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:

1. Why #Mybad? What inspired Jon to create a podcast dedicated to the mistakes he and other educators make with students

2. Responding to pushback from teachers, students or parents for sharing mistakes

3. Protecting confidentiality when sharing publicly about student or teacher interaction

4. Combining “right brain” passion with “left-brain” practical steps for doing the day-to-day tasks involved in school leadership.

5. Bringing your passions, loves, gifts, talents into your work as a school leader

6. Jon’s advice for school leaders who feel like they are burning out from the hard work required in school leadership

Stay Connected

You can connect with Jon via Twitter @jonHarper70bd or via Jon Harper’s Blog.

Let’s Wrap This Up

None of us ever “arrives” in school leadership. And growth requires you to reflect, learn, and move forward. Don’t ignore the lessons learned during failure. And in the process, give yourself the grace to realize that your challenges or mistakes can be key to growing and improving.

Now It’s Your Turn

How can you make it a habit to reflect on mistakes so they are lessons for moving forward? In what ways can you help others see you don’t expect perfection while at the same time modeling a desire to improve?

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Principal Matters–The Book!


School leaders are very busy, so each of the twenty-four chapters is designed as a quick-read and followed with take-action questions for follow-up or reflection. If you want practical ideas on understanding your purpose, managing school teams, dealing with challenges, and leading with courage, action, motivation, and teamwork, go HERE to pick up a copy for you or your team.

Messaging Matters


Harness the power of messaging to create a culture of acknowledgment, respect, and celebration. Written specially for leaders, this title is divided into three parts, helping readers to maximize their role as chief communicators with students, teachers, and parents and community. Each chapter includes suggestions for using digital tools to enhance messaging and ends with reflection questions and practical next steps.

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