Leadership matters, now more than ever

From the ACSA President, Linda Kaminski

April 20, 2020
LindaKaminski
I am not much of a collector. Not the sentimental type, I tell myself. However, I do have a few items that I treasure. One of them is a small square lapel button from ACSA that simply says, “Leadership Matters.”  I am certain that in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, every one of us recognizes that our leadership matters more than ever. We are suddenly charged with significant decisions that impact the health and safety of our students, staff, families, and ourselves. Overnight we are creating a new form of education that sees technology not just as a tool for learning, but the essential link so our students can continue to learn.  Many of us deal with the reality that the digital divide is not so much based on age, but on income and access to the technology. We are so proud of our colleagues who have leapt to the challenge of ensuring that learning continues, even if it is not occurring in our school facilities. We worry immensely about those students who are not online, perhaps due to limited technology or, perhaps, due to life and living situations that interfere with learning. We are accustomed to creating a schoolhouse environment that supports student learning. Yet now we must face the reality that some students live in very challenging environments. We worry about summer learning loss, but now we also worry about the loss of life.  None of us imagined that we would lead in this type of environment. We all say that health and safety are our top priorities. Yet, when we started our careers, we dreamed of what we would build, not what we would have to close. Our world feels turned upside down. Actually, it is upside down.  That is why our leadership matters, why our leadership is so vital to the outcomes we still wish for our students. Our leadership now must both embrace the reality we face and inspire a vision that, together, we will overcome this unbelievable challenge. This is what I see and hear from educational leaders throughout our state. Their quiet words of encouragement or their loud cries for support for our students are leadership in action. Let our voices be united and echo in the hearts of those we reach with kind words and understanding, as well as those who need to listen to our bold and authoritative pleas for support for education.  Thank you for your leadership. Your actions, your words inspire each of us. These leadership legends are what I collect, what I treasure. They validate the saying, “Leadership Matters.”

© 2020 Association of California School Administrators