There's an important (and favorite) passage of Scripture that illustrates and reminds me of the value of communication in leadership. In Nehemiah 4:15-18, Nehemiah records:
"When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me."
As Head of School, I love the value Nehemiah places on communicating with those he is leading. He makes no apologies, nor justifies his actions; he just keeps the man who sounds the trumpet with him to communicate with those building the wall.
Besides basic email, we have multiple digital venues through which we try to communicate and interact with our Veritas community. None of these are meant to replace human interaction, but they are helpful in the interim between meetings. And, as long as we're careful that the technology serves us (and not the other way around), why not use these amazing tools for the Kingdom?
- Veritas Classical Academy website – this is our public face, but there's an important Community tab for enrolled families that's always worth checking
- RenWeb parent portal – this is the main platform for parents, students, and teachers to connect on assignments, announcements, and other academic details
- The Nuntius (Messenger) – this is our weekly email that goes out every Friday with highlights from previous weeks and important news for coming weeks
- Constructing the Vision website – this is a public site that showcases our Learning Cottage plans for the future
- Veritas Classical Academy Vimeo portal – this is where we post important videos pertaining to Veritas
- WISE (Walking in Step Educationally) Facebook group – this is our private group for parents to interact with each other over a variety of topics and needs
- Veritas Classical Academy on Facebook – this is our public Facebook presence with general announcements and education links the public might find interesting
- Veritas Classical Academy on Twitter – much like our public Facebook presence, this feed pushes out announcements and links in 140-character increments
- Docendo Discimus Head of School blog – you're reading it – a place I elaborate on topics and issues pertaining to our school and my attempts to lead it well
- WISE Counsel parent blog – this is a public forum where staff and parents elaborate on ideas, insights, and lessons learned in our blended model
To be sure, it's a lot of work to keep up with all of these, and thankfully, I don't have to do so alone. But Nehemiah's example speaks as much as any biblical leader's as to the importance of communication in leading others, so I do need to make sure it happens.
Sure, we still put out some printed mailings here and there, and we've also created and put some quality physical pieces into people's hands about who we are and what we do. But everything is designed to direct folks to our digital communication tools as much as possible. This is where we can most consistently, quickly, and personally (to a degree) connect with folks as we – or they – have need to do so.
We're not perfect at it, and we certainly don't get everything right or always in the timeliest of manners (my personal inbox is currently a sad reminder of this reality), but Nehemiah's example continues to challenge me as we build Veritas.