With so many uncertainties over the past 16-months, welcoming a fresh start this fall with whatever ‘normal’ looks like sounds refreshing. This pandemic has afforded us the opportunity to reflect on what’s essential … in both our personal and professional lives … and determine how we want to move forward. It is my hope that you are taking some time this summer to really prioritize what’s most important to you so that you can begin a new school year focused, not only on your staff and students, but also on your family and a healthy YOU!

Life as a building administrator can become super out of control, which is why it’s so important to intentionally focus on all aspects of our personal wellbeing. Serving others is a beautiful calling; however, we are no good to anyone if we don’t ‘put on our own oxygen mask first’. Having the opportunity to talk with building leaders all across the state, it has become evident that the stress of this past year and a half has taken its toll on many of us. We have extremely high expectations for ourselves; therefore, during times of crisis, we often overstretch ourselves on a daily basis. Now is the time to put YOU first in order to be capable of serving those within your community when the school year starts. 

If you have been saying, I’ll get to that walk, I’ll watch that movie, I’ll read that book, I’ll organize that closet, the list goes on and on … now is the time to do some of these things. So many people think that the organizing of drawers, closets and other things that drove you crazy at home were able to be completed during the statewide shutdown. Most don’t understand what we accomplished leading our school family through the unprecedented times of COVID-19 and what we did required many things to be put on the backburner.  It’s now your time to get yourself … all of it … back on track. You will feel much better when home is taken care of and your work office is cleaned back up. Each day will feel refreshing just by having your spaces ready to go. Let’s not forget about you as a person … your physical and emotional person. Do something every single day just for you. Sleep in, read a book, take a walk, heck take a nap, whatever will help you get all of your ducks in a row so that you can be at 100% when it’s time to welcome staff and students back to your building. 

School leadership requires an ‘all it’ mentality but with that often comes a higher priority on the here and now, rather than the maintenance of our daily surroundings. In order for you to stay at this for the long haul, it will require a concerted effort to balance all aspects of your life and the most important one being YOU. Give yourself permission to have time each and every day for yourself … quiet reflection, exercise, etc. Make certain that you are putting a schedule together that allows for adequate sleep and plan your meals for the week in advance. Placing an emphasis on yourself and setting yourself up for success each week will give you the stamina needed each and every day. These are key elements of a successful leader and one who can then pour endlessly into those they love and care so much about. Give yourself permission to do some of these things before the treadmill gets set on full-speed in August.

Written by Tracy LN Wilson, Principal, Grand Haven High School and MASSP Board of Directors Member