"Summer, a Time for Renewal" by Maria Leahy

Maria Marsella Leahy is a doctoral student in the Educational Maria LeahyLeadership College of Education at the University of North Carolina  Charlotte

“Life is an endless unfolding and, if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves.” (Gardner, 1994).

Summer is here for many administrators and teachers in North Carolina. This means a time of renewal. For teachers who are with children so much of every school day, it is a time to catch up on their own lives: doctor appointments and home repairs and organization. For administrators who are busy with meetings, observations and student issues, often into the evening hours, it is a time for long-term planning with (mostly) uninterrupted time and wrapping up projects that were started during the busy school year. For both teachers and administrators, it is also an opportunity to carve out time for professional and personal growth by attending a class, reading articles and books, and/or attending professional development and conferences. Research shows that there is a high correlation between professional growth and retention of educators.

Summer is a time for self-renewal. John Gardner’s article, Road to Self-Renewal (1994) is a good place to start. According to Gardner, self-renewal allows the opportunity to “unlock potential” and better understand oneself. For many, it is finding passion and using one’s potential to achieve a goal that one is passionate about.

As educators take that greatly needed break from the hectic school year, they need to think about their passions. Why are they here? What do they hope to affect? Each person, each experience, each talent comes together to make a difference.

Take a minute to read Road to Self-Renewal; maybe it will have an effect on your path. “The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you.” (Gardner, 1994) John Gardner, Stanford professor and writer, wrote about organizational renewal. The article discussed is taken from a speech given by Gardner in 1994 based on his experiences. Although it was originally written over twenty years ago, it holds true today.


Gardner, J. (1994, March). Road to Self-Renewal. Stanford Alumni Magazine. Retrieved on http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/aaker/pages/documents/JohnGardner-RoadtoSelf-Renewal2.pdf