7 Questions with Paul Campey
Name: Paul Campey
Current title: Partner
Current organisation: Resolve Consulting Group
Paul commenced his career as an auditor with the world’s largest accounting firm, but at the ripe old age of 25 became a Business Manager at a then small-medium Chirstian School that grew very quickly. Paul has worked in and with Christian Schools for over 25 years. He specialises in Governance, Strategic Leadership and Financial Management of schools and not for profit organisations.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Dealing with people who put themselves first, which results in conflict, pain and all sorts of difficult situations.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Normally my work involves lots of travel (about 70 flights per year) which means I can be away from home a lot or have an irregular routine (like getting up at 3am for flights or getting home late from Board meetings). I always make time in my day to spend time with God and also talk to my wife at least once per day (can be a bit trickier overseas, when it is normally every 2 or 3 days). I also try to have a good book on the go which I read just before going off to sleep.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
It is not about me as a leader or what I want. My favourite verse is Matthew 6:33 and Seeking first His Kingdom.
4. What one book has had the most profound impact on your Christian school leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton. The book is designed for leadership groups (Elders, Boards, Leadership Teams, etc) who are wanting to discern God’s will in their decision making and giving them practical advice on how to lean into this area.
What I have learned from this is that I listen more (to God and others) and speak less. It has meant that in meetings I am often the last to speak or contribute. I am more reflective of what I say and seek to articulate clearly and simply a sense of a way forward.
Thinking on spiritual discernment has led me to undertake a PhD on Christian School Board decision making and the role that spiritual discernment plays in the Board room.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Relationships, relationships, relationships. Creating a healthy environment and culture where relationships are seen as key, but at the same time there is a professional atmosphere where there is accountability. This reputation spreads and when it comes time to recruiting the school’s reputation is strong as a workplace.
Whilst it is important to “keep great Christian Teachers” it is also important to help them grow and develop so they can potentially move into leadership roles in other schools. I am concerned when schools only think about themselves rather than the broader Kingdom work of Christian Schools. This is particularly important for large and well resourced Christian Schools.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Listening. This can be informally through relationships but also formally through surveys and appraisals. If staff can see that leaders really care about what they think and how they are going they will open up on issues, enabling action to be taken to improve the culture of wellbeing. This can sometimes include having the tough conversations that need to be had - just letting things slide and being nice to everyone may not actually be good for the well being of the school as a whole.
7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
Many of my stories are ones that cannot be made public because of their sensitive nature. But there is a common thread through many of them - even in really tough times the ability to have faith that God will work through the circumstances, no matter how overwhelming they may seem is key; not only for the good of the school but for those involved.
That does not mean it will not be hard, disappointing or distressing. But it has been in these tough times that I have seen God do amazing things, whether it be saving entire schools, enabling expansion of Christian Schooling beyond our wildest dreams, a growing depth for Board members, staff, parents and students or seeing relationships restored and the Kingdom grown.