The prompt for this post is "reflect on leadership role models whom you respect and whose example you would want to follow. Look at individuals or organizations that you admire and spell out what it is that attracts you and how you might incorporate this into your own leadership style."
In a school setting, few people in the public think of the teacher as a leader. If asked who leads the school, almost every parent, school board member, and citizen will say automatically "the principal". Many teachers themselves will reply the same two words as the answer to that question. I am the exception to the rule as I disagree. I don't feel that the principal leads most schools. Teachers do. That is not to say that there are not some amazing principals that develop a great relationship with parents and their staff who work hard to make their school a great learning environment. But teachers are the ones who have a direct, personal relationship with students. Teachers are the ones who know their students' strengths and weaknesses, and what motivates each of them personally. Teachers are the ones who make a difference to individual students every day.
I have been recommended each year for the past five years for an administrator cohort in my district. The district will pay for an administration degree for the few recommended teachers, and these teachers are then expected to go into administration for a minimum of 5 years in our district. While it is an honor to be invited, it is something I have no interest in. A principal has to see the forest, teachers see the trees. A principal must make decisions that benefit the school as a whole. A teacher has to make each individual student in front of him or her feel Important. Priceless. Powerful. Smart. Valuable. No tree in my classroom is ignored or sacrificed for the better of the forest. I would much rather be a leader in my classroom and have a direct impact on each student daily, than a leader in a more general setting and make decisions that trickle down to students, yet don't impact them on a personal level.
With that said, role models to me are teachers I have had in the past and teachers I have worked with. Teachers like my high school Latin teacher Mrs. Pawlowski who taught me life lessons. Dr. DeBruin who taught me as an undergrad to make Science hands-on. Mr. Birr who taught me how an intervention teacher and classroom teacher can work together to make the most powerful learning environment possible. Mrs. Rusgo who taught me that kindness is as important than knowledge. Teachers are Leaders! Even if I eventually decide to leave the classroom after Full Sail, I will never forget the impact teachers have.