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7 Questions with Chad Haverkamp
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Chad Haverkamp
Name: Chad Haverkamp
Current title: COO/Principal
Current organisation: Jarvis Community Christian School
Chad Haverkamp is currently the COO/Principal at Jarvis Community Christian School. He has been in this role since September 2016. He was a teacher for 3 years in the Grade 7/8 classroom of the school before moving to the office.
Chad takes on the roles of leadership in his organization but is particularly fond of conflict management and conflict resolution. He and his wife, Karisa (Psychotherapist), are in the midst of starting a conflict mediation consulting company due to their varying areas of interest and expertise.
Chad is an alumni of Redeemer University (BSc), D'Youville College (MSc), and Dordt University (MEd).
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
You are leading an institution that takes care of a parent's prized possession... its child.
As in all sectors, effective leadership in the education sector is related so closely with people management and relationships. However, when it comes to a person's child, emotions can be high.
In addition, often teachers identify so closely with their work. They do deeply care about doing their work well. They do care about students. However, when it comes to their work, they can be protective because discussions into classrooms can be heard through the lens of the teacher's identity.
As a result, effective relational skills in working with parents as well as working with staff are pivotal to the success of the school. This is THE challenge and depending on the leader, also the most draining on your time and resources.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
When I get up in the morning, I am the only one awake in my home. By the time I get to taking my shower, my two boys are waking up and being loud in their bedroom. Every morning, I need to get them settled down so that my wife and newborn daughter can continue to sleep. I then take my shower and the boys come out of their room.
I make breakfast for my wife and I. It is eggs every morning with some sort of bread option. Anything from scrambled eggs on a wrap, to fried eggs on toast. It all tastes better with avocado!
I head off to work and arrive in my office. I get into the school and I am one of the first 3 staff members to arrive. I sit at my desk and plan out what I would like to accomplish for the day referring to my "To-Do" list.
As the morning progresses, staff and students show up at the building and I get out into the halls to say good morning to people as I head down the halls. I place a priority on greeting each person by name. Especially for students, they need to know that they are known and belong and that starts with me!
I get back to my office and work on my list of items. Some items are cyclical and need to be done at the same times each year, some are one-offs that are specific to that moment in time. I head over to our staff lunchroom at breaks and just sit and chat with the staff that are there.
By the afternoon, I go and teach my Grade 7/8 mathematics class (I am still in a classroom a bit) and this keeps my feet grounded into the teaching part of schools. I love being able to still relate with students at that level.
Finally, the day ends and I finalize my day by listing out my upcoming jobs. I correspond with the staff about upcoming tasks and events. I am very rigid in my time schedule and usually leave work at the same time each day. When I am at work, I work hard. When I leave, I am available, but I leave work there!
When I arrive home, my wife and I sit down to coffee together and catch up on our days. Our kids are either sleeping or we let them watch an episode of their favorite television series (right now it is Bob the Builder). We get supper together and enjoy a meal. My wife cooks most of the time, so I do dishes following dinner.
Sometimes I have evening meetings that I head back to my school for, but if not, I get down and play with my kids. Whether reading books or building train tracks, after a good meal and divesting my day, it usually smiles at that point.
We put our kids to bed for the night and then my wife and I settle in. We usually sit on the couch together chatting, reading books, doing devotion, or possibly watching some TV. If during the winter months, I get our woodstove firing for the night, then off to bed.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Positive Change and Negative Change need to be managed the same way. Intentional actions and Communication! Don't let the emotion of the change impact your intentional actions and communications!
4. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Power of People Skills by Trevor Throness
Trevor does an incredible job of identifying not only the kind of staff member that works hard and is productive, but also the staff member that embodies the mission and vision of your organization. I feel as though, before engaging in this book, I found it difficult to evaluate the performance of some of my staff because they had great lessons, their students had high achievement, but yet, they were lacking the cultural aspects of the organization. Trevor actually places a precedence on not only having productive staff, but also staff that act in accordance to your values.
This was a game changer. I felt as though this was the answer to some concerns I was having. By communicating with my staff what core values they need to display as part of their work, it no longer became purely about how well they did their job, but also about who they were as people. As other books have discussed at length, you need the right people before achieving greatness. Trevor gave me a framework for finding and coaching the right people.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
From within. Multiple sources would indicate that the best leaders for organizations come from within that organization. As a result, I keep my eyes and heart perked up for my employees that are demonstrating leadership potential. Sometimes this can happen in a brand-new hire and sometimes, it happens more slowly after having worked here for many years. However, I would caution that leadership responsibilities should not be given out based upon length of employment, but upon leadership capacity.
Keeping leaders is done by acknowledging their leadership and "rewarding" them with leadership. It speaks so much to the heart of your staff member when you point out that they are good at something and that you want them to take more responsibility in that strength area!
Ironically, I think that you should do this with every single one of your staff members as then they all have some "skin in the game". This brings ownership and deep-rooted love to their work.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Relationships win! Lesson plans, policies, etc. are all good, but at the end of the day, do you feel loved?
A child that enters school with an abysmal morning is not going to be able to take in learning from their teacher. That teacher can do incredible things by establishing relationships first, and then implement teaching/learning.
A staff member that needs that extra day to be mentally well will get it. This demonstrates love and care for them and will increase their productivity later.
Obviously, there are lines here, but policy does not beat relationships. "No questions asked" is terrible! "Questions encouraged" is relational.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
A mentor of mine provided an analogy in which she gave me a steel bucket. This bucket represents something that needs to be filled up. As a leader, I was that bucket and I need to have it filled, so that I can pour into my staff, etc. I had heard this analogy before; however, she put a spin on it in which she said, you not only intentionally pour out, but you also unintentionally pour out yourself as a leader. What are the "flaws" or other things that you pour onto your staff?
For me, I put this bucket on my desk with the words, "Time of Day". I naturally get so focused on what I need to do that my natural tendency is to note give your problem the "time of day". As a result, I have had to intentionally look to get myself out of what I am doing and make myself available for my staff that need me at those times. This bucket is my reminder (maybe it is for you too). What do you accidentally pour out on your staff?