Female leaders have positive impact on young minds

Leadership is the act of leading a group of people or an organization. Nowhere does it say one must be a certain gender to be a leader. With every new school year brings new faces, new roles, new ideas, and new leaders and women are well-represented in the R-IX district classrooms.

  Currently 155 female staff members work for the Warsaw R-IX school district. That’s including custodians, cooks, teachers, aids, bus drivers, and an assistant principal. According to Forbes, “The Role Model Effect: Women Leaders Key To Inspiring The Next Generation,” “In areas with long-serving female leaders in local government, the gender gap in teen education goals disappeared, due to the fact that girls had set higher goals for themselves.”

  School board president Tracey Spry has been a board member for five years and feels that female leadership is important for students in today’s world to see everyday.

    “I think students can look at strong female leaders and realize that with hard work and dedication they have a world of possibilities, women today can be anything they want to be,” said Spry.

  Spry is in the middle of her second term as school board president.

  Senior student body representative,Taylor Bunch, has been highly involved in extracurricular activities and has always looked to female leaders in her life on how to lead in her own way.

  “Every school district is filled with hundreds of young female minds. In a town as small as Warsaw especially, it is crucial to make it known to these young minds that anything is possible, no matter your gender. Young girls should have good female role models to look to whenever they need,” said Bunch.

  Growing up in an environment were female leadership was prioritized and prominent has shaped how leaders today are leading others.

  “I had a very good mother who helped lead me in a good direction everyday. My mother led by example. She didn’t just tell to do the right thing, she lived it. I also had very good teachers who truly cared about me and my future and that helped lead me to the career path of education,” high school principal Danny Morrison said.

  Morrison has been at Warsaw for two years as vice principal and currently principal.

  In a new generation, women are more prominent in the workforce and holding jobs that would previously be filled by a man.

  “For me personally, it is finding my voice. I have learned this year to question respectfully and discuss things that are important to me, our teachers, and our students. I can see the importance of learning from others and taking their knowledge and applying it in other situations. To be a good leader you’ve got to be a good participant in discussion as well as a good listener,” Ruth Mercer Elementary assistant principal Shannon Deckard said.

  This is Deckard’s first year as assistant principal..

  Board member, Brandy Fajen, has been serving on the board for five years and thinks both male and female leaders can learn from one another.

  “I think it is vital to have both male and females in leadership. Leadership is the act of influencing and directing people to achieve a common goal. Time and time again, researchers find that diversity of thought leads to better problem solving! When we collaborate with people of different genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and race, we all become better leaders,” Fajen said.

 Women today are becoming more prominent throughout school districts, holding their own, and trying to make their thoughts and ideas heard.

  Superintendent Shawn Poyser has been at Warsaw for three years and has seen a great advancement in female leadership among administration in education.

  “I definitely think we have a strong female leadership presence,” Poyser said, “I had several female teachers, but it was rare to see a female secondary principal or superintendent, but that’s not the case at all anymore. In fact, I have hired four female principals in just the past five years. I had a superintendent meeting in Warrensburg, and I probably saw more females superintendents than ever.”

  School districts choosing to make female leadership a priority gives female students encouragement for the future.

  “I think it’s a really good thing. It makes me feel valued and capable. My hope, though, is that ‘male leadership’ and ‘female leadership’ can eventually just turn into leadership alone. With a proper balance, the gender-based leadership will hopefully be a thing of the past. Whoever the most fit leader is, they should always command the situation, regardless of gender,” said Bunch.