What does it mean to be a leader? Napoleon Bonaparte described it as being a “dealer in hope.” Colin Powell says leaders are “almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” And then there is the great Mahatma Gandhi: “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
These were the squishy metrics the editors used to select the winners from the incredibly impressive list of candidates we received for this year’s LOY awards. As we pored through school success after school success, we were heartened, yet overwhelmed: Does one candidate’s raised literacy scores trump another’s cool distance education program? How does the progress of an inner-city charter school compare to the efforts of a small rural district?
The ultimate distinctions came through in the words of those who did the nominating. Take, for instance, some of the praise for Julie Bohnenkamp, Director of Technology for Center Grove Community School Corporation in Greenwood, Indiana: “Before the ‘Bohnenkamp Era,’ I was embarrassed about the state of technology in our school corporation. Now, it is one of the items that I am most proud of… She understands process and people at a level I have not seen matched in any administrator, let alone a technology administrator.” Powell and Gandhi would be proud!
Likewise, the honorees for this year’s Awards of Excellence can be proud that their inclusion was not because of some quick glance at a specification sheet. Each was put through its paces by a panel of educators, X-Factor style. Not an easy task. I look forward to celebrating with the winners at this year’s award ceremony in Austin, Texas during the TCEA2013 conference. Congratulations to all and Happy New Year!
— Kevin Hogan
Leaders of the year
What makes them special
Awards of excellence
Top gear from the past year