Tag Archives: Principal Matters

PMP:077 Four Tips for #DadsAsPrincipals

I’ve noticed a group of principals trending on Twitter lately using the hashtag #dadsasprincipals.

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And my friend Daniel Bauer recently interviewed a group of these dedicated dads at last month’s National Principal Conference. You can hear their talk here.

These dads have picked up on the #momsasprincipals movement they saw happening among their female colleagues, and they wanted to encourage one another as dads to stay as invested in their own children as they were to the ones in their schools.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fatherhood this week because my oldest daughter just went to college. Continue reading

PMP:076 Messaging Matters–How to Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students and Reach Communities

Last month, Justin Baeder, from Principal Center Radio, invited me as a guest on his show to talk to me about my new book Messaging Matters: How to Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students, and Reach Communities.

He was gracious enough to allow me to repost the interview here. Here are some takeaways from our conversation:

Why is messaging so important?

In every setting of school, amazing learning and moments are happening every day that not a lot of people know about. In the humility of our service as educators, we are often hesitant to brag about our schools. On a national scale, this has created a crisis with a political landscape that now assumes most schools are failing. How can we make a commitment to celebrating the positives so often that those moment drown out the negative ones? Continue reading

PMP:075 Learning from Mistakes with Jon Harper

Reflection is such an important part of growth — whether that involves your own growth or the growth of your school or team.

Jon Harper from BAM Radio’s podcast “My Bad” is a school leader who explores how our mistakes can teach us important lessons.

In this interview, we explore how reflecting on your own mistakes is a powerful way to lead with vulnerability and authenticity.

Jon Harper Bio

Prior to becoming an administrator, Jon served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman’s Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.  

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

6 Powerful Takeaways

Here are some topics we explore together: Continue reading

PMP:073 Three Takeaways for Your Leadership Journey

Recently I was speaking to school leaders at Okaloosa County Schools’ Summer Leadership Academy in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

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I decided to combine my travels there with an opportunity for my family to stay at the beach. My wife and I loaded up all four kids in a Dodge Caravan, and we hit the road. We had a lot of fun putting our toes in the sand, playing in the waves, and just being together.

It takes 13 hours to reach Ft. Walton Beach from our town in Oklahoma. So we also had lots of time for thought, reflection, music and podcasts. We also had much to talk about as a family. My children have always known their dad as either a teacher or school administrator. And this past week after I made the announcement that I will be the new Executive Director for OASSP and OMLEA, there were lots of conversations about how the new job may affect our lives and schedules. Continue reading

PMP:072 Predicting Your School Climate

Sometimes my left elbow aches. I have a scar there from when I broke it falling from a horse almost twenty years ago.

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When it starts hurting, I can usually be certain the weather will turn stormy. My aching elbow reminds me of another story. When I was a boy, I often helped on my Granddad’s family farm. His brother was my Uncle Jimmy. One day Uncle Jimmy and I were driving in his pick-up truck. The windows were down, and I was hanging my arm out of it and playing in the breeze as we rumbled down the gravel roadway.

As we passed a nearby pond, the cattle were gathering around for watering, and two calves were prancing about the field, butting heads and chasing one another. Uncle Jimmy pulled the truck to a stop and nodded that direction.
“See those calves?” he asked.
“Yes sir.”
“There’s a storm coming.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.

The skies were blue, the weather warm. (This was long before the days of GPS or Smart-phones.) “Whenever you see calves acting like that, you can be sure there’s bad weather on the way.” Continue reading

PMP:071 Daniel Bauer Interview – How Masterminds Help You Grow

School leader and podcaster Danny Bauer shared a conversation with me about his education journey as well as how leaders are collaborating together to keep growing personally and professionally.

Danny “Sunshine” Bauer is the founder of Better Leaders Better Schools and facilitates weekly mastermind groups to support leadership growth. His podcast has hosted a hundred highly effective school leaders who share best practices for other leaders.

Listeners are welcome to grab all his free resources and listen to his podcast at betterleadersbetterschools.com!

Takeaways

Here are highlights of topics we explored together: Continue reading

PMP:070 How Your Brain Resists Change

When I was in high school, my dad reenlisted in the Navy and we moved to New York where he was stationed while his ship was in dry-dock.

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For a country boy from West Tennessee, New York was a culture shock. I remember being so afraid to speak because I didn’t want others making fun of my southern accent.

One day I was standing in front of grocery store in Brooklyn when a man stopped to ask me what time it was. I realized I was wearing a watch and he wasn’t. So I just held up the watch without saying a word and let him read the time. Continue reading

PMP:069 Entanglement & Why Messaging Matters

Invisibilia is a fascinating podcast about the invisible forces that affect us without us being aware. In a January 29, 2015 episode, the reporters narrating the episode were talking about a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

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They began by describing a physics experiment where scientists have been able to isolate particle atoms in separate locations, change the motion, and cause the two separate atoms to react to the change at the same time in separate locations.

That’s right. In one experiment, an atom contained in a box four feet away from itself in another box was demonstrating simultaneous responses in both boxes. These atoms are not mirror images of one another; this research suggests that they are one another. Separate but one: a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. Charles Q. Choi from Live Science explains that scientists theorize entangled atoms may stay connected even if a universe a part!

Scientists are able to explain how to make this happen, but they are still unable to explain why this is possible. Continue reading

PMP:067 Wrapping Up Your School Year—Planning for Summer Break

Occasionally my wife will remind me when it’s been awhile since I’ve cleaned out my closet.

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So I’ll take time to sort out what I don’t need anymore. I can easily fill a couple of trash bags with items to donate to the local Goodwill store.

Summer break is a great time to “clean the closets” of our schools. I’m not talking about literal closets (which can also be helpful), but I’m talking about issues, priorities, goals, and conversations that have been neglected as you have been finishing a school year.

We just finished another school year at my high school. We wrapped up curriculum standards, graduated seniors and hired new teachers for next year. Many people ask me what I do with my summer break. The short answer is: I prepare for next school year. I often tell others that leading a school is like landing a cruise ship. When you finish one tour, you spend the break restocking for the next launch. Continue reading

PMP:063 Reflecting on Regrets & Rewards

I was listening to an interview between Daniel Bauer and Jethro Jones the other day on Daniel’s Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast.

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Daniel asked Jethro, an Alaska principal, “What is one of your regrets from your time at your school?” I really liked Jethro’s response because he focused on how relationships were such an important part of his work, and he wished he had been able to better bridge the gap with some of his colleagues.

As important as it is to celebrate our wins with students, it is also a good reality check at times to reflect on where we wish we could improve. Continue reading