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7 Questions with Timothy Makin
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7 Questions with Timothy Makin
Name: Timothy Makin
Current title: Principal
Current organisation: Westgate Christian School
I am in my third year as the principal of Westgate Christian School, and I am in my fifth year of education. I am in the midst of earning a second master's degree focused in education.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
Mentoring weak teachers.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
5:15 - Wake Up
7:10-7:40 Get ready and leave for work
7:55 Staff Morning Meeting
8:10-9:05 Teach my class, Pre-Algebra
9:05-9:15 Touch base with the front office to collect memos, check scheduled events, check communications
9:15-10:00 Check/Clear emails and simple tasks
10:00-11:00 Teacher Observation via camera system while grading material from my class 11:00-11:45 Professional Development Time
11:45-12:15 Dismissal (COVID has our school operating on a half-day onsite school schedule).
12:15-1:00 p.m. Check with each teacher gathering notes from their day (this has been the biggest game-changer this year; my teachers appreciate being able to simply communicate their day with me [keeps me abreast to student struggles, parent concerns, as well as many positive things; my teachers feel heard by this])
1:30-3:30 Major projects
3:30-4:00 Organize information and checklists for the next work day and leave for home.
4:00-4:30 Reset my mind for family time
4:30-5:15 Dinner with family
5:15-7:00 Family time
7:00-7:30 Family evening routine (stories, brushing teeth, etc.)
7:30-8:00 Putting children to bed
8:00-9:00 Time with wife at her disposal
9:00-9:30 Get ready for bed
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Small but consistent habits have lead to the biggest changes ("Atomic Habits" by James Clear)
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?
"Atomic Habits" by James Clear is a book about the profound long term impacts of small incremental adjustments.
"Good to Best" (title may be off a bit). It speaks of the importance of doing things to an excellent level and what that has meant for leadership, for hiring, and for work ethics.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
Most of our "great" leaders have come from within. They were students or members of our church, went out to receive higher education, and have come back to serve. The best of our leaders have been from this model.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
This year, the biggest impact has been from hearing from my teachers on a daily basis. They are able to express concerns, receive specific answers, etc. Their voices are heard. This does not mean that we are able to act on everything, but they do know that I will listen to them.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
COVID-19 has brought its challenges, but it also brought some opportunities. Our school, due to our location, was required by the local health authorities to operate via an online platform to commence the 2020-21 school year. In compliance with the local authorities, we cooperated but still worked intensively on an extensive COVID-19 response plan that aligns with state requirements. We submitted this plan along with an appeal to our health department to carefully operate onsite. Our local health authority, after reviewing our plan, granted us limited and unique permission to operate on a half-day onsite schedule following strict protocols (this was truly unique permission because most schools did not appeal and thus operated simply online). We gladly accepted the half-day adjustment, and we accommodated families who wished to remain at home. We have been strict with health protocols, but we welcomed our students to the campus at the start of the school year. To-date, although some staff and student families have contracted COVID-19 from the community; not once has COVID been transmitted from one person to another person at our school, nor has COVID been in our K-12 school! In addition, our teachers have mastered modifying their schedules to be able to present all essential academic material in the abbreviated schedule so much so that our students are completely on track to finish a normal academic load in the essential subjects (Bible, English, Science, History, and Mathematics). Our teachers' hard work, our parents' careful cooperation, and our relationship with the local health authority has brought about this opportunity. Our local school community has expressed their gratitude a number of times.