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7 Questions with David A Wells
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7 Questions with David A Wells
Name: Dr. David A. Wells
Current title: Principal and Executive Consultant
Current organisation: GLOBAL School Consulting Group
David and his wife Lois live in the mountains of Ecuador, near the village of Nono, just a few miles from Quito. David devotes his time to consulting for school owners, boards, and executive leaders in international and national schools throughout Latin America, and beyond. David’s experience in educational and organizational leadership spans forty years, and includes serving as the head of schools in Puerto Rico, New York, and Ecuador, as well as management of a not-for-profit social services agency and a real estate group. In addition to consulting, David leads and manages a consulting group of twenty consultants based around the globe.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
We work with schools around the globe and my primary focus is in providing support to school owners (individuals, investors, churches, missions, etc.) in developing and maintaining organizational structures and processes that meet the owners' business model while aligning with best practices for successful schools. This alignment, in many cases, is a major challenge.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My appointments with clients are scattered throughout the day and week, as it is common to have to deal with time zone differences of as much as twelve hours. However, I generally beginning my work day with prayer, responding to messages, and then working through priority projects based on my clients' needs. Calls and meetings are interspersed through the day and into the evening.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most important leadership lesson I have learned is that my worth is measured by the extent of alignment with God's purpose for my life, and not by my performance or status. Recently, I've been reminded that as an experienced leader I should always consider how I can have influence and impact on the next generation of leaders.
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?
By far, the Bible is the fundamental book on which my life and service is based. John C. Maxwell's books have impacted me, most specifically "Developing the Leader Within You" and "Developing the Leaders Around You". As an emerging and inexperienced leader, I recognized the need to study and learn from others, building my expertise professionally and in relating to others within my span of influence. As time passed, I became increasingly aware and committed to the imperative of mature leaders impacting the development of the next generation of leaders. Maxwell's books provide substantially information and motivation to fulfill these goals.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
Generally, I would suggest that we nurture and build great leaders, rather than "find" them. Retention is dependent to a great degree on the presence and communication of a compelling mission for the organization, and the leader's alignment with that vision.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
It is essential that a leader care about people and seek to meet their needs. Unless personal, learning, and professional needs are met, the young people and adults we serve and with whom we serve will not reach their potential and the work and learning environment will not reach its potential.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
As a new school head, I was obliged to address a conduct-related issue with a student who was a "mocker and scorner" and negatively impacting the wellness of the school community. Ultimately, this student was the first of my career that had to be expelled. His father happened to be a prominent leader in the community. It was hard and it was painful. Years later, during a visit to the school, I happened to connect with the student - now an adult - who was working in the school from which he had been expelled. His statement that the expulsion caused him to address areas in his life that were not healthy, and was a turning point in his life.