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7 Questions with Dannon Stock
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7 Questions with Dannon Stock
Name: Dannon Stock
Current title: elementary principal
Current organisation: Lake Center Christian School
I am a wife and mother of four. I grew up in Northeast Ohio and received my Bachelor's in Special Education before moving out west for 12 years. There I received a Master's degree in education. Upon returning to Ohio I began working at a Christian school and received my Principal's license. This is my fourth year as an administrator.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
As a leader the most challenging thing is setting expectations high while understanding that it is a process to get to where you want to be. You can't bulldoze through an agenda or a set of expectations. There are people involved who need to warm up to the change and embrace it as their own. It is hard to be patient but long lasting change requires buy in.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my morning in prayer and time with the Lord. This is an area that I have been convicted in over the years. I don't ever want to lead out of my own strength and therefore need to be quiet before the Lord to be effective. I am in charge of securing subs in elementary so many times I am filling classrooms after that. Then I proceed to get ready and get myself and kids out the door. Every morning I greet students and I think it is a highlight of my day. After announcements I do walk-throughs or attend meetings, head to lunch duty, respond to emails, complete paperwork, go to dismissal and then finish the day with teacher meetings, parent meetings etc. When I get home I usually need some time to myself before getting dinner, helping with homework etc. I head to bed early so I can get enough sleep- if possible I don't take work home with me.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most significant lesson that I've learned is that good leaders are willing to do the hard things no matter how difficult it is. I have teachers that I love as individuals but they are not meeting the needs of students. I hate that someone who has been at our school for years has to be asked to leave but sometimes those hard conversations have to be had.
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?
Jesus on Leadership- C. Gene Wilkes I am a firm believer that leaders need to be willing to serve, to show their team that they are in it together. Jesus was a true servant leader- He taught His disciples through example, He guided and directed them and was willing to wash their feelings, living out true humility before them. This is the type of leadership I strive for.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
Great leaders have a way of standing out. Others gravitate toward them because of their knowledge, insight and encouragement. Therefore observation often leads to finding those with desire and potential. Building into leaders is vital. I think many people leave education because they are burnt out or disillusioned. They have great ideas but when they are met with resistance or red tape it can lead to discouragement . Others struggle to maintain balance and go until they have no energy and little to show for their countless hours. Mentoring is essential to keeping leaders long term.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Knowing their stories. You can't be effective without being involved. You can't make good decisions without knowing who you are making them for. You need to be aware of the pulse of your school and be willing to share in the struggles and the victories.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
This past year has been a difficult one. It is hard to make decisions that have never had to be made before. The most meaningful time was when my faculty asked to have a time where they could gather with me as their leader because they knew I could answer the questions they had and make the situation at least bearable and they knew I would do whatever I could to help them.