Tag Archives: podcast

PMP:077 Four Tips for #DadsAsPrincipals

I’ve noticed a group of principals trending on Twitter lately using the hashtag #dadsasprincipals.

Photo by akahawkeyefan – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/25578802@N04


And my friend Daniel Bauer recently interviewed a group of these dedicated dads at last month’s National Principal Conference. You can hear their talk here.

These dads have picked up on the #momsasprincipals movement they saw happening among their female colleagues, and they wanted to encourage one another as dads to stay as invested in their own children as they were to the ones in their schools.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fatherhood this week because my oldest daughter just went to college. Continue reading

PMP:076 Messaging Matters–How to Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students and Reach Communities

Last month, Justin Baeder, from Principal Center Radio, invited me as a guest on his show to talk to me about my new book Messaging Matters: How to Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students, and Reach Communities.

He was gracious enough to allow me to repost the interview here. Here are some takeaways from our conversation:

Why is messaging so important?

In every setting of school, amazing learning and moments are happening every day that not a lot of people know about. In the humility of our service as educators, we are often hesitant to brag about our schools. On a national scale, this has created a crisis with a political landscape that now assumes most schools are failing. How can we make a commitment to celebrating the positives so often that those moment drown out the negative ones? Continue reading

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: Continue reading

PMP:073 Three Takeaways for Your Leadership Journey

Recently I was speaking to school leaders at Okaloosa County Schools’ Summer Leadership Academy in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

Photo by FotoFloridian – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License https://www.flickr.com/photos/135492105@N03


I decided to combine my travels there with an opportunity for my family to stay at the beach. My wife and I loaded up all four kids in a Dodge Caravan, and we hit the road. We had a lot of fun putting our toes in the sand, playing in the waves, and just being together.

It takes 13 hours to reach Ft. Walton Beach from our town in Oklahoma. So we also had lots of time for thought, reflection, music and podcasts. We also had much to talk about as a family. My children have always known their dad as either a teacher or school administrator. And this past week after I made the announcement that I will be the new Executive Director for OASSP and OMLEA, there were lots of conversations about how the new job may affect our lives and schedules. Continue reading

PMP:072 Predicting Your School Climate

Sometimes my left elbow aches. I have a scar there from when I broke it falling from a horse almost twenty years ago.

Photo by miez! – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/41449558@N06


When it starts hurting, I can usually be certain the weather will turn stormy. My aching elbow reminds me of another story. When I was a boy, I often helped on my Granddad’s family farm. His brother was my Uncle Jimmy. One day Uncle Jimmy and I were driving in his pick-up truck. The windows were down, and I was hanging my arm out of it and playing in the breeze as we rumbled down the gravel roadway.

As we passed a nearby pond, the cattle were gathering around for watering, and two calves were prancing about the field, butting heads and chasing one another. Uncle Jimmy pulled the truck to a stop and nodded that direction.
“See those calves?” he asked.
“Yes sir.”
“There’s a storm coming.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.

The skies were blue, the weather warm. (This was long before the days of GPS or Smart-phones.) “Whenever you see calves acting like that, you can be sure there’s bad weather on the way.” Continue reading

PMP:Encore 028 Why Your Vacation Matters

This week’s post is an encore episode I shared a year ago. Have you thought why your time away from school can help you better serve your school?

Photo by 10000 rivets – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/67967301@N02


Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or short, taking time away from work is healthy for a number of reasons. Also, if you listen to then end, I share one of my creative moments with you from a previous vacation: a song and recorded from a trip to Colorado.

Here are the show notes for this encore episode

Continue reading

PMP:070 How Your Brain Resists Change

When I was in high school, my dad reenlisted in the Navy and we moved to New York where he was stationed while his ship was in dry-dock.

Photo by dierk schaefer – Creative Commons Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/26480501@N06


For a country boy from West Tennessee, New York was a culture shock. I remember being so afraid to speak because I didn’t want others making fun of my southern accent.

One day I was standing in front of grocery store in Brooklyn when a man stopped to ask me what time it was. I realized I was wearing a watch and he wasn’t. So I just held up the watch without saying a word and let him read the time. Continue reading

PMP:069 Entanglement & Why Messaging Matters

Invisibilia is a fascinating podcast about the invisible forces that affect us without us being aware. In a January 29, 2015 episode, the reporters narrating the episode were talking about a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

Photo by TonZ – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/96947578@N00


They began by describing a physics experiment where scientists have been able to isolate particle atoms in separate locations, change the motion, and cause the two separate atoms to react to the change at the same time in separate locations.

That’s right. In one experiment, an atom contained in a box four feet away from itself in another box was demonstrating simultaneous responses in both boxes. These atoms are not mirror images of one another; this research suggests that they are one another. Separate but one: a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. Charles Q. Choi from Live Science explains that scientists theorize entangled atoms may stay connected even if a universe a part!

Scientists are able to explain how to make this happen, but they are still unable to explain why this is possible. Continue reading

PMP:067 Wrapping Up Your School Year—Planning for Summer Break

Occasionally my wife will remind me when it’s been awhile since I’ve cleaned out my closet.

Photo by cobalt123 – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/66606673@N00

So I’ll take time to sort out what I don’t need anymore. I can easily fill a couple of trash bags with items to donate to the local Goodwill store.

Summer break is a great time to “clean the closets” of our schools. I’m not talking about literal closets (which can also be helpful), but I’m talking about issues, priorities, goals, and conversations that have been neglected as you have been finishing a school year.

We just finished another school year at my high school. We wrapped up curriculum standards, graduated seniors and hired new teachers for next year. Many people ask me what I do with my summer break. The short answer is: I prepare for next school year. I often tell others that leading a school is like landing a cruise ship. When you finish one tour, you spend the break restocking for the next launch. Continue reading

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