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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

What is your WHY?

Just spent two days working with leaders from all corners and the in-betweens of California, addressing many facets of the work of leading our public schools.

One of the more reflective parts of our time together was spent focusing on our WHY – why do we do what we do? Why do we lead? Why are we involved in ACSA? Why does our leadership even matter?

Teams were able to talk and reflect on why they wanted to lead in the first place, some having been tapped by leaders in their districts while others shared the driving passion since entering the teaching ranks. But the culminating activity of sharing their WHY’s was invaluable for those of us at the board level that reviewed the more than 60 individual and small group responses.

Using WORDLE, a popular and very simple word cloud website, the responses were all copied and pasted into a link that, when entered, generated an image that represented the main words that emerged most frequently. From there, I played with the words and put them into TAGXEDO, another word cloud site that better allows for manipulation of colors and directions. And here’s what emerged….

And another way to look at it….

So what did that somewhat representative group feel was their WHY? Their why’s were comprised of thoughts about:

  • students

  • education

  • learning

  • advocacy

  • important (work)

  • inspiring (others)

  • impact

  • connections

  • (receiving and providing) support

  • (being the) voice (for students)

  • leadership matters

  • serve (others)

The gathering of leaders included a special stop by former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin who gave an inspiring talk on what she sees as the priority issues facing today’s public schools. While there, Eastin announced that she is considering a run for Governor of California in 2018, and was met with a resounding standing ovation by the nearly 250 present in the room.

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