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Glenna Stone

EdLd 651: Ethics in Leadership

Personal Code of Ethics Paper
My road to leadership has been far from perfect, but along the way Ive learned a lot
about where I stand ethically and the type of leader I want to be. I will take you with me through
my journey from my childhood to my current job to showcase who and what events developed
who I am as a leader and ultimately shaped my personal code of ethics.
As a third generation public educator, I knew the perks and the pitfalls of becoming a
teacher; Id seen it first hand. My parents struggled financially to provide the best of the best for
my brother and I. Both my mother and father worked two jobs and my mom constantly picked
up overload classes throughout the school year as well as J-Term or January Term classes
during winter break. My parents taught me about work ethic and how important it is to
constantly work towards something and to never settle. Growing up, I heard from both of them,
If you want to make a decent living in education, go into administration. Wed never be able to
do it, but youve got the determination to do it, Glenna. I never thought I would get into a
position of leadership, but looking back on multiple events in my childhood, it did seem that I
had a knack, at a young age, for taking charge, leading and organizing. Leadership as a career, at
that point, seemed overwhelming and something far from what I wanted to do.
Imagine this, a predominately white high school in a small town in Southern Wisconsin,
in a progressive district with a woman principal during a time in history where our Governor was
persecuting teachers for our political beliefs and choice of career. This was my first full-time job
experience at Burlington High School. I pushed through the scrutiny of becoming a teacher and
completely redid the FACS program to the point where I tripled enrollment numbers for the next

year. I had no help, as I was the only person in the department, and the previous teachers
lessons, curriculum and ideas had been thrown away due being old and outdated. I was on my
own and I made it a point to make things better and prove that FACS was not only valuable but
also necessary. Ethically speaking, I used the ethics of profession to guide what I felt would
meet both the students needs and administration as well. Simply put, I made my job my life and
much to the dismay of my personal life, the sacrifices just seemed worth it to me. In the end, the
principal asked me to fill out an idea of what I wanted to be taught, in what order and what new
classes I would want to come up with for the next five years. It was my first year teaching and I
was already making leadership decisions based on the work I had done. That was the first time
administration crossed my mind as a possible career.
My next job was at Mankato East High School, which was the complete opposite in the
demographics to Burlington, and I stayed for two years. This job opened my eyes to a new
culture and new experiences with race, religion and 42 languages different from my own. I again
reformed the program with not one piece of paper or lesson to guide what I should teach and
almost tripled enrollment. In the first year, I saw there was a disconnect between the teachers,
the administration and the students. For the first time in my life, I saw a race war begin in the
hallways where I taught, I heard students tell me, Youll never understand, and None of you
care about me. I took a step back from my lesson book plans and started to re-evaluate what
life was like around me. I started to think that maybe my job wasnt just about teaching my
students how to cook, about nutrition and the importance of money management but about
giving them someone who cared about them. I started to ask myself why are things like they are
here at East? How can I change how my students think and feel not only about their FACS
classes, but about their feelings toward school in general. How do I make them feel genuinely

cared about, listened to and understood? How could I make their lives better than when they first
walked into my classroom? How could I be the voice to the students that didnt feel cared
about? It was that exact moment that I finally realized I do have the mind of a leader, of an
administrator, and thought it would be a good fit. Now knowing the four paradigms, I was
thinking through both the lens of ethic of critique and ethic of care. I remember walking into the
teachers lounge on the first day of teacher workshop my second year there. A few veteran
teachers grabbed my class list and saw a students name on the list, Walabu, and after about ten
minutes of hearing their stories, I was terrified of having this student in my class. He was labeled
the worst student in our school, and that he wont give a shit about you, your class or what
you say, just fail him and move on. I went home that night and decided that maybe, just maybe,
Walabu was one of those students that didnt feel cared about, listened to or understood. I was
determined to make a difference in the worst kid in our school. I made it a point that semester
to connect with him, to change his perception of school through care. In the course of many
arguments, one-on-one conversations, tough love when he walked into my class high, attending
his football and basketball games and ultimately showing him that there is someone at this
school that cared about him and his future, change happened. Walabu didnt fail my class; he
participated, turned in his work and told me he wanted to make me proud, and the next year I
was chosen as his hero for the Hero Appreciation Football Game. In the end, some of the other
worst kids in the school followed suit as well, like Blaze, a special education student with a
reading disability whom I met while reading standardized testing prompts to. He wanted to
become a chef but no one ever knew because he never spoke up, came to class or listened until
he enrolled in my ProStart class after a conversation with him that started awkwardly as a Hi,
how are you doing? from a FACS teacher determined to make a connection. The ethic of care,

in my opinion, can be far more powerful than any other; it just sometimes means we have to get
over our ego of power in order to make a difference.
Lastly, in my journey to where I am now, is my mentor, Dave, the principal at Prior Lake
High School. Ive taught at Prior Lake for two years now and plan on sticking around for as long
as theyll have me. Dave has expressed to me through both conversations and evaluations, that I
have the heart for leadership. Hes encouraged my education in administration and often pushed
leadership opportunities my way. Dave has shown me the insides to leadership that can only
happen through dialogue with someone whos been in leadership for a long time. He tends to
really push through the ethic of justice and is constantly referring to court cases and laws to
make me understand the background of the decisions hes made. Hes proven to me that
although administration is difficult, its always about the best interest of the students, the staff
and the community and is adamant that his decisions are made in that order as well.
Overall, Ive learned so much about myself by examining the four paradigms and
classifying my life experiences through the ethics of care, justice, critique and ultimately
profession. I see myself as a leader who will consistently see things through the ethic of care
first and with that comes critique, as the decisions I make will never come without questioning
and extensive examination. I see how the ethic of justice will prevail the majority of the time in
the times that we live in, but it will be important for me to, more often than not, counsel staff,
students and parents with the ethic of care while making decisions. Im positive that my
personal code of ethics will change, and I hope that it does, but right now, in this moment, Im
certain that I have a good starting point to serve the best interest of my students. I can only hope
that one day I will reach the ethic of profession and meld all three paradigms into one, but one
thing I do know, is that it will take time, experience and more than anything, personal reflection.