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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

A couple of weeks ago I was hiking with my two daughters in Yosemite National Park when a father and his two sons walked up to us as we examined a map to determine which route to take next. The father looked at me and asked where we were headed.  "That is a good question,” I responded.  “We are not exactly sure.”  “Well," he said, “wherever you are going you are almost there.” Those words had barely left his mouth when I immediately began thinking about a conversation I had had a couple of weeks prior with a new assistant principal in between sessions at a conference I was presenting at in Orlando. Ironically, she had asked me a similar question

I was nineteen years old, a college dropout, and no clue what to do next.  To say I was struggling would be a huge understatement.  I knew I was in trouble. I was lost and desperately trying to figure out what to do next when I decided to interview for a sales position with an insurance company.  That experience would change my life in so many ways that thirty years later I still feel as though an angel was sent down to find me in my moment of great despair. His name was Randy, a passionate leader who lived each day with purpose and loved his job. Randy was a wonderful mentor and friend who expected excellence from his team,

It was another beautiful Saturday and once again I found myself indoors typing away feverishly on my computer as I cranked out evaluation after evaluation.  It was the third consecutive weekend that I had dedicated time to sorting through portfolios that teachers had submitted as part of the evaluation process.  Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I complaining. In fact, I am always amazed when I am reviewing a teacher’s collection of work. It never fails that I learn a few more things about my teachers that makes me appreciate them that much more. On this particular Saturday I did something that I try not to do when I am trying to stay focused on the task at