Monthly Archives: March 2016

5 Tips for Advocacy with Students

Advocacy is one of those principal responsibilities that can be both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

Skiatook High School visits Oklahoma State Senator JJ Dossett

SHS visits Oklahoma State Senator JJ Dossett

On the one hand, principals resist advocacy because we want to focus on events in school. On the other hand, when you don’t actively advocate for schools, you often suffer the consequences of decisions made by others who don’t always understand what is in the best interest of students.

The National Association of Secondary Principals is an umbrella-organization for Student Council and National Honor Society. At this year’s annual NASSP Ignite conference, I began thinking about the idea of how principals could better connect these student leaders with school advocacy. Continue reading

PMP:015 Lessons in Leadership from a Champion Racehorse Team

In episode 15, I share leadership lessons from a championship team.
In this case, the team is three men and horse found in Laura Hillenbrand’s classic biography, Seabiscuit. The lessons from this amazing book also apply to any team–including your school teams: principals, counselors, teachers, staff, etc.

To see the original post that accompanies this audio-version, go here.

Here’s a summary of the show-notes for this episode: Continue reading

Flooded Creeks and Life Lessons

When I was a kid, sometimes I would wake up early, pack a small shoulder satchel with a snack, water bottle, and pocketknife, and head off into the woods for the day.

Beech Tree Image: Source

Beech Tree Image: Source

One of my favorite hiking places was the edge of a swampy creek that flowed for miles behind our house. It was filled with lily pads, beaver dams, wandering egrets, and flocks of ducks. If I reached an isolated spot I had never seen before, I would find a beech tree and carve my initials as a marker for the next time I was in the area.

These past few years, I have re-discovered the joys of exploring with my ten-year-old son Jack. Whether we’re camping over a break or visiting the old home place, we both love the thrill of pushing off into places we’ve never seen before. Continue reading

PMP:014 Five Tips for Maintaining Sanity During Stressful Times

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your to-do’s?
Sometimes you hit seasons where your work can be more stressful than at others. As I’ve hit these seasons at different points in my leadership, I’ve learned a few ways to stay focused even when it feels impossible to do so. Listen in to learn how you can do the same. Here’s a link to the companion blog post for this audio version.

Here are the show-notes for this week’s episode:

Continue reading

Something a Little Personal

This week is Spring Break. Unseasonably warm days have pushed green into tree boughs, and Bradford pears have blossomed white.

Image Source:

Image Source:

Asparagus shoots are sprouting in our raised beds, and fescue already needs a first mowing. It really seems like winter’s frosty fingers don’t plan a surprise return, but in Oklahoma, you can only hope and never be sure.

As we finished up school last week, my thirteen-year-old daughter told me one of her teachers said, “When breaks are coming, students are more excited and teachers are grumpier. If you bring your levels down, then I’ll bring mine up!” In other words, “You calm down, and I’ll be less grumpy.”

As funny and true as that is, over the break, I plan to “bring my stress down” by just hanging out with the family and relaxing. We’ll spend some time in nature, and we’ll try to read more. I’ll also be taking time to work on one of my next projects–a second book.

Occasionally, someone will ask me how I manage all the responsibilities of a full-time principal while also writing, speaking, and hosting a podcast. To put it simply, I am very busy. But at the same time, I schedule my week with specific goals in mind so that I can pull it off—sometimes with grace and other times with exhaustion. Continue reading

PMP:013 And Then I Met a Teacher (The Power of a Caring Adult)

In this episode, I share reminders why educators are such a powerful influence in the lives of children.
I start with stories from two men who lives were significantly shaped by a teacher and a principal. Go here for the companion blog post to this episode.

Here are show-notes for this episode

Continue reading

Remembering Apollo 13: Overcoming the Insurmountable

The Apollo 13 mission is one of my favorite stories of endurance.

Image Source:

Image Source:

On April 11, 1970 when Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise set off for their mission to the moon at speeds equivalent to 20,000 mph, they had entered a realm of record-breaking proportions.

When they were approximately 205,000 miles away from Earth, an oxygen tank exploded, and their mission to moon was immediately transformed to one of survival. Continue reading

PMP:012 Disciplining with Dignity

If you view school discipline simply as punishment, you’ll be limited in your effectiveness.
If you view it as a way to measure and redirect student behavior, then you may experience more meaningful results.

How do you treat others with dignity even when handing out discipline? Listen to Episode 12 to find out!

Here are the show notes for this episode:

Continue reading

Celebrating Collaboration and the Ability to Fly

Last week I flew to the NASSP annual conference in Orlando with connecting flights in Dallas.

Image Source:

Image Source:

As I boarded my flight home, my mind was filled with new ideas about school, and I began comparing the process of flying to the process of collaboration.

Sometimes when I fly, I feel like the only one on-board who is paying attention to the experience. Perhaps I’m intrigued because I fly so infrequently, or maybe it’s because I’m a teacher at heart. Either way, my fellow passengers usually appear to be sleeping, reading, or staring at phones while I’m all eyes and ears. Continue reading

PMP:011 Tips for Showing Appreciation for Teachers

Because one good deed is worth more than a thousand good intentions, you can never overestimate the power of showing others they are appreciated.
Principal Matters Artwork
In episode 11, learn seven simple ways to show appreciation to teachers, build confidence in your team members, and encourage high expectations school wide.

Check out the companion blog post to this episode HERE.

Here are show-notes for PMP Episode 11:

Continue reading