Inspired by Collaborative Leadership at Hill-Murray 

We are using the bi-weekly President’s Perspective to highlight each Pillar of our new Strategic Plan: Go Boldly. Two weeks ago, we introduced the first Pillar, Transformational Learning. This week, we delve deeper into the second Pillar, Collaborative Leadership.

When you compare high-performing and agile schools, one common thread is they are led by administrators and board members who foster collective leadership within their school community. They bring educators, faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni together to discuss, debate and ultimately find consensus and solutions to the myriad of challenges and opportunities we face in education today.

This approach is in contrast to how many schools operated in the past. Those schools had leaders who kept their decision-making process within a very small circle. Being told what to do without any input and influence is the opposite of the collaborative leadership style that Hill-Murray values and our students will experience when they graduate and go out in the world.

Leadership is not a role, but rather a relationship. We know that true leadership does not reside in a title, but in an individual’s ability to form influential relationships and drive positive change and promote innovation.  Jesus’ ministry on earth was based in relationships. He inspired people to grow in faith and come to know God by entering into humanity and sharing his life.  In many ways Jesus’ example of collaborative, relationship based leadership provides us with a model that honors the dignity of the person and helps our students deepen their sense of belonging at Hill-Murray.  

In the next six years, collaborative leadership will define our working relationships and help propel our school to the next level. At Hill-Murray, we value open communication, cultivating connections, accountability for shared goals, sharing of diverse viewpoints, and clarity of roles and responsibilities. 

H-M President Melissa Dan (at podium) leading a discussion this week on business leadership with H-M alum Jim Weber and past Foundation Chair Carl Casale.

These values are hallmarks of a high performing Catholic school and are attractive, energizing and empowering for current and prospective faculty, staff and students. 

We know that if we want our students to have strong confidence and self esteem, it doesn’t magically materialize in school but relies on their family, faith formation, life experiences and very much their school’s culture. As a Catholic school, we will continue to collaborate with our families to instill a strong moral compass and accompany them through life’s lessons with faith, humility, and integrity.

HM senior, Brendan Bonin, recently reflected in his speech at our All School Mass, “I do know what I have and what we all have here at Hill-Murray.  I have friends and acquaintances that care about me and have similar interests and values. I have staff that cares about my schooling and my development as a person. I have coaches that care about my athletic development, but also my character. I have a community that tries its best to make everyone belong. I have a school that gives me a great education and prepares me for adulthood. Most importantly I have a place where I don’t have to be afraid to say I love Jesus Christ.”

The Hill-Murray Brendan describes in his speech (read the full speech here) is an environment where we collaborate and support one another to ensure every student graduates as an inquisitive, resilient, compassionate leader grounded in the teachings of Christ.

Throughout my career, I have worked for a variety of leaders, and those who brought out the best in me were always those who were humble and collaborative. I am committed to providing this form of leadership for Hill-Murray because I feel strongly that it’s the best for our students and our entire community.