Attending the Crisis of Leadership
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♦ Barbara Davis
Peter Drucker wrote, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Yeah, right, you might be thinking. Did he ever run a day school? We all entered the field seeking to do the right things, only to encounter the incredible challenges of doing things right. Nobody ever aspired to be just a manager.
Recently I had the privilege of attending a celebration in honor of Dr. Barbara Davis, a member of the RAVSAK Board and the editor of this publication, in appreciation of her 25 years as head of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School. Given the topic of this issue of HaYidion, it seems most fitting to reflect on the portrait of leadership that emerged that night, both from those who spoke on Barbara’s behalf and from Barbara’s own reflections on headship.
In the article “Rethinking the School in Day School” (Winter 2011), Jonathan Woocher laments that day school ads tout the colleges where their graduates attend, underscoring these acceptances as proof of the school’s rigorous academic excellence. He point to this as evidence that day schools are not addressing their real purpose, which should be “sacred learning.”
♦ Laurence Scheindlin
Two of histories greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln and Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, have much to teach us about the limits of policies and the surprising value of crises.
♦ Marc Baker
The vastly expanding demands put upon school leaders provides schools with an opportunity to create their own form of distributed leadership. Baker explains what leadership teams are, why they offer many benefits, and how a team can be most effective.
♦ Bruce Powell
Powell urges school heads to avoid making the school sound like the prep school down the block. Instead, he argues, draw inspiration from Jewish tradition and history to create a compelling story about the school.
♦ Cooki Levy
Levy, a retiring long-term day school head, shares the lessons that have helped her stay focused, successful and sane over her career.
♦ Barbara Gereboff and Joelle Kaufman
Heads are the public voice of their school, the Communicators in Chief. They should study, practice and prepare for that role in the same way that they study curricular design and financial management. Here are some tips to get started.
♦ Michael Berger
The AVI CHAI Foundation, the largest investor in programs to develop Jewish day school leadership, draws lessons from its experience in this area and offers nine functions essential to this work.
♦ Erica Brown
Leadership relies on a culture of trust and respect. Brown urges day school leaders to engage parents and other stakeholders in creating a school culture where leadership can thrive.
♦ Todd Clauer
RAVSAK’s Project SuLaM is an example of a leadership program that cultivates the “whole leader”: it develops leaders’ understanding of and commitment toward Jewish tradition, while providing ongoing mentorship in Jewish school leadership. SuLaM serves as a model that schools should look to as they groom their own leaders.
♦ Alex Pomson
Building upon the articles in the winter HaYidion, Pomson looks at Camp Stone, which has a remarkable track record in cultivating Jewish leaders, to explore the principles of Jewish leadership as applied there.
♦ Rachel Ain
In this, the first of three articles describing the understandings, aims and methods of prominent national programs in Jewish leadership development, Ain describes the three tiers of leadership programming at the Jewish Federations of North America.
♦ Mitchell Cohen and Debbie Nahshon
In this second article about national Jewish leadership programs, the leader of Ramah camps reviews some of the elements of their success, and presents recent initiatives to expand their impact well beyond the summer.
♦ David Cygielman
This third article in the series, by the founder of Moishe House, argues that the crisis lies not in the number of qualified leaders but in the lack of leeway that established organizations provide for young leaders to lead.
♦ Betty Winn and Larry Kligman
Where should schools look for its leaders and how should they be cultivated? The current and future heads of California’s Heschel Day School describe a successful process of transition within the school.
♦ Daniel Alter
In contrast to the previous article, Alter argues that the qualities of leadership required by day school heads differ substantially from the qualities required for excellence within the classroom.
♦ David Edell, Dara Z. Klarfeld, and Josh Elkin
Representatives of a prominent search firm for nonprofit leaders encourage organizations throughout the Jewish community to take responsibility for leadership development.
♦ B. Elka Abrahamson
The president of the Wexner Foundation, which has educated hundreds of Jewish lay leaders, offers guidance for creating boards with the excitement, growth and collaboration designed into their programs.
♦ Elizabeth Jick
This article presents an expert map for the successful functioning of a professional, invigorated, well managed board.
♦ Diane Remin
There’s no way around it: giving needs to start from the board. Remin describes how to conceptualize and incentivize a board that holds its financial weight.
♦ Yonatan Yussman and Maureen Dewan
The authors contest that the prevailing model of head-board chair relations is too confining and unrealistic. They advocate a model of collaboration and mutual growth, with some overlapping areas of consultation and responsibility.
♦ Rhonda Rosenheck
The Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School sprang up in the historic downtown core of Toronto in 1998. Opened with ten students, it served Jews who, by virtue of living downtown in the former shtetl, lived outside the current shtetl; urbane, socially conscious Jews who celebrated diversity and the arts and built them into their school. These Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and secular, gay and straight, single and married parents of Jewish children viewed community more through a lens of inclusion than exclusion. The school’s adults formed what researchers Alex Pomson and Randall Shnoor termed “a community of difference,” meaning that one of the traits members shared in common was gratitude for the many things that distinguished one from the other.