Mr. Stack's Speech at the NHS Inductions on 5/1/2014

Good evening. Tonight I have the honor of speaking to all of you on leadership, one of the four pillars of the National Honor Society. First and foremost, congratulations to the students who sit on this stage tonight. Your induction into this organization is a testament to both your dedication to your academics and your character as well as your commitment to lead and service your community.

Leadership is, perhaps, my favorite of the four pillars to speak about. Over the years, I have spoken on all of them but usually my boss behind me gets the nod to speak on this one. Today is my lucky day! By my job title at Sanborn, you would hope I have learned a thing or two about leadership. Luckily, I have! I consider myself a life-long learner, as I hope you do too. I can honestly tell you my view on leadership has changed over the years as I have grown both personally and professionally. I have taken my inspiration from the leaders who have positively and negatively impacted my life over the years.

You, as new national honor society students, have already been given opportunities to be leaders. Leaders are found in classrooms, in clubs and activities, on the sports field, at church, at work, or in a variety of other formal and informal places. Leadership is in your blood, and as you grow and develop you too will start to discover more about what leadership means to you.

Tonight, I offer you four pieces of advice on how to become a better leader:

1. Set your core values and stick to them.

Core values ground you. They help you make decisions. They help others know what you stand for and also what you won't tolerate. People who know me best know that my core values include being student-centered, being fair, and being consistent in all that I do. Leaders have to make tough decisions. When I am faced with one I go back to these ideals and use them to help me make the right decision. I may not always please everyone with a decision I make, but I know people will respect me as long as that big decision is consistent with my core values.

2. Lead by example. Others will follow.

If I had to pick one quality that I hope my own four little boys exhibit when they are your age, it is this one. I want them to be confident enough to be leaders and not followers. It is that self-confidence to do what s right that makes leaders so inspiring to follow. Think about it: How many of you would stand up to a peer who is treating another peer negatively and take action? A leader would. How many of you would stand up in front of your peers and support a cause, even an unpopular one, because you know in your mind and in your heart that it is the right thing to do? A courageous leader would.

3. Be a team player.
Great leaders are not one man or one woman-shows. They have a support network – a team of leaders and supporters whom they rely on to advance their work and their mission. A good leader knows how to be a team player and use that team wisely. In my own job, I consider myself fortunate to be a part of a great administrative team that is leading this school district to new and exciting places. I rely on my team members, and my work is their work. It is our work. Without my team, I am but one individual, limited in my ability to do anything effectively.

4. Reflect often.

Great leaders take the time to reflect on their decisions and their work in an effort to foster continuous improvement. Whether reflection is a process you do by yourself or with others, it is important. As a leader, in life, you will have to make many decisions. I am here to tell you that you won’t make every decision right the first time, and that is ok. Through reflection your decision-making will get better, and over time you will find that you make the right decision far more than you make the wrong one.

All of you sit here on this stage tonight as our future leaders. I believe in all of you, and I hope you believe in yourselves. Congratulations on your honor tonight. Keep up the good work!


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