If you read my articles on a regular basis you know that I touch on the topic of leadership fairly often.

I suppose some of that is attributable to my seventh-grade English teacher (Mrs. Amsden) who was always telling us to write about what we know. I can tell you as a 12-year-old farm boy growing up in rural Minnesota (that means I only had 12 other classmates), the list of topics wasn’t great and this writer didn’t spend a whole lot of effort to increase his knowledge base. Move 40-plus years forward and it seems I know a whole lot more but still seem to struggle on putting to paper anything worth reading. Having said that - it doesn’t stop my efforts - be it for better or worse.

Being a leader today is hard work and it doesn’t matter what you’re leading. I know many individuals don’t believe they lead anything or anybody, and I will assure you nothing is farther from the truth. There is at least one other person who is watching you and being influenced by your actions - and that means you are a leader. That person might be a friend, a child, a spouse, a sibling, an acquaintance, or maybe someone under your direct supervision, and your words and actions are important.

Advice that has helped me in my efforts to lead is to gather as much information as possible (including information from people or sources you may not particularly like or agree with) and use that to determine if the data moves you in the right direction ... which means you need to know the direction you’re heading (a topic for another day). At ISD No. 314 our mission is to provide service to our community at the highest level. During these tough times, when no decision seems to be exactly right, we collect as much information as we can, evaluate that information, and then, to the best of our ability, execute. While it might not be easy, strong leadership is more important than ever, and although not every decision will be ‘right,’ make those decisions with the best intentions and you are on your way to effective leadership.

In closing I would like to announce Braham Area Schools 2020-2021 Educational Support Staff Award winners. While many community members may easily recognize teacher names, over half of our employees play a more behind the scenes role in areas of support that allow the district to function at the level it does. We could never do it without these 60-plus support staff individuals!

• Katie Becker (Sp. Ed. Para / B.A.S.K. Coordinator).

o Graduate of Cambridge-Isanti High School.

o Sixth year with Braham Area Schools.

o Loves her job because: I love watching the students that I work with achieve their goals and continue to grow throughout the school year. My coworkers are all amazing and make it fun to come to work every day.

• Donna Bryant (Food Service Director).

o Graduate of Pine City High School.

o 11th year with Braham Area Schools.

o Loves her job because: My love and passion in seeing our students every day, and preparing nutritious meals for them each day. My wonderful staff, words alone can not explain their individual and wonderful talent, without them I would not have the amazing team I have. They are all my Rock!

• Mary Wahl (Guidance Office Secretary).

o Graduate of River Falls High School, River Falls, Wisconsin.

o Second year with Braham Area Schools.

o Loves her job because: The interaction with the students and witnessing their successes. The autonomy I have in my job and the endless support from the great people that I am so fortunate to work alongside.

Keep in mind Braham is BIG enough to offer opportunity, and SMALL enough to stand out!

Contact me at 320-396-5199, 320-288-6634, or kgagner@braham.k12.mn.us should you have questions. Follow the district on our website, Facebook, or Twitter at: @Braham_Schools or my own feed @Supt_Gagner.

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