We All Need a Champion

My dear friend, Jimmy Casas, wrote a fantastic book titled, “Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes.“, meant for leading schools, not school leadership only. I haven’t read the book for awhile, but it reminded me of the leadership classic, “Good To Great,” because it acknowledges the excellent work already happening in schools, but helps to push them to become even better. I have written about Jimmy before and saw his work in practice. One of my favorite things from Jimmy’s work is that you could tell no difference in the position or role of any person in his school because he treated every single person amazingly well and understood their impact on the school community, both staff, and students.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Being a champion for all students means just that: all students. Not just ones who are likeable and want help but also the ones who might resist your efforts. Even then, your core values drive you to stay true to this belief. This unwavering hope and faith can be the model to inspire others to do the same for all students.”
Jimmy Casas, Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes.

Although I love this quote, I was reminded how important that the notion of having a “champion” is essential to staff, along with students, when I tweeted out the following Rita Pierson quote from one of my favorite Ted Talks ever:

Although I believe having one champion is not enough in our schools, I do think having at least one can change everything.  Looking back at my career, I know that I had a few administrators that both pushed and supported me to grow, while always making sure they knew they had my back. I was able to do so much more because of their support, and it is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about the influence of leadership in education.  Having one leader that believes in you and challenges you, from any position or role, can help you achieve things you couldn’t do without that support.  It is crucial to believe in yourself, but it is way easier when you know someone else believes in you as well.

While we focus on being “champions” for our kids, remember that “championing” the adults in education IS serving the students. The impact on one educator can influence thousands (if not more) of students over a lifetime.

Source: George Couros