I am Dr. Laurene Richards-Usher the principal of the Linden Seventh-day Adventist school located in Laurelton New York. On Sunday March 16, 2020, Major Bill Deblasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York declared a pandemic lockdown due to Covid-19 for all public schools and non -public schools. This immediate shutdown brought to a grinding halt the conventional school system, obligating all educational systems to strategically shift to virtual online platform for student’s learning. I am thankful to God for His wisdom and inspiration to guide me into leading my staff into an early virtual platform training for the students and the instructional staff. This early preparation allowed us a smooth transition for the instructional staff, students and parents. As the principal of the Linden SDA school I lead with courage, determination, and empathy towards the community that we serve as an educational institution to maintain the stability and calm in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Leading with influence and optimism allowed the staff to stay empowered in faith to see the big picture and understand that this too shall past. As an institution we were able to keep the students engaged throughout the remaining of the school year. God has been good to us and we celebrate with joy as we educate our students for Now and for Eternity. This pandemic shutdown gave me the opportunity to do some deep reflection with God listening to his voice to find that positive and strong spot within me that will enable me to push forward with determination with the help of God not to look back, but to consistently unpack those strands of strength that will enhance my leadership to be stronger as we get ready to face the new normal whatever that looks like. So, here are some pillars that I anchored on to gain courage and strength:
- Meditation on God’s word daily
- Staying away from negativity and staying positive
- I keep connected to my school staff
- I read empowering books to stay empowered
- I participate in webinar to learn, and I also facilitate
- Staying connected with other leaders
- I have conversations with my young adult children
- I keep connected to old time friends as we communicate and encourage each other.
- I keep an optimistic attitude towards life
- I cook my family favorite food
- Continue to plan for the next school year 2020-2021
- I stay connected to the students and the parents.