In an article for the Spring/Summer 2023 edition of the Fintona File, Rachael Falloon writes on leadership at Fintona through the lens of the School's ethos and vision, 'Inspiring learners who lead'.
‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’ – John F. Kennedy
Leadership at Fintona is not limited to the role of Principal, or the Heads of School or Faculties. In every classroom, on any given day, our teachers lead as they impart their knowledge and guide our students. Every Fintonian also leads through the way they inquire, collaborate and innovate in their learning.
Leadership, rather than titles or badges bestowed on individuals, is about a ‘collective’ with similar values and aspirations working towards a common goal. At Fintona, our common goal is delivering the best possible education through rich learning environments, opportunities and experiences that enhance student confidence and critical thinking. Our vision is ‘inspiring learners who lead’.
From Junior School through to Senior School, there are endless opportunities for students to lead. While the democratic application process for designated leadership roles requires students to be articulate and eloquent, their actions are ultimately the most important element. To lead is to practice empathy, compassion, gratitude and have a well-honed sense of self. Whilst having a title bestowed upon one is an achievement, most students without a title are practising good leadership by simply caring for others, being inclusive, and by upholding the ethos of the School.
Running parallel with leadership, is positive role modelling. In education and the wider world, this is vital. We know that adolescents who have access to positive role models have higher self-esteem, better academic outcomes and are less likely to engage in risky behaviours.1
While exemplary role modelling is expected of adults in our school community, this is something that is learned, rather than being inherent. Our young people learn through their observations of us; the way we speak to and treat others, how we respond in demanding situations, and how we problem solve. Leaders and role models show a commitment to the values and goals of an organisation; are respectful; and make decisions to influence the best possible outcomes.
Fintona is brimming with parents, teachers, and staff more broadly who role model what it means to confidently lead with empathy, compassion, gratitude and humility. We are well positioned to develop our young people to become the change makers of the future who will contribute significantly not only to the life of the school, but to their local communities and beyond, and lead with distinction.
The School Ethos
A Fintona student can be recognised as one who faces her life with the simple belief that to live is to learn. In every endeavour, she aspires to do the very best she can. She is able to learn and work independently, yet enjoys the opportunity for interdependent and collaborative work.
She holds secure moral principles and beliefs, believes in a healthy body, whilst remaining attuned to the intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions of her being.
As a communicator she is poised and confident, is largely self-directed but will ask for help if needed.
For her, the pursuit of excellence is assumed, not contrived, and she knows this innately. We hope that she accepts her limitations and believes that within those limits she can be inspired to make a difference.
She nurtures a love of tradition and heritage whilst maintaining a positive vision for the future. She is protective and proud of the School’s reputation and her own and aspires to be truthful and kind in her interactions with others.
Her outlook is optimistic and global, essentially because she is tolerant and believes in the inherent decency of all people. She tries to look upon others as individuals rather than a crowd and is respectful of difference.
Like all people, we hope she understands that she has her faults, yet she also reflects on her own behaviour. In all aspects of her life, she eschews what is vulgar and mean-spirited, and directs herself to what is good and noble.
Age Quod Agis
1. Yancey, A.K., Siegel, J.M. and McDaniel, K.L., 2002. Role models, ethnic identity, and health-risk behaviours in urban adolescents. Archives of paediatrics & adolescent medicine, 156(1), pp.55-61.