Showing posts from August, 2016

Leadership lessons from the Seagull and the Fungus

The Seagull If you're not familiar with the coastal regions, seagulls are beautiful birds. However, they can quickly become a nuisance. At the first sight of food, they swarm like white, fluffy flies. 
While grilling at the beach a few years ago, I had a seagull swoop down and snatch a hot dog straight off my grill! He did it right in front of me, straight from the flames. Unfortunately, I didn't bring any extras.
Seagull leadership lessons:
All interactions are opportunities to give, not take. Your energy, enthusiasm, and appreciation are important to teachers.When you swoop in to "save the day", you're actually stealing commitment and ownership from your teachers.Instead of swooping in, be present on a consistent basis. Be there supporting, listening, and empowering. Read this post for 3 concrete ways to empower teacher leaders!
The Fungus I love mushrooms. They taste great. Alfredo sauce with mushrooms is an indulgent masterpiece. But I've never seen a mus…

Powerful Educators Disempowered

Great educators can be disempowered when a principal is insecure, afraid, or lacks vision. How does this happen? How can we turn it around?
A Culture of Disempowerment How are teacher leaders shut down? How are passionate educators closed out? How do improvement and innovation come to a halt?
Decision-making without culture building. It creates us vs. them. It makes strong teachers and strong leaders feel disempowered. It's a downward spiral for the culture from here. The work of the school is on the path to becoming a job.The leadership circle is a safety net. Instead of empowering leaders. Meetings are information sharing. Leaders are chosen to be a part of this circle based on personality, compliance, or status quo.Keeping your distance fuels your security. It also undermines your ability to build trust, engage your staff, and really know how your vision meets reality. Could these be a lack of vision? Let's turn this leadership scenario around. Three points of focus can do t…

Six Strategies to Create a Culture of Innovation

Involvement is among the top three keys to school improvement. Innovation requires involvement. We know school culture defines a school's success at innovating. How can we maximize involvement? What are the strategies we can use to find that perfect interaction between innovation, school culture, and school improvement?
Here the top tweets from this week. They show us six strategies leaders and principals can use to create a culture of innovation. Six strategies that result in school improvement! Be Intentional As leaders everything we do is magnified, intentionality is critical in all decisions we make. #leadupchat  — Mike Peck (@EdTechPeck) August 13, 2016 This might just be the starting place - being intentional about shaping culture. Just doing the job, managing the office, and putting out fires does not result in school improvement. That's the hard part, for sure. Master the tasks of the job, so you can get them out of the you become the leader your school needs…

Vision Leadership in Schools

Traditional school cultures are geared to maintain the status quo. It is notthe fault of educators, who are passionate about learning, teaching, and students! (Here's a great post on Teachers' Passion). Schools are constantly at the whim of state politicians, federal mandates, and possibly local politics.'s no wonder change is slow. 
However, campus and district leaders can, and must, do better. They can embrace vision leadership. This is not a new topic, but it is one that still is slow to see effective and consistent practice. How do we change this? What is the benefit of vision leadership? What is vision leadership in schools? Let's work backward through these questions.
School Leaders with Vision It doesn't take long to recognize when a principal, curriculum direction, or assistant superintendent has vision. They interact and engage daily with parents, teachers, students, and each with a sense of energy and purpose. They communicate on priorities. The…

The Real Work of School Leadership: Top 5 Tweets

What contribution will you make this year? What contribution will you make to your school, your team, your teachers, your community, and your students? Something to think about...more than just a job well done...what substantial impact?
Here are my top five tweets on the "Real Work of School Leadership" from this week. I didn't have to search long. Thanks to #satchat and some great educational leaders.  Real Work of School Leadership 4 Steps to Break Free from the Shallow Work of School Leadership — Randy Ziegenfuss (@ziegeran) August 5, 2016 A quick walk over to Randy's blog and we'll quickly be reminded of the important work of leadership. That work which requires uninterrupted attention. Whereas the shallow work may be urgent, it doesn't rank high on those tasks that have real value for campus improvement.
Intentional effort is required to avoid the shallow work as much as possible. What can be delegated or automated? What …

School Improvement, Innovation, and Toxicity

Curriculum and instructional expertise are absolutely critical in educational leadership. When I went to work on my second master's degree, and I received it in curriculum and instruction. There is ample evidence to assert that educational leaders must be highly confident as instructional leaders.

However, it's not necessarily the curriculum and instruction that makes school improvement last. Actually, an excellent curriculum and instructional program can exist without schools improving. Improvement requires more than curriculum and instructional expertise. School Improvement is About People When people are engaged, learning, and focused on shared goals, they have collective purpose. There's an energy in the building that's not present otherwise. Collective purpose enable teams to function at high levels. 
Teacher teams and leadership teams are the engines of improvement with the find a shared purpose. Continuous improvement is the result when people, not programs, ar…