“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats.” This famous quote from Jim Collins, in his book, Good to Great has resonated with me for years. I recall including
this quote in my interview to become an assistant principal when addressing the importance of staffing. I believe I was on the right track eight years ago when I shared this quote in that interview, as it started the beginning of my administrative journey, which has led me to where I am today.
I am entering my fourth year as the principal at Sigler Elementary and the quote by Jim Collins still hits home. I envision this quote playing in my head, like a short movie clip. People get on, people get off, people move around and it replays over and over again and not always in the same order. In fact, for more people to get on, our enrollment has to increase or someone has to get off.
Over my first three years, people have gotten off, people have changed seats and some have gotten on. I suppose it is natural for people to get off when a new principal comes to a building for many reasons: leadership style, personalities and expectations just to name a few. People also get off for personal reasons; like relocating, starting a new life together with their spouse or heaven forbid, illness. Regardless of why they get off, they get off and it leaves a void. However, with each void comes the opportunity to get the right people in the right seats or just get the right people.
Education is a people driven profession. An administrator is a lot like a small business owner, overseeing 60-70 employees in my case. I want each of our employees to want to come to work each day and make a difference in the lives of our students. I understand how much easier that can be when people feel they are in the right seat. There have been times when I have thought the right person was in the right seat and I was wrong and there have been times when people didn’t realize they were put in the right seat until further down the road.
So, with the 2014-2015 school year just weeks away, I sit at my desk and ponder, did we get the right people on the bus this year? Did the wrong people get off? Did the right people end up in the right seats? I believe we did! We added thirteen people to our bus this year (fourteen if I can get the last vacancy filled) and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, these fourteen people have a passion that burns bright for helping our Sigler students and families.
For now, the short movie clip has stopped playing in my head and my thoughts have transitioned towards how we can ensure our bus keeps moving forward. I am excited about our upcoming school year, the experiences our returning teachers will be able to share, mixed with the experiences of our recently hired teachers and most importantly, ensuring all of our experiences create an epic learning environment where students, parents, and teachers connect!