What is “Leadership?” According to various sources, it’s defined as the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. Throughout history, this term has determined the rise and fall of nations, the success or failure of countries, the wins and losses of teams.
Here at West Ashley High School this year, Leadership Development is our key focus for school success. Our auspicious goal this year is to develop at least 2,000 leaders. Many may ask, why in the name of academic accountability, Federal and State Mandates and Common Core debates would a school principal set sight on targeting leadership?
Over its 14-year history, WAHS has produced an estimated 5,000 graduates who completed their requirements for graduation and moved into the “Real World” prepared to make a successful life. These students studied under a highly qualified teaching staff numbering 130 or more annually that encouraged every child to embrace life-long learning, experience rigorous academic challenges and become the educated generation that we can rely upon for future community success and sustainability. However, many believe our community and country is void of strong leadership today. Therefore, it becomes incumbent upon our school to address this need and prepare our students today to be our leaders tomorrow.
During the 2014-2015 School Year, we want to challenge every member of our student body and staff to focus daily on growth and improvement. We expect every student to set a goal to achieve no lower than an 85 in every class they attempt. We will monitor their weekly progress and celebrate their successes. We expect all our school teams to be committed to achieve victories while proudly representing us all.
We expect our students, staff, parents and community members to rally around the most important mission for our community, the academic success of every student. And we expect all our leaders – adults and students alike – to reflect on each day’s work in order to gain perspective and determine the needed improvement that lies ahead of them. But why would such a process of establishing goals, seeking success, reflecting on performance and demonstrating gratitude be so necessary?
Simply put – because our community, state, country and world need every young person to exercise their leadership talents in a positive, productive manner in order for our community, state, country and world to progress. Here in Wildcat Country – from the Ashley River to the Edisto, from ParkShore to Pierpont, from The North Bridge to Wappoo Cut – our students and staff are ready to learn and lead.
Our mission in education is often complicated with philosophical debates over content and assessment. However, in West Ashley, where Rocks and Razorbacks laid the foundation for success that Wildcats now stand upon, we start this year committed to leadership. Our annual school success will happen because of the work of 2,000 great leaders. Our community success for years to come will be the result of their work as well.
Yours in Educational Excellence,
William L. Runyon III,
Principal of West Ashley High School

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