Monthly Archives: July 2015

Interview with Deborah Gist

The following is an interview between Deborah Gist and me.


Photo credit:

Deborah A. Gist is the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. Previously, she was Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. Before coming to Rhode Island, Deborah served as the first State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia.

She began her career in education 26 years ago as an elementary-school teacher in Fort Worth and, later, in Tampa, where she conceived, designed, and initiated a literacy program serving families in 108 elementary schools in Hillsborough County.

Deborah is a graduate of Memorial High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Continue reading

Take Time To Recharge Your Batteries

Last week I heard Dr. Adam Saenz speak at Oklahoma’s Engage Conference when he said, “Only when you find satisfaction in the totality of life can you really enjoy your calling.”
School leadership is not just about the to-do’s of management and leadership, it is also intimately connected to how you invest your time inside and outside of school.

For the next couple of weeks I am purposely “going dark” to enjoy time with family. We’ll enjoy unplugging and just spending time together.

Sharing A Song With You!
One of the other joys in my life is music, and sometimes I’ll use my downtime to create or record a new song.

So in the spirit of summer vacation time, I wanted to share a song that I wrote a couple of years ago, when we visited Crested Butte, Colorado. Click on the play button above to listen. Continue reading

Choose To Run The Race Anyway

This past weekend, our oldest daughter, Emily, had signed up to run her first 5k with her younger sister who ended up unable to run it with her.
When I drove Emily to the race downtown, I could tell she was a little overwhelmed with the crowds, the music, and the loudspeakers. She looked at me at nervously.

“How about I run it with you?” I asked.

“Can you do that? You’re not registered.”

“We paid for your sister’s registration,” I explained. “And I have her race number. I’ll use it.”

I was already in my running shoes, so I locked all our stuff in the car trunk. I kept my phone in one hand, and held the car key in the other for safekeeping. Soon we were lined up with hundreds, the gun sounded, and we were jostling along city streets, keeping pace with one another. Continue reading

A Visit to the Capitol: 4 Lessons in Advocacy

Last week I had the privilege of attending NASSP’s summer advocacy conference for State Coordinators along with our state association President-Elect, Renae Dozier, from Grove, Oklahoma.


Renae Dozier, OASSP President-Elect and Principal Grove High School

Renae and I spent a full day visiting our representatives and/or their legislative staff to ask them to simplify federal oversight and bring the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to the floor for a vote.

If ESEA passes, public schools may actually see some relief from the more burdensome aspects of No Child Left Behind and/or its waivers. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has published a short summary detailing what parts of the House and Senate versions that it supports or opposes. You can see it here: ESEA Issue Sheet 2015. Continue reading