CfA's Op Ed
Leading through Change
by Torin M. Finser
The last few years have brought unprecedented challenges to schools, especially to our teachers and administrators. Layered over long-standing issues of low pay, long hours, helicopter parents, shared governance (and confusion over roles and authority), schools have had to navigate a third year of covid while enhancing their DEI activities and working with new financial constraints, to name but a few issues.
At the cross-roads of these pressing issues stand our valiant school administrators and pedagogical leaders. As we enter the early stages of 2023, they will need to be asking of their communities some serious questions:
- How can we preserve the rich culture of Waldorf education, developed over the past 103 years, while practicing radical innovation?
- Is the governance of our schools “personality based,” or does it arise from a shared understanding of the core values of Waldorf and clear agreements among board, faculty, college, administrators, and parents?
- What does a collaborative culture look like, and how can we evolve our schools so they serve as examples to all those longing for a new experience of community?
- How do we address fatigue and low morale among faculty and staff?
- How can our school leaders help us lift our gaze to the horizon and re-envision the ideals that led us to Waldorf education in the first place?
- Rather than just “managing” the many daily needs of our schools, can we cultivate “growing edge” leadership to help move us forward with new vision and enthusiasm?
- What could networking and collaboration among independent and public Waldorf schools look like going forward?
- How do we best prepare and mentor our future teachers?
- How well are our school administrators and leaders being supported in relation to the tasks before us?
- How can the insights and practices embedded in anthroposophy help us release human capacities not only of our students but also in our teachers, administrators, pedagogical leaders, and parents? And how can these released capacities help initiate wider social change?
Most of all, we need to share our questions, discuss them with open-mindedness, and find the common language to help us work together more productively. Each of us has a part to play. Any adult who takes responsibility for a task is a leader. Our schools need servant leadership as never before.
The Center for Anthroposophy will begin another cycle of our Waldorf Leadership Development program this spring: starts March 11 for those new to Waldorf education and Anthroposophy (option A); starts May 20 for those with previous background (option B). Please ask yourself and those in your school if they might benefit from one or both options.
Details of this low-residency/live online program are laid out on our web page. Click here.