Tag Archives: education

PMP:089 Marching off the Map with Andrew McPeak

Recently, on a trip to Philadelphia, I was sitting in airport gate seating area, which gave me a view of the ground crews prepping planes for departure.

Photo by Linda Söndergaard – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions https://unsplash.com/@lindasondergaard?utm_source=haikudeck&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit


Workers were driving baggage trains, pulling fuel trucks in and out, and loading bags on runways into planes.

While I watched them, I thought about how many people it takes for you to arrive at any destination. Whether you’re on the road or in the air, someone has to build the vehicles, hire the workers, schedule the routes, write code for mapping programs, or drill the ground for the necessary fossil fuels. But no matter how varied the people or methods for reaching your destinations, you can’t reach the road ahead unless those people or methods are reliable. Continue reading

PMP:042 The Future of Education (A Conversation with Undergraduates)

Recently I was asked to be a guest presenter for an undergraduate education class at Bartlesville Wesleyan University, a college not too far from my high school.

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“What do you see?” Wonder Image Source: wonderopolis.org


At the end of my presentation, I asked four students if I could interview them for a podcast episode.

I had two goals in this conversation:
1. I wanted to hear from prospective educators their motivations, dreams, and challenges in choosing this career.
2. I wanted others to be reminded why investing in training, recruiting, and supporting strong teachers is so essential.

I’m indebted to the generosity of Dr. Jeffrey Keeney for allowing me to present to his class, and to the four students who agreed to participate in this podcast: Shelby Totino of Spearfish, South Dakota; Karley Baker of Fredonia, Kansas; Kelly Tjon of Houston, Texas; and Kirsten Fisher of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

If you’ve ever wondered why we should be committed to investing in education—why we should be finding ways to better compensate teachers for their hard work and dedication to children—then listen in to the responses of these four young people. Continue reading

Becoming Better: How You Influence Growth

Last weekend I traveled with my son, Jack, and his Cub Scout pack to a joint campout with an older Boy Scout troop.
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It was a perfect October weekend: 70’s with sun and breeze; evening temperatures in the 50’s—cold enough that a sleeping bag was the perfect cocoon for tent sleeping.

Although Jack and I have camped a lot, this was my first experience watching a Boy Scout troop at a campout. Throughout the whole experience, the boys were in charge. During mealtime, the senior patrol leader, a ninth grader, separated the group of 23 boys into three groups. Each had their own food preparation area, menus they had created, food they had procured, and tasks assigned.

Whenever the entire group needed to be addressed, the senior patrol leader would call them together, hold up a Scout sign (three fingers), and everyone would go silent as they held up their fingers in response.

That night the boys had a special treat: they were given a tour of the U.S.S. Batfish, a retired World War II submersible boat that once toured the Pacific and survived. Its maiden crew of 80 was confined to tiny spaces where each man played essential tasks: repairing engines, launching torpedoes, radioing signals, navigating with gauges and periscope, or preparing pastries for hungry crew members.

After the tour, the boys were allowed to bunk in the berthing room for the night. Two adult leaders stayed on the boat, but I made way back to my tent. Continue reading

5 Steps for using YouTube in Hiring

Spring time is not only busy as we finish out the school year, but also it is often a busy time for hiring new teachers or staff.
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Even with the pending cuts in state funding, we were excited to be able to fill a couple of openings for the coming school year.

As I’ve looked for strong candidates this spring, I’ve kept in mind some lessons I learned from Jimmy Casas earlier this year (see previous post on Tips for Hiring for Excellence). Jimmy’s advice has been spot on with tips on reaching out to candidates ahead of time, having multiple conversations, and rallying around a common vision.

If I could add anything to Jimmy’s suggestions, it would be some feedback I received from a candidate today. Continue reading

What Do You Do With All the Mandates?

When Education Week did a survey a few years ago, principals were asked about the biggest frustrations of their jobs. At the top of the list was the response: “Mandates without Money.”
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If you’ve been in education for a few years or a very long time, you can relate to that concern. In fact, this year the federal government produced 81,611 pages in new regulations.

In my state, for example, high schools are mandated to teach personal finance, CPR instruction, test students in 7 end-of-instruction exams, and remediate students who don’t pass them–to name a few.

From the federal level, we are also expected to enforce NCLB regulations until they are replaced with new ESSA regulations (once they are finalized). And we are inundated with infinitely-growing pages of documents and guidelines surrounding federal regulations for children with medical or learning difficulties.

So with the consistent frustrations that surround unfunded mandates, how do you structure your priorities so that you can serve students and support teachers while still fulfilling these imposed expectations?

Here are four suggestions for keeping mandates in perspective:
Continue reading

7 Mid-School Year Reminders on Finishing Strong

Recently, I was inspired by the story of Diana Nyad, who made it a personal goal to swim from Cuba to Florida and did so at the age of 64. Her 100-mile feat came with many unsuccessful previous attempts, the pain of jelly-fish attacks, hallucinations, and unwavering teamwork. You can see her inspirational story here.

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Etsy.com Image

Like long-distance swimming, being an educator is a marathon, not a sprint. And the start of a new semester is a great time to remind ourselves of what our goals are for the remainder of the school year.

So here are seven reminders I shared with my teachers at the start of this semester that apply to all of us in education: Continue reading

Interview with Tim Elmore

The following is a Q & A exchange between Dr. Tim Elmore and me.
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I had the privilege of connecting with Tim when a mutual friend introduced us after seeing I had recommended his book, Generation iY, and I am thrilled he has agreed to share his insights with us.

When I think about how quickly the world is changing for ourselves and our students, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Our current technological and social trends present a new array of possibilities and pitfalls that require us to be both innovative and creative.

Tim Elmore helps navigate this brave new world. He is a great resource for school leaders, parents, or students who want to understand the unique challenges and opportunities of reaching this generation of young people. Continue reading

Welcome to Principal Matters

Thanks for taking time to visit Principal Matters, where you can find resources, insights, and inspiration for school leadership!

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William D. Parker Bio
Will is currently the principal of Skiatook High School, near Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A. He grew up a farm boy from west Tennessee who never thought he would go to college. But he loved to learn and eventually found himself in Oklahoma with a degree in hand and classrooms full of students who taught him more about teaching (and life) than he ever expected.

He has been an educator for twenty years, first as a high school English teacher, then as a high school assistant principal, and now as a high school principal. He earned his Bachelor’s in English Education from Oral Roberts University and his Masters of Education from NorthEastern State University. He was named Broken Arrow’s South Intermediate High School Teacher of the Year in 1998. And in 2012, was named the Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year.

On the home front, he has been happily married for twenty years to Missy. They are the proud parents of four children: three girls and one boy. You can read his blog, Principal Matters, where his goal is to inspire innovative ideas for school leaders. He is also a contributing writer for ConnectedPrincipals.com.

In 2014, Will released his first book, Principal Matters: The Motivation, Courage, and Action Needed For School Leadership. George Couros describes him by saying: “Will is a great storyteller, and his use of these connections makes his book easy to read but also memorable. His focus on ‘purpose’–going beyond what you do in school–is something that all leaders should really consider if they are going to make a difference in both their professional and personal lives.”

William speaks regularly at presentations, workshops, and conferences. You can find free resources and posts for school leaders at his website: williamdparker.com, where he posts weekly updates to help you grow in your effectiveness.

Speaking:
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Interested in having William speak to your organization, staff, or leadership team? He loves to encourage school leaders, aspiring school leaders or student groups with innovative ideas on leadership development. Check out his Keynote Presentation Highlight Doc.

Popular Previous Conferences/Presentations/Awards:

January 2016, OAESP Mid-Winter Conference, Midwest City, Oklahoma: Closing Keynote Speaker.

December 2015, Cleveland High School Student Council, Cleveland, Oklahoma: Essential Lessons for Student Leaders Guest Speaker.

December 2015, Platt College Mid-Year Graduation Ceremony, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Guest Speaker.

November 2015, Glenpool Public Schools Administrative Team & Curriculum Development Committee, Guest Speaker.

November 2015, Tulsa Community College K-12 Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Understanding Your Purpose in School Leadership Presentation.

October 2015, OASSP Fall Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Closing Keynote Presentation.

September 2015, Eighth Floor Advisory Council Luncheon, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Guest Speaker.

September 2015, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Bartlesville, Oklahoma: School of Education: Guest Presenter.

August 2015, OSSBA President’s Dinner, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Guest Speaker.

June 2015, CCOSA Summer Conference, Edmond, Oklahoma: Break-out Session on release of new book Principal Matters.

May 2015, Tulsa Community College K-12, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Understanding Your Purpose in School Leadership Presentation.

March & April 2015, CCOSA Aspiring Principals Workshop I & II, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Oklahoma: Workshop for new or aspiring assistant principals or principals.

January 2015, Tulsa Community College K-12, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Helping Schools Manage Grief Presentation.

March & April 2014 CCOSA Aspiring Principals Workshop I & II, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Oklahoma: Guest Presenter.

October & November 2013, CCOSA Aspiring Principals Workshop I & II, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Oklahoma: Guest Presenter.

June 2012, CCOSA Summer Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Mentor 180 Presentation, Strategies for Reaching At-Risk Students. Guest Presenter.

December 2013, Principal Leadership Graduate Education, Northeastern State University, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: Guest Speaker.

October & November 2012, CCOSA Aspiring Principals Workshop I & II, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Oklahoma: Guest Presenter.

April 2012, NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Reception and Awards Ceremony, Washington, D.C.: Recipient of the Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

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8 Hats For Highly Effective Principals: An introduction to Will’s book, Principal Matters, this presentation has been described by participants as motivating, inspiring, and instructive. Learn the key responsibilities every school leader must embrace for highly effective leadership. Explore strategies for dealing with difficult people, setting key responsibility areas for your staff, and communicating effectively with stakeholders. Find out how to turn patrons and parents into raving fans of what’s happening at your school!

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Conference Speaking/Presentations

Aspiring Principal Workshops: In conjunction with principal association, CCOSA, William has presented frequently on ways for emerging leaders to recognize the most important elements of school leadership, and how to prepare themselves for the road ahead by asking the right questions and choosing practical strategies for school management.

How School Leaders Can Effectively Manage Crisis and Grief: This presentation comes from the unfortunate hands-on experiences Will’s schools have experienced with crisis and grief connected to student tragedy. Communicating with stakeholders, dealing with media inquiries, and preparing staff for walking through the difficulties of school grief are some of the topics explored with communication and media release samples provided.

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Understanding Your Purpose & Goal Setting For Success: This is an intensive, hands-on, question/answer based workshop for those who want to really dig deep into the root issues surrounding their motivations for leadership. It is also a guided time for exploration, discussion, and consultation on goal-setting, self-improvement, and strategy discussion on how to lead while avoiding burnout.

You can contact William via email: Williamdp {at} gmail {dot} com for more information!

Principal Matters–The Book!
Principal Matters (Final) 3D
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.

Will’s Interviews With Great Leaders:
Be sure to check out all Will’s guest interviews from leaders in the field of education as well as leaders within their own fields who are inspiring.

Will’s Book Recs:
Looking for an inspiring read? Check out Will’s list of recommended books, many of them hand picked by the great guest leaders he has interviewed.

Most Popular Posts/Topics:
Here are some of William’s most popular posts:
Motivation by Wonder and Purpose
Interview with Ruby Payne
7 Ways To Show Appreciation for Teachers
6 Tips For Dealing With Difficult People
10 Tips For Interviewing For An Education Position
10 Lessons On Leadership from Seabiscuit
Keeping Perspective During Difficulties
Interview with Jon Gordon
8 Ways to Discipline with Dignity
7 ‘First Days of School’ Questions
Part 1: Lessons From The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Part 2: Lessons From The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Learning from Other People’s Expertise
10 Ways To Communicate About Your School
Interview with Daniel Wong
Lesson from a Cross-Walk Guard

Some More Personal Posts:
Occasionally, Will posts something more personal than professional:
Spring Time Memories
That’s What We Do In Oklahoma
Thoughts on My Father
Why Vacation is Important
4 Caution-Lights For School Leaders
Purpose Motivated Leadership
Planting, Growing, Flourishing

More About William D. Parker
From Will: I grew up as a farm boy from west Tennessee who never thought he would go to college. But I love to learn, and eventually I found myself in Oklahoma with a degree in hand and classrooms full of students who taught me more about teaching (and life) than I ever expected. After more than a decade in school administration, I am passionate about school leadership development!

On the home front, my wife and I have been happily married for twenty years and are the proud parents of four children: three girls and one boy.

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Principal Matters–The Book!

Principal Matters (Final) 3D
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.
You can also connect through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or GooglePlus accounts.