The Leadership Narrative

The Leadership Narrative: A Session for Aspiring School Leaders

June 13th – June 16th (After the ISAS Division Heads meeting)

with Jim Leonard

“Our lives are ceaselessly intertwined with narrative, with the stories that we tell and hear told, those we dream or imagine or would like to tell, all of which are reworked in that story of our own lives that we narrate to ourselves in an episodic, sometimes semiconscious, but virtually uninterrupted monologue. We live immersed in narrative, recounting and reassessing the meaning of our past actions, anticipating the outcomes of our future projects, situating ourselves at the intersection of several stories not yet completed.”  From Peter Brooks, writer, 1985

The construction of a sense of self—an identity—as a school leader is an iterative process, a journey where the destination is a receding referent. As we know more of ourselves in leadership roles, the goalposts shift, and it’s 1st down and ten yards to go all over again. And the shape of this leadership is, essentially, the arc of a narrative, one we can construct, edit, and re-frame.

Jim Leonard PixThis session offers a unique opportunity for division heads/associate heads and aspiring school leaders to reflect upon our individual paths . . . and our shared experiences. A central premise is that we have a great deal to learn from each other on leadership identity formation. Driving questions for our consideration include the following:

1.)   How and where does each of us build the narrative of leadership in our schools?

2.)   How does that narrative influence the larger culture and priorities in each of our schools?

3.)   What external factors in our schools shape our leadership identities?

4.)   What might you do, individually, to be more intentional about your leadership narrative in the coming chapters?

Our reading will include relevant material on leadership, wisdom, identity, and family (fiction and non-fiction.) We will interact with scientists at the Santa Fe Institute, with Native leaders at Pojoaque Pueblo, with professionals at the Santa Fe Opera, and with scholars and resources at The School for Advanced Research. Participants will have time, space, and inspiration for reflection and renewal.

Past Participants had this to say:

  • The Leadership Narrative experience was extraordinary. Rarely do we have time to gather in a small cohort and enjoy the types of academic and intellectual experiences our students benefit from in our very own schools. What a pleasure it was to participate and what a gift I received in becoming acquainted with 11 new friends!
  • I found the opportunity to think deeply and expand my perspectives and understanding in the company of fellow heads a wonderful way to refresh and renew mentally before jumping back into the busy-ness of life at school. The resources and beauty of Santa Fe only added to the experience.
  • Strongly recommend, largely due to your vision and leadership. Like all courses, the key is the teacher. You were a great facilitator and prepared great lesson plans. There was a great combination of casualness and substance. The cohort size was perfect. This was a great professional development experience.

Daily Schedule:  The Leadership Narrative Schedule

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