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The Principal Entrepreneur
Supporting Educational Leaders
Category: K-12
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by Jonathan Royce
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August 15, 2017 08:43 AM PDT

Hi there everybody welcome to the Principal Entrepreneur I’m Your Host and author of the book How to be a great principal Jonathan Royce.

Welcome to the 100th episode of the Principal Entrepreneur where we support educational leaders with strategies and suggestions that answer the question. How do I become a great principal.

I also interview Principals and school and educational leaders just like me and you and discuss their areas of expertise and how they overcome the challenges within schools.

Before we get into today's episode I’d just like to thank you listeners from all over the world joining me on the podcast. For those who don’t get the stats, we have listeners from not only the US but also Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Canada, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the congo, Brazil, India, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria, Philippines and Bosnia. If you’d like to join me on the show from any of these countries and talk about your educational experience we’d all love to hear about what education is like for you. Just email me at [email protected]. Once again thank you for listening and please share with your friends and colleagues.

Now for Today’s episode we’re discussing:3 Things Principals sensitive to Charlottesville think about

After the Charlottesville incident where racist white nationalist battled counterportersters and three deaths occurred President Trump gave a statement, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,". Was this a strong enough statement? When domestic terrorism raises it’s ugly snout in the form of alt right racism, in such a visible, 1960’s manner, there is a process many school leaders go through as we try to process the event and the media and political circus that follows.

Should we address the event
The answer isn’t as easy as you would think. The reason for this is because every school is different. Is there a strong culture of courageous conversations in which people feel safe touching the live wire of emotion that speaking about race based topics can ignite? Often times the answer is no. This can be especially true if you’re a new principal and you haven’t yet learned your staff. Even if you’re a veteran leader your school culture might not lend itself to these types of intense conversations. Wondering if we should even address the issue is often the first step in the reflective process.

Composition of staff
Is having a conversation around this worth the potential disruption between staff? Does my staff have strong enough relationships with each other where a difference in perspective will not negatively impact the day to day operation of my school? These are at least two of the questions that I ask myself as I take in the current visible reality in our America.

Student and Staff interaction
If you bring the conversation to the students, does all your staff have the capacity to lead the conversation and diffuse tensions as necessary? Often times there are one or two staff members that are able to constructively have the conversation and work through the emotions that inevitably rise. Typically these are classrooms where teachers have strong relationships and high expectations with their students. These types of teachers aren’t as numerous as we would hope. The reason more than the one or two highly competent staff is necessary is because the other staff members will need to work with the same students that just got hyped up in the previous class. This is the third question that must be pondered when deciding if a discussion about overt racism should be endorsed.

These are all questions a building leader must process before making a decision; should the event even be addressed, is the staff composed of the “right” mix to have the conversation amongst themselves and finally is their a strong enough relationship between most of the staff and students. Often times you may be able to answer one or two of the questions positively. Knowing this is an opportunity for authentic learning are those great enough odds to take the risk. For me, the answer is almost always yes.

What is your process for working through these types of intense situations? Share your strategies in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.

If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected]. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 13, 2017 08:22 AM PDT

In this episode we talk with Dr. Tommy Watson. Dr. Watson is a former elementary principal, acclaimed author, and speaker. He is also the owner and driving force behind his company TA Watson, Speaking, Coaching and Consulting. We discuss his book A Face of Courage and his area of expertise; the systematic motivation of students. Before we do, however, we get into his educational journey and the struggles and successes he’s navigated to get where he is today.

Summary of his educational journey.
Dr. Tommy Watson grew up in Denver, Colorado with parents who who drug addicts, shoplifters and were in and out of the criminal justice system. As a result he and his siblings were placed in and out of foster homes. He was forced to bounce around to five different elementary schools in his first six years of school. As a result there were huge gaps in his education. He spent all of his 8th grade year living out of a motel after getting kicked out of his house in front of all of his friends.

It was in 8th grade however when a pivotal encounter with a coach inspired he and his inner city friends to play football. Just like a movie, Tommy found himself traveling across three city bus transfers to get to a private suburban mostly white school. This presented its own challenges both with the suburban students and his friends from the neighborhood.

To learn more about his journey and the Nun who challenged him and helped him succeed . . . listen to the entire episode smiley

Tweetable Quotes
I discovered the power of education and the difference it made in my journey
Education is a game changer
No one [teachers] killed my dreams. They simply had a philosophy that life would teach [me]
It’s not about hammering kids! It’s about teaching kids
I had no control over my life, so I came to school and tried to control that.

Words of Wisdom
I want to inspire young people to maximise education, utilize i [education] t and give back in the same way.

I had a coach, who for the first time, really believed in me, pushed me, motivated me. Who constantly spoke life into me. And talked to me about the possibilities beyond my neighborhood.

Often times we kill the dreams of our young people by telling them that their chances of making it to the NFL are slim. Not realizing that there’s never been an NFL player who didn’t first go to college

The kids who need love the most are often the kids who ask for it in the most undesirable ways.

We as educators, have to dig deep and have to learn to suspend judgment and allow a young person to do what it is that they enjoy doing.

Challenges
Walking into school with high poverty and low morale
Low principal during district cuts, lost job along with third of staff was brought back to building after district had assigned another principal who had brought his own staff. Had to rebuild again.

A Snippet of What he learned
Begin to change the culture “first class staff, serving first class students”
Move away from punitive discipline

Advice for Principals
Continually speak life into your staff
Place heavy emphasis on instruction and instructional strategies and classroom management.
Get community volunteers involved
Switch mindset from getting parents involved to getting caring adults involved.
Create PLC’s and create common language throughout building
Heavy emphasis on reading
Focus on building relationships with staff, student, parents and community.
Model the change you want to be, spend time in the community.

About his book A Face of Courage
An autobiography of his journey used to inspire educators about what their students could be going through. It can be used as a tool to create empathy in educators working with students from high poverty areas.

Secrets to Motivate Students Workshop Teaser
Step one - find students value of valence (find out what this means on the podcast) or by contacting Dr. Tommy Watson. You can learn the entire system for motivating students.

Recommended Books
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell
Leading Change by John Kotter.

Contact Information
Dr. Tommy Watson
www.tawatson.com
Phone number 704.944.3555

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please our one ask is to follow the show and give a rating and review. This helps other educators find the show and helps give credibility to the work which makes it easier to get more great educational leaders on the show.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected] Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 10, 2017 07:16 AM PDT

How many of us have heard of data driven decisions or data driven instruction? Everybody right? If you’ve been in education longer than two minutes you’ve been hit over the head with the concept and the language so much that it’s now just part of our educational existence.
In the next 3-4 minutes it takes to read this. I’m going to reveal the single greatest strategy that will leverage those decisions and that instruction and provide the greatest impact on your students.

I’m adopted my biological mother delivered me when she was 16 years old. I was born with physical deformaties. Imagine a bullfrog when it ribbits and the membrane around its throat expands. I had a blister like that on the tip of my tongue when I was born and needed surgery to remove it. I was also born with extra digits on each hand those were removed as well. And so to look at me you wouldn’t know that these pieces of me were removed. What you can’t see is that I was also born with dyslexia and adhd and that as a child I had a speech impediment. As a result I really struggled to read up through and to the end of elementary school. I was even put in a special ed class for a short time in 6,th grade. All of this created a lot of self doubt and insecurity things you can’t see.

Why am I telling you this? Because there was one circumstance that profoundly changed the trajectory of my life. I got the chicken pox. Why is that important? It’s important because I was too sick to play. I couldn’t leave the house. It was during that one to two week period that my life changed. My mother sat and read to me. She read the adventures of Zorro to me from a Walt Disney book of collected stories. I can still see that book in my mind's eye it was a couple inches thick with a yellow binding. Those stories transported me to other worlds. It wasn’t just the stories though it was her spending time with me. It was love. It was in those weeks that I became a reader. That was the beginning for me. If it hadn’t been for that love I wouldn’t be an educator today. Love enabled me to raise my test scores in that specific area.

Love is the strategy that can provide the greatest impact on your data driven decisions and data driven instruction.

So what does that look like in your classrooms and in your schools? For me and my personality and my high school grade level. It’s greeting the kids when they come in. Smiling at them dapping them up. Being genuinely happy to see them when they come back from missing a day or three. And telling them that I need them there. But also having empathy or sympathy if they can’t make it everyday. What that reveals to them is the respect I have for them as people.

For me, the two greatest indicators of love that I can give students as an educator are trust and respect. So that means that I need to allow them to make decisions and have choice. I need to respect them enough to hold them accountable and also have high expectations. I also need to spend as much time with them as I can in my role as principal.

So what’s the data say about this love strategy? I can tell you that we had less discipline issues in our building. I can tell you we had no fights on our campus.

I had a student who I had to remove from our traditional day program and had to place her in our Virtual Academy which is our after school online program. This student was upset that she was removed, but eventually got her head right and buckled down to work. She showed that she was ready to be a student and earned her way back to the day program. Once there she continued to perform well and make the honor roll. She is now one of the senior leaders and is in charge of a bunch of different activities. I showed her love by holding her accountable, continuing to connect with her even after her poor choices and trust her to lead her classmates.

There is a lot of invisible aspects of our students that we can’t see. We can’t see their brain chemistry, we can’t see what they go home to on a daily basis. All we see is their actions and it’s up to us to interpret them in the most loving light that we can. Showing the students that we love them despite and sometimes because of their actions can change their lives and change their data. Love is the single most important strategy to use when leveraging data.

What are your thoughts on strategies that can be used to leverage data?

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected] Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 08, 2017 12:21 PM PDT

As the excitement builds to the first day of school and I brainstorm ways to being the school year with the new and veteran staff, traces of anxiety sink their tentacles into my stomach. I sleep fitfully waking up in the middle of the night thinking of ways to set the tone. In my first year I made many mistakes presenting at staff meetings. This year I want to do better. The following are three common mistakes principals make at their first staff meeting.

Death by bullet point
As educators we know that the human brain can only take in so much information. As a teacher we prided ourselves on chunking the information and scaffolding so all students could access the material. Somehow as a principal I forgot that and almost wanted to “show off” how much I knew by putting it all in a powerpoint. This is an easy mistake to make because there’s so much to cover. This year I’ll only present the material needed for the first week of school. This will limit the Powerpoint to just a few slides and the most important material wont get lost with stuff that isn’t happening until Thanksgiving!

No clear priorities
This goes hand in hand with too many bullet points. When there was a wealth of information my staff didn’t know what was important and what they could dismiss until a later date. I was unclear in my priorities and I didn’t make it a point to highlight or show in any way what I wanted accomplished within the first few weeks. This year at the first staff meeting I will make sure I only have three or four main points that can be ranked in importance. Not having a clear picture of what’s most important is one of the mistakes principals make at their first staff meeting.

One person show
Doing everything yourself at that first staff meeting, for me, is the hardest one to avoid. You’ve spent the whole summer working on the upcoming year and now it’s time for your vision to become a reality. At my first meeting I wanted to get input from the staff so I was facilitating and writing staff answers down. This added an easy 10-15 minutes to the meeting. I’ve got horrible writing so not only did it take longer, staff was also struggling to read what I had written. Thankfully, a veteran teacher volunteered to be the scribe in the afternoon session and I was wise enough to let her. Although you’ve spent the whole summer planning trying to run the show on your own is another common mistake principals make at that first staff meeting.

This year I hope to avoid these common pitfalls: too many bullet points, lack of clear priorities, and running the meeting by myself. What are some other common mistakes principals make at the first staff meeting? Please share your experience in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected] Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 05, 2017 09:05 AM PDT

In this episode we chat with Dr. Mary Hughes-Tutass. Dr. Tutass has been in the educational arena for a couple of decades, she is a lecturer and expert in neuro linguistics for educators and is the founder of TeacherTMI: Ten Minutes of Information, where they specialize in bringing 10 minutes of information that matches the school calendar when and where teachers need it. We chat with her about the creation and inspiration for her company, discuss her educational journey as well as the struggles and success she’s had on her way.

Dr. Tutass grew up in a baby boomer neighborhood where the expectation was if you knew something you shared it otherwise you didn’t have anyone to play with. As she grew up in the educational era with a focus on cooperative learning she found herself leading groups and being a tutor to her peers. One thing naturally lead to another and in high school she had a P.E. class that focused on leadership. It was after that experience that she realized that education could be a profession for her.

She made her transition from college to P.E. teacher and during those 15 years she taught every grade before deciding to become a principal. The catalyst for that transition was a rapidly shrinking pool of talent in the principal ranks and noticing that those who remained weren’t as good as they could be. She decided to stop complaining and do something about it. Again her recommended books were

Tweetable Quotes
People are retiring faster and faster . .. better be ready to lead.
[As a principal] being scrutinized constantly is tough.
[As a principal]There is no planned day.
The choreography changes constantly, so do the players.
You need to focus on what to do instead of what not to do.
Students acting out in class are not always a personal insult to you.
No one comes into to this profession wanting to do poorly.
Teachers love to give, all the way until they feel taken.
Always listen to the ones that are quiet. It’s the loud ones you’ll hear repeatedly.

Words of Wisdom
I figure I better be properly trained rather than step in with no knowledge no empathy no experience.

You can go ahead and plan. You should plan. But don’t expect it [the day] to be planned.

Take smaller leadership roles first.

The words of positivity, the deeds of positivity are actions and words all moving you forward towards that goal.

The “why?” whine in itself is an accusation better to substitute it with “The reason”

When you say for what reason you’re making an assumption that there is a rationale and thinking behind what they’re doing and saying.

In talking about students acting out towards their teachers “If you can go one step further and unhook the blame and shame you feel all the time, you can move on knowing you are providing the service [to them].

Sometimes when kids name call it’s them showing their appreciation to you for keeping them on track.

Challenges as Principal
Always being public.
Always knowing had to be true to self and still represent education
Keeping public eye appropriately focused
Mentoring large number of teachers

Solutions
Focused a lot on exactly what she would say and what she was going to do.
Continually reflecting on practice
Asked herself:
Is this in alignment with who I want to be
Where I want to go
Why am I in this role in the first place
Teacher TMI is a scalable way to mentor large number of teachers and get them the content that they need

Advice for Principals
You want to create pictures and images in their [the students’ minds] that move them closer to a goal.
Ask any teacher for a list that would show their individual support for a student, use that list and treat the teacher in that manner.
Assume teachers have something good to contribute. Assume they have skills. Watch out for the things they don’t have skills for and scaffold.
Treat your teachers as you would have them treat their students.

Recommended Books
They call me coach by John Wooden
The four agreements Don Miguel Luis

Contact Information for Dr. Mary Hughes Tutass
TeacherTMI.com
[email protected]

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends. If you’d like to do me a solid please follow me on podomatic and leave a comment and review. This helps other educators find the show as well.

If you’d like the top stories of the month without having to search through facebook or hope you catch it in your feed you can subscribe to the principal prep minute a short email with the five most popular blogs and podcasts as selected by readers and listeners. That is on the welcome page of the website on the right hand side, right past the fold.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected] Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 03, 2017 04:47 PM PDT

8/02/2017 The Principal Entrepreneur: 3 useless items every principal has on or in their desk

I’m back at work looking at my desk and going through the drawers as I prepare for next school year. As I’m digging through the random items, I see a bunch of stuff that I’ve never even touched since I started 2016 as a first year principal. The following are the three items that are completely useless and only fulfill the purpose of completing in my mind what a principal’s desk “should” look like.

Clear Tape Dispenser.
Seriously? I haven’t taped anything in the entire 18 months I’ve been on the job. The best thing that this tape dispenser has been used for is as a weight holding doing a six inch stack of paper. That and for any number of students that have come in and asked if they could use some for a project.

Ruler
Speaking of useless, I don’t even know why I have a ruler. I don’t need to know the dimensions of my laptop or need to use the ruler to convert distances on a map like we did in the 80’s. As a matter of fact I think I have a rubberbanded bunch of rulers. I’m sure as heck not going to use them to teach a lesson in the many being stronger than the one . . . Well, actually that would probably be a good use for them. For now tho, they’re just taking up space. But for some reason I’ve still got them in my drawer.

Magnetized Paperclip Holder
We’re in the digital age. I can’t remember the last time I needed to paperclip something to hold them together. That might also be because I’m a staple person. But really, there’s no reason for it. I don’t have enough things to paperclip that I need a special holder to contain 300 of them. Most items I get are in a digital folder. The paperclip holder with the clear bottom and the black top is useless.

What else do you have on or in your desk that is actually completely useless? Share your observations in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at [email protected] Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

August 01, 2017 01:25 PM PDT

Overworked principals is probably a redundant statement. Whether we’re at a holiday recital until 9 as an elementary principal or a Friday night football game until 11:00pm as high school one, most of us would agree that we work a lot. Even if we discounted those nights many of work in the towns in which we live and have to fill that role of school leader in the grocery store or at the local pub. That being said how can we find more time in our day so that when we finally do get home we can focus on our family life? These three things that overworked principals do can be pared down and even replaced.

Think everything is essential
An overworked principal is often a new one. As such we think that everything that comes to us must be completed now. I often got caught in that trap. The latest or the most recent problem that came to my attention is the one I tried to solve. This left things undone and sometimes forgotten until I was asked about it again.

To avoid this scenario it may help to think about your day as a book you’re studying for specific information. When you’re skimming through a book you skip the information that you don’t need. You must be disciplined enough to do the same with your daily events. What do you absolutely need to do in order to be highly effective? Those are the priorities that you focus on first. Everything else can either be eliminated or delegated. Learn to say no, or I’ll get back to you. This will give you valuable time to think and have a proper response.

Lack of Focus
A principal who is swamped with busy work usually lacks focus. He hasn’t internalized his school’s goals and brings to projects into the school that might not align with the stated goal. Last year as a new principal if something seemed cool I would want to bring it to my team and implement it. I was lucky in that when needed I was reminded that we didn’t have time to do everything I wanted and still get our stated goals accomplished.

To continue the book metaphor from above when you’re reading you focus on a particular theme. Keeping focused on your mission will help you make decisions about what you bring into your school. This will save time as you only allow programs that support your plan. If you want to decrease your odds of being overwhelmed stay focused on the mission until it is complete.

Failure to use leverage
A principal who is overwhelmed often thinks that she or he must do everything and forgets to leverage the strengths of the staff, students and even technology. From my own experience one of the pools of talent that I dismissed at the beginning of the year was that of the students. Many things fell through the cracks because of this, including getting our seniors’ pictures into the yearbook. This year I’m holding a meeting prior to school’s start and giving them an opportunity to sign up for jobs that will help create buy-in and get things accomplished.

To finish up the book metaphor, “skimming” isn’t the only way to save time. The same applies to time management. Use technology to help save time, find others who complement your weaknesses so that important tasks can get done more quickly. Save your bandwidth for things only you can do. An overwhelmed principal fails to leverage the skill sets and the technology around him.

Time for a principal is precious, an overworked principal thinks everything is essential and gets buried in busy work, lacks focus on specific goals and gets distracted by every cool proposal that comes across her desk, and fails to leverage the strengths of those around him . What are other ways overworked principals squander their time? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

July 29, 2017 08:35 AM PDT

In this episode we’re talking with Elementary Principal Mr. Jonathon Wennstrom. Mr. Wennstrom has been in the educational arena as a principal for 15 years. He is an educational blogger and is a part of a committed group of educational leaders who believe that blogging is part of the reflection process. We’ll chat with him about the genesis for the blog in a bit but before we do so let’s get into his origin story

Summary of Educational Journey
Like many in the field Jonathon was inspired by many great teachers and coaches which made him want to inspire others. In particular a 5th grade teacher, Mr. Reed, took a young Jonathon into his home while Jonathon’s family dealt with the severe illness of his father.

Wennstrom also discusses the internal challenges of misaligning one’s passion for educating children and that of increased social status. He also get’s into the struggles of transferring one skill set to another setting and taking them for granted.

He goes on to describe his introduction to blogging how he was inspired to begin it and how he joined a group of like minded principals. He discusses the themes of the blogs and how it is used to improve his professional practice.

In addition Jonathon wants to break that misconception that educators don’t have anything important to say. He sees fantastic things happening everyday. People like hearing ideas.

Tweetable quotes
“Relationships aren’t transferrable.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“What we do is pretty special.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“We’re changing lives and that’s pretty important.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“If you’re working in education you have a pretty special calling.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“People [educators] want to support and encourage each other.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Everybody has something we can learn from.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Don’t be afraid to say the words I don’t know.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“I want to grow the leaders in my school.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Leadership is a skill, a set of skills that people can learn.” Jonathon Wennstrom

Words of Wisdom
Once relationships are in place then you can start working together as a team.

It’s important that before you step through those doors on day one, before the teachers return, that we have an opportunity for people to get together socially to just talk and get to know one another.

We need to build each other up and tell our stories of the great things that are happening.

There’s a pressure to feel as if you have all the answers, and that you have to fix every problem. It’s ok to say I don’t know, or I’m going to get back with you, or let me think on that.

Good principals will grow the leadership. If staff is feeling safe in that school environment and empowered, then that helps everyone.

Advice for Principals
Step one Always build relationships
Find out about your team find out
Sequence to follow:
Send out email
Share your philosophy on education
Give list of question including
What are your points of pride
What traditions do you want to continue
What are your proudest achievements
What are your fears
What are your hopes
Take time to meet them
Make sure to have some social time before school starts.
Don’t be afraid to say the words I don’t know.
Lean on the experience around you.

Recommended Books
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Mindset:The New Psychology of Success By Carol Dweck
The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros

If you found this entertaining, educational, or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, email me at [email protected]. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

July 28, 2017 09:41 AM PDT

I was recently reading The Savvy Principal: What Streetwise Principals Know by Jody Capelutti for a book club of which I’m a part. He has a chapter in his book that describes the qualities of a good boss. This chapter had a bigger impact this time reading it because, as many of us are this time of year, I’ve been scanning the job opportunities in the surrounding area. As the jobs open up, thinking about the “right fit” is important. This particular post was inspired by Dr. Capelutti’s observations and my current state of mind.

Balances hands off with appropriate feedback.
If you’re hired into a position, naturally you’d believe that you’re qualified for the job. I’ve heard horror stories of principals being micro managed by their superintendent. He or she would question the principal’s decisions and suggest, in of their peers, a different way to get it done. Once you’re hired you should have the freedom to implement the changes you think are necessary. The superintendent should be monitoring your progress based off previous conversations and goals and providing appropriate check ins and feedback as you move towards success. A good superintending knows how to strike that balance between hands off and holding you accountable with appropriate feedback.

Respects personal time and understands importance of health
Being a principal requires you to be “on” all the time. When you do get a chance to take a breath you don’t need a text from your boss asking a question that could wait til you’re back on the “clock”. A good boss has her own life and is also taking the necessary time to relax and recharge and understands that you need that time too. Being healthy both mentally and physically means you’ll be there for your students, staff and the larger community. Getting that personal time to take care of yourself is another key indicator of a good superintendent.

Supports you and your building with personnel and resources
With budgets as they are, we know providing 360% support can be problematic. A good superintendent is transparent and is able to provide the rationale when he is unable to provide the necessary resources. However, they should also do their best to provide the latitude for you to hire, develop and implement the staff and programs that will move the school forward. While physical resources might not always be available, emotional and professional support are often just as needed. Seeing that the superintendent backs your initiatives gives you credibility with your community. A good superintendent supports you any way she can.

Being able to tell whether or not a superintendent is or will be a good boss is something we have to deal with. A boss who is able to balance a hands off approach with the appropriate timely feedback, respects your personal time and your health and supports you in whatever way she can is one worth working for. What are other key attributes of a good superintendent? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational, or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, email me at [email protected]. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

July 25, 2017 01:15 PM PDT

The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows. I like the interaction of the characters and how, when they’re at their best, they’re working together to overcome insurmountable odds. As school staff we too have to band together to resist the onslaught of disregard that is often brought against our profession. As the leader of a school building 3 indicators demonstrate that we’re ready to prevail and persevere even if a zombie apocalypse is on its way. (If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead and plan to, there are spoilers below.)

Optimism
The relatively freshly widowed Maggie is a symbol of optimism and her unborn child epitomizes that hope. A principal must also be relentlessly optimistic and exude hope for her students’ futures. This hopefulness is often indicated by the welcoming smile that parents see when they drop their child off. You can see it when the principal is walking down the hall smiling at students and staff and knowing them by name. This optimism is also heard in the language they use. The community never hears the principal speaking poorly about his school or his district. Optimism is one of the major indicators that a school could survive a zombie apocalypse.

Collaboration
When you’re in survival mode collaboration is key. Rick is constantly looking for mutually beneficial relationships in order to keep his group safe. An example of this is the amount of effort he put forth to create a positive relationship with the kingdom. As a principal working together creates the strongest culture. Identify those key influencers on your staff and encourage their input. Use your student governing body to bring in student voice. It’s their future we’re fighting for. Rick has an end goal, destroying Negan he doesn’t really care how it happens. We too must have a goal that we would like to accomplish. Having all stakeholders come up with the means to get there is the key to success. No principal is an island, collaboration is another indicator that the zombie apocalypse is survivable.

Hard Truths
In the Walking Dead series the characters must continually confront hard truths. Often it’s the death of a member of the group. As principals our hard truths will occur in the form of tough conversations. These are usually uncomfortable exchanges. However, they do provide an opportunity for growth. Just like in the show we get stronger and better at our job when we survive these conversations. We can be optimistic and collaborative but that doesn’t mean we are oblivious to reality. Poor performance, ugly data, and our own mistakes are all things we can’t ignore. Facing hard truths and working to overcome them is one more example of a school ready to face a zombie apocalypse.

The zombie apocalypse is a metaphor for what we face as principals and educators. Optimism, collaboration and facing the truth of tough situations are key indicators that our schools will survive and grow. What are other signs of strong schools. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you found this entertaining, educational, or cause for reflection please share with your friends.

If you’re a principal make sure you check out the new grant/scholarship available that honors the hard work you put in on a daily basis. K12 principals click here to learn more

For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, email me at [email protected]. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.

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