This article was contributed by Margaret Kaplow, NCEA Public Relations Manager.
Attendees at the Institute for Catholic School Leaders (ICSL) participated in an opening retreat led by the Leadership and Professional Development teams. The Spiritual Leadership Retreat is designed to help principals, pastors, presidents and board members build trust, encourage unity and increase productivity in their schools and among their staff.
Jesus’ message to his disciples was clear…leadership was to be first and foremost an act of service. The retreat focused on how to lead like Jesus. Using the book, The Servant Leader: Transforming Your Heart, Head, Hands and Habits, by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, as a guide the Leadership and Professional Development teams led nearly 90 attendees in a two and a half hour retreat. The foundation of the retreat involved understanding the connection between the internal (heart and head) and external (hands and habits) domains of leadership. In short, when these domains are aligned, extraordinary levels of loyalty, trust and productivity result.
The Leadership and Professional Development teams themselves followed the retreat outline last November and spread it out over several months. Their goal was to be able to facilitate it at the institute already experienced in and centered on the servant leadership concept. The teams led the retreat and remained true to the central theme and goal to trust Jesus as the example to follow in leadership.
The following is the opening prayer of the Spiritual Leadership Retreat:
Vision of a Servant Leader by Jacquelyn Gusdane, SND
Let it be known to all who enter this office that, as servant leader, I seed to proclaim the person and message of Jesus. My hope is to live my faith fully and to share it freely. While acknowledging my ongoing need for conversion, I trust in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
As the spiritual leader, I, with our school community, desire to give witness to our call to become an evangelizing, educational community. May all of us experience our school as sacred space where we can encounter Jesus, seek truth and pursue justice.
In the name of this Catholic community, I accept with joy and love, my baptismal call to carry out the missionary mandate given to me by Jesus:
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”