Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Flying Solo As a Team

I have been wanting to create a campus shirt for my junior high and high school staff but couldn’t come up with a design I liked.  

So, at lunch one day with my staff, I mentioned the idea and my first-year science teacher came up with “Second to None” as a campus theme. 

This week, while scrolling through Twitter, I came across a quote that spoke to me in two ways:

  1. It reminded me to be true to myself
  2. It reminded me to trust my team as they trust me
Of course, the latter is what’s most important. 

I am reminded that as the eagle flies alone it is not alone. It shares the sky with fellow eagles but each has individual freedom to express and innovate. 

And, since this is my blog, I choose to believe my team at Martinsville JH/HS is a Team of awesome eagles who are masters in their own respect but we are a family as well. 

We may not travel the same path, but our end goal is shared.  

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Don’t give your cash to the ATM

First off, why would anyone try to give money to an ATM? Aren’t they intended to “give” money to you (when appropriate funds are available)?

I believe the same can be said about leadership. You have to be sure you are using tools and skills effectively. To be more specific, if you utilize teachers poorly, the result will not be positive. Just because you have created resources to share, are they shared in a timely manner? Are they resources that people want? 

On a similar notion, if you bring 30 rolls to Thanksgiving dinner but the dinner needed you to bring 1 can of cranberry sauce, then your efforts were not effective. It’s important to remember to listen and adapt your skills to each situation and learn new skills and grow your standards skills as well. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Putting the last 10 months into writing

The last 10 months, for me, have been a fast but slow, bright but muggy set of life events...

May 2017 - offered, accepted secondary principal position at Martinsville ISD; resigned as elementary principal at Garrison after two years there and a total of 5 years as elementary principal. 

June 2017- My wife and sell our commuter car and she surprises me with a dream truck; we welcomed the birth of my fourth daughter, Willow. Our rental house would be sold soon so we begin the search for a new home. My wife also resigns from Garrison Elementary and she and our three daughters enroll at Martinsville.  

July 2017 - Home searching and babysitter search underway. I am learning or trying to learn the role of a new principal position and moving my wife classroom supplies to our house. 

August 2017 - Packing up home to be ready to move.  

September 2017 - We find the home we want. It happens to be the house we were going to lease the week before I took job in Martinsville. Let the paperwork begin. 

October 2017 - Home buying still lingering in paperwork. We move into house, basically in one day and await the closing date. 

November 2017 - close on home. Basketball season is underway.

December 20167 - We slowly are getting settled in house. 

January 2018 - Flu season hits everyone but Willow. 

February 2018, March 2018 - life appears to have slowed down enough that my wife and I had the opportunity to decorate, organize and arrange my office. 

I have been blessed by so much this year and also trying to learn a lot on the fly. I am very blessed to be surrounded by people that I work with and the people that have to live with me too! 

As the end of this year approaches and a new opens, I reflect on the post from Dan Rockwell: 
Be the Leader You Wished You Had

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Being the Example VS. Be the Example

I came across this image that says “Be the Example”:

So, I thought on it and came up with this:

  • I fall way too short everyday to be “the Example” 
  • Are my ways and leadership skills “the Example”?
  • Would others nod in agreement or shake their head in disapproval as me as “the Example”?
Well, this photo has stirred me for a few days and I’ve come to a realization:

I do not want to be “the Example”; I want to, in every day and every way, to work on “being the Example”. 

This means:
  • I will always strive to do better,be better
  • I will fail but I will try again
  • I will be proud but not let pride cloud my mind
  • I will treat others as equal travelers 
  • I will be fair and square my actions 
  • I will always strive for greatness
  • I will be the best me 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

10 Principles and PLC


If you’re like me, which would be a 35 year-old Dad of four girls under 6, 6th year as a principal in my third district and third different principal position, you may be reading books like “The Principled Principal” and “Frequwntly Asked Questions About PLCs At Work”

Both works are fabulous in jump-starting and innovating best practices and laying out a framework to boost learning with sound research to back it up. 

I have been touched by Principle 4, “Everything Matters”. This principle really hits home for me. Originally, I graduated from college as a communications major with an emphasis in news writing. There I was taught to view issues with objectivity. Fast forward to 2018 and that’s how I feel about all areas of student learning from classroom, to our district’s social media campaign, all extracurricular, staff development, etc. 

We have our standardized test, STAAR, which is measured and receives lots of emphasis. We are primarily a basketball school and our records are measured with much emphasis. 

But we also emphasize our FFA, academic UIL, One Act Play, DRA Levels, good behavior, citizenship, FCCLA, PTO, booster club, social media community. 

In order to propel our love of learning past the standard, we must take our principles of leading and the foundation of a PLC and apply it to EVERYTHING  we do for students. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Good Fit

One of my friends from high school, that used to hang around me when I took pictures for the town newspaper and then he went on to be a successful high school football player and later a Marine, asked me about my journey as principal; one of his questions was, “how do you know which school is best?”

Before I became a father and another five years of being an elementary principal, I would have told him, “go where the money is and move up from assistant principal to principal and work on superintendent certification.”

Fast forward to being in three different districts and holding three different positions, my answer has changed to answers:
  1. Is this district a fit for my family? 
  2. Does my skilllset fit the needs of the district?
Of course there are many more answers that we discussed, but after reading Anthony  McConnell and Jeff Zoul’s “The Principled Principal” , https://twitter.com/mcconnellaw/status/956897899434205184, I added number three:
  • Remain at the district where your family fits, your skill set is helping improve the district and don’t be afraid to move on once your skill set has benefited the district to your maximum potential; take your gift/skill set to another district that needs you. 
When I got into Education in 2005, it was to have a job. Now, in 2018, I want to collaborate with educators from around the globe and make a positive impact for all kids. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Having the right tools

Parenting Fail

Just a week or so ago, my three youngest daughters (yes their ages are 6, 5, 4 and we have a five-month old), were given a television and Directv in their upstairs room to watch. They had never had this privilege until now and were excited about the newness of it all.

A week or so later, they started to not watch their television anymore and my wife and I became frustrated over the money spent on a new television and the monthly service of an added receiver.

They would yell down to us, "The remote to the television doesn't work, the remote doesn't work, I tried that, I'm not using the wrong one, it doesn't work, etc." We assumed they had grown tired of the new and after them not using their new television, we removed it from their room and placed in another room. The girls seemed sad for a moment that they lost the television, even though, to them, it didn't work so they really didn't mind.

As my wife and I were setting up the television in the next room, we decided to sit down and watch a show...the remote didn't work! I looked at my wife and grinned. I then took the remote and examined it and then removed the battery cover...yep, the batteries were placed in the wrong way.

As it turned out, my daughters DID enjoy their new television and when it didn't work properly they DID try to fix it. As a parent who THOUGHT I was doing right by giving them something new, I also FAILED at training them on how to use their new television and the tool that operated it.

Educational Contrast

In education, this tends to reoccur over and over: we as educators get frustrated with students for not being able to accomplish a task after hearing for the first time; not being able to complete an assignment after being handed a Chromebook or MacBook; assuming students are being defiant because "dresscode" was broken; assuming students do not care because their effort does not always equate into desire skills, etc.

In anything, in everything, we have to prepare students with upfront, transparent expectations, goals, and model how those look. We can model by showing, by doing, by example and always remember that all of these needs to be identified to each student's' skill set and learning style.

Would any coach expect their star player to score 20 or more points a game without a hoop attached to the backboard? Why then, expect someone to turn in "homework" if they're without the time to do it because they're responsible for the caring of their siblings? Or falsely judging a student of not caring when their skillset is four-grade levels behind?

Lastly, we must remember that for every 1,000th time we review an idea or rule, it's often time a student's first time to hear it.