As I write this, I am sitting in a room with 11 of my colleagues. They are a collection of professionals with a plethora of experiences. Within in this group are experts in finance, communications, technology, education, the arts, athletics and educational leadership. I am taking notes as they focus all of their expertise and experiences on the community learning program I am developing here at Randolph.
One year ago, I went through a very involved vetting and interviewing process as the leadership of this school considered employing me. I was a strong candidate, having served as a teacher, coach and administrator. I have been involved in community development—from the creation of grassroots programs locally, nationally and internationally to the development of youth leadership and advocacy programs in three different countries. I have collaborated with individuals and groups from different economic levels, races, religions and nationalities. I was more than prepared for this position, yet I sit here humbled.
I am humbled because I am now seeing what I do from the perspective of some very smart people with some very rich experiences and my view of what I do has been expanded. The questions they ask are different from those I ask because they come from different social, educational and experiential backgrounds. At Randolph, this is what we call a Life Long Learning Collaborative (LLC).
Each month, a member of our group brings a question, problem or project to the monthly LLC meeting we have on Wednesday mornings. For two hours, cell phones are turned off and other interruptions or distractions are curtailed as the entire group focuses on a colleague's piece of work put forward for consideration. They ask clarifying questions; identify assumptions and consider the peripheral issues. The group then uses predetermined protocols to analyze what has been brought and then use their expertise to make it better. It is a powerful experience.
This experience is powerful because I know that when I leave this meeting today what I brought to the table will be better. It will be better because it will have been shaped, not only by my efforts, but by the diverse efforts and experiences of my colleagues. This is what is amazing about Randolph’s LLC program. It creates an environment where we collaborate to make each element of our community great. We challenge each other. We stretch each other. We affirm each other. All of this is done to enhance our community and serve our most important resource, our children. This is why I do what I do.