On an early school day morning at Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School, professional development is underway. Principal Sue Jean Hong is observing classroom sessions when she notices a few teachers sneezing and coughing. She leaves the room and returns with tea oils to assuage the teachers’ symptoms. The teachers are genuinely stunned and grateful. They are not used to being served by their bosses instead of the other way around; but at Green Dot Public Schools this is an intentional practice meant to drive focus on students. Instances like these are frequent at Ánimo Inglewood and an example of how school leadership creates a balance between high-quality, dedicated, and servant leadership.
The Essence of Leadership
Each member of the administrative team at Ánimo Inglewood completed the Green Dot Public Schools’ intensive Administrator in Residence (AIR) Program, making them unique in our network because they can draw on this shared experience. The AIR program emphasizes leadership and a culture of reflective practice. The program’s coaching and effective mentorship supports professional growth and reinforces Green Dot’s core principle of lifelong learning.
To be a leader at Ánimo Inglewood means educating the members of their team through words and actions, and encouraging others to set aside self-serving behaviors in favor of serving others. When a school’s administration embodies these qualities, it impacts the entire school culture. We know that school culture can greatly influence student success, and is a core part of Green Dot’s approach. We specifically seek to create small schools where administrators will know all the students, personally coach and mentor the entire teaching staff, and foster links to parents and community leaders.
The leadership team at Ánimo Inglewood builds community by acknowledging the importance of a collaborative, supportive environment, and by emphasizing service to others. Part of this practice is through intentional and informal opportunities for coaching or support, beyond the traditional observations and performance evaluation sessions. Throughout Green Dot, leaders seek to ensure that educators feel successful, empowered, and appreciated — a passionate and high quality teacher is the one who can have the most impact on a student and achievement. This purposefully helps build a culture of service in every part of Green Dot, from the classroom to the principal to superintendents.
The leaders at Ánimo Inglewood take personal responsibility for the communities in which they work and the people who live in them. They are sympathetic to the needs of others and often do more than required to meet those needs. Most importantly, they put their whole hearts into every one of their tasks and support their community with a smile.