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  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

I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine recently when he asked me if I was seriously considering a Superintendent position.  “Someday,” I responded. “I feel like I have another good run in me and besides, I want to be a part of taking a school district to the next level.  Leading an entire district would give me an opportunity to test my leadership skills on a greater scale.”  Without hesitating he responded, “Why would you want all of those headaches and why on God’s green earth would you expose yourself to all of that crap?”  “Because it is the most important work that we can do,” I said.  “And for what it’s worth, that “crap” you refer

With two days left in 2016, I was feeling an immense pressure to come up with my New Year’s Resolution for 2017. I had contemplated not committing to a resolution but that idea seemed evasive and quite frankly, like a cop out. After all, goal setting is healthy, not just for the mind, but for the spirit and soul as well. The last two years I participated in the #oneword challenge and felt good about working on trying to be a better me. Thus, I began the process of selecting my one word. I pondered such words as Investment, Purposeful, Kindness, Genuine, Compassion, Reflection and Gratitude. Yet, nothing seemed to inspire me quite like I had hoped. I am not

Lately I have been praying for some of my friends and colleagues in the education profession. Some of you may think that is odd while others may be saying, “don’t forget to send a few prayers my way,” but I am sincere in my thoughts because for 25 plus years, I lived in their world. I know the toll that teaching other people’s children can take on an individual, especially when emotionally you invest almost everything you have into a child on any given school day that you don’t leave much for your own children and your own family by the time you get home. I am not saying it is right or wrong or that it is the only

As Abby walked into the school building she had a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was November and she had just moved into a new community. She was nervous about starting a new school midway through the school year. This was her first day of school and she kept her eyes down, nervous, not knowing what to expect as she walked into the main office. Suddenly, the office secretary called out to her in a tone that made her skip a breath, “Where are you supposed to be?  Do you have a pass?  Move on now before the tardy bell rings and the vice principal gives you a detention for being late.” Each day in school offices across the country

Successful leaders who I have met and learned a great deal from over the years have shared a common trait; the ability to be strategic in their thoughts, their decisions and their actions. Not manipulative, but mindful not to minimize the impact they can have on others, especially students, parents and staff.  They recognize the importance of thinking ahead in order to determine and plan for what they believe will be the result of their comments, decisions or actions or whether or not their words or actions can influence others enough to change behaviors and deep rooted attitudes. This past week I had the privilege of spending the morning with Mark Luque, Associate Superintendent for Bakersfield Community School District. It was

I was talking with a 2nd grade teacher the other day about dealing with difficult people when during the conversation I noticed her eyes begin to tear up.  It was clear that she had been deeply wounded and that she was still reeling from the after effect of it all. “Is it possible this person didn’t mean to hurt you?” I asked.  “Oh no,” she said. Everyone around here knows how she is.  In fact, this is how she treats everyone.”  Have you told her how you feel?” I continued.  “No, I am afraid to,” she responded.  I hesitated and then I asked her, “Have you shared your concerns with your principal?” “Yeah right,” she said. “He is scared of