Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to interview a few members of the district leadership in St. Johns County School District, including the superintendent (Dr. Joyner- pictured above), who left me reflecting for the rest of the evening. Dr. Joyner spoke of servant leadership, shared values, and his passion for doing the best thing for the students of the community. Two of his principals echoed his drive for the continuous improvement of the learning experience for all students while staying true to the core values of the community in which they serve. This interview experience was something very special. I felt like I was granted a small glimpse into the inner workings and decision-making of the school district. More than that, I felt as if I was not interviewing but learning more than I had expected, reminded of my own core values and my continuing education. The day left me reflecting long into the evening and this morning. I am grateful for this chance to better understand one of the state’s top leaders and his leadership team.
This experience kept reminding me of reading beyond the Greenleaf book about servant leadership. It reminded me of the philosophical writings on values and ethics that meant so much to me (Keirkegaard, Scarry, Simone Weil, etc.), and I was off revisiting things that I had kept on our shelves at home (probably as some sort of physical version of my mental schema). There has never been a way to silo, compartmentalize or categorize experiences as discrete things with no relation to one another. Things are related, even when it is imperceptable. For me, this is a basic truth. The experience of interviewing these individuals, my own personal desire to grow in my understanding of the world, and the reading that has kind of continued to build my Borges-like library are all connected. My dissertation, which is centered on perception and a desire on the participants’ part to lead education, is related. I may not have made all the connections or discovered the links between these facets of my life, but I am certain that they are not completely divorced from one another. I was reminded of this yesterday during a simple interview with really amazing people.