What I’m Learning About the Personal and the Practical

Type: Article
Topics: Leadership Development, Rural Communities, School Administrator Magazine

February 01, 2022

My View

Late last summer, an unexpected blessing came into my life — the opportunity to serve my rural school district as their interim superintendent.

Of the million reasons why this blessing was unexpected, perhaps most important is that I had left the life of a full-time administrator behind. Not long before the pandemic, I quit my job in K-12 education, moved to the country and started a small farm in the Connecticut River valley of Massachusetts. My family needed me to make major changes, and I had.

I bought sheep. We started a chicken flock and began renovating buildings. It was exhilarating, hard and frequently scary, as I left security far behind for the uncertainties of life as a small-business owner — in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

Before leaving education, I had developed some expertise in supporting the leadership development of educators and fellow administrators. With Gene Thompson-Grove, an incredible teacher of facilitation and co-founder of the School Reform Initiative, I co-facilitated workshops and learning groups about leadership. It was powerful work, built from social science research and theory and grounded in the day-to-day experiences that provide never-ending opportunities for improving professional practice.

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Patricia Kinsella

Interim superintendent

Pioneer Valley Regional School District in Northfield, Mass.