One of Jeff Eakins’ first actions as acting superintendent of Hillsborough County schools was to introduce a new organizational chart. Please, don’t stop reading.

I know org charts are terminally boring, but hang with me. Considering the events that led Eakins to rise from deputy superintendent, changes clearly needed to be made around the county school house.

So, here’s what he did.

“We literally flipped the organization chart over,” he said. “Now, the kids are on top and everything else is under them. We have to visually do that in order to get the message across about servant leadership. It’s not about power. It’s not about authority. It’s about serving.

“We talk about balancing the head and the heart. Leadership needs to be from the heart, and when you start with that foundation you can build a stronger structure.”

If you’ve spent much time in the corporate world, you probably had some leaders who said essentially the same thing. Maybe they meant it, maybe they didn’t. The test of Eakins’ time at the top — er, the bottom — of the school structure will be in how well he gets that message across.

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