Tag Archives: advocacy

PMP:062 Setting the Record Straight & School Advocacy

A few years ago, I had the privilege to participate in a ten-day tour of four cities in China.

Photo by rmgirardin – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/30559266@N04


On one leg of the trip, I sat by a Mongolian woman who was fluent in English and on her way home after completing graduate studies at Boston University. We enjoyed trading stories about our families, home, schools, and studies. Toward the end of our conversation, she turned to me and asked poignantly, “Why do U.S. schools not measure up to other nations on standardized tests?”

This was a fair question. After all, I’m sure she had seen the statistics commonly discussed in higher education about the comparison of U.S. public school scores to students in other industrialized nations. I also knew she came from a situation and background that allowed her access to higher education, so she had seen first-hand how helpful her own education had been.

As a good teacher tries to do, however, I answered her question with some questions of my own. 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

NASSP Advocacy Conference Update

On June 21-22, 2016, the National Association of Secondary Principals hosted its Advocacy Conference for members in Washington, D.C.

NASSP Principals gather before visits to the Hill on June 22, 2016

NASSP Principals gather before visits to the Hill on June 22, 2016


Principals and school leaders from across America received updates and heard presentations from experts in advocacy, leadership, and federal policies that affect schools. As State Coordinator for NASSP, I joined Clay McDonald, Middle School Principal from Piedmont, Oklahoma and President-Elect of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals for the two-day conference and Hill visit.

On Wednesday, June 22, we visited Congressional members and staff in their House and Senate offices on the Hill. Mr. McDonald and I visited the offices of Oklahoma representatives: Congressman Frank Lucas, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, Congressman Steve Russell, and Senator Jim Inhofe. Continue reading

A Visit to the Capitol: 4 Lessons in Advocacy

Last week I had the privilege of attending NASSP’s summer advocacy conference for State Coordinators along with our state association President-Elect, Renae Dozier, from Grove, Oklahoma.

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Renae Dozier, OASSP President-Elect and Principal Grove High School

Renae and I spent a full day visiting our representatives and/or their legislative staff to ask them to simplify federal oversight and bring the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to the floor for a vote.

If ESEA passes, public schools may actually see some relief from the more burdensome aspects of No Child Left Behind and/or its waivers. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has published a short summary detailing what parts of the House and Senate versions that it supports or opposes. You can see it here: ESEA Issue Sheet 2015. Continue reading

Remembering Grace: Advocacy In Education

Another hat a principal must sometimes wear is that of the advocate.
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I am currently visiting Washington D.C. on the part of the National Association of Secondary Principals as the state coordinator for Oklahoma.

But really I am here for my students, teachers, and school community.

This morning principals from every state will be visiting with members of Congress. And during those visits, we will try to remind our elected representatives that the laws they discuss affect real students. Continue reading