into action by being an innovator and a risk taker, initiating change and always looking to the future and what can be, is common among successful school administrators as they work with staff, parents, students, and the community.
This story from an elementary school principal in Alabama exemplifies the impact visionary leaders have on others. As you read, think about the vision this principal had based upon her personal beliefs and values.
Michael was a fourth grader in our school. His teacher asked me to intervene when she intercepted a note he had written. In the note, he had used the word nigger. As the teacher was black, she had a lifetime of hurtful memories attached to this term. Under our board policy I could have paddled Michael or administered other punishment in the name of discipline. Instead I chose not to discipline him but to teach him. I took Michael to the library, had him check out the book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and asked his parents to read it to him. For the next several days, I conversed with Michael in a friendly way about the book. After they had finished reading it, his mom came to school asking to share her feelings, saying she had been too casual about understanding black history. If I had been harsh with Michael, he and possibly his parents would have been angry with me. Since I taught them instead of punishing them, they could use their energies to look at the significance of using the word nigger. My goal was to teach through respect and love. Understanding Michael as a child of the 1990s helped me adapt discipline in an appropriate, effective way. He and his family cooperated and thanked me for helping them.
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