St. Clement’s School’s mission is to develop outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate and one way in which we do this is to teach and provide leadership learning from Grades 1-12. It is important that our girls learn that leadership is as much about how we approach things ourselves and with others, as it is about holding a title or role.
I have often reflected on my own experience as a student at St. Clement’s. Possibly the largest contributor to my being back as Principal of the School was the opportunity I had in my student years to discover my strengths in leadership in an authentic single gender environment. To be clear, it was not the roles or titles I have held or do now, but the lessons about working with others, leveraging others’ strengths and perspectives, and being a supportive colleague.
These lessons are lifelong. Learning doesn’t- and shouldn’t- stop once one has reached a particular stage, role or position. In fact, it is even more important to remain open and keen to learn AND it is important to consider how each of us can contribute to others’ growth and development.
Learning and support has been front of mind for me over the last several days.
As I write this blog, I am anticipating the beginning of the Heads Network Annual Conference. Their purpose is a great one: to advance girls’ and women’s leadership in independent schools. Their focus is to care, support, develop and nurture girls’ education, collegial networks and learning. The topic of this conference is Navigating Leadership: At the Helm, On the Deck, In the Lifeboat, and I am very much looking forward to it.
Earlier this week, I was a panelist at a wonderful inaugural Women’s Networking event supported by Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario. This event was the brainchild of Allison Macrae, a math teacher at Upper Canada College (UCC), who through work with Cohort 21 asked in a blog post “How might we build a meaningful network for women in education?” With collaboration with CIS and her colleagues at UCC, Tina Jagdeo and Deirdre Timusk, the event was born. Mentoring, networking and leadership were all topics discussed, and I was honoured to have been a part of this— particularly because, regardless of my contribution, I walked away with reminders and new ideas to consider about leadership.
While St. Clement’s focus is very much on our girls’ leadership, we must not forget the importance of it for the adults who support those girls. As role models and supporters, we too, must continue to learn and explore leadership.