2013-12-19 / Youth

The desire to be successful

Education notes

Chris Roche Chris Roche I remember my first or second day as principal at Brundrett Middle School. Emily Phillips was speaking with a community member. The community member was visiting campus to see if she could drop off school supplies for students in need. This act of altruism was something I thought only appeared in movies, news broadcasts or perhaps during the holiday months.

Shortly thereafter, I learned of the Port Aransas Education Foundation. When I have spoken to PAEF representatives, I always have felt almost guilty in having our staff apply for grants because our community has already done so much and has already paid taxes. After attending the PAEF Fiesta, I was in disbelief at the dedication of the community and the philanthropy demonstrated by our stakeholders.

In the beginning of the school year, Superintendent Dr. Sharon Doughty brought all staff members together in the board room to show an inspiring video that really resonated with all staff. The video was titled “The Power of Vision” and the message that was eloquently delivered was “Vision without action is only a dream. Action without vision is just passing the time. Vision with action can change the world.” This set the tone for the year!

As a principal in another district last year, I had the privilege of hiring nine teachers. My committees for hiring were about five to 10 staff members. Advanced degrees, personal accolades, and 4.0 GPA’s fell under the heading of, “I don’t care.” First and foremost, I looked for the ability to inspire, a tremendous work ethic, tenacity, desire and one who is committed to building self-efficacy of students, and an educator who will be a leader on campus and always lead by example. In 2013-2014, I was not yet on board, but James Garrett and Michelle Parker were hired and they exemplify all of what I look for in new staff members.

You see, we can provide experiences for new teachers to develop content expertise and classroom management. However, we cannot teach the intangible quality of the “desire to be a great teacher.” I know that if I have to teach work ethic to a staff member that is not a staff member I want on my team. I made a promise to myself as an administrator that I would always place instruction as my preeminent concern. Therefore, since I was able to provide instructional intervention at a school of 800, I am able to do so in our school and work with sixth graders every day.

If you look around Brundrett Middle School, you will see staff members eating lunch with students, tutoring, taking students to recess, coaching UIL, athletics, band, providing homework lab, leading student council and coming in on weekends to work even more hours. It is not uncommon for staff members to work seven days per week by choice. I could not be more proud of the BMS team.

Leadership is coaching and is the art of empowering those around you. A former super- intendent once told me that great leaders are those who make the necessary adjustments. Again, this is analogous to coaching. Leaders and coaches look at what the organization can become and are solution and future-focused. It is easy to point out mistakes. I probably make five or 10 each day, possibly before third period. However, it is not easy to prescribe solutions to novel issues that prove effective and sustainable.

Attitude permeates everything we do on campus. Similar to our basketball teams where you see athletes fighting for the ball, diving on the floor and a total “buy in” to the concept of team, we are one cohesive organization looking to fulfill the mission and vision of our school and district.

I ask that over the holiday break, you please consider nominating a deserving Brundrett Middle School Teacher for the first annual “The Heart of a Teacher Award.”

I am thankful to work with a team of principals who collaborate every day to create initiatives and make all decisions in the best interest of our students. Working alongside a tremendous superintendent and a great board of trustees helps ensure that our vision becomes a reality. Merry Christmas to our PAISD community!

Chris Roche is the principal at Brundrett Middle School.

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