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One of my favorite movies of all time is, A Few Good Men, released in 1992, starring Tom Cruise.  That court room scene I have watched dozens of times over the years and each time I can’t help but recite the lines by heart as each character begins to speak.  But there is one line at the end of the movie after the court room scene that causes me to reflect on our work in schools. These words, spoken by Cruise’s character Lieutenant Kafee, “Harold, you don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor,” have always struck a chord with me.  I think it is because of the way I view leadership.  Just because you don’t have

This weekend I was reading an assignment that one of my graduate students submitted for the educational leadership class that I teach that contained an interesting quote by Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer that got me thinking.  He stated the following: “How you feel is not the best guide for what you should do… press pause and ask yourself what this situation requires of you?”  After I read this I went back and read it again, and then again.  As I often do when I read something that catches my attention, I began to reflect on how this relates to my work as a school principal.  Immediately, different situations that I had either experienced personally as a school leader

What prompts you to contact the parent or guardian of a student?  This is the question that was asked of a teacher candidate this week during an interview.  This question often elicits a safe response by candidates that includes contacting a parent when a student has either become a discipline issue in the class or is unwilling to do work.  Just as predictable is the follow up comment about how they also like to contact parents when the student does something positive.  But this week I heard a comment that I had never heard before during an interview; “I am not going to lie. Having to call parents scares me.” I wasn’t prepared for her response, but I will tell you

I have been reflecting a lot lately on the role of relationships in schools. I have not been able to stop thinking about this topic because it seems educators everywhere are talking about the importance of relationships when it comes to ensuring student success, supporting others in their professional growth, cultivating a positive school culture, or building a successful and credible organization. Unquestionably, relationships matter….they matter a lot. I think most people would agree that one key factor for determining success for any child or organization is rooted in the personal relationships that have been established. But are relationships the most important factor? I acknowledge that personal relationships play a significant role. In fact, I praised the comment by the

I recently returned from Ignite 2016 in Orlando were I had the good fortune of representing my professional associations – School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) and The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Like many of my colleagues, I am extremely proud of what I do for a living. Being a high school principal has been one of the greatest joys of my life. There are still days I reflect on my journey and just shake my head in disbelief. I never take for granted what I do for a living and I am genuinely grateful for the opportunities I have been given to make an impact on members of my school community as well as in my profession.

We have officially entered one of my favorite times of the school year….hiring season.  I have spent a great deal of time over the years reflecting on the interview process and trying to determine what makes a great hire.  Why is it some individuals stand out more than others?  What is it that makes us want to say to some candidates, “you’re hired” before they ever leave the interview room? I’ve spoken openly about my thoughts on the hiring process and how we as leaders often set the tone (good or bad) on the selection, onboarding, growing and developing of new teachers into our organizations by how we manage the hiring process.  I have shared with other school leaders my

What we do as school leaders can echo for eternity in the lives of our students, staff and school communities.  That is the beauty of what we do.  We serve in a profession where every day we are blessed with the opportunity to help change the course of someone’s life by our words, our actions and our belief in their ability to leave their mark on others and in their community.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of something great and moreover, leave their legacy.  That can only happen if we as school leaders are doing our part to cultivate an environment where students and staff are given permission to shift their thinking and are inspired to change