Superintendent McGown Joins Four-Star General, other Leaders on National Leadership Panel
Hundreds of education leaders from across the nation tuned in earlier this week to learn from a panel of experts in leadership on what it takes to lead successfully during uncertain times.
The panel, titled “Leading Schools in a VUCA World: A Conversation with Gen. George W. Casey & Texas Superintendents,” was arranged by the Texas Association of School Administrators & The Holdsworth Center.
VUCA is an acronym that gained prominence after the U.S. Army War College started using the concept to describe the more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous multilateral world perceived as resulting from the end of the Cold War.
During the live-streamed panel, Dr. McGown shared what she has been expressing to her leadership team.
“Something I’ve been sharing with our leaders is that the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ have changed, but the ‘why’ has not,” McGown said. “And even though we are investing a lot of energy into the logistics of opening and staying open, we always have to keep our focus on the learning because that is our ‘why.’ That’s the joy of being a public school educator, getting to create access and opportunities for all students.”
Dr. Lindsay Whorton, president of The Holdsworth Center, helped moderate the panel, which also featured Dr. LaTonya Goffney, Superintendent of Aldine ISD and Dr. Art Cavazos, Superintendent of Harlingen CISD.
The panel was co-moderated and anchored by retired four-star General George W. Casey, Jr., who shared about the strengths and skills needed to lead with agility during these VUCA times.
“As a leader, you have to have a plan to provide a focus for the organization,” General Casey said. “That plan becomes the basis of pointing the way ahead. Of cutting through the uncertainty.”
After sharing his experiences and wisdom, General Casey began moderating the panel by asking the panelists what they’ve been focusing on.
“What I’ve been focusing on are the words of noted educator and leader Vicki Phillips who said ‘always keep a direct line of sight to the classroom,’ ” Dr. McGown said. “Taking time to spend in classrooms listening to teachers about how they are processing this new learning and teaching environment is so important. Our teachers are moving the world forward for our kids.”
Dr. McGown, who closed her statements by sharing her belief that “public education is at the core of our democracy,” also thanked General Casey for his role in protecting our great nation.
“I appreciate all of you thanking me for my service, but let me flip that around,” Casey said in his closing remarks. “Thank you for your service and what you do, because building the type of country that we all want the United States of America to be starts with an educated population. These young men and women that you are teaching are going to be the future leaders of tomorrow.”
General George W. Casey, Jr. enjoyed a 41-year career in the U.S. Army following his graduation from Georgetown University. He is an accomplished leader and an authority on strategic leadership. He led the U.S. Army from 2007-2011 and is widely credited with restoring balance to a war-weary Army and leading the transformation to keep it relevant in the 21st Century while engaged in two wars. Before this, he commanded the Multi-National Force –Iraq, a coalition of more than 30 countries, where he guided the Iraq mission through its most challenging days.
He is currently serving as a Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership at the Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and lecturing internationally on leadership to the leaders of national and multinational corporations and at other business schools. He also lectures on International Relations at the Korbel School, University of Denver. He serves on several corporate boards and numerous boards of organizations that support our servicemen and women, our veterans, and their families.
Thanks to our partners TASA and The Holdsworth Center, who journey alongside us not only for our students but also for our nation, for inviting Dr. McGown to serve alongside them in this critical conversation.
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