When my first child was born, I remember counting her age in the number of days, even well into her first year. The newness of her, of me being a mother, that was worthy of counting in short increments. This is my seventh week as PEJE’s Executive Director; I am still counting in short spans as the newness remains fresh. Each day brings learning and opportunity to consider whether the benefits of change outweigh the resulting disruptiveness.
As an organization dedicated to ensuring the Jewish future by empowering the Jewish day school field, PEJE has embedded a norm of a weekly D’var Torah rotation. We believe that every staff member, regardless of seniority or religious belief, has a worthy perspective to offer.
Recently, Solomon Flax, PEJE’s Program Assistant and Logistics Manager, and a graduate of the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, offered a D’var on B’haalot’cha that compared change with transition. He taught that change happens to us, whereas transition encompasses change and demands that we integrate the emotional and intellectual implications of a change. The exodus from Egypt was a change. But to achieve transition and be ready to enter the Promised Land, our ancestors needed 40 years of desert wandering.
Similarly, our schools undergo change at the end of every year. Students and their families graduate or may move, teachers and administrators may be promoted or leave, board members cycle on and off (and if no board members are leaving this year, you are losing out on new networks and fresh perspectives). Every change, every ending produces ripples of loss or joy or often both. As a school leader, what do you need to do not to just change but actually transition to building a stronger organization?
A deliberate transition requires time to listen, assess, and absorb the implications of change. Then, guided by your core values, wisdom, and knowledge of the risks, you may then determine your goals and create a plan to achieve them. As Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Most of you have just ended school. The strategic among you are thinking about the planning you are doing this summer not only for next year but also for the years ahead.
Over the last several years, after listening to our stakeholders, PEJE sharply focused our goal – it is nothing less than empowering schools to create a vibrant Jewish future. How do we do that? Our board, our funders, and our professionals are all working together so that PEJE can deliver “best in class” programming to strengthen your governance, your annual campaign, your endowment, and your enrollment. We are here to support you as you transition your school’s sustainability and affordability from good to great.
Endowment building is part of that transition. Do not miss the opportunity to be part of the North American day school endowment movement. June 30 is the deadline for schools to apply to PEJE’s proven endowment-building program, Generations, and be selected for one of 12 spots in the next and last group of schools to receive this kind of comprehensive support to increase your endowment. Click here to learn more.
As you listen to your stakeholders, assess your risks, determine your goals, and create plans to achieve them, PEJE is here to support your success.