Public Relations Today
Jayne Miller By Jayne Miller • March 28, 2016

The Personalities That Put Schools Ahead


Our school communities are built of people. Teachers and principals. Superintendents and heads of school. Class presidents and drama students.

Regardless of how someone fits into a school community - from within the IT department or as a member of the custodial staff - there are key attributes that make teams stronger. These are the players you want by your side. These are the innovators and optimizers who unify your community and set schools apart. It’s worth asking - which one are you?

The Innovator


At a Glance:

  • Connected educator

  • Interested in trying new things/leveraging new tools

  • Risking taking

  • Devil’s advocate

  • Always questioning

The innovator is the person who is forging a new path.

Even when others feel uncomfortable with change, the innovator challenges us to be better and to embrace uncomfortable things.

We need our innovators to push us. These are the teachers who are lobbying for new assessment methods or adopting edtech tools that are a better match for classrooms. These are students who want to shake up curriculum or start new clubs that will cater to student interest.

You know who these people are. It's a missed opportunity to consistently quiet their suggestions - even the stuff that is really out-of-the-box. The key is taking their ambition and finding realistic, pragmatic applications for it.

The Optimizer


At a Glance:

  • Ultimate utility player

  • Takes an idea and makes it better - more realistic than the innovator

  • Huge into teamwork; enthusiasm is infectious

  • Connector of people and ideas

  • Great communicator

Think of the optimizer as your resident jack-of-all-trades. They are also your most reasonable, realistic personalities. These are the folks who work well with others and embrace change, but have one foot firmly rooted in reality. They know how to take a lofty ambition and apply it to a real-world setting. They can see several sides of a debate and communicate clearly between all involved.

Optimizers make things better. These are your mediators and your task-masters. They’ll serve you well if you give them the freedom to connect with lots of different groups and work on a variety of projects. Consider these personalities for leadership roles.    

The Caretaker


At a Glance:

  • Relationship-centered

  • Nurturing; sees school as a community

  • Makes people feel safe, secure at school

  • Encourages; the ultimate cheerleader

  • Supports risking-taking

As much as teams - and communities - need to be pushed, they also need to be cared for. Our caretakers are the personalities within our school community that are emotionally intelligent and relationship-centered.

They might not always have solutions for the problems you’re solving, but they make an excellent sounding board. Turn to your caretakers when you need an ear and some encouragement. These are the educators who push students to pursue passions and the colleagues who always ask how you’re doing at the end of a long week.  

The Worker Bee


At a Glance:

  • Dependable

  • The workhorse

  • Great with time management and expectation-setting

  • Will execute an idea

  • Can-do attitude is infectious

When your school is making changes, preparing for huge events, or just managing the logistics of an average week, you need dependable people who can execute. Worker bees are vital to the efficiency of a thriving community. They’ve got a great attitude and are ready to roll up their sleeves and get things done.

Overhauling your library? A worker bee will be one of the first people to show up and start re-shelving texts. These are the PTO leaders who keep the refreshment stand a lean, mean, money-making machine at sporting events or the front office staff who can find a transcript or attendance record in a hot second because they’ve kept the filing system so tight.


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