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It’s been almost four years since the news swept across our community that we had lost a senior student as the result of a car crash. Natalie had just graduated high school early and was on her way to classes at our local community college when she was killed in a car accident.  This past weekend, a junior student in our school community took his own life for reasons we may never truly know.  Sadly, these tragic events are part of what every school community has had to endure at some point in time. Over the years I have learned that one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching experiences happens when our school communities are faced with the loss of a

Have you ever walked away from an interaction frustrated because the results you were hoping to see never materialized?  Have you ever walked away disappointed in an individual because you felt they did not follow through or did not complete a task or project in the way you had expected them to? If you are like me, it has happened to you more than once in your time as a teacher or school/district leader. If it continues to happen, then it might be time to address your own frustrations by examining your own practices.  Looking back, there were times I realized I needed to manage my approach differently if I was ever going to achieve the results I was hoping

It is not uncommon to hear people describe change as difficult. In fact, often we describe change as something that people hate, that people fear, or that people don’t like to do.  We think about it. Other times we talk about it. And then there are those times we just keep thinking about it or even talking about it, but not doing anything about it.  Doing something different or trying something new for the very first time can bring about an array of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. We’ve all been there. Perhaps our minds and bodies were filled with anxiety, nervousness, fear, worry or just left frozen, unable to act.  Or maybe those emotions embodied excitement, energy, or a celebratory

A couple of weeks ago I was part of a group discussion where a building principal shared that he had been called to the superintendent’s office.  You could tell by the tone in his voice that he was a bit nervous about why his superintendent had requested the meeting. He shared that it wasn’t the first time he had been called in to have “a talk.” This got me to thinking how often we behave in similar ways (both intentionally and unintentionally) as building and district leaders when it comes to managing conversations and our decisions, and the negative impact this can have on the overall culture of any organization. Please know I share these with you because at one

A few days ago I was having dinner with a Superintendent when he presented me with the following question, “How do you address underperformance, especially when you expect your staff and team to perform at a high level?  Right now I am struggling with some folks who just refuse to get better.”  It was a fair question and one that I often get when I am providing training or coaching school leaders. In fact, if I am being completely candid, I would argue that this dilemma has reached almost epidemic proportions in schools and business organizations across the board. Underperformance is an issue, but failing to address underperformance is an even bigger issue. And it may not be going away anytime soon. I

This past month I wrote a blog post entitled, “Leadership…The Biggest Issue in Public Education?” in which I suggested that ineffective leadership, in my opinion, was the biggest obstacle keeping us from reaching the levels of success we all hope to achieve as leaders of any organization. The post resulted in several comments being left on my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, both publicly and privately which I genuinely appreciated.  One business woman wrote to tell me how she had been recently scolded by her supervisor via email for not following the proper protocol in her presentation and how that had made her feel like a failure even though it had been well received by her peers.  She added that she

  A few weeks ago I found myself in the middle of a conversation with several school administrators during a workshop that I was conducting on the topic of school leadership. At one point during the presentation I posed the following question to the attendees – “What do you believe to be the biggest issue facing us today in public education that is resulting in many of our schools to be labeled as low performing?” The question elicited several interesting responses. I have listed a few of the most common reasons that were presented below: Standardized Testing State and Federal Mandates Lack of Funding, Resources Teacher Evaluation System/Accountability Micro-Managing School Boards Teacher Turnover/Shortage Poverty Poor Parenting Mental Health Issues I wasn’t surprised