Kuhar has been tasked with bringing a culture of innovation to St. Edward High School as its first-ever director of innovation. The school’s former English instructor and chairperson of the film department shifts his class schedule to oversee the school’s new Lowe Institute for Innovation, a $5.5 million space that serves as a base for everything from engineering to prototyping to writing workshops.
We’re not just bringing about a culture of innovation. It’s more of a need to infuse the school’s history, its Catholic identity and commitment to Holy Cross gospel values into the DNA of a school that’s fully committed to teaching to the future.
All facilitation of high-tech is ultimately human-to-human. We’re embracing 21st century technology but bringing the spirit of patience, hospitality and kindness to the teacher-student interaction.
There’s a misnomer that innovation equals technology. Invariably, students always come back to that human connection. That’s where a lot of the joy is. And a thousand of those little moments happen during the course of a year.
You have to be humble enough to listen to a student’s voice. You have to be willing to say I’m not the expert today. Sometimes that pays off in big ways.
I’m a director, but it’s really a service-oriented role. I’m literally doing anything I can to help every department, doing anything that needs to be done to help my brilliant colleagues make their classes as interesting as possible.
We have really robust programs that are still going to be relevant 20 years from now. Students are getting relevant skill sets that they can dig into, but they’re also getting personal skills that go back to the values the school was founded on.
Leaders have to be willing to embrace a kind of scariness. I’ve learned that if you put in the hours and are passionate about what you’re doing, it will come together, letting there be a significant amount of student voice in the process.
We’re building the bike as we’re riding it. Google wasn’t built in a day. Apple wasn’t built in a day. We have to be willing to listen and be persistent.
Fast failure is a buzzword right now. We’re encouraging students to focus on the process and be reflective. If you fail, the failure itself is not a bad thing.
It’s really humbling to serve my peers and students and to sit with their fears, desires and dreams.
I have a deep responsibility to make sure I’m noticing what’s around the bend and helping students feel like their lives start right now.