Principals face extraordinary challenges every day of their working lives. At a Leadership Lens event on October 23rd, Lisette Nieves, clinical professor of educational leadership and policy studies, moderated a panel discussion with Daniel Russo, principal of P.S. 294, the Walton Avenue School in the Bronx, and Travis Brown, principal of Bronx Lighthouse Charter School, on the role of leadership in building strong schools.
Russo discussed the difficulty of navigating educational bureaucracies and the effect that procedural and administrative challenges can have on the most talented professional.
We can stop pulling out the hammer and take advantage of other tools.
He gave pointed advice to an audience comprised of members of the educational leadership community, urging them to build relationships with the community, to keep persevering, and not to “let the things that you can't control get in the way of the things you can control.”
Brown, a principal who supported three schools in Newark, New Jersey with strategic school turnaround planning, leadership coaching, and teacher development, spoke of having to make “courageous decisions,” and shared how he remarkably diminished suspensions from 500 to 10 in a single year.
“We can stop pulling out the hammer and take advantage of other tools,” he said, and reminded the audience that there are many strategies to academic success. "A single teacher has the impact to change a student’s life," Brown said.