TREND Spring 2017 - Page 35

Leaders in Education: Elissa Kim I keep coming back to the basics for districts, which often boils down to the ability to ask and answer the right set of questions, over and over and over again. For example, questions like, “Do we have a strong recruiting strategy? How do we know? Are we TRULY holding ourselves accountable for executing our strategy? Are we pivoting when we don’t see the results we want? Do we have a professional development approach that advances the learning of our teachers and is highly rated by teachers themselves? Are we SURE that our efforts are world-class? How do we know? Are we pivoting immediately if we see evidence that we are not on track?” And so on. So much of the work requires a clear- eyed focus on the facts and the willingness to ask and answer the hard questions over and over; we need a collective ability to see things for what they are and not as we wish them to be, as well as the ability to see positives and negatives and not be daunted by the latter. Perhaps counter-intuitively, my confidence level grows when I see a group of people brave enough to face the facts and address them, day in and day out. I already know we can meet the bar- I’ve worked with too many great educators to believe otherwise. So now we need to continue the collective press, which involves striving for more every day and asking of ourselves what we ask of our children. Q Thanks for joining us today. Any final thoughts you would like to share with educators across Tennessee? A Teaching requires heroic effort every single day, and too often these heroics aren’t recognized. But I know firsthand that great teaching IS heroic and has the power to change lives- both the lives of instructors and those of the children we instruct. There are people across the state at every level of government who recognize this and are working actively to support the ongoing evolution needed at district and state levels to ensure the success of ALL our children. Thank you for what you do every day! You are much appreciated.