The call is to break barriers for equity! It’s an exciting time to be a leader. It’s an exciting time to be a woman in educational leadership!
As a female educational leader myself, I am particularly interested in the gifts women can bring to students when they lead their schools and districts, universities and departments of education. Right now, women need to rise to the highest levels of leadership in education.
We also need men in our classrooms with more balance, but that’s another blog post.
Women need to see themselves in the story to break through barriers. If women are surrounded primarily by men at the top echelons of edleadership, it becomes more difficult to see themselves in the story. Education continues to suffer from patriarchy. Men choose and promote men to upper-level leadership positions. So, how can women envision a different future?
My mastermind experience illustrated a different story for me. I saw stories of women in edleadership.
A Powerful Story of Women in Leadership
One of my female colleagues, let’s call her Susie, in my Better Leaders, Better Schools mastermind was a phenomenal principal! I’ll never forget her descriptions of lunches and parties she hosted for her teachers. She was innovative and when podcasts came out, she organized walking groups who listened to the best in education during a lunch-and-learn experience.
Beyond investing, she was a passionate advocate for literacy and designing powerful learning experiences. She was a powerful coach and everyone in our group benefitted. Not to mention, she was a devoted wife and mother and had rich relationships with her extended family and friends.
Even though I never met Susie in-person, I admired her so much!
I distinctly remember the day she announced to our mastermind group she was applying for district-level administration. She was humble about her accomplishments, but even Danny (our facilitator) said, “Next stop, Superintendent!” In my heart, I agreed.
Susie continues to rise in her large southern school district. She continues to shape teaching and learning ‘for the sake of the students,’ about 30,000 of them, in powerful ways.
Ironically, I’ve never heard her complain about being a woman or the bias in the workplace. She just boldly keeps learning and leading.
A New Ending to the Story
Elizabeth Lesser in her new book Cassandra Speaks – When Women are the Storytellers the Human Story Changes makes the point that we need to re-write the ending of the story for women. It’s not finished yet. She reimagines what matters most for female leaders when she writes:
It’s about redefining what it means to be courageous, daring, and strong. It’s about taking back words and making them our own. It’s about doing power differently.
Women must accomplish this feat together. We must convene our villages and reimagine our future. In order to reclaim and rewrite the end of this story, we will need each other. It is essential because education desperately needs us.
Ladies, step into your best and highest contribution.
You are the author of your story.
Below is an application to the inaugural women’s only mastermind experience at Better Leaders Better Schools. You can learn all about the mastermind here or apply below. Our goal is to launch a cohort with at least four courageous women in leadership in April. This cohort will be closed with 15 members.
About the Author:
Karine Veldhoen is an edleader, facilitator, author, humanitarian, wife, and proud mom of three children. She exemplifies women in leadership and wakes up every day knowing ‘a rising tide raises all ships’.