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Educational Leadership

Dealing with Principal Isolation and Wellbeing

Perry Rush
June 6, 2024

Tui Tuia’s Principal Wellbeing Programme is a sustained programme of learning, collaboration, and connection. This work has rigour and creates the conditions to address many of the unique challenges principals experience in their work.

Perry Rush
Programme Director and Stakeholder Engagement

In the wake of collective concern about principal wellbeing, it has been a joy to have established the first cohort of Tui Tuia’s Principal Wellbeing Programme. This has seen 28 principals throughout the country participate in a programme of learning and collaboration that started in February of this year. The key components of the programme are:

  1. Resilience Workshops led by the acclaimed Dr Sven Hansen from the Resilience Institute.
  2. Facilitated Professional Learning Circles (PLCs) with small groups of principals that meet regularly with a focus on developing knowledge about wellbeing and applying it in the workplace.
  3. Expert-led wellbeing perspectives were prompted by significant leaders such as Professor Melinda Webber, Professor Peter O’Connor, and Dr Lucy Hone.

The facilitated PLCs are led by a talented group of current and former principals—Brenda Martin, Marian Caulfield, Martin Turner, and Sean Bailey.

I am proud of this mahi. It represents a personal investment by each participant to understand what wellbeing is and how it can be better enabled in the life of a principal. Some of this insight has been brought forward by Dr Sven Hansen, facilitators, and the expert community, but much has been prioritised through the collaborative engagement of principal participants in the PLCs. This is often where the real learning occurs because it is personal, situational and meaningful.

2024 Cohort 1 PLC Themes

I want to share some of the themes identified by the current cohort so you can see how powerful the PLC work is:

  • Exploring leadership efficacy and effectiveness because it has a direct impact on wellbeing.
  • A focus on building connection across the principals participating in the PLCs –connection is a strong determinant of health and wellbeing. Building connection helps to reduce and eliminate isolation.
  • Goal setting and action planning – encouraging principals to go beyond the ‘academic view’ and put wellbeing strategies in place, and then sharing progress and impact.
  • Making links to the Leadership Capability Framework – principals’ reflecting on and building their wellbeing is a key responsibility outlined in the Framework.
  • Exploring our ‘Circles of Control’ (Stephen Covey, Julia Aitken) as a means of empowering ‘responsive’ rather than ‘reactive’ defaults/habits and being able to see proportionality in issues principals face—as a means of enhancing their wellbeing.
  • Exploration of notions of Cognitive Behaviour Theory, Ladder of Inference, and Cognitive Reframing, which are all designed to alleviate and assist participants in making sense of stressful situations.
  • Working through the practice implications of Impulse Control, Attention Control and Emotional Agility, all highlighted in Dr Sven Hansen’s Resilience Institute modules.

I am most proud that Tui Tuia’s Principal Wellbeing Programme is a sustained programme of learning, collaboration, and connection. This work has rigour and creates the conditions to address many of the unique challenges principals experience in their work.

Please enjoy listening to the perspective of Paula Wine (Woodstock School), a principal participant in the first cohort. She shares some wonderful insight into the value of this work.

Register for the next cohort

The second cohort of this 12-month programme is now enrolling for a start in term 3. Principal wellbeing funding can be used to fund this opportunity.

If you are keen to be involved, then we would love to hear from you.

Either click through on the link below to enrol or send me an email if you wish to discuss your participation with me.

Improving principal wellbeing must reach beyond taking time away from work to alleviate stress. It must focus on establishing the mindset, tools and strategies to function in a way that sustains wellness.

I hope you are inspired by this opportunity.

Enrol here learningcircle.co.nz/pld/principal-wellbeing.

Perry Rush
Perry is the Programme Director for Education Leadership, and leads stakeholder engagement to ensure Tui Tuia understands the needs and priorities of our key stakeholder groups and how we might support them around their professional development endeavours.
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Dealing with Principal Isolation and Wellbeing

In the wake of collective concern about principal wellbeing, it has been a joy to have established the first cohort of Tui Tuia’s Principal Wellbeing Programme. This has seen 28 principals throughout the country participate in a programme of learning and collaboration that started in February of this year. The key components of the programme are:

  1. Resilience Workshops led by the acclaimed Dr Sven Hansen from the Resilience Institute.
  2. Facilitated Professional Learning Circles (PLCs) with small groups of principals that meet regularly with a focus on developing knowledge about wellbeing and applying it in the workplace.
  3. Expert-led wellbeing perspectives were prompted by significant leaders such as Professor Melinda Webber, Professor Peter O’Connor, and Dr Lucy Hone.

The facilitated PLCs are led by a talented group of current and former principals—Brenda Martin, Marian Caulfield, Martin Turner, and Sean Bailey.

I am proud of this mahi. It represents a personal investment by each participant to understand what wellbeing is and how it can be better enabled in the life of a principal. Some of this insight has been brought forward by Dr Sven Hansen, facilitators, and the expert community, but much has been prioritised through the collaborative engagement of principal participants in the PLCs. This is often where the real learning occurs because it is personal, situational and meaningful.

2024 Cohort 1 PLC Themes

I want to share some of the themes identified by the current cohort so you can see how powerful the PLC work is:

  • Exploring leadership efficacy and effectiveness because it has a direct impact on wellbeing.
  • A focus on building connection across the principals participating in the PLCs –connection is a strong determinant of health and wellbeing. Building connection helps to reduce and eliminate isolation.
  • Goal setting and action planning – encouraging principals to go beyond the ‘academic view’ and put wellbeing strategies in place, and then sharing progress and impact.
  • Making links to the Leadership Capability Framework – principals’ reflecting on and building their wellbeing is a key responsibility outlined in the Framework.
  • Exploring our ‘Circles of Control’ (Stephen Covey, Julia Aitken) as a means of empowering ‘responsive’ rather than ‘reactive’ defaults/habits and being able to see proportionality in issues principals face—as a means of enhancing their wellbeing.
  • Exploration of notions of Cognitive Behaviour Theory, Ladder of Inference, and Cognitive Reframing, which are all designed to alleviate and assist participants in making sense of stressful situations.
  • Working through the practice implications of Impulse Control, Attention Control and Emotional Agility, all highlighted in Dr Sven Hansen’s Resilience Institute modules.

I am most proud that Tui Tuia’s Principal Wellbeing Programme is a sustained programme of learning, collaboration, and connection. This work has rigour and creates the conditions to address many of the unique challenges principals experience in their work.

Please enjoy listening to the perspective of Paula Wine (Woodstock School), a principal participant in the first cohort. She shares some wonderful insight into the value of this work.

Register for the next cohort

The second cohort of this 12-month programme is now enrolling for a start in term 3. Principal wellbeing funding can be used to fund this opportunity.

If you are keen to be involved, then we would love to hear from you.

Either click through on the link below to enrol or send me an email if you wish to discuss your participation with me.

Improving principal wellbeing must reach beyond taking time away from work to alleviate stress. It must focus on establishing the mindset, tools and strategies to function in a way that sustains wellness.

I hope you are inspired by this opportunity.

Enrol here learningcircle.co.nz/pld/principal-wellbeing.