Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Sean Payton's Suspension Can Remind School Leaders

The recently suspended Head Coach of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints: "As the head coach, anything that happens within the framework of your team and your program, you're responsible for."

This is an extremely important reminder to all School Leaders, especially Principals.  I think anyone involved in education can simply replace "head coach" with "school leader" and "team" with "school", resulting in the following:  "As the school leader, anything that happens within the framework of your school, you're responsible for."

The great Bobby Bowden said, "It was my job to be a chief executive officer and oversee the entire program.", when discussing the importance of having an idea of what was going on throughout his program.  He also acknowledged that, due to the size of a Division I college football program, it was impossible to stay on top of every single individual.  Therefore, he put forth a large emphasis on surrounding himself with assistant coaches that held the same beliefs about right and wrong.  He relied heavily on their judgement to make him aware of anything worthy of attention.

School leaders must also do the same.  It is an unrealistic expectation for a Principal to be directly involved in every single aspect of the school, as this type of micro-managing would drain any school leader into immediate burn-out.  But, as Coach Sean Payton eluded to, the school leader is responsible for everything within the framework of the school.  Therefore, it is crucial for a Principal to surround themselves with an administrative team in which they trust, as well as empower teacher leaders within the school.

We live in the modern society where responsibility must always fall to someone and, fair or unfair, this usually falls to the top.  Sean Payton's suspension, although unrelated to education, is a perfect reminder to all school leaders. 

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The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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