Is it Mission-Critical?

Having spent the past week immersed in the startup culture and innovative ethos of schools and companies in San Francisco, I am now thinking about how this might translate back to my east coast environment. A common thread that has emerged in my thinking is the notion of something being ‘mission-critical.’ Many, if not all, of the startups and independent schools we visited grounded their innovations in their company or school mission. When attempting to introduce a change or new idea, whether in a tech company or a school,  the questions often posed are: “Is that mission-critical?” “Is it helping to further the strategic plan or goal of XYZ school/organization?” This has led me to  think about how I might articulate my own “mission” as an educational leader.

If you were to craft a mission statement for yourself, what would it say? How might it connect to that of your school/company? Of those in your professional network?

Networks are mission-critical to me. As a first year teacher-librarian, I was lucky to find ‘my tribe’ through Twitter (#TLchat). I learned so much from teacher-librarians and others in education across the country who openly shared the amazing things that their students were learning. I found a home online that counteracted the isolation that came with being the only librarian in my building.

At the end of the last school year, I took a risk, and left my role as teacher-librarian. I moved into a new type of school and new position within education. Once again, I felt very isolated. The task of building a new network within this rather unfamiliar context has been challenging. However, spending the past year without my TL tribe has allowed me to think critically about what is ‘mission-critical’ for me in a specific job, an organization, and life in general. The ideas of collaborating, taking risks, creating, designing, and sharing are all mission-critical to me. Consequently…

I’ve decided that my mission statement is:


Each of the phrases above is connected to someone within my tribe. Whether I’ve had the opportunity to connect with them in person, or have been following them from a distance, their words have impacted me in one way or another.  As I start to build my new tribe, I am very grateful to have met the #pennsv16 group of educational leaders, and look forward to continuing to learn with them.

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