Monthly Archives: January 2016

In Praise of American Educators: Review Part I

As educators in my own state of Oklahoma continue to face pending cuts to school funding, and as advocates of public education attempt to remind their neighbors that our schools are worth the investment, it is a good time to look at the facts.
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In the next few weeks, I’d like to post some reflections on Richard DuFour’s ground-breaking In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better, where he explains why the general public’s perception of schools is generally so poor, and why the reality of your local school experience may dramatically contradict those perceptions.

In just the first two chapters of the book, he provides piles of evidence that contradict the common assumptions that American schools are failing. He cites at least 69 sources to show how these assumptions are both deeply held and deeply flawed. Continue reading

PMP:06 Focusing on the Positives

School leadership is not for the weak-kneed or thin-skinned. But no matter how long you are in leadership, it is still easy to feel overwhelmed.
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In this podcast episode, I share some of the more difficult moments school leaders face. Then we explore specific actions you can take to keep perspective on the positive elements in your school community.

You can check out the original blog content for this episode HERE. Continue reading

Facing the Unsustainable: 5 Ways to Respond

There are many things I love about the state of Oklahoma: the open sky, painted sunsets, small towns, and grass prairies.
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There’s such unique beauty in the art deco of Tulsa’s downtown, the brilliant sands of the Great Salt Plains, the rambling hills around Poteau, or the deep caverns and red crags near Woodward.

If you’ve been in Oklahoma for any amount of time, you’re also familiar with the quickly changing weather patterns here. It’s one of the reasons our favorite NBA team is the Thunder.

Most of all, I enjoy the people: a mix of native Oklahomans whose histories are woven with cowboy legends and proud Native American heritage. Like most places, mobility has transplanted the rest of us here for reasons of work, school, family, or a slower-pace of life.

And I’m also an admirer of our schools. Not only have I spent the last twenty-three years in schools around the Tulsa area, I’ve also had opportunities to visit many others across the state. I’m proud of the quality of life Oklahoma provides for families, and the quality of schools our children attend. Continue reading

PMP:05 Caution Lights for School Leaders

In Episode 5 of Principal Matters Podcast, I share “Caution Lights For Your Leadership Journey.” Principal Matters Artwork

Learn lessons from my earliest years in school leadership and how burning out almost led me to abandoning the profession. Discover ways to refocus your priorities so that you can lead with effectiveness and fulfillment–without burning out! Continue reading

PMP:04 How Your Story Influences Others

In Episode 4 of Principal Matters Podcast, I share some of my own background growing up in rural West Tennessee.
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Learn how your own story can inform and influence your leadership today, and how thankfulness is a powerful motivator for giving back through helping others.

Here are the shownotes for Episode 4: Continue reading

3 Secrets for Maximizing Moments this New Year

During Christmas break, my brother Jesse, and I took a long walk behind our parents’ house. He showed me places where they had cleared fields and brush–adding more pasture to the acres where the cattle graze.

Photo source: Wikepedia

Foxfire Photo Source: Wikepedia


As we made our way through sage brush and into openings where green patches of winter fescue grew, he pointed out a line of brush piled up near the clearing.

“You ever seen foxfire?” he asked.

“No, I’ve heard the word but never thought about what it means.” Continue reading

PMP:03 Purpose-Driven Leadership

In this podcast episode, I share some helpful research on how business strategy is more profitable when you understand the meaning in your product.
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How does this relate to education? And how can school leaders benefit when you take a closer look at your own motivations?

This audio post was originally based on my blog post Purpose Motivated Leadership.

Here are show-notes for Episode 3: Continue reading