As leaders in the Wyoming educational arena, now-and-then musings on the nature of our roles can not only be helpful but a necessary part of the leadership growth process. In doing so, we sometimes struggle because the inherent tensions within the leadership dynamic seem at first glance to be antithetical rather than paradoxical, so we understandably draw either/or conclusions rather than both/and. But the leadership dynamic is filled with paradoxes and they are worth pondering from time to time, because of the development they can potentially foster.
For example, on the one hand, healthy leadership builds relationships; on the other hand, healthy leaders are not ultimately motivated by having to be “liked” by people. It’s a paradox – both are true, and though they seem to contradict, they really are complementary. Effective leaders are not people-pleasers, though effective leaders like people. The best leaders are not conflict-averse, but at the same time are savvy enough to discern what battles to fight (and when to fight them) and what battles are not a high enough hill to die on.
There are many more of these leadership paradoxes, like servant leadership or silent leaders, or even “leading from behind.” Which ones have you been reflecting on of late?
Vision & Focus
The Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative (update in the next segment), the Literacy Campaign (still being formulated), the School Leadership Training Regimen (also in the works), and the Hospitality-Tourism Project (coming down the pike!) are part of the Vision & Focus of this administration. We are excited about the prospects for each one and will keep you informed every step of the way as they unfold!
The Primary Priority
As you can imagine, we get a lot of questions about the evolving Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Initiative. The team is currently working on content to add to the WDE website. This will include FAQs, requirements for applicants, an overview of the phases, information on funding sources, and more. Watch for the link in a future update.
In The Spotlight
The WDE is partnering for the second year with the Wyoming Army National Guard, and the Wyoming Air National Guard to bring together Wyoming teachers, counselors, and principals from across the state. The Wyoming Educator Leadership Rendezvous (ELR) was held this week at Camp Guernsey, providing an opportunity to learn about the military, leadership and culture-building strategies, develop personal professional learning networks, and improve morale and resiliency among educators in the field. Participants include the 2021 and 2022 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Wyoming District Teachers of the Year and their principals, Milken Award Winners, Presidential Award Winners for Math and Science Teaching, and school counselors.
At the ELR, educators get to experience the military through fun activities. They are split into squads and each squad will be joined by two guard members (one Air and one Army) to lead them through events created to challenge them as a squad but also individually. Participants will display camaraderie, selfless service, problem-solving, and other leadership qualities as they move through the individual and squad challenges.
This collaboration between our military partners and the WDE is just one example of how we can provide meaningful experiences for our Wyoming educators. Hats off to the Air and Army National Guard, and WDE staff that made this possible (namely Robin Grandpre). For that you are ‘In The Spotlight.’
Mark Your Calendars
The Student Voice Learning Lab is a training series open to all K-12 students across the United States that introduces the fundamentals of how education systems work and how students can be a part of addressing structural inequities in our schools. Virtual Learning Lab workshops are hosted twice a month for one hour through Zoom, and members of the Learning Lab can attend as many, or as few, workshops as they would like. Because workshops are open to all K-12 students across the United States, Learning Lab members are encouraged to invite their peers to participate. More information about the Student Voice Learning Lab can be found here and students can indicate interest by filling out the application here.