What’s Your “Why”

What’s your “why,” and how do you exhibit it in your work each day?

Topics: Principal Leadership

Question: What’s your “why,” and how do you exhibit it in your work each day?

Leadership and support. My “why” focuses on leading and supporting teachers, staff, and families so we can work collaboratively to inspire confidence, curiosity, and responsibility in the students I serve. I encourage students, teachers, and staff to take risks and be reflective.

—Amy Denney (@AmyADenney), Perry Creek Elementary School, Sioux City, Iowa

Serving stakeholders. My “why” is to connect with staff, students, and stakeholders every day. I exhibit this through servant leadership and taking time to engage with all stakeholders on a daily basis.

—Heather LeeMaster Anguiano (@tresanguianos), Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary School, Chandler, Arizona

Empowering others. My “why” is empowering each person I interact with each day—the staff, students, and caregivers. Each stakeholder has various strengths and needs, and through my  leadership, I want to empower them to seek solutions, support others, and lead.

—Stacey Green (@usd271sgs), Stockton Grade School, Stockton, Kansas

Problem-solving. I provide teachers, students, and parents accessibility and support by being fully present and participating in planning meetings, parent conferences, and events. I use the feedback I hear to make our school the best that it can be.

—Amy Mason (@AMasonPrincipal), Madison County Elementary School, Gurley, Alabama

Sharing wisdom. My “why” is to empower others to believe great things about themselves so that they can write their own success stories. I exhibit this by sharing advice and wisdom over the intercom from a book I wrote for my students, and by building relationships with students and families.

—Aqila Malpass (@TeachOnPurpose), Rocky Ridge Elementary School, Hoover, Alabama

Seeing uniqueness. To make sure that every child in our school feels seen and loved for the unique individual he/she is. [That means] greeting students by name, stopping to care for them and chat, playing with them in classrooms, and telling them I love them.

—Jessica Hutchison (@jesshutchisonAW), Washington Elementary School, Park Ridge, Illinois

Being a role model. My “why” is to be the leader and role model I would want for my own three daughters. I strive to demonstrate strong leadership to serve as their model.

—Mandy Ellis (@mandyeellis), Dunlap Grade School, Dunlap, Illinois

Finding strengths. My “why” is helping others find their strengths and making them believe they have the potential to make a positive difference in the world. I try to always lead with a positive outlook.

—Amie McCaw (@TLIMPrincipal), Sunset Lake Elementary School, Vicksburg, Michigan

Connecting with kids. My “why” is ensuring every child is connected to our school and our community. I greet students at the door every morning with a high-five, and I tell them that I am glad they are here. I also invite students to have lunch with me as part of our PBIS program and enjoy checking in with students on a regular basis.

—Garrett Dukette (@MrDinCanterbury), Dr. Helen Baldwin Middle School, Canterbury, Connecticut

Making a difference. Being the difference in the lives of every student. I ask myself the [NAESP Fellow Hamish] Brewer question every day: Was I better for kids? I identify barriers, create solutions, and do whatever it takes.

—Troy Barnes (@MOES_Principal), Monocacy Elementary School, Frederick, Maryland