by Deb Landry, principal – H.T. Wing School
While large meetings and grand symbolic actions play a part, the most significant change in work culture is accomplished in one-to-one personal interactions. (Sagor, 1992, p. 18)
Individualized interactions play a key role in the success of any culture, including school buildings and individual classrooms. Together as teachers, students and parent/guardians, we must possess the skill of listening to establish positive interpersonal relations. It is important for us to be active listeners, and it is just as important that our students learn to do so as well.
Through engaged listening, we have the opportunity to put into practice a main theme of a favorite book and movie of mine, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. In both versions of this classic, Atticus stresses to his daughter, Scout, the importance of seeing things from the other person’s perspective. By actively listening to others, we enable ourselves to genuinely know another person. However slightly, this improves our little world. Take time to actively listen to each other and the children in your care.
Many of you shared that you were surprised that I did not apply for the Oak Ridge Principal; quite frankly, no one was more surprised than me. I had the intention of doing so since this summer when I first learned that Patrice Hurley would be retiring early. However, personal circumstances that may have future implications required me to make a most difficult decision not to seek the job this time. While there has been some speculation about the reason, I appreciate that most have respected my privacy. I do want to let everyone know there is no concern for my personal health. I wish the timing could have been different, and I hope that these personal circumstances change.
Rest assured that I love being Principal of the H.T. Wing School, and I am thankful for the opportunity to lead and serve the students, parents and staff during this last year at Wing. The pace and the tasks required of the position are rewarding and invigorating and I hope I have another opportunity to be a principal again (preferably in Sandwich). People are also curious about my ability to return to the assistant principal role next year. Last spring when I was first asked and then appointed to be the Principal of the Wing School, Ms. Hurley had not yet planned to retire. I accepted the Principal position with the understanding that I would return to Oak Ridge as Assistant Principal. In that regard, the original plan for me will remain the same for now.
I look forward to returning to the Oak Ridge School next year to lead our grades 3-6 students and families with Trish Hill. I have had opportunities to see her teach students at Oak Ridge. She is an excellent teacher. I would expect that she will lead as Principal, the way she teaches and therefore the Oak Ridge School will be served well in the coming years.