You're Welcome and Thanks

Several years ago, we were busy revising our principalship program. We were fortunate that our process coincided with an upcoming visit from the Iowa Department of Education, which happens every seven years. A few weeks after the state visitors left, we hosted two additional reviewers from other universities who would review our program as part of a university-required process. Both were a ton of work but very well timed. It was a busy spring.

As we met as a team to determine what changes we felt would strengthen our program's ability to develop and nurture difference-making principals, we stuck closely to our mission statement and core values, which we had sharpened and put in graphic form in all of our offices a couple years before. We knew firsthand the stresses of being school administrators and the danger of taking on so many things and losing oneself in the process. At that point, our well intended attempt at cautioning our students against the dangers of job stress was limited to finger wagging. I remember telling students, "Whether you run, pray, paint, hike, mediate or watch the Cubs, you better do something because what you're doing now to manage stress and maintain wellness won't be enough when you're the principal."

So, we incorporated some things into a unique seminar course, including a lecture from a colleague in Physical Education who shares stress management breathing techniques and the dangers of Type A personalities left unchecked. Following some reflection and discussion, we require students to complete a template that specifies what they will do in order to maintain their physical well-being, who will help hold them accountable to their plan and what they need in order to make it work. It's a long way from perfect, but the aspiring leaders our program attracts are of a caliber that takes all of this very seriously.

Today, this tweet showed up:

Amy Miehe   Amy Miehe    @AmyMiehe

13.1 completed, personal wellness goal achieved @UNIEdLead @northerniowa @pantherprof @NJPace40 @mcnultyuni @Vlrob

You're welcome, Amy. Thanks for the feedback. And thanks for the motivation to do what we do.


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