Dianna Kirk was the Human Resource Director of Danville District 118 when I first met her. I was at that time a first year administrator in a neighboring district. We met at an Illinois Principals Association Region meeting and our friendship began.
In the journey of relationships, building a strong foundation begins with getting to know someone on a personal level. In my experience, taking the time to understand her and her family before she became my boss laid the groundwork for a lasting connection.
Even after retirement, our friendship endures. Her guiding principle of leading with the heart in both life and work has left a profound impact. Considering the human factor and always being a listening ear, she is not just admired but cherished by those fortunate enough to know her.
During a meeting with Superintendent Nanette Mellen Finkle, she expressed that Dianna Kirk stood out as the most exceptional Human Resource Director. Dianna's approach was marked by a genuine love for people, adept listening skills, effective communication, and collaborative teamwork. Her meticulous attention to detail and organizational prowess reflected a purposeful and commendable dedication to her role.
It took me a very long time before I could address her as Dianna. I called her Mrs. Kirk for years even though we were friends. We were professionals and she is respected.
Leaders need to build trusting relationships and need to model for others the importance of each individual they serve.