Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Duty to Mentor

Have you seen the latest on teacher engagement from Gallup?  One of the findings was that having someone to support your development is key to engagement.  Similar findings of having a mentor is key to student engagement.

I assumed my first superintendency in 2001 and was lucky to have a group of superintendents in the area that took me under their wing.  They called to check on how I was doing professionally and personally.  They made sure I was aware of what I would be facing in the next few months.  They encouraged my involvement in regional and state professional associations.  A few years later they encouraged me to join AASA.

Later I was tapped to help develop a mentoring program for new superintendents in Missouri.  Since 2005 I've chaired our state association's mentoring committee.  Our role is to ensure each new superintendent is paired with an experienced superintendent to help guide them during their first year.  Often, that one year turns into a great relationship held for years.

In Missouri we also have a New Superintendent's Academy for superintendents in years 2-5.  It has a critical mentoring component as well.

Not too long ago AASA formed the National Superintendent Certification program in association with the SUPES Academy.  The first cohort is set to graduate next month at the National Conference on Education.  Also at the conference the third cohort will kick off.  This program also has a strong mentoring component.

I remember, years ago, citing the Boy Scout Oath for the first time.  That Oath has always resonated with me and I've remained active.  As I think about the programs above and the Oath I go to the last few words, "help other people at all times."

As leaders we help others each and every day.  I challenge you, though, to reach out to those new superintendents in your area and help them.  You might not be a formal mentor, but the expertise you have might just help someone navigate a situation they're facing.  As leaders we have a duty to mentor others.

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