“Leadership is a potent combination of Strategy and Character. But if you must be without one, be without Strategy”
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
There’s somewhat of a war unfolding here in Nashville.
It all began when Mary Catherine Bradshaw veteran educator and diehard champion of the IB (Inter Baccalaureate) program at Hillsboro High school was “removed from the classroom” last week “to be re-assigned”. No one seems to know (or care much about) where the reassignment will be.
The sudden removal started a firefight of epic proportions as word got out. In this world of Social Media, the “Burros for Bradshaw” Facebook page was up and running within hours . . . and grew to over 2000 participants within a couple of days . . . There are literally HUNDREDS of posts to that page every hour.
The uprising was initially instigated by some students who didn’t want to lose their beloved leader . . . then parents became involved . . . and now there are Alumns from @ 30 years back . . . all people who are telling their stories about how “MCB” positively affected their lives while in High school.
MCB is a tough cookie . . . not a teacher to let a student slide without calling him out. Their stories affirm that her commitment was to her students . . . not self-serving . . . and she has been one their primary advocates through all these years.
MCB is a LEADER who understands what Uncle Norm Schwarzkopf says in the quote above . . . She apparently lives in integrity and understands strategy . . . and when the rubber hits the road, she leans towards integrity.
How do I know this?
I know this because of the obvious (and LOUD) support for her. All of these people KNOW and TRUST her. She has such a volume of trust built up through the years that none of these folks from all walks of life have even hesitated to come to her aid.
Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and the administration & PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) of Hillsboro High School are lacking in the leadership department. I think they got some things backwards and held to their strategy forgetting the importance of trust and integrity . . . and the simple truth that without integrity, leadership is not possible because the followers will not follow (and may even revolt – Libya?)
I do not know the specifics as to why MCB was removed from her classroom . . . They may be valid for all I know. The School & PTSA fumbled their first opportunity to make peace by issuing a statement (Written and sent to select group of people) that was very edgy and verged on slanderous with respect to comments about MCB inciting this riot . . . questioning her character and motivation . . . Wrong tack!
What I know for sure is that this happening is coming on the heals of a building tension in a poor (and recovering) economy in which MNPS seems to operating from the standpoint of sticking to the strategy without much concern for hearing from their “Clients” (Students, parents, alumns).
Trust in MNPS is all but GONE!
So . . .
This skirmish @ MCB and Hillsboro High School is really about issues much larger than a beloved teacher being removed from her students . . . It’s about the apparent atrophy of the MNPS system and their “Leadership’s” inability to build the trust the public needs in order to provide unconditional support.
MNPS simply doesn’t have “permission” to make snap decisions like the removal of MCB without a fight.
I and my family are living in this distrust as our daughters attend MNPS schools where we LOVE the teachers. What we don’t love is that the teachers are actually being squelched by the “MNPS strategy” as they are required to focus an inordinate amount of time towards “teaching the TCAP test” . . . Why is this test so important?
If MNPS doesn’t meet minimum testing score standards, the County risks losing “control” of the schools . . . the state would take over the whole system.
MNPS is working from a position of fear and scarcity and are “Managing Strategy” . . . and that destroys trust even when the level of trust was already LOW!
My Suspicion is that this HHS vs MCB conflict is a by-product of overall distrust of MNPS.
I offered (on the Facebook page) to facilitate a meeting to include invitations of administrators, Teachers, Parents, Students, Alumns to seek common ground because I believe that this is a MOST important URGENT issue as it affects probably the most important component of our community and our collective future . . . The EDUCATION of our future Leaders.
What can we all do to be certain our young folks learn LEADERSHIP – Integrity 1st, then strategy?
The response to my offer?
From a former student of MCB:
“”This would be wonderful but this, unfortunately, outlines the main issue in this situation: that MNPS is not communicating with the community and not justifying their actions . . . And that,_, Goes against everything MCB and IB have taught us . . . It really isn’t that we don’t want to talk to them. If they were willing to talk to us we would jump right on it but the sad sad fact is they aren’t.”
We’re all on pins and needles watching this drama un-fold 🙂
Other than that . . . The real estate market is getting more lively every day . . . Call me if I can help you or anyone you know . . .
I want to be sure you are aware of an event I am coordinating for May 5 – The Nashville Real Estate Consortium www.nashvillerealtorconsortium.eventbrite.com which isn’t just for REALTORS . . . ANY local business can participate as a sponsor . . . We are going to bring together 200+ local REALTORS to take a full day to explore ways in which we can leverage our relationships in the community to fortify Nashville’s Economy . . . Call me for details.
PS . . . Sorry . . . This one was TWO cups of coffee 🙂