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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

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