School of Thought

The ABCs for First-Year Administrators

As I prepared for new teacher training, I came across an Education World article with sound advice for first-year teachers, including a list of the “ABCs” that would help make them successful in the classroom. I took the concept and modified it for new administrators.

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Searching for Wisdom in All the Right Places: Growing as a School Leader

Growing up, some of my favorite movies were part of the “Indiana Jones” series. I loved how Indy lived a normal life as a professor, lecturing college students on the history of the world. Little did they know their professor lived a secret life full of adventure, excitement, close calls, and possible doom. When Indiana Jones took off his glasses and tie, he evolved from passionate teacher into an adventurous seeker of wisdom. Jones knew he would never grow in the wisdom department by sitting inside the four walls of his stuffy office looking at the curriculum he was paid to teach. He knew wisdom came through experiences and sometimes unrealistic adventures. (more…)

How Will Your Staff Remember You?

If you’re an educational leader, you may have led (or will lead) hundreds if not thousands of teachers, counselors, librarians, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, registrars, bookkeepers, custodians, maintenance technicians, secretaries, bus drivers, and nurses. You are creating a legacy every day you come to work. You are leaving your mark—an indelible impression upon the educators entrusted to your care. How will your staff remember you?  I wonder… (more…)

10 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership

I still vividly remember my early years as an assistant principal and principal. Instructional leadership was a routine part of the job along with the budget, master schedule, curriculum development, meetings, emails, phone calls, and many other duties. With the evolution of social media, yet another responsibility was added to my plate in the form of digital leadership. The position of school administrator really requires a jack of all trades, master of none. This is why many leaders fail to live up to the most important aspect of the position, which is instructional leadership. (more…)

Questions for Summer Reflection

Whether your last day of school was before Memorial Day or not until the end of June, by now every educator has finally shifted into summer mode. Whether relaxing by the beach, hitting the trails, or just spending time in the garden, the final weeks of summer are a perfect time to reflect on the past year and plan with anticipation for the year ahead. (more…)

That Zero Changed My Life (Said No Student Ever)

I recently reflected on an article I kept seeing on social media about a teacher getting fired for supposedly not abiding by the school’s grading policy. As a student, did I ever get a zero? Sure. Was it right? I guess. As a teacher, did some of my students receive zeros? Probably. Was it right? Probably not. (more…)

Students and Devices: Trying to Find the Answers

I’m trying to figure something out.

At the risk of admitting my age, I will disclose that when I was in middle school, the following were popular “first run” television shows: “The Brady Bunch,” “The Partridge Family,” “The 6 Million Dollar Man,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Happy Days,” and “Laverne and Shirley.”  That was some great TV right there. The thing is, I watched an appalling amount of television when I was a kid. (more…)

The First 140 Characters

I was recently a guest on Lead the Way, a podcast for school leaders hosted by Bill Ziegler, and we got to talking about how I challenged my staff at Cedar Crest Middle School (CCMS) to begin telling the story of our school on social media at the start of the 2017–18 school year. But my own path down the road of social media technology isn’t very typical for a Digital Principal of the Year. It actually started with a single tweet. (more…)

An Equation for Educational Change

What is the equation for American education?

At the dawn of the 20th century the equation for American education was 1 x 1 = 1.

The first factor—“1”—represents teaching and learning. The role of the teacher was the keeper and disseminator of all knowledge. The teacher would stand at the front of the room, largely lecturing or talking at the students. The students were mainly passive, seen as vessels to be filled by the expert teacher. Students sitting in rows listened, took notes, and focused on memorizing the information the teacher told them so that they could take the test to determine their letter grade (A, B, C, D, F). (more…)

Meet the Principal of the Year Finalists

NASSP is pleased to announce the 2020 NASSP National Principal of the Year (POY) finalists! The selected principals represent Georgia, Maryland, and Massachusetts and have shown their commitment to Building Culture and Leading Learning—the two domains of NASSP’s Building Ranks™ framework that is newly aligned with the POY application process—within their schools. These three principals exemplify how essential the school leader is to the success and well-being of each student and adult in their learning communities. (more…)