- Written by Kim O'Donnell, Springhouse Board Chair -
At Springhouse Community School, we hold a vision of lifelong learning that encompasses our entire community. As our committed staff are working to creatively reimagine the purpose and practice of education, our school’s Board of Trustees is working to reimagine the kind of leadership that is required in a world that has lost faith in many of its governing institutions. What are our operational values? What are the principles that guide our decision making? How does our work embody the school’s values of connection, creativity, resiliency, individuality, integrity, and trust?
As a board, we are committed to exploring ways of working together that deepen our connections with each other and the school. Our work is collaborative and inclusive. We communicate openly and honestly. We listen deeply and we respect each other’s different perspectives. We know our passionate commitment to the mission of the school is essential if we are to effectively carry the school’s message into the broader world. We know we must guard and protect the school’s viability and financial sustainability. Beyond these things, though, beyond our deep desire to govern in a way that is trustworthy and grounded in integrity, we are committed to leadership that is personally transformative.
In the book, Presence, four visionary authors set forth powerful ideas about human purpose and the field of the future. The book is rich with creative ideas about what the world now needs from its leaders, and I was particularly moved by a quote from Master Nan Huai Chin, regarded by many in China as the most important living Zen master. According to Master Nan, “if you want to be a leader, you have to be a real human being. You must recognize the true meaning of life before you can become a great leader. You must understand yourself first.”
This call to self-cultivation and understanding is bold and demanding. It requires that we invest deeply in our growth and wholeness and that we commit to learning at every stage of our lives. It requires curiosity and invites us to ask hard questions about who we are, what we stand for and value, and what we have yet to learn about how our gifts can best be used in service to our community and the wider world. It also means assessing and developing an ongoing relationship with our limitations. Are we all that we can be at this stage of our lives? What can we learn about ourselves that will help us become better leaders?
What I love about Springhouse is the commitment we all have to answering these questions. It strengthens our community and encourages us to become the very best we can be. Students. Staff. Board. This is the gift of belonging to a community that values lifelong learning.
Published on September 24, 2018