7 Questions with Trandy Birch
Name: Trandy Birch
Current title: Superintendent
Current organisation: Lincoln Christian School
31 year educator, 16 in public schools and 14 in Christian School. Athletics and activities have played a large role in my formation as an educator.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Successfully navigating the changing generational intricacies - not with kids, they are they easier part... with parents.
Seemingly, we as parents, default to the perception of our own upbringing. If it was generally positive, we default that direction, sometimes going too far. If our personal rearing was not deemed positive, one of two things happen: a purpose to positively raise our children or the opposite. The opposite can lead to extreme styles of laissez-faire parenting or one of dominance and overbearing styles. That much seems consistent. The trick to managing all those when combined with generational and cultural changes can be tough.
In my opinion, the wise leader works to identify and develop plans for those adaptations (while still adhering to timeless principles) ahead of the curve.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The pandemic has caused true educational fluidity. If we don't positively adapt as educators, our schools and most importantly, our kids and staffs suffer. All that to say, the past 9 months have been filled with earlier mornings and later evenings. My typical schedule is in a time-blocking method is:
5:45-6:00 for personal devotional time.
6:30 Prepare for the day
7:00 depart for school
7:30 Emails and return contact from the previous afternoon/evening.
8:00-9:00 I visit our 3 school sites, connect with leaders, staff, and kids.
9:00-4:00 is filled with various meetings, leadership teams, staff teams, parents, ministry teams, etc.
4:00 - Office time for any administrative tasks.
5:00 - Weight room/Gym Body, Mind, Soul :)
6:30 - Home with my wife
8:00 - I will run through my calendar and prioritize and prepare for the following day. Complete any pressing tasks, check in with my children and grandchildren.
9:00 - Family time with wife dogs :)
11:00 - Rest!
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
How to change from traditional, old-school autocratic leadership styles to transformational, authentic leadership through values and relationship.
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?
SO many but the #1 is The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leaders Day by John Maxwell!
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
We are blessed to be part of a large church in Tulsa, Oklahoma- Church on the Move. Our school, of close to 1,000 kids, is a ministry of our Church. All staff members are part of our church as we view every position we have as pastoral. Anyone can teach facts, fewer can teach KIDS. We search for people who are called to teach kids through their specialty areas of the curriculum. We approach it from a different mindset. God has blessed us!
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Lead through relationship and involve everyone in the process. Have a rock solid mission, vision, and purpose. Most importantly, over communicate those and empower people to answer questions by applying mission, vision, and purpose!
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?
The most meaningful story, one or all, are those that involve life change! The fact is almost every school is adequate at subjects... math, science, english, etc. What sets great schools apart from good schools are the ones that teach life change and the articulation of how Jesus has impacted their life. God is in the business of creating world-changers, we are blessed to have the opportunity to provide avenues of training for them. The questions will come... how people answer is another story. We want to build and prepare people to communicate that life change through academics, activities, and sports.