As my exit process from one principalship to another continues I have realized the unique challenges that surround decision making during this period. The decision making process is always challenging in schools and requires collaborative and methodical discussions. Good decisions are student focused, allow for diverse opinions to be shared and consider future implications. Whitehead et. al encourage leadership to allow for more rigorous debate and infuse fresh ideas to make good decisions. Good decision making requires patience, time and lots of conversations.
Exit further complicates decision making. My goal during this exit has been to ensure a smooth transition as the school continue to moves forward and grow. At the same time people are adapting to the change, which can lead to complicated situations such as some people not bringing issues forward and other folks expecting difficult decisions to be made before the next leader takes over. Both of these perspectives are problematic and further complicate decision making. At the same time the school continues to move forward with initiatives still ongoing and new ideas brewing.
To try to navigate through this new complicated environment, I continue to remind myself:
Maintain my decisions on the best interest of students--This has been my mantra throughout the four years and continues to be my focus through my exit.
Encourage others to engage in decision making--After I'm on to my new job, my leadership team will remain. It's important that they continue to feel important, which can be done by engaging them and encouraging them to take ownership of instructional decisions for next year.
Try not to do stupid stuff--It's important to recognize that not all decisions need to be made immediately..It's ok to allow issues to wait until the next principal takes it up. Entering principals are faced with the decisions of their predecessors. As an exiting principal I have tried to allow decisions that can wait until next year to wait until next year.