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Leading into the future: Spirituality, Discernment, and Leadership among heads of schools
By Father Joaquim Fernandes SDB
Mumbai, Jul. 5. Eighty-five school Principals from Maharastra attended a conference on educational leadership organised by the All India Don Bosco Education Society (AIDBES) in association with the Salesian Province of Mumbai at the Don Bosco International School, Matunga, Mumbai on June 25.
Father Lorenzo D`Souza sdb, Dr. Francis Vincent Anthony sdb, Dr. Chris AM Hermans, Ms. Pooja Kadam and Father Maria Charles sdb.
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An online survey conducted by AIDBES recently revealed that the Transformative Leadership pattern is high among the school leaders of Don Bosco schools in India. The result pointed out that school leaders have a high level of discernment and also a sense of collaborative leadership.

'Leading into the Future: Spirituality, Discernment, and Leadership among Heads of Schools in India' was the theme of the Mumbai conference, where two eminent speakers, Dr. Chris AM Hermans, from Radbound University Nijmegen, and Professor Dr. Francis Vincent Anthony sdb, Salesian University Rome, delivered the keynote addresses.

Dr. Hermans focused on the topic 'Good Education, Transformational Leadership and the Gift of Discernment', while Professor Anthony focused on 'Spiritual Antecedents of Discernment and Transformational Leadership'.
Father Godfrey D'Souza sdb, Salesian Provincial of the Province of Mumbai welcomed the gathering of the Principals and speakers of the day and wished them all a fruitful discussion towards leading and transforming the lives of the children under their care.

Dr. Hermans addressed the gathering first and stressed on the importance of the need for transformational leadership in the education sector. Research among school leaders in Salesian schools recently brought to light that in order to grow in transformational leadership, school leaders needed to grow in decision making on the basis of the gift of discernment.

Professor Anthony, in his address, said that the research among school leaders in Salesians institutions prove that higher performance of transformational leadership is influenced by the following antecedents: the gift of discernment, and spiritual traits, spiritual capital, and spiritual experience, besides some antecedents, referring to personal and contextual features.

Father Lorenzo D'Souza sdb, ex-Principal, Don Bosco School and Junior College, Dakor, Gujarat gave the response to the talk by Dr. Hermans and Pooja Kadam, assistant teacher, Head of Science Faculty and Head of Academic Council, Don Bosco High School, Borivli West, Mumbai gave the response to the talk delivered by Professor Anthony.

''This conference though it sounded very theoretical in nature made me look within myself with a sense of wonder for the type of leadership and experience and genuine need for charismatic and transformational leadership I am called for,'' Father James Tuscano, Principal, Co-ordinator, Don Bosco Vidyalaya, Savedi, Ahmednagar, said.

Preema Noronha, Principal, St. Xavier's Boys' Academy, Mumbai added, ''The eminent resource persons Dr. Chris Hermans and Prof. Dr. Francis Vincent Anthony enabled me to know and understand how something so profound i.e. discernment can be made a way of everyday living in order to be a transformational leader in the present times in life, at work and in every situation I find myself in.''

''Generative dialogue will help us to understand our stakeholders in a better way,'' Sister Margaret Sequeira, Principal, Canossa High School, Andheri, concluded.
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