What you need to know:
- The commission knew that I have more than what it takes to take this school to the next level.
- This school’s best days lie ahead. Please sit back and watch as I transform it.
When the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), in its long overdue wisdom, appointed me the HM (I don’t consider myself acting) of this school, replacing Bensouda, who was nothing but a disaster, it must have considered my internationally recognised, locally appreciated and pedagogically superior abilities. The commission also knew that I have more than what it takes to take this school to the next level.
For the first time since the school was established, it now has someone who is actively thinking about it, and not just having ideas in mind, but also coming up with proper, written plans that, when implemented, will take the institution to the next level. That is what I spent the whole of last weekend thinking about.
As always, I called my brother Pius for advice on how to go about putting an organisation on the path to success.
“That is very advanced of you, Dre,” he said, adding that most HMs he knew were running schools in a kienyeji manner. But before we could go ahead, he asked me if the school had a vision. “Do you also have a mission? What of a motto?”
I asked him the difference between the three.
“A Vision, Mission and Motto are what make a school great,” he said. “You have to start there.”
I still did not get the difference.
“The three are not so easy to differentiate. Vision is your long term dream, mission is your short term goal, while motto is the school’s guiding principle.”
I believed that I had understood the explanation but when I tried to discuss this with a few of my staff members, it was clear we were all confused.
I went back to Pius. “I am not surprised, even many CEOs in Kenya can’t tell the difference between their company’s Mission and Vision,” he said.
He gave me a few examples: “Alliance High School’s vision is Strong to Serve, while Starehe’s Mission is Natulengee Juu.” He said that was the reason the former students of these two schools are successful.
I said I liked the two mottos and he encouraged me to consider them so that in 10 or 20 years’ time, Mwisho wa Lami Primary can be praised just like Alliance and Starehe.
I also did some research and after more consultations, I settled on the school’s Vision, Mission Statement and Motto; which you will all agree with me that they will take this school to the next level.
School Vision: Strong to Serve
School Motto: Natulengee Juu Zaidi
Mission Statement: Mwisho wa Lami School, The Place to Be
This is what I presented, for approval, in my inaugural staff meeting as HM. As expected, Kuya was the first to oppose. “It is a good idea to define our motto, our vision and such, but copying what other schools have is joking,” he said.
Before the meeting, I had engaged Lena and Mrs Atika (both of whom believed I would appoint them acting HM. They were ready to defend me. And they did).
“Maybe you are right, Kuya, but where do you want us to copy from if not from other schools? Hospitals? Churches? Mortuaries?” asked Lena. “We must benchmark with other schools.”
“Who doesn’t know where these statements have been copied from?” Kunya asked. “We need to be original, guys.”
Alex asked him to mention the schools we had copied from, and Kuya named the two institutions.
“If it is Alliance and Starehe, then we are on the right track, we are ambitious,” said Alex. “Or you want us to copy from Nyakemincha School or Ebuchinga Secondary? I support this proposal.”
“Please do not misunderstand Kuya,” said Madam Ruth. “All he is saying is that we can have ambitious statements without copying other schools.” With that, she confirmed to me that she was on Kuya’s side and therefore killed any prospects of being appointed acting HM. My eyes told her so.
On the school mission, Kuya said: “It sounds great, but it is meaningless.”
“What do you mean it is meaningless?” asked Lena.
“Can you come up with yours we see?” Mrs Atika said.
“Your job is always to criticise, you never come up with anything new,” added Madam Ruth, who must have noted the look I had given her, and was keen to win my confidence back.
“That is not what I was saying,” said Kuya. “I mean that these statements are meaningless if we do not live by them.”
“You are right Kuya,” I said. “They are meaningless if we don’t implement them. But compare that with not having them at all, as has been the case. We are better off with not fully implemented aspirational statements than without them at all!”
When it came to voting only Kuya and Nzomo opposed the statements. They got approved and the next day a painter inscribed them on one side of the school wall. Below them we added: Conceived & Conceptualised my Mwalimu Andrew, Senior HM: 2021 – 203_.
Next was to discuss the school’s strategic plan. I formed a committee of four to work on it and report back in two weeks’ time. It was made up of Kuya, Mrs Atika, Lena and Alex. Earlier, I had given Mrs Atika a five-year strategic plan for Alliance Girls that Pius had forwarded me to. The instructions were for the committee to just make minor adjustments to it.
“Let us be original, think international, while acting local,” I told them, “Remember to be guided by our Inspirational Vision, Bold Motto and Cutting Edge Mission Statement!”
This school’s best days lie ahead. Please sit back and watch as I transform it. In six months’ time, it will be totally different!