A quick Amazon search for books on leadership will show there is no shortage of authors who share reflections, frameworks, theories, and challenges. Are leaders born? Or are they made? What do the best leaders have in common? What do strong leaders do in moments of crisis?
Leadership is built into WT’s DNA and has been since our very beginning. There is no question that both Miss Thurston and Miss Mitchell were visionary leaders. Seeing the lack of strong, college preparatory educational opportunities for young women, they each founded schools that would prepare their students for the rigors of college. And they created a school environment where students could develop strong character, passion for learning, and a commitment to serving society.
136 years later, WT continues that strong tradition of visionary leadership in education. Our innovative approach to teaching and learning, by engaging our City as Our Campus partners, challenges our students to stretch beyond the simple memorization of content and strive for the application of that knowledge in real-word scenarios. It is an approach that grabs the attention of other educational leaders, especially as we move into being more deliberate about interdisciplinary learning. One school leader recently said to me, “WT’s approach is modeling what the rest of us ought to be doing. We cannot ignore that.”
The true secret to our success in acting on our vision lies in the classroom with our teachers. Not willing to rest on their “tried and true” methods, they demonstrate a willingness to take risks in trying new approaches. Their courage and curiosity model important attributes for our students, inspiring them to follow that lead. Our teacher-leaders are deeply involved in our strategic work as we continue to reimagine learning.
How do we know that our students are picking up on our call to leadership? They demonstrate it in our classrooms and off campus. From co-creating elective offerings in our Middle School, to bringing music education to schools where it is not currently available, to challenging community leaders to rethink playground and park accessibility, our students inspire us and make us proud. These successful leadership experiences, so early in their lives, are laying the groundwork for them to have an even larger impact later in life.
None of this would be possible without an engaged and strong Board of Trustees. WT is fortunate to have a Board filled with strong leaders committed to WT’s future. Their status as WT alumnae/i, current and former parents, and community leaders helps us to create pathways forward by which WT can emerge as a resource for the broader community, understanding how it might positively impact the social, intellectual, and policy life of the city by taking “Think also” to the next level.
As I continue to meet so many of our esteemed alums on my WT journey, it is clear that you recognize what a powerful experience WT was for you and that often you credit WT, in some part, for the successes you have achieved and the leaders you have become. Thank you for your continued support of our “Dear Old WT.” We cannot do all we do without you.