When deciding I wanted to pursue education, I knew that even at the peak, I would never make millions of dollars. I also knew that I may never truly make as much as I am truly worth. These are all decisions that I was comfortable with when I decided to pursue education. But now, I am beginning to ask myself as I begin my 5th year as a school principal: Am I leaving money on the table?
Loyalty is important. Loyalty is an obligation I have as a leader because people are counting on me. I have the staff and scholars in the building and the families. My loyalty is important because I cannot think about leaving until I position the school in a place where it will be successful when I leave.
In the book “Good to Great” Jim Collins, calls it level 5 leadership. While I am not quite there, my goal is to develop into that level 5 leader, a leader who can combine personal humility and indomitable will. Level 5 leaders are ambitious, but their ambition is for the organization’s improvement and not themselves. My ambition has gotten me this far in my career at a young age, and combined with the love and passion I have for my school, I know I can make my school the best it can be.
Although I did not start my charter school, there is no doubt every aspect of the school reflects who I am and what I am about. I have been the longest leader of my school, and when I took it over, I rebranded it. Anyone who has built something knows the important of leaving what you built in good hands. Even if I wanted to leave, it would not be an easy decision because I know the work here is not complete. There is so much more I want and need to accomplish. We are right at the point where we are turning the school around. I know just a few more years staying the track, the school where be positioned in a good spot.
Here’s why I’m having internal conflict. When I arrived at my current school, my ambition and motivation were for personal success. It then changed to success for my school, but I now desire more again for myself. I desire more, and I am not sure, in the current situation, I can have both. Sometimes you outgrow a place. While I am not ready to leave, I am a lot closer to leaving than I have ever been. My reason for leaving is not frustration with the school or because I do not love it, my reason for thinking about leaving has to do with me. My reasons are personal. My reason is simple: it is about worth.
At some point, your worth has to be more important than your loyalty. I know if something happened to me today, they would have a replacement for me immediately. I know my loyalty should not be to an organization but running a school is different. When you run a school, there are the lives of children that are impacted. I got into education to do right by children, not necessarily make a lot of money. But when I look around at what other school leaders are making, I cannot help but ask, “I am leaving money on the table?” I ask myself am I selling myself short; I’m asking if I selling my own daughter short for not looking out for me. Should I be making more? I know I am worth more. These are the questions that I ask myself now more than ever.
Being loyal to a school and the people at the school is good, but my loyalty must be to myself and my family first and foremost. Ultimately, I must be getting out of it the same that I am putting in.