I like lists. That might be one of those ‘should I really admit that publicly?’ statements, but it’s the truth. My notebook, agenda and blackberry are full of To-Do lists that help me keep track of the priorities in my work and personal life. In my opinion, there is nothing better than the feeling of crossing something off of a list. On my flight today from Phoenix (where I presented to the Association of French Schools of America) to Philadelphia (where I will speak at the 119th meeting of The Headmasters Association), I happily crossed off a couple of big items and created a few new ones.
On Sunday, my family and I hiked the Grand Canyon – three hours down to a spectacular picnic in Indian Gardens, and three hours back up – and I was able to cross off a personal “bucket list” goal. We were filthy, exhausted and exhilarated by the end of the excursion. There’s a line from The Sentimentalists (winner of the 2010 Giller Prize for fiction) that says, “If you could remember one thing and have that be your life, what would it be?”. Our day together at the Grand Canyon might be it. We want to go back and hike down then spend a night sleeping at Phantom Ranch by the Colorado River; but in the meantime, I have a new personal goal: do more stairmaster.
I crossed off a professional goal as well. I’ve been working on identifying key trends and effective practices around sustainability in schools. Allan Greggcollected national data on Heads and Chairs’ top challenges, and he found three issues scored over 50%: Human resources, financial sustainability, and managing change (in that order). The presentation I gave yesterday captured what I’ve been observing in our schools. Once I tweak it, I will post this presentation to the PD section of our website. (that’s a To-Do for this month!)
But what I’m really excited about is that a group of amazing professionals have crossed off a major To-Do item. The NAIS International Commission on Accreditation had a Task Force that spent two years on a project called Schools of the Future.
Congratulations to two of my favourite people – Robert Witt (ED of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools) and Jean Orvis (retired Head of Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences) – for chairing this process.
I humbly suggest that you add reading this document to your To-Do list.