Thoughts on Terry Fox and Leadership; How have you led?


As another year’s Terry Fox run passes, I’m always left a bit nostalgic. There are a lot of threads in my life that connect to the Fox family; growing up in Coquitlam, attending SFU with Terry’s brother Darryl, doing my practicum in Poco where there’s now a school named in his honor. I still vividly recall being in grade 10, that summer when CBC was covering his run with daily updates, and then hearing the news of his illness and subsequent death. His legacy has made a lasting impression on me, and it percolates through my veins almost every moment.

I often wonder how this man has influenced my own path, now that I am in a position to lead my own school. And I was brought back to this yesterday when my Director of Student Achievement visited our site. We discussed long term vision for me and our school, and my question was “where will we be in June if it’s been a successful year in your eyes?” His answer put it back at me; “Be prepared to answer the question ‘How have you led?'”  Norm Bradley reminded us of this at the UBC Short Course; don’t forget to lead.

I don’t think Terry ever thought he was leading. When you go back and watch the video interviews with him, he was focused on the goal and kept it central. There was a humility and dedication to purpose that’s truly amazing.

This is the context for my own foray into leadership, the noise in the background that colors my personality. If I could even remotely resemble the leadership provided by this fine young man, I’d consider it a day well spent.

“How have you led?”  This is the question that connects my work today with Terry.

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About Ron Sherman

I am the principal of Salmo Elementary/Secondary School, a small rural K-12 school in the Kootenay Lake School District. Happy to be part of the Grand Conversation, moving learning forward and joining with great people every day. Runner, triathlete, skier, blogger, loving husband and father of 2 great boys
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2 Responses to Thoughts on Terry Fox and Leadership; How have you led?

  1. idgardner says:

    Well said, Ron. I don’t have the same personal connection to the Fox family as you, but I certainly do feel strongly about Terry, and the bigger ‘idea’ of Terry Fox. A true leader doesn’t worry about leadership per se, but on the positive impact they can effect on behalf of others.

  2. Denise Lamarche says:

    Hi Ron – came across your blog on twitter. Love this post as we have educated our own three children on Terry Fox and the impact he has made. My 8 year old (oldest) probably knows more about Terry’s legacy than many adults might even know and she continues to follow the Fox Foundation’s work. You’re absolutely right … I’m sure Terry never thought consciously about ‘leading’ – it was the goal he was after, focussed and passionate. I don’t usually respond to people’s blogs but this one resonated with me and my own philosophy of leadership. Great perspective – look forward to following/learning from your work via this fabulous social media connection!

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