By: Perrin Worrell
In preparation for this journey I told myself to approach this learning experience using my perspective as a graduate of Woodstock, as the daughter of two retired teachers of the school and now as a school board member. I was solely focused on the educational side of my history. What I didn’t anticipate are the connections I am making to the current work I do in the business world around change management.
There are many different stakeholders invested in the success of Woodstock Union Middle and High Schools, in addition to the elementary schools. As we adjust to a new superintendent, a new leadership team at the higher levels and prepare for consolidation, it is vital to keep all of the stakeholders in mind. Successfully implementing change can be challenging and the quickest way to derail the process is to alienate a group of stakeholders.
Visiting the schools over the last few days has highlighted the importance of flexibility, creativity and connecting content. Being surrounded by a group of dedicated, motivated and empowered teachers and educational leaders has reinforced the need for transparency and clear communications, two essential components of achievable change. Providing the opportunity for the perspective and input from all of the stakeholders being asked to implement the change seems surprisingly unexpected. The observations have led to rich conversations that have led to excitement over the possibilities.
I have no doubt this team, in collaboration with other stakeholders, can make change happen. I am honored and humbled to be part of the process.
I came across a sign in one of the classrooms yesterday at The Field School that has floated into my thoughts again and again, Empathy—walk a mile in another person's shoes. As we continue on this journey, not just over the next two days but over the upcoming years, I challenge each of us to “walk a mile in another person’s shoes.”