Monthly Archives: March 2013

Interview with Mark Scharenbroich

The following is a Q & A exchange between Mark Scharenbroich and me.


Mark Scharenbroich

Mark Scharenbroich is a fabulous resource of ideas for educators, leaders, and anyone interested in personal growth. I first heard Mark speak when he was a keynote at the Oklahoma state student council convention hosted at Skiatook High School two years ago.

Then I met Mark again when he addressed the gathering of 2012 NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year award recipients in Washington D.C. last April. Last summer our superintendent, Rick Thomas, used Mark’s book, Nice Bike, as a source for leadership training. Continue reading

3 Tips for Making Each Day Count

Recently I heard a great interview with Robert D. Smith, author of 20,000 Days and Counting.

He explained the epiphany he had at 55 years of age when he calculated his years and realized he had lived 20,000 days. In his book, he shares the lessons he has learned along the journey and encourages others to make the most of their time.


image from

During enrollment last year, I addressed a group of 8th graders who would be attending my school. I reminded them that at the high school level, most of them begin their journey here at age 14, having lived approximately 5,000 days.

By the time they have reached 6,500 days or 18 years old, they will graduate from high school–1,500 days to make some of the most important choices that will affect the rest of their lives. Continue reading

Motivation by Wonder and Purpose

A good friend and fellow principal, Lydia Wilson, from Bixby Central Elementary, wrote me recently after reading my last blog post.

Laughing Zoe by: airenmin license: Creative Commons 2.0 (by-sa)

Laughing Zoe, by: airenmin. Creative Commons Photo

Her response is a good reminder of the deep satisfaction that comes when we have the right motives for school leadership. She writes:

Ultimately, there is no satisfaction in work if there is no balance in life.  

It does not mean that I don’t still experience heart-wrenching moments in this job, infuriating frustrations, or great losses filled with sadness. Continue reading

Staying Focused During Difficult Times

The other day, I had someone tell me, “I would never want your job.”

Optical Illusion (student work used by permission)

Optical Illusion (by student Daniel Eckenfels. Used with permission)

On the one hand, that may be true. Sometimes the negatives can be overwhelming.

When it comes to the part of my job involving student discipline, for instance, I have conducted hundreds of suspensions for drug/alcohol violations, fights, and weapon violations.

I have administered literally thousands of other discipline actions for offenses like truancy, harassment, obscene language, driving violations, bus violations, thefts, vandalism,  computer hacking, and just about every other teen misbehavior you can imagine.

I am not alone. All principals manage a myriad of student and personnel issues, complaints, custody disputes, Facebook and texting dramas that involve both students and parents at times. We counsel students wanting to drop out, those grieving over deceased parents, and ones afraid for their safety at school or at home. Continue reading