The National AfterSchool Association is the leading voice of the afterschool profession dedicated to development, education, and care of children and youth during their out of school hours.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Being Succeeded

Dr. Paul G. Young
President & CEO
National AfterSchool Association
Leaders love it when they are needed. It stokes their ego. They love hearing how much they are appreciated. They love hearing comments like "What will we do without you?” “You have big shoes to fill.” “We like you, because you really understand us.” “You really get it!"  But leaders also know that those who say those words aren't likely to remember what they said for very long after they’re gone.

All leaders are replaceable.

My goal as I leave my leadership role at NAA is to futher define professionalism and develop other afterschool professionals so they succeed when I'm gone. Obviously, a major focus of my time and energy will be to work with and support the next association leader, whose official title will be Executive Director. Hopefully, that individual will come to the job with the requisite competencies needed to move forward in a timely manner. Those characteristics and skills will be assessed and determined by the NAA Board of Directors.

Without relationships, there is no association. My job will be to help the new leader review what I’ve done and understand the strategies I have used to build relationships with members. Allow the new leader, as you did me, the time needed to adjust, assess, cast a new vision, and begin in earnest the work of association leadership.

NAA is primed to provide the lead role for the development of high-quality professional development at the national level, which will grow the field. NAA has strategically moved from a focus on program accreditation to one of individual mastery of the essential core knowledge and competencies needed for effective program leadership. Where leaders demonstrate those competencies, program quality is bound to exist.

Although I haven't led NAA for an extensive period of time, I have worked hard to develop other leaders in the field, particularly in their work to connect with school leaders and align programming with the regular school day. That work continues to be my passion. Hopefully, I can continue to play an influential role initiating and promoting key conversations about collaboration, sharing turf and resources, and shaping school leaders’ paradigms of what afterschool is and can become.

Since the meaning of “retirement” means to withdraw and give up work, I choose to think differently about this time in my career calling it a ‘protirement” – an opportunity to be proactive, doing what I want to do when I want to do it.

I look forward to meeting my successor.

Thanks for your support.

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