Building Ranks

A Principal’s COVID-19 Diary: Perspective

Because I’m moderately overwhelmed by the admirable level of virtue that I see on social media amongst, well, everybody, especially educators, I’m hard-pressed to find something original I can contribute during this crisis. But I’m reminded of what my mentor told me: “When it comes to leadership, the best thing you have to offer is your authentic voice—your stories.” (more…)

My Letter to Families: ‘We Will Get Through This’

Leaving school last Friday, I’m not sure that any of us knew what to expect. I know as I leave tonight, for the last time for a while, I’m feeling similar emotions. Tuesday was our last day with kids, Wednesday with staff. Our building will be shut down beginning this Friday afternoon. It’s surreal. (more…)

How Twitter Can Serve as a COVID-19 School Resource

With the “new normal” that we are all facing and trying to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantines, communicating with our school community has a sense of urgency about it unlike anything we’ve ever faced. We’re all looking for ways to connect. I’m often asked, “Should we use Twitter, email, Instagram, or Facebook?” And I just say, “Yes.” (more…)

Passion and the Principalship

Leadership in the K–12 educational setting is challenging. Everyone looks for the one magic formula to address various grade levels, communities in a district with different needs, best instructional practices, behavior, supervision, managerial duties, governmental statutes, central office responsibilities, and myriad other challenges. And every leader in a school setting is different. Years of experience, education level, teaching background, and personal history all have an impact on an individual principal’s perspective. (more…)

The Power of Walk-Through Observations

Think back to when you were a classroom teacher. Imagine your principal walking into your classroom to conduct a walk-through observation. Does a wave of anxiety wash over you? Do you dread the fact that they are sitting in your classroom? Do you wonder, but never learn, what they are thinking when it comes to your classroom instruction because you simply never receive any feedback? Unfortunately, many teachers harbor these feelings about walk-through observations, but it doesn’t have to be this way! (more…)

Experiencing the Loss of a Student or Teacher: Responding to Crisis

Over the past seven years, Beachwood High School in Beachwood, OH, has been severely impacted by the untimely deaths of eight individuals—seven students and one teacher. In all seven cases in which a student was lost, mental health played a significant role. (more…)

Creating Career Pathways With the Academy Model

When I became the principal of West Craven High School, a rural school in North Carolina, I realized that only 30 percent of my students attended college after graduation. As a principal, I’m concerned with every student’s success after graduation, and an uncertain future for 70 percent of them concerned me and my staff. As a result, we made the career and college promise a reality. (more…)

The Zero-Waste Revolution in Schools

Hawaiʻi is an isolated island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is desperately short of landfill space and good soil. Located on the windward side of Oahu in beautiful Kailua, Kaʻōhao School has embraced a growing worldwide environmental movement that embraces a philosophy encouraging the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. (more…)

Maximizing Space and Talent in Your School

I think one of the best parts of being a principal is when a fleeting comment becomes an idea, an idea becomes a conversation, and that idea then becomes an integral part of your school’s DNA. These ideas and conversations might answer the question, “How do we make this better?” or, “What’s the next big thing?”For us, the next big thing involved taking advantage of our space through partnerships that expand learning opportunities for students in our school and others in the district. (more…)

Variability and Vulnerability: Leading the Way for All

I am an unabashed super nerd. While most administrators I know roll their eyes and let out a heavy sigh at the mere mention of administrator meetings or mandated conferences, I actually get excited. I enjoy learning so much that I typically find a pearl of knowledge from the most mundane training. (more…)