HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


From the Desk of Susan Weintrob, RAVSAK President

by Susan Weintrob Issue: Nurturing Leadership
We see leadership every day. As Head of School at Wornick Jewish Day School, I see it in Tamra who is a 3rd grade buddy in Tefillah for Reed, a kindergartner, as she runs her finger along the lines in her siddur for Reed to follow along. I see it when Ben helps his classmate into the office for an ice pack for his knee after his friend fell in recess. I see leadership in the mother who asks us to publicize the request for bone marrow of another mother, who doesn’t even belong to our school community. I see leadership in our young second grade teacher who stays late each night, preparing lessons for the next day. Leadership is responsibility and hard work, which bring tremendous satisfaction and from time to time, when we are lucky, results.

How is leadership nurtured? Those of us in leadership both nurture and are nurtured. This nurturing occurs person by person, in different ways. How do we know how to support leadership in others? How do we know how we as leaders want or need to be supported?

Being on the RAVSAK Executive Board for many years has allowed me to be part of high level discussions about leadership, whether from my colleagues or from national experts. This has been a wonderful opportunity and I thank all of you for this privilege. Reflections about leadership allow us to refine our own style, support the growth of others and construct the process that builds and sustains our schools and organizations. This reflection is not a moment in time, but rather a process of assessment, that all of us are familiar with from classroom practice. We do not grade a paper or give a test and lock in a child’s progress or our own lesson’s excellence for years to come. Rather, we continually assess with diverse tools.

Such has been the process at RAVSAK. The RAVSAK leadership, an Executive Committee of seated heads and Judaic directors, has evolved to meet organizational needs over time, and so, too, has the RAVSAK staff. As you may recall from our Annual Meeting held at the RAVSAK Leadership Conference in January, we have voted in a new governance model to help steward the mission and vision of RAVSAK as it continues to grow and develop. We are now in the midst of forming a pioneer Board of Directors composed of visionary philanthropic leaders working closely with two day school professionals and our Executive Director.

In addition to a new Board of Directors, we will be establishing a robust committee structure wherein lay and professional leaders will attend to the needs of RAVSAK. Standing committees will include Finance, Development, Marketing and Program. We will also be forming a number of working groups including the HaYidion Editorial Committee, a high school committee, and a conference planning group. To nominate a visionary lay leader in your community or to volunteer up your own services, please contact Dr. Marc Kramer at mkramer@ravsak.org.

Genuine leadership provides a vision that gives us meaning and purpose. This vision inspires us to have the courage to support change when needed, to find purpose in our lives and to teach those around us to be leaders themselves. This is the vision of RAVSAK. ♦

Susan Weintrob is the President of RAVSAK and the Head of School at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA. Susan can be reached at sweintrob@wornickjds.org.

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Nurturing Leadership

Leadership is not a job title; it’s a character trait that day schools seek to cultivate in each student and extend to all stakeholders. Starting with Jewish perspectives on leadership, this issue investigates ways to support the leadership of the head of school, recommends leadership qualities to develop among students, and gives guidance for developing leadership in faculty and board members.