Tomi Kay Phillips

Tomi Phillips
Learning Log

Tomi Kay Phillips

Report date
June 2018
Fellowship term
24 months
Learning log 2

My Leadership development has grown immensely within this past year. I have been a part of a Doctoral cohort in Educational Leadership and Administration and have completed one year. There are things that I have learned in my program that I wish I had known when I was a School Principal. However, I believe that we can only learn the lessons from our past and move forward. Being a part of the Doctoral cohort and being around true scholars has been truly gratifying and invigorating. Being able to work with critical and creative thinkers has been validating to me personally and professionally. Being able to work with such compassionate thinkers has been encouraging and validating. Discussions and planning with leaders who value the input and thoughts of others is empowering. My network has grown and now includes many other professions other than educators. I continue to learn more about my own leadership skills. The personal growth that I am experiencing will enhance my leadership abilities and will support efforts to make positive changes in my community.

My Leadership development has evolved from instructional leadership to transformational leadership. There is so much more to being a leader than just being an instructional leader and leading by example. I have come to realize that leadership is simple and at the same time complex. Being a leader, you have to be able to present yourself with a strong presence. Part of my growth was realizing that leadership comes from within. You have to have a solid understanding of yourself and you have to be self accountable. You have to truly know yourself first before you can effectively lead anyone else.

My leadership development will continue to grow as I set a clear path for myself and holding myself accountable to meet personal goals. The self confidence I have now is greater than it ever has been. The type of leader I will continue to strive to be is one that is encouraging, motivating, and with a positive, growth mindset.

The Bush Fellowship has afforded tremendous opportunities to develop my leadership abilities. I intend to continue my growth as a strong leader by continuing to develop my communication skills. One of my goals was to become more comfortable with public speaking. While I was a Principal I was able to lead large groups of staff and have fun doing it. I am able to speak in front of crowds but get quite nervous. My goal is to enhance my communication skills and become a more confident, effective speaker. This past year I did a lot of reading, communicated with classmates, and listened to podcasts on engaging your audience. I had the opportunity to speak at a graduation reception for my son. I had not intended to speak as I knew it would be an emotional time for me. I had speakers lined up to share stories and give encouragement to my son and the other graduates. Well, before I knew it I was sharing and speaking to the large group. I didn’t even cry! Somewhere I read that you need to be strong in your mind then it would be easier to not get emotional. A friend of mine, who also had a graduate, came up to me after and told me she wouldn’t have been able to speak without crying. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I have made progress in my public speaking . I have learned that public speaking is an art form. I plan to continue to work on my public speaking and look for opportunities to cultivate this art form.

A large part of my growth this past year is really taking the time for self care. In my culture we are taught that one must take care of your self first. If you cannot take care of your self, how can you take care of anyone else. Before the fellowship I thought I was pretty good at self care. I have realized self care means more than just taking care of the physical body. I have become more aware of what I put into my body not only in the form of drinking and eating but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The key is to maintain a balance physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Of course, this is all easier said than done and it takes daily work and reflection. I realize how important and essential self care is in the development of personal and professional growth. I have made a lot of little changes that have added up to make big differences in my life. I remain truly grateful for the gift of my Fellowship.