NSW Branch News

Message from the Branch President, Kylie Lipscombe


Spring has finally sprung. I’m thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and hints of warmer weather to come on my daily walks and hope you are too.

I acknowledge the significant and continuing impact the pandemic has on our learning communities including teachers, leaders, students and parent/guardians. I can particularly empathise with staff with children, and the challenges and their capacity to work from home. The lockdown is difficult for everyone, but many of you are tasked with the job of juggling work, childcare and home schooling, making it even more challenging. For many of you, the school holidays is around the corner. I hope you have the opportunity to switch off your camera, take mini fresh air breaks, go for a walk, have a cry, have a joke, make someone else’s day easier by taking a little longer to listen to them. Whatever you’re doing, however you’re coping, you’re doing the best you can, and we thank you for it.

A highlight of the ACEL NSW Branch is the annual celebration and presentation of awards. ACEL NSW honours those educational leaders who in the view of their peers have made a significant contribution to the understanding and practice of educational leadership. Please join us in celebration at the online awards on Monday October 11th at 5pm. Register here

I look forward to seeing many of you at the ACEL national online conference on September 29-30.

And to conclude, please engage in the special edition written by Joanne Jarvis on the importance of knowing, articulating and actioning leadership with moral purpose.

Special Editorial

This is your time

Joanne Jarvis FACEL (NSW)

It is heartening to witness the vociferous praise of educational leaders during this once in a lifetime pandemic. It is most certainly well deserved. These challenging times require leadership founded on strong moral purpose, visible through the lens of courage, empathy and efficacy.

In education, moral purpose places students at the heart of all that we do; premised on a belief that every child can thrive regardless of their personal circumstances. Never before has a strong sense of moral purpose been demanded of educational leaders as they navigate the complexity of realising this goal. Tributes to their tenacity, agility and principled leadership are testimony to the high regard in which educational leaders are held by school communities and society at large.

Moral purpose is the essence of who we are, what we care about and why we care. As a powerful motivator of, and guide to, our actions, moral purpose arises from personal conviction and a deep understanding of the core values that comprise our inner moral compass.

The term ‘moral purpose’ is familiar to many but its power is perhaps less well understood. A strong moral purpose is essential because it ties us to impact. It underpins the courage that is required to make choices that lead to the greatest impact for students in our care; efficacy to drive improvement in teacher and student learning; and empathy on which to build the relational trust to enable collaborative cultures to flourish.

Fullan (2011, p.4) astutely tied moral purpose to impact when he argued that, “leaders need to support, activate, extract and galvanise the moral commitment that is in the vast majority of teachers.” During these times when we are most tested, educational leaders need to hold and articulate clear values of moral purpose. They need to inspire, excite and motivate others by showing who they are and what they stand for, and bring staff with them, bound by a shared moral purpose that is visible, infectious and inextricably tied to action (Goffee & Jones, 2000).

As educational leaders, we must commit to action the difference we seek for the students in our care and the means by which it will be achieved. As Jane Goodall wisely said, “what you do makes a difference and you have to decide what difference you want to make.” A deep sense of moral purpose will nurture a culture that somehow spurs all of us to find a little more of ourselves and within each other, than we thought possible.

In poetic words in the last stanza of ‘This is your time’, William Ayot, reminds us of the importance of moral purpose:

This is your time
For standing to be counted, for being yourself,
For becoming the sum and total of your life,
For finding courage, for finding your voice,
For leading, because you are needed now.
This is your time.

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