2013 marks the end of our season as Circuit Team One of Metro South Education District.

Circuit Team clockwise: Juan, Kay, Helen, Colleen, Pierre, Michael, Irene, Sharon. (Elize not in picture)
This year ended on a bitter-sweet note for our circuit team that has been together for five years and a bit. Four of our team members, Juan, Irene, Elize and Kay will no longer form part of our circuit team. It seems like it was just the other day that we formed our melting pot, Circuit Team One of our education district. There we were, a diverse group with fiery personalities and equally strong world views, bound by a common mandate: to provide effective support services as a multi-functional team to the 37 schools we were assigned.

Our diversity - and quirkiness - could so easily have been the barrier to supporting the schools. And, bureaucratic structures can hinder team building because of its structural hierarchy. Yet, it is fair to say that our team managed to transcend these potential threats largely because of the relational, progressive leadership style of our circuit team manager, Juan.

He advocates relationship-building as foundational and thus dialogues and various forms of communication were actively encouraged in all our spaces. We share information freely via e-mail, social media and of course, meetings of all shapes and sizes. We would discuss, debate, argue and share any issue that was put into our space.

Even we became tired of our protracted meetings, blaming one another for labouring issues ad nauseum. In our circuit, knowledge isn't seen as a private commodity.  All voices were seen as equal and we would not take for granted that we had common understanding.

And yes, there were times when tempers flew, tears flowed and passive resistance posturing took place, but this is what happens when one tries to reach genuine consensus. Often our district colleagues  would ask Juan how he coped with all of us - given our high energy, our boisterous natures and our inquiring minds. Just their very question shed some light on their attitude to robust debates and possibly their discomfort with having to respond to and to mediate such academic spaces!

As time passed, we strengthened our relational culture, we deepened our levels of accountability and we set our standards higher for ourselves as a collective and for our schools as part of the circuit-schools partnership. We had our ups and downs, but our commitment to the team and the schools kept us grounded and focused. That is just the way it was with our team.

Now at the end of this school year, our circuit team has come full circle and it is time for renewal. In a profound way, the exit of our four team members, has responded to the call to "make the circle bigger". As Juan and our other colleagues spread their wings to become influencers in other parts of the province, we wish them well.

The life-enhancing lessons we have learned and the experiences we have gained as individuals and as a corporate group, are nuggets of wisdom we will cherish and share liberally.


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