Category Archives: School

PMP 050: The 5 Marks of a Learning Culture

After living in Oklahoma for more than twenty years, I’ve become keenly aware that our state’s economy is intricately related to oil and gas.

Photo by ScoRDS – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/61005109@N06


In addition to our rich Native American heritage, almost every major city or town in our state has its roots in the oil fields and exploration that brought workers who in turn brought their families and built communities.

A lot has changed over the decades, but for those who work the rigs and fields today, they can tell you that drilling and production can still be very dangerous work. When managing parts and machines under tremendous pressure, one mistake can be fatal.

Recently I was listening to The New Norm, an episode of Invisibilia, a podcast on the invisible forces, emotions, or psychological influences that affect the way we think or behave.

This episode focused on a story from 1997 when Shell Oil had commissioned Ursa, the largest offshore drilling rig in history. One man, Rick Fox, was assigned the task of assembling and training a crew who would manage a floating multi-story complex the size of two football fields. His biggest fears? He worried a lot about the inevitable injuries or deaths that could take place in metropolis of such high-pressure engineering—where a misread gauge or a wrong turn could be unimaginably catastrophic. Continue reading

PMP 049: Why Self-Control Matters–5 Benefits for Leaders

A couple of months ago, I enjoyed some special time away with my son, Jack.

Photo by Instant Vantage – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/44312356@N04

He had turned 11, and when his older sisters reached that age, my wife took each of them away for a special weekend. Now it was my turn with Jack, and we had fun weekend in historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In addition to just having fun together, one of the purposes of these one-on-one conversations is focused time to talk about life, priorities, and choices.

In a world that offers our children a menu of options everyday, I wanted Jack to understand that his choices must be based on something greater than what is convenient or fun in-the-moment. We talked about why it is important to learn patience and self-control…how the benefits of self-denial outweigh the temptations of self-gratification.

When I talked to Jack about how self-denial plays out in the life of a boy his age, I shared an illustration I have heard both from Tim Elmore and Seth Godin in presentations: The “Marshmallow Test.” Continue reading

PMP 047: Interview with Adam Beauchamp, Oklahoma Digital Principal

This is a dual-post including a podcast interview with Principal Adam Beauchamp who shares the digital tools his school is using for enhancing communication.

“Principal Adam Beauchamp presents student award–Enid News: Staff Photo by BONNIE VCULEK”


Adam shared with me via a recent webinar on Communication Strategies that Work. If you want to see the Webinar, you can watch it here.

I’m also including a companion blog post below of an additional Q & A exchange between Adam and me. I am thrilled to share his insights! If you’re interested in interviews with previous guests, you can check them out here.

Adam Beauchamp is principal of Waller Middle School in Enid, OK. He graduated from Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University. He has had teaching, coaching, and admin experience in Allen, Texas; Coalgate, Oklahoma; Rice University, Houston, Texas; University of Tennessee – Martin, TN; and Bixby, Oklahoma, and Enid, Oklahoma. He is husband to Robyn who is an elementary special education teacher and, they have three little girls.

WDP: Congrats on being Oklahoma’s Digital Principal of the Year! Can you share some of the innovative ways you are using technology at your school?

Adam: We received the OETT Grant my first year at Waller and created a video productions studio. In our studio, we create a variety of movies, broadcasts, and short films to highlight our school and students. We also added clubs to our schedule where students get an additional elective course. Students created clubs and several have had a technology focus. Continue reading

PMP:045 Shawn Sheehan “Teach Like Me” (Lessons in Risk, Failure and Wow)

In this episode, I sit down with Shawn Sheehan and talk about the lessons from his life, teaching, and advocacy for education.

Oklahoma Department of Education


Shawn is the 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. He is an Algebra I teacher from Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma.

He is also the founder of the Teach Like Me Campaign, a national movement focused on counteracting negative public perception of teachers and redefining those assumptions through social media campaigns to boost morale among current and future educators.

Questions we explore

In this interview, Shawn answers four questions:
1. How has failure pushed you to re-focus on your priorities as an educator and a person?
2. Why “Teach Like Me”? Why are you so passionate about redefining the public perception of teaching?
3. What advice do you have for educators who are struggling during “tougher” political days ahead for schools?
4. What advice do you have for school leaders to better serve their teachers, schools and communities? Continue reading

PMP:044 How Challenges Help You Grow

I remember my first year of teaching when I walked into a boy’s bathroom that was reeking of smoke.

Photo by Paul Keller – Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/18259771@N00


A couple of boys were standing at the urinals when one of them dropped a lit cigarette at his feet.

I didn’t know his name, but I told him to grab his bag and follow me to the office. All the way there, he was talking.

“I don’t know why you are taking me to the office,” he complained. “It wasn’t me. I don’t know whose it was, but that cigarette wasn’t mine.”

“I saw it drop right at your feet,” I said. Continue reading

PMP:043 Lessons from a Comet Landing (What Can We Accomplish Together?)

The European Space Agency’s historical comet landing of the spacecraft Rosetta in 2014 was an amazing feat I share about in this week’s podcast.

Photo by yasutani – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/96369622@N00


First of all, imagine organizing a team of scientists and space engineers who design and launch a spacecraft with the goal of intersecting with a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth. Then imagine ten years later, your findings show the spacecraft is indeed crossing paths with the targeted comet.

From 500 million kilometers away, your Earth-bound team maneuvers the activation of the spacecraft’s previously inert power source, it orbits around the comet, and it attempts a landing. Continue reading

PMP:042 The Future of Education (A Conversation with Undergraduates)

Recently I was asked to be a guest presenter for an undergraduate education class at Bartlesville Wesleyan University, a college not too far from my high school.

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“What do you see?” Wonder Image Source: wonderopolis.org


At the end of my presentation, I asked four students if I could interview them for a podcast episode.

I had two goals in this conversation:
1. I wanted to hear from prospective educators their motivations, dreams, and challenges in choosing this career.
2. I wanted others to be reminded why investing in training, recruiting, and supporting strong teachers is so essential.

I’m indebted to the generosity of Dr. Jeffrey Keeney for allowing me to present to his class, and to the four students who agreed to participate in this podcast: Shelby Totino of Spearfish, South Dakota; Karley Baker of Fredonia, Kansas; Kelly Tjon of Houston, Texas; and Kirsten Fisher of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

If you’ve ever wondered why we should be committed to investing in education—why we should be finding ways to better compensate teachers for their hard work and dedication to children—then listen in to the responses of these four young people. Continue reading

PMP:040 How Do You Positively Respond to Apathy?

Last week when I was hosting a webinar for school leaders, an overwhelming number of responses were made about the challenges of overcoming apathy.
pmpodcast
How does a leader initiate positive changes when others resist, don’t seem to care, or only comply half-heartedly?

There’s so much to unpack in that question. In this podcast, I try to hit on a few important points.

Listen in for the complete discussion. Here’s a summary of the show-notes:

7 Tips for Responding to Apathy

Continue reading

Brunch & Learn Webinars

As a practicing principal, I need to be practicing.
brunchandlearn
And as much as I enjoy writing, speaking or presenting about school leadership, my primary responsibility as a school leader is serving my school.

So this past summer, I was thrilled when Vickie Williams, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals asked me to partner with OASSP to offer a monthly webinar series on school leadership topics.

Webinars offer the best of both worlds: the ability to connect, share, learn and grow with others while doing so from the convenience of your office computer.

Beginning in September 2016, we launched our first episode on Organizational Leadership, and yesterday we presented on Purpose-Driven Leadership and Goal Setting. Over the course of one school year, we will be covering an array of leadership topics: Continue reading

Becoming Better: How You Influence Growth

Last weekend I traveled with my son, Jack, and his Cub Scout pack to a joint campout with an older Boy Scout troop.
batfish
It was a perfect October weekend: 70’s with sun and breeze; evening temperatures in the 50’s—cold enough that a sleeping bag was the perfect cocoon for tent sleeping.

Although Jack and I have camped a lot, this was my first experience watching a Boy Scout troop at a campout. Throughout the whole experience, the boys were in charge. During mealtime, the senior patrol leader, a ninth grader, separated the group of 23 boys into three groups. Each had their own food preparation area, menus they had created, food they had procured, and tasks assigned.

Whenever the entire group needed to be addressed, the senior patrol leader would call them together, hold up a Scout sign (three fingers), and everyone would go silent as they held up their fingers in response.

That night the boys had a special treat: they were given a tour of the U.S.S. Batfish, a retired World War II submersible boat that once toured the Pacific and survived. Its maiden crew of 80 was confined to tiny spaces where each man played essential tasks: repairing engines, launching torpedoes, radioing signals, navigating with gauges and periscope, or preparing pastries for hungry crew members.

After the tour, the boys were allowed to bunk in the berthing room for the night. Two adult leaders stayed on the boat, but I made way back to my tent. Continue reading