- AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is launching a "Live Well, Lead Well" campaign to provide resources, support and appreciation for superintendents and their staffs as they navigate ongoing challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequities and threats of violence.
- The campaign includes monthly opportunities for district leaders to connect with colleagues and focus on self care. The campaign will also include a wellness center at AASA’s 2022 National Conference on Education, scheduled for Feb. 17-19 in Nashville, as well as crisis communication materials and templates that help schools address key issues.
- “Students who aren't well can't learn. Teachers who aren’t well can’t teach. Leaders who aren’t well can’t lead,” said Paul Imhoff, superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools in Ohio and the 2021-22 president of AASA, in a news release. “We need to take care of ourselves so that we are able to serve those in our care. We can't lead if we aren't well. The superintendency is not an individual sport, it is a team sport. We need each other. We need to lock arms and support each other.”
Stress on superintendents has continued to build this year as pressures mount over pandemic safety measures and contentious issues like critical race theory. Some worry the pressure could force district administrators to avoid making controversial but necessary decisions, according to a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Joseph Kahne, a professor of education and co-director of the Civic Engagement Research Group at University of California Riverside, and John Rogers, a professor of education and director of the Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at University of California Los Angeles.
A School Administrators of Iowa post urges superintendents to find time for themselves by creating a routine and setting aside time for exercise and hobbies. The post also suggests designating a time of day to consume news and stick to that schedule, rather than allowing negative current events to upset or distract them throughout the day.
The role of principals has also become increasing challenging over the last year and a half. While many districts have incorporated social-emotional supports for teachers and students, leaders can benefit from those practices as well.
The better a principal understands the concept of emotional support from the inside out, the better she or he will be at implementing the practices for others, according to an essay in Education Week. One suggested strategy is to add social-emotional tools to educator preparation programs that embed the concept early.