The back-to-school message for our staff this school year was titled “Our Purposeful Leadership Journey.”

The Pequot Lakes School community will be better off if all people - students, staff and community members - are reflective about our own individual leadership journey. Our students will be the beneficiaries of an awesome school-community leadership culture.

First off, let’s define leadership as being accountable for our behaviors and attitudes while thinking about our own mindsets, beliefs and judgements and helping others to self-reflect. The journey component coincides with the concept that nobody is perfect and mistakes are opportunities for learning when paired with self-reflection.

The foundation for most leadership principles is relationships. When authentic and supportive relationships exist, people can work together, even when various viewpoints exist. Authentic and supportive relationships require time, energy and being purposeful about connecting with others.

Our school-community culture will achieve the most impact when purposeful relationships are made between people that benefit our school-community.

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Personally, many different viewpoints and perspectives are expressed to me on a frequent basis. I try to use every conversation with a person to start to build a relationship - even if my initial thoughts are different. The longer I listen and stay open-minded regarding a differing perspective, the more likely common ground will be found.

The leadership journey isn’t about being right or all-knowing; it’s about thinking about our own thinking and having genuine care for others.

Our leadership will be tested this school year and flexibility in our thinking will be needed. I am looking forward to serving our school-community and meeting more people every day.

Go Patriots!

Kurt Stumpf is interim superintendent for the Pequot Lakes School District.