At Springboard Trust, our volunteers have a singular focus: improving outcomes for principals, schools and students in New Zealand.
But underneath that umbrella, you’ll find four distinct roles that volunteers take on with us. Today, we’re going to break down each of those – as well as how you can get involved!
The role of the Springboard volunteer
Generally speaking, our volunteers will partner with principals or school leaders in the context of improving their leadership – while also learning a lot about education themselves.
For the most part, volunteers will begin with Springboard as a Capacity Partner. This means working in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP), forging a deep connection with a principal and helping them overcome challenges unique to their situation.
It requires strong empathy, the ability to listen to (as well as challenge) the principal you work with, and is ultimately a 10-month long construction of an honest, rewarding relationship.
Often, our volunteers will eventually take on the role of Facilitator. Also largely focused on SLPP, this is a key role for the workshops we host throughout the year. Strong facilitation skills are a must, as is the ability to hold – and read – a room filled with individuals forming connections based on trust and vulnerability. Facilitators also do work in our High Performing Leadership Teams programme, meeting with a group of educational leaders all from the same school.
Also in our Alumni Services space are Subject Matter Experts. This is a more tailored role, depending on the work a principal needs to undertake. They might want support during a Talent Management workshop, or require one-on-one assistance getting a unique stakeholder management system off the ground.
Finally we have Coaches, who work in the High Performing Leaders programme. They work through some intensive professional and personal development with principals, helping them understands strengths, needs and to chart a path forward as both a person and a leader. We also have a specialised version of this role, the Impact Coach, who works in our Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals Programme. Committing to this programme for 12 months, they work with a New Zealand principal based in a remote area for block courses, building structure thinking and providing support both in-person and remotely.
Who can become a Springboard volunteer?
Typically, Springboard’s volunteers are senior or middle leaders in their organisation, with solid experience in either a leadership, coaching or facilitation environment. Strategic planning knowledge is a bonus, but not necessary. As many volunteers have stated in our interviews this week, the core of volunteering with Springboard isn’t necessarily knowing a lot about education or strategy – it's about helping a principal become the best version of themselves.
Working with principals is one of the most rewarding experiences a volunteer can have. You forge connections with those in need, make a new friend for life, and get to give back to the most important part of our communities – schools.
If you’re interested in becoming a Springboard volunteer – or think your organisation might be a good fit to partner up with us in this regard – please get in touch with us!