Principals in Action Help Wherever Needed

  I’ve been connected to a group of school leaders from around the United States and Canada for a few years. We refer to ourselves as Principals In Action. Our mission is to encourage leaders to get out of their office and connect with others. We do this through weekly

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The Lessons of Change

  Change in any aspect of life can be challenging but it can also be a powerful agent of growth. As educators, we recognize the many lessons we can learn from embracing change in order to develop professionally as well as personally. As the 2017-2018 school year began, we both,

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Community Fluff Can’t Wait

Listen.   Just listen.   Listen from the heart.   The simple and unassuming acknowledgment of another person’s thoughts is powerful and restorative. As a 6th grade teacher, I am faced daily with typical ‘tween’ angst, social landmines, and raging hormones. There’s a heavy need in middle school to “fit

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I Don’t Know The Answer

  I do not know what the next big thing in education is going to be.  I do not know what new technology devices are coming around the corner or the future impact they will make in our classroom.   At times, I do not know what will be the

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The Problem With Passion

I absolutely love what I do! As the principal of Sigler Elementary I lead with passion. In fact, I have written about my leadership style before and I encourage you to read more about it here.   According to Clifton’s Strengthsfinder my top strength is competition followed closely by being

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I Am Advocate…Hear Me Lead

  I am a passionate educator who strongly believes that every child can learn. In that same mindset, I believe every educator is responsible for fostering an environment in which learning can take place at its highest level. Educators are the facilitators of learning. We are the conduits through which

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It’s Not Selfish to Take Care of YOU Too!

It’s October. The new and shiny has worn off of your school year, and if you’re like me, Chinese takeout and a 7 pm bedtime on a Friday sounds like a DREAM.   How do you motivate your people when you yourself feel like you need some motivation? We know

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How to Approach Our Mission With Bravery

Everything I’ve accomplished in life would be void if it weren’t for the people in my life, specifically my classroom teachers, who pushed and challenged me to go to the next level.   I am a product of those who have invested their entire heart into me.   Now, when

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From Drab to Fab: Flipping Face-to-Face Faculty Learning

  The 9/16/17 #LeadUpChat focused on Capital Over Compliance within a greater chat series theme Flipped. The chat was lively and chock full of practical ideas for flipping faculty and team learning from an environment of compliance to one of engagement and deeper purpose. This blog is going to encapsulate

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Raise The Heat

Leadership is inherently about change. CEOs won’t last long if there is no push for new or better, no politician runs on a platform of the status quo, and school leaders don’t keep master binders of the lesson plans used each year. Leaders who fail to seek positive change are,

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Not The Only Way: Authentic Vs. Compliant Learning

Not the Only Way: Authentic vs. Compliant Learning   “Authentic learning is not discovered in a textbook, but rather at the crossroads of contemporary societal issues and student passion.”– Aaron Duff   When I (Joshua) tell people that I am a middle school administrator, I usually get the same responses.

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Effective Communication

Effective Communication   Communication is one of the toughest things about leading. You work constantly to improve your verbal, written, and interpersonal skills. You strive to communicate strategically, systematically, and with empathy. You recognize the importance of effective communication with your team, your parents, and your community. And yet, the

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Don’t Just Believe In Kids: Believe UP

Don’t Just Believe in Kids: Believe Up As teachers we are in the game of believing in kids. How we show our students we believe in them matters. I don’t know about you but I see a lot of motivatonal phrases in tweets, in blogs, in commercials, and on classroom

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Crafting Courageous Conversations: 5 Maxims for Everyday Leaders

Crafting Courageous Conversations: 5 Maxims for Everyday Leaders   As educators, we are in the people business. Yes, we are about curriculum and instruction but the currency of our profession is grounded in relationships. We are also in the continuous improvement process daily. Our roles include coaching others and having

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How Can I Help You?

How Can I Help You?   The importance and power of a positive culture in any school or classroom is vital to maximize results. One of the ways I’ve found to improve culture and relationships is by simply asking, “is there anything I can do?” Having a “how can I

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Renewal   Renewal. It means to make like new. Synonyms include words like restore implying returning to an original state after depletion, renovate as in repairing or rebuilding, and rejuvenate suggesting a restoration of youthful vigor, powers, or appearance. We renew library books, licenses, acquaintances, and vows. Holiday breaks renew

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219 Days: Lessons from a First Year Administrator

219 Days: Lessons from a First Year Administrator   As of the publish date of this post, I have been alive for 13,738 days. Of that time, 219 days have been spent as a junior high Assistant Principal. That’s only 1.6% of my life. However, as I reflect back on

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Secrets of School Culture

Secrets of School Culture As school leaders, we understand that one of our most important responsibilities is building school culture.  We want to lead a school where kids enjoy learning and adults enjoy working.  We want to lead a school where teacher capacity is enhanced and student achievement is elevated.

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3 Ways School Leaders Can Put Transparency into Action

3 Ways School Leaders Can Put Transparency into Action   Most school leaders would say that transparency is one of their guiding principles in their school. But when faced with tough opposition in the midst of change, consider this: is your lack of putting transparency into practice hindering growth? Teachers

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Four Tenants for Building a Coaching Culture

Four Tenants for Building a Coaching Culture   *All teachers deserve coaching *Every teacher should have a growth plan and growth necessitates feedback *The stronger a teacher becomes the more coaching they should receive *Teacher leaders are the first to request coaching as they work to build the culture  

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Without Limits

Without Limits   There’s a scene in a movie called Without Limits that I love. Bill Bowerman, the Oregon track and Team USA track coach, is sitting down for a coaching session with Steve Prefontaine. Pre, as many knew him, had that front runner mentality. Always in the front. Always

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Leaders Must Also Teach

Leaders Must Also Teach I loved being a teacher.  When I was hired as a principal I was very worried that I would lose touch of what it was like to be a teacher.  I heard stories of administrators who had become disconnected from what really happens in the classroom,

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Transfer: Intentional Planning For Student Understanding

In high school, our basketball coach would routinely end practice by making the team run a series of line drills.  One day after a difficult practice, one of my teammates asked the question we were all thinking.  “Do we have to run line drills today?”  Coach Smith replied, “You don’t

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What Do You Do All-Day?

When my kids were little, they used to ask me, “Daddy, what do you actually do all day?”  As the superintendent of a 10,000 student school district in Central Ohio, I would often just casually respond with, “I go to meetings.”  For a while, that seemed to satisfy them, and

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A Voice Worth Listening To

  Shhhhh!   How many times a day do you think students are asked to be quiet?   During my graduate work I observed in a variety of different classrooms and schools and informally evaluated teacher effectiveness using specific tools. In one lesson I observed a teacher asking students to

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Late Bloomers: Technology

  I was a late bloomer.  I entered high school standing a mighty 4’11” tall.  Playing sports was difficult. Technically,  I was a very sound athlete.  But, my gifts in skills and vision were overshadowed by my inability to keep up athletically. I remember feeling helplessly left behind by circumstances

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Recreating the Principal Stereotype

  When you mention the phrase “the principal’s office”, what comes to your mind? Paddlings? Suspensions? Other punishments? Bad news phone calls? Detention? Missed recesses?  I could continue with the list of negative actions associated with the title of principal. We are notoriously known for being “the bad guys” of

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Everyday Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is not weakness, rather it is our most accurate measurement of courage and the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” – Brené Brown   I have a confession to make: Even with all the conversation out there about risk taking and vulnerability and the benefits of failure, I keep

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“We” Will Always Be Better Than “Me”

  Somewhere buried within the thousands of pages I’ve read on leadership, I read a story about an interaction between John Wooden and one of his players. Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who led his team to seven straight NCAA Championships (10 total), was not giving the player as

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Developing Teacher Leaders: A Transformative Process

  Today’s students are far different than the students sitting in classrooms not even two generations ago. In response to the varying needs of today’s students, we have heard the call for differentiation in the classroom. This call is often answered by teachers whose own varying needs are not met

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Unlock Your Superpower

I love superheroes.  When I was a kid, The Superfriends was my favorite cartoon. As I got older, I devoured X-Men comic books.  Even today, I think it is a great movie-going experience to see a superhero movie in 3-D and in IMAX.   For me, there is something incredible

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Everyone Deserves a Thought Partner

In today’s educational landscape there are new pressures, unrelenting accountability, and polarizing scrutiny on our teachers, students, and administrators. Yet, the collective “we” are expected to implement, revise, and innovate.   While this may seem intimidating, we need trusted partners that can support, push, encourage, and reflect with us in

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Culture is Key…then Comes FOCUS!   There is, perhaps, no greater obstacle to all students learning at the levels of depth and complexity necessary to graduate from high school ready for college and a skilled career than the overwhelmingly and inappropriately large number of standards that students are expected to

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Know Your Place and Be Intentional

This past spring my friend, Brock, passed away, and at the funeral service our pal, Brandon, talked about Brock’s consistent ability to be intentional, calm, and peaceful.  Brock was a remarkable man. At the age of 34, he accumulated more accolades than many will earn in a lifetime.  Where there were loads of pointers I could have taken

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Simple Words, Simple Actions

Have fun, learn a lot, and be kind to everyone!   These are the words I say to my soon to be second-grade son, Seely, every day before school. This isn’t a prophetic, or even an earth-shattering statement by any means, but I believe it deeply and I hope he continues to embody

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Empowering Today’s Learner’s Through Student Voice

Within our educational system today, and at the heart of all that we do, rests the proverbial “student desk”. In that seat rests the most powerful, engaging, and often untapped school resource. By taking and making time to include student perspective and voice within the academic, social, and behavioral facets

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Students Today – Leaders Tomorrow

I want you to visualize something.  Close your eyes and imagine a classroom………..   Scenario #1: All the students are sitting at desks in rows looking at the back of each other’s heads. The teacher is in the traditional spot at the front of the room. There is a Power

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10 Characteristics of a LeadUp Teacher

    A LeadUp Teacher undoubtedly possesses many characteristics! Innovative, inspiring, and empowering just to name a few. What would you add to these 10 Defining Characteristics of a LeadUp Teacher?   Continually Curious A LeadUp Teacher is adept at asking questions. What is…, how does it work, is there

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The Shift Toward Personalized PD

  I go to a lot of conferences, I show up at a lot of twitter chats, and I talk to a lot of people. I have to tell you that people everywhere are talking about how to make professional development more meaningful, more useful, and more personalized.   We

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Sacred Cows In Education

Sacred Cows noun: someone or something that has been accepted or respected for a long time and that people are afraid or unwilling to criticize or question   What are the “Sacred Cows” in your school? School improvement teams write plans about curriculum and instruction, closing achievement gaps, school culture,

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Shifting Leadership Paradigms

I believe the opportunity is before us to inspire a movement within our schools. We all have unique desires for our school campuses. From school culture to innovation, it’s our teachers who have the ability to cause a ripple effect of change. Consider what teacher leadership looks like at your

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Courageous Leadership

  “We have to be engaged at the heart level in order to be courageous champions.” -Margaret Wheatley   When I decided to enter the world of educational leadership, I underestimated the value of courage. I was enthusiastic and somewhat naïve about my role as a school leader. Within weeks

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Wild Pink Roses

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, I loved to play outside. We had many trees and open spaces, plus plenty of flower and berry bushes around. I would often wander the few acres we had, picking flowers or berries for my mom, enjoying the task and the accomplishment of

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Better Than I Found It

  My parents always taught me to leave things better than I found them.  I can still hear these words echo in my head anytime I leave a room, my table at a restaurant, or the park where I am playing with my kids.  I find myself unconsciously organizing pillows

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Sputnik Moment 2.0

There is an amazing scene in the Space Flight Epic film, “The Right Stuff.” Actor Jeff Goldblum, in the role of a slightly hapless government official, is rushing down the corridor of a federal building and breaks into a some sort of top secret meeting and yells, “It’s called Sputnik!”

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A year after launching #Leadupchat on Twitter (eventually becoming part of a larger movement, LeadUpNow) we are celebrating the tremendous successes and stories of leadership and growth amongst our fellow colleagues and friends. As we reflect on these successes, we immediately conclude that one powerful aspect has been a continual

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The Second Year

  Do you remember your first year of teaching? Or first year as an administrator? It was new, exciting, and full of adventure. I knew I was on a journey, and I was willing to take any path that would help me grow and become a better educator. There was

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The Domino Effect

Today’s post is written by Heidi Veal, a passionate educator who serves as an assistant principal for an early childhood school in McKinney, TX.   When was the last time you arranged dominoes just for the fun of watching them fall down, one-onto-the-other, collapsing the line into a neatly bowed-down

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Sometimes I Feel Inadequate

By Mark French   I love being a connected educator. I have gained immensely the past two years from connections I have with others through Twitter, Facebook, Voxer, Instagram, podcasts, at EdCamps, and in person. But, I have a confession, sometimes I feel inadequate.   I don’t have tens of

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Forged Teamwork

  When I was a high schooler, the Chicago Bulls were arguably the best team in NBA history. I dreamed of what it would be like to watch a team of women dominate the game and how that would change the world. Fast forward to 2015 when The Minnesota Lynx

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Do You Believe In The Power of Words?

Do you believe in the power of words? By Daniel Bauer   Recently the LeadUp tribe has been deeply engaged in exploring the power of words.   This is for good reason to – we are in a season of New Year’s Resolutions and a trending way of creating resolutions

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Time Capsule

How Nine-Year-Old Me Taught Me What’s Important in Education by Justin Birckbichler   Over the holidays, my mother approached me holding a small, red cylinder. As I took it from her, I realized it was my time capsule I had hidden in our attic in 2000, when I was nine.

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Lessons From the Crossing Guard

Today’s post is by lead learner, Karen Norton, an elementary principal in Carlisle, AR.   Hats…educators wear many and they all serve a different purpose. My hats, for instance, include being an elementary principal, a mentor, a teacher, a cafeteria worker, a crossing guard, a nurse, a counselor, a disciplinarian

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To Be a Great Teacher

always knew I wanted to be a teacher.

I am not sure when I made that decision. The story has changed so many times in my mind…was it because of the good moments growing up? Moments like Mrs. Shiffner who taught me to never give up, or Mr. Benzo who found a way to bring humor to almost any subject…Mrs. Griffith, the one and only teacher who ever sent me to the principal’s office, yet offered grace when I returned. Was it a teacher? A single moment?

{Grace} #12DofD

There are many meanings for the small word grace. According to Webster, the word Grace can be defined as, “unmerited divine assistance given for the purpose of regeneration or sanctification :  a virtue : sanctification : a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff

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{Celebration} #12DofD

Just recently, I had a chat with my eldest daughter about the importance and value of celebrating the triumphs and successes of our friends and family. As site leaders, it is vital to remember the importance of celebrating. Maybe it is a student who has been struggling with a concept who finally understood it. Perhaps it is a teacher on your campus, who after months of resisting, took on a new instructional practice and began to see student growth and/or excitement. Maybe it is a staff member who tried a new technology to bring into their classroom or the office.

{Compassion} #12DofD

What good is creating a classroom environment, if we don’t provide the proper place for compassion to take place? What good is it to memorize facts about the world, if we miss the chance to translate the information in action to help others? Now, more than ever, is it imperative

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{Creativity} #12DofD

One of the greatests gifts we can provide our teachers and students is the foundation of a collaborative and trusting culture. Creativity, which sharpens critical thinking, flourishes within individuals who feel safe to take risks. A culture of creativity is one in which ideas flow freely, individuals build off of one another and collaboratively construct unique solutions to perplex problems. Creativity sets the stage for innovative thinking, and our world needs innovators. When we honor creativity, voice is ignited and amplified, and it allows originality to run a deeper course amidst curiosity and new possibilities.

{Peace} #12DofD

In December, we think of the word peace. As educators, I believe we can provide peace for students and families through approaching each day from a whole child approach. Are students healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged? Too often, schools emphasize the pacing guide, test scores, or district initiatives. We

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{Generosity} #12DofD

This time of year teachers often ponder gifts for their students. When I was a classroom teacher, I definitely bought each student a book and sometimes a holiday themed pencil and eraser too. I was more than happy to do so and hoped I was contributing to their home libraries.

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{Presence} #12DofD

“I was there. I was present.” We live in a busy world, and often times, we are there. But are we just going through the motions? Are we physically present, but emotionally and mentally absent? Presence is more than “being present.” It is giving time to another, being fully vested

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{Hope} #12DofD

Hope is something all kids deserve, but not all of them have. Each day we have kids walk into our schools with very little or no hope within themselves. They do not all see their future story. Some do not see beyond their next meal. As educators, what if we

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{Family} #12DofD

The holiday season should remind us all of the importance of family. It is a time of year where families travel near and far to share times of fellowship, celebration and gift giving. As educators, it’s important for us to remember how important our families are when it comes to

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{Anticipation} #12DofD

My son Cooper, is 4 years old and like many households around the country, Elf on the Shelf or “Elfie” as Cooper calls him, has been visiting each day since December 1st. Cooper wakes each morning with anticipation of finding “Elfie” in the house and is overwhelmed with joy when

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{Wonder} #12DofD

As educators we are in the wonder business. We wonder if we are doing the right thing for kids, if we are making a difference, what our students go home to and if we’ll ever get to all the paperwork. But more importantly we inspire wonder. As educators we have

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{Joy} #12DofD

Joy. A simple three-letter word that can be quite difficult to define. To the untrained eye, Joy may appear to look like happiness. But there is much more to Joy than a laugh or a smile. You see, there is no emoji for Joy. A symbol could not possibly carry

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12 Days of Difference #12DofD

Daily doses of being a difference maker from December 14-December 25 Be encouraged and challenged to live out a “word” a day from fellow edleaders. This can be an especially challenging time for our students. Let’s find together find those “words” that can mean so much to make a difference!

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5 Golden Rings: A Gift All Students Should Receive

How can we transform teaching and learning? As you reflect on 2015, what would you change in your school? Teachers and administrators often look for the silver bullet, the instructional strategy that will support all students. One flaw in current practice is that most educators design curriculum, instruction, and assessment with the 12th grade as the ‘end in mind.’ If our collective efforts are preparing students to graduate from high school, we may not achieve the desired results of preparing more students for success in college and university coursework. As we enter a new year, the focus is on college and career readiness.

Is This Your Stop?

Today’s post is by Ben Dickson, a forward thinking educator who currently serves as Dean for a STEM Elementary School in Reno, NV.

I hear that train a comin’ it’s rollin’ round the bend………… +

Less than 24 hours ago the Universe conspired to punch me in the gut. Now in the grand scheme of the all that is going on in the world this was a trivial event, a speck of dust on the Universe’s cosmic karma train, but it still hurt like hell none the less.

I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die….. +

The Distance Between Decisions

Jon Harper is a passionate Ed Leader, talented blogger, and Vice Principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Maryland.   Many of us make hundreds, if not thousands of these a day. Some are easy and require, little to no thought. While others are difficult and can oftentimes push us

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Find Your Tribe: A Powerful PLN

This post is written by Amy Heavin. She is the principal/lead learner at Ryan Park Elementary School, MSD of Steuben County in Angola, Indiana Find Your Tribe. Three simple words, but profound in their call to action. Three words that 6 months ago would not have meant anything to me,

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New Age Leaders Embrace the Paradox of Power

Today’s post is by Dr. Ryan Jackson, a proud High School Assistant Principal in Metro Nashville, TN.

You don’t need to be an Algebra expert to understand that leadership and power belong in the same equation. Consider this leadership story problem: In response to a need or challenge, strong leaders cast crystallized vision and rally sought after buy-in, while utilizing their influence to solve for X (executing said vision). Factor-in a leader’s power, that ambiguous form of strength used to enhance and expedite influence, and realizing a vision becomes as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. Right?

Old School vs New School: Part II

This is a part 2 blog post by Matthew Arend, a passionate lead learner/principal serving students daily at Sigler Elementary in Texas. Welcome back for Part II of “Old School vs. New School”. If you have not read Part I feel free to “click here” and review the first part

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Old School vs New School: Part I

Today’s post is by Matthew Arend, a passionate lead learner/principal serving students daily at Sigler Elementary in Texas. It’s the ongoing battle. Old School vs. New School. We have been contemplating schools of thought, dating back to Calvinism in the early 1800s…

Lean Out a Little Farther

Today’s post is by Sandy King, an innovative master teacher in South Jordan, Utah.  The climb to the top of the cliff had been exhilarating. I ascended without fear. As long as I looked up, with my site on the goal, I knew that I could make it up to

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Are You Leading with Questions?

Today’s post is by Rosa Isiah, a passionate lead learner/principal serving students daily at Lucille Smith Elementary School in California. Are You Leading with Questions? Think back to your last leadership or team meeting. As facilitator, did you create opportunities for the team to process and discuss questions? How did

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A New Era: Teacher As Coach

When colleagues have entered my room, at first glance they thought I wasn’t there. I recall the bewildered look of one administrator that I worked for as he scanned the room thinking I had left it unattended. Typically one of the student leaders in my room will notice and point them in my direction. You see, as a coach I’m beside my learners as I question, reflect and provide feedback.

Conflicting Titles

While I view myself as a learning coach, my current title reads as “teacher.” I’m hard pressed to identify a “teacher” who fits the description below from the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary.

Will The Real Disruptive Educators Please Stand Up?

Today’s post is by Dr. Sanee Bell, a highly impactful elementary lead learner/principal in Katy, TX.

As educators, when we hear the word disruptive, our minds usually reflect on students in the past who have misbehaved in school. The word disruptive often has a negative connotation associated with its use. It is synonymous with words like troublemaking, disturbing, distracting, and unruly. However, the beauty of the English language is that we have multiple meanings for words. When I searched Google for the meaning of disruptive, the search engine returned two meanings:

Behind the Leadership Curtain

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Neil Gupta, an extraordinary secondary director of education in Worthington, Ohio.

I just transitioned to a new position in a new school district a little more than two months ago. As I meet people asking me how I like my new position, I tell them this story:

Sometime in the second week of my new position, I set up a meeting with my direct report Chief Academic Officer, Jennifer Wene. I walked in to her office stating that I had 10 questions. With each question, she not only explained her question, but the reasoning and belief behind the decision or approach to look further. After each question, her next answer was consistent with the same beliefs and approach as her previous answer.

#BetterTogether: Leverage The Power of Group Capital

Today’s Blog is by an incredible lead learner/Elem. Principal, Paul Erickson, in Hutchingson, KS. making a difference!

In our fifth grade hallway, there is a poster that states, “Real heroes don’t wear capes.” The purpose of this poster is to encourage students to look beyond stereotypical role models–professional athletes and pop icons–and consider the real difference-makers in their lives–teachers, coaches, and parents. I love the mantra and the idea it promotes, but it has me thinking about my own job as an elementary school principal. I’m viewed as a leader (not a hero, but a leader), but how much impact do I really have?

Assessments: Left Behind

Written by Nathan Lang and Jeff Veal, co-founders of LeadUpNow and #LeadUpChat

We can’t argue that there is a movement to change the landscape of education. Just google search differentiated instruction, authentic learning, or project based learning and you’ll get a plethora of search results. Blogs, models, theories, strategies, challenges and evidence, they’re all there to help support teachers move forward so that students are prepared for the college and career.

But there is still an aspect of the Big Three (Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment) that is left behind. Yes, Curriculum and Instruction have been upgraded to the iPhone 6 Plus, while Assessment is still at a Nokia flip phone. Why is Assessment so antiquated in it’s ways and how do we overhaul it?


Our guest post today is by Marlena Gross-Taylor, who has served as a teacher, K-12 administrator, and is currently an educational consultant based in Nashville, TN.

“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.” ~Edgar Cayce

Have you ever been to the movies by yourself?

Until this summer, I had never been to the theater solo, nor ever had a desire to do so. I took a little road trip to Rocky Top to present at a conference, leaving the family back home. My initial plans were to relax by the pool, shop a bit and participate in the conference group activities; however at the end of day one I found myself in a small theater excited to see the movie no one else in my family wanted to view – Tomorrowland. And my world refocused.

Our Kitchen Table

Today’s guest post is by Amy Heavin, an elementary lead learner/principal in Angola, IN.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” ~Henry Ford

In my house, the kitchen table is not just for eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At any given moment, it can become a dinosaur’s landscape, a race track, a Lego field, or even a family show and tell event. We might illuminate a light with a Snap Circuit set, or we might gather around my Chromebook screen to learn how to play a math game. The kitchen table is a place of many possibilities, of conversation, and of inquiry. It is within these inspired moments that I see the opportunities that can await our children in their classrooms, the endless possibilities that can build into deep learning experiences. These experiences are founded in the premise of collaboration and creativity.

The Power of a Blank Canvas

Today’s guest blog is by Dr. Todd Schmidt, an elementary lead learner in Corona del Mar, CA.

Do you remember Bob Ross? His show, The Joy of Painting, encouraged you to create a beautiful scenery complete with “happy trees!” I must admit, I never actually attempted to follow along and try to paint, but the show was hypnotic and his voice was so soothing (in a Weather Channel sort of way!) I was always enthralled in how he could take a blank canvas and turn it into something so incredible. Using his imagination and his skill, he painted masterpiece after masterpiece…all in just half an hour!

Ignite a Movement, Be a Trailblazer

Today’s guest post is by Elisabeth Bostwick , a teacher leader in Horseheads, New York.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a ropes course, it’s likely that you felt intrigued while observing the varying levels of ability. From novice to expert every individual moves at his or her own pace. Others prefer to stand to the side and watch the action take place.

Schools are comparable to a ropes course. While some teachers avidly advance forward as innovators who motivate and challenge colleagues to try new ideas, others want to know every minute detail and speculate all of the possibilities in order to grasp the big picture and purpose before committing to taking action. We need to be in tune with the needs of the individuals in our organization, decipher what drives them, and how we can support them to move forward. In our field, we need to aspire to empower every educator to be a significant agent of change regardless of their starting point.

You Are Enough

Today’s guest post is by Aaron Hogan, a high school assistant principal in College Station, TX.

Before I started teaching, I heard a lot about what to expect during the first year. But other than the (much maligned) “Don’t smile til Christmas” warning (that even as a baby teacher I knew was garbage), I didn’t hear much about the first day.

My eighth first day will be here in another month, and I’d love there to be some stories out there for new teachers to see about something that I’ve heard many educators commiserate about since I started. (click on title for full post)

Making School Culture Our Focus

Today’s post is written by Michael Kelly who is a Middle School principal in Pennsylvania.

I have attended a few different conferences, workshops and EdCamps lately where I have been introduced to an amazing amount of ideas and strategies related to instruction, technology and innovation. These sessions have been inspiring and excellent educational learning experiences. However, an underlying tone that has existed in some of the sessions I’ve attended has related to school culture. In technology sessions I’ve heard concerns about trust and support. In curriculum or instruction sessions I’ve heard teachers express concern about not feeling safe to take risks or not having autonomy in their classroom to try new things. These concerns relate back to school culture. (click title to read full post)

5 Ways to Impact School Culture Regardless of Your Title

  Leadership has much more to do with one’s influence than one’s title. Too often we wait for someone with a certain job description to “fix” a seemingly broken culture, and while it is certainly frustrating when the one tasked with leading doesn’t rise to that occasion, we have a

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