Learning Walk, Pt. I

I was sitting in an English classroom. A room full of junior level students. For the most part, they are highly motivated. They all have good grades and are all genuinely good, nice people. I know this because I know every single one of them by name. They are not, contrary to popular belief about kids who take either honors or advanced level courses, all involved in school activities – whether it be clubs, athletics, or any other type of extra-curricular activity. I was able to, however, from my perch in the very rear of the classroom, see that there were a good number who are … Continue reading Learning Walk, Pt. I

Living Your Best Life

I had a conversation with a student toward the end of the year – it was just a quick chat in the hallway – while she was on her way to class.  She was late and I knew she hadn’t been here the day prior, and so I wanted to quick follow up with her on a conversation we had had earlier in the week.  Coincidentally, I ran into her in the hallway on that day as well. (Sidebar – I think our most productive conversations might be had in the hallway, on the off-chance we run into someone and … Continue reading Living Your Best Life

REPLACEABLE

I sometimes wonder what my school would be like without me in it.  Without me here every day, greeting kids and visiting classrooms and walking through the hallways and meeting with teachers and talking to students and… the list goes on. And I wonder what teachers feel as well.  Not about me, but about themselves.  If they wonder what their classrooms would be like without them.  If they wonder about the school they spend so much of their lives in,and what would happen if they were no longer there.If they care about that.Because they should. I have a feeling that … Continue reading REPLACEABLE

Great Leaders

“If the bottom line of life is happiness, then it makes perfect sense to say that it is the journey that counts, not reaching the destination.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (repost from a previous blog post) What do great leaders do differently from leaders? What separates an average leader from an extraordinary leader? One characteristic that has been weighing heavily on my mind of late is attitude. Great leaders set the example and must remember that everything counts. My office is housed upstairs in our school, and the quarters are, to say the least, cramped. It can be difficult to stay positive … Continue reading Great Leaders

The Rest of the Story, Pt. 1

Listen. I have to tell you this story. It’s one you may not have heard before, except in bits and pieces. And they are all important pieces, believe me, but they will make more sense once you see the whole picture. The toddler came through the main entrance of the apartment complex and out into the bright sunshine with her mother following closely behind. It was a cool day and a light snow had fallen earlier that morning. At the moment, standing on the sidewalk outside the complex, I had a feeling run through me similar to the one I … Continue reading The Rest of the Story, Pt. 1

Becoming Principal (Part 6)

IF I HAD REACTED BADLY IN THIS SITUATION, rest assured everyone within earshot would have been telling all of their friends that I had lost my temper and was not very approachable. I’m not sure I changed this parent’s mind about me that year, but the real issue, I knew, had nothing to do with me and I just had to grow a thicker skin. This was tough for me. As someone who doesn’t like conflict, this also means that I am much more comfortable around people who are usually getting along. As I was to learn in the years … Continue reading Becoming Principal (Part 6)

Becoming Principal (Part 5)

If there is anything I have learned over my years of experience as a school leader, it is this: stand by your people, take care of your people, LOVE your people! If you’ve ever heard the saying, “Feed the teachers, or they will eat the students,” and thought that it was just a funny phrase, you’re wrong! It’s absolutely, hands-down, 100% true! I mean, they won’t actually eat the kids, but it is true that they will treat them with love and respect if they feel loved and respected themselves. And the phrase doesn’t mean you necessarily have to feed them … Continue reading Becoming Principal (Part 5)

Becoming Principal (Part 4)

As you find yourself in situations where you don’t know what to expect, it can be easy to simply let life happen to you, to roll with the punches and react when things happen. “After all,” you may ask, “How can I prepare for the unexpected?” And the answer is that you can’t. Not really. It is a waste of time to go down the rabbit hole of “what if” scenarios. But what you can do is listen to people, ask lots of questions, and find time for yourself to do a lot of reflection so that you are fresh … Continue reading Becoming Principal (Part 4)

Becoming Principal (Part 3)

MY OFFICIAL START DATE WAS JULY 1st, BUT I’M PRETTY SURE I was in that building the very first chance I could get. I was a hot mess, really – filled with anticipation, excitement, dread and fear – but mostly I was just humbled and feeling very blessed to have gotten this opportunity to serve as principal. I had a lot to learn, and I knew that; in fact, I had been saying it since the very beginning and as I mentioned, I even said it to the interview team at that first meeting together: “I don’t know much about elementary … Continue reading Becoming Principal (Part 3)

Becoming Principal (Part 2)

THERE IS NO TRAINING FOR WHAT TO EXPECT YOUR FIRST YEAR AS PRINCIPAL, BUT I THINK THAT’S ON PURPOSE. Once the school year prior to my first official principal role was complete, except for a couple of introductory meetings, I was pretty much left to myself as I officially began the transition to my new school district. I found myself spending a lot of time in my new office, taking walks around the school, starting (trying) to figure things out. There was only one strange event that occurred during the final weeks of the previous school year, when the assistant … Continue reading Becoming Principal (Part 2)