Be Present and Authentic. No Excuses.

05 Dec

I was just perusing through too many “draft” posts sitting in the bartblog cue. This is one that I was excited to launch one day, and then had some technical trouble. I forgot about the post, but definitely not the talk I heard from Superintendent Homan. So, here it i:

Back in early October, I attended a lunch talk sponsored by the Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network. (I apparently still qualify as young, for a few more years.) The talk was given by Dr. Pam Homan, superintendent of Sioux Falls Public School District. She oversees the largest district in South Dakota, with 22,000 students and over 3,000 employees. There’s also the 15,000+ parents and hungry media. It’s a job that obviously takes a lot of time, and steals a lot of privacy (she was even recognized on a beach in Maui once). I’ve known DR. Homan for about a year now, and have been impressed at how she feels like a friend from the first time you meet her.

So, she had plenty of powerful stuff to say. She shared her very interesting life story, talked a bit about running the school district, and then tossed some wisdom our way.

I was very excited to hear about two new programs Pam is working on. One will create a new project-based learning high school in Sioux Falls, because “students learn in different ways, one size cannot fit all in the way we educate our kids.” Another will recreate the way teachers learn to be project-based teachers at USD, with the help of $3.9 million from the Bush Foundation. When contacted about partnering in the USD/Bush “Teacher Effectiveness Initiative,” Homan says she told USD officials, “I will not partner in any program to teach teachers how to teach the way we always have.”

The powerful stuff came when someone asked Homan how she balances life as a super superintendent and a mother and wife. Still gratefull for her answer:

“It takes two words: Be Present. Wherever you are, whomever you’re with, really be there in an authentic way. Really be who you are. I won’t allow myself or us to have any excuses.”

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Posted by on December 5, 2009 in education, presencing


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