Letter to the Editor from Gray Macklin


Gray Macklin

SIS high school Vice Principal Gray Macklin writes in response to Erin Choi’s article on implementing a follow-through system for club executives.


Dear Editors,

I am writing in response to Erin Choi’s piece on a follow-through system for club executives. One of the most interesting implications of the piece is that it indirectly takes a side in one of the ongoing debates about clubs at SIS: Do students run them or do advisors run them? If there is to be a system of accountability for executives transitioning new executives, who else can oversee that but the advisor? Additionally, such a system also requires that the advisor have an understanding of what constitutes essential knowledge that needs to be passed on. These are not negatives, but they will require some slight change in the student perspective of executives and advisors in club management and leadership.


That leads to another topic the piece opens up for discussion among club advisors and members: the difference between management and leadership. As it stands, a system of accountability that institutionalizes the transmission of knowledge and experience might struggle to find success since, as stated in the article, current executives never had the benefit of such a program. So much energy is spent on management that there is not time for cultivating leadership capacity within the clubs themselves. Most club executives think of themselves as leaders when, in fact, they are managers.  There is a part of a follow-through system that would improve the transmission of management responsibility, but the real lack is in a depth of leadership capacity coming into executive positions.


My biggest concern regarding club executives is actually more in line with the comment in the piece about senioritis. We continue to operate under the false assumption that senioritis is a thing. COVID-19 is a thing. Senioritis is a choice. I hear a lot about passion and commitment during application time and excuses when it is time to actually do something. Commitment is more than a word that looks good on a CV. A leader who has a vision for a club and believes in its mission does not get senioritis. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. If we have executives that shut down at Christmas, then the club and the executive position was only about getting them to the next rung on their ladder. I know we are a bit cynical to take things like mission and vision seriously, but they matter. the biggest thing an underclassman aspiring to be an executive can do is note all of the things they believe to be shortcomings of current club function and start preparing a vision of how to correct them. Then, when given the chance to be an executive, commit to enacting those changes. When the time comes to pass the torch, that executive will not need a system to require them to share their journey. They will do it willingly and hopefully there will be members coming along ready to hear it and build on that commitment.