWER and to seek out support and feedback that will help me to set and reflect on my goals.

I have the POWER to help others to manage their energy levels and to be aware and supportive of the energy levels of those around them.

I have the POWER to ensure that I manage my own energy levels and to be aware and supportive of the energy levels of those around me.

Here’s to a Powerful 2018,


Educational Leadership

Powering Up for the Next Push

cycling red bike

I’m learning how to embrace downtime as an opportunity to build myself up. Rather than looking at it as idle time, I’m learning to trust that (just as with in the gym), strength is built during the recovery phase rather than during the workout.

Recently, a friend commented on my sense of determination, labeling it as being one of my most defining characteristics.

I am determined. I know and like that about myself. Make a plan and give 110%.  All. The. Time.

Eventually (and inevitably) I crash. More often than not, hard.

While I began to embrace this ‘less is more’ mentality in the gym a while ago, I’ve only recently come to the realization that this ‘the harder the better’ mentality as a leader isn’t at all necessary, in fact, it’s more often than not detrimental.

Bringing about change involves pushing outside of your comfort zone, and pushing outside of your comfort zone requires a lot of energy. Just as you can’t run a marathon at your 400 meter pace, you can’t lead sustainable change working full-out all the time.

Picture this; you’re battling your bike up a hill. You’re standing,  powering yourself forwards with all that you’ve got. Your legs and lungs burn. Your head is down and you’re focused solely on getting to the top. Nothing else matters.

When you reach the peak of the hill you let go and fly down the other side, allowing physics to drive for moment. You catch your breath and then, at the moment where momentum alone is no longer sufficient to continue powering you forward at a desirable speed, you re-engage your legs and start working your way up the next hill.

This hill, although it may be steeper than the last, is manageable because of two factors; not only are you physically and mentally recovered from your last push, you’re able to use power generated by the last hill to help you tackle this next obstacle.

If you were to choose to peddle frantically down the hill you wouldn’t gain anything. Rather, you’ll tire yourself out for the next hill or, worse yet, crash and have to re-start your assent from a dead stop. Taking this approach, you’d most likely tackle fewer hills and hence would have fewer opportunities to develop the needed strength and stamina to successfully navigate your course over the long haul.

Leading change is no different. The road to your goal is never a flat course and to reach your destination you’ll have to repeatedly battle your way up many hills. Rather than race frantically from one challenge to another, you need to take time to recharge yourself physically and mentally. You’re still in control and on course to achieving your goal, but you have a few moments to recover. A few moments to breath, to look around you, to reflect, to adjust your plan if necessary.

Then, at that critical point when momentum is no longer carrying you forward as fast as you need it to be, you re-engage, ready to tackle the next hill.

Educational Leadership

Getting to Now


Here we go. Jump.

Thursday, August 25th, 2016. My phone rings. “Hi, Claire. It’s Paul. I have a question for you . . . .”

With the start of the 2016-2017 school year just eleven days away, I suddenly found myself in the role of acting vice-principal at the elementary school I’d worked at for the past twelve years.

The ten months that followed was a blur of highs and lows. My first time back to work full-time since the birth of our fourth child three and a half years prior to this date, I was suddenly immersed in the challenge of learning a new role, completing various qualifications and helping to raise a young family (our eldest child was eight at this time).

I loved every moment.

Suddenly, my passion for learning was reignited.  My confidence grew with every mistake I made and I dove headfirst into each idea, opportunity, challenge and conversation that came my way.

Fueled by my incredible support network, I came out of the year a little (*lot) worn down, but clear in my vision of my myself as a leader.

I’ve started this blog both as a way of reflecting on my learning as I continue to grow as a leader and as a way to further develop my PLN.

Here we go. Jump.