About Me

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I've been an educator since 1995 where I've served as both a teacher and administrator. I believe that serving others is the key to success and make it my goal to be a servant leader for students, teachers, parents, and the community. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Uncomfortable

The following is a post from my final Northside News newsletter for the year 2016-17.

Rapper Andy Mineo has a song called “Uncomfortable” that I listen to while driving to work. In it, he describes many of the ways that we as a nation and a people have become content with being comfortable, so much so that we lose our drive and hunger to get better and we start to settle for less. As an educator,  I find this thought convicting.  The last thing I want to do is become comfortable and lose my drive to help kids improve.  Sean Cain, in describing schools, says that our practices often are more focused on what is comfortable for adults rather than what is best for kids.  In fact, very often Good For Kids = Uncomfortable for Adults. (Cain, 2017) 


Why am I saying this now?  We all have a summer coming up and I hope that we use it to rest and relax.  In fact, if I could I would make that a directive.  We all need that time to rejuvenate.  But, I also hope that we use the summer to reflect on our actions, practices, and procedures.  I don’t mean spend a few minutes thinking about it, but truly reflect and ask ourselves questions such as:  Is what I am doing best for me or is it best for the kids?  What do I need to change in the way that I teach or lead?  How can I step out of my comfort zone so that I can meet kids where they are?  This is not an easy thing to do. Reflecting is usually uncomfortable.  Sometimes it hurts. In fact, improvement always comes with struggle and pain.  It is just part of the process.  But, if we follow through, the end result is that we are better than we ever were before.  


Whether you will be at Northside next year or you are moving on, my hope is that you continue to grow every day and never settle for simply doing what is comfortable for you.  Instead, I hope that you will embrace the power of the uncomfortable in order to become the best teacher and leader of kids you can be.


Have a great summer!!!

Cain, Sean (2017, May 17) A Reader Asks...Principal Coaching-Upset Parents and Community (blog post)
Retrieved from: http://leadyourschool.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-reader-asks-principal-coaching-upset.html

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Last Two Weeks

Below is a post I shared with staff in our weekly newsletter.  This one went out two weeks before the end of school.  I hope it has meaning for you as this school years ends.


The last two weeks of school are upon us.  Can you believe it?  It seems like just yesterday these kids were walking through the doors.  These final days are usually crazy busy with so many programs, assessments, awards, graduations, and more.  In the hectic pace, it is easy to forget why we are here. As important as many of the other things are, they are not our driving force.  Children are.  We have a choice to use these last two weeks to focus on all of the things that are happening around us or to focus on our kids.  In a few years, when we reflect back on this time, we will probably not remember the hectic pace, testing, and all of the other demands on our plates.  Instead, we’ll remember the faces, voices, smiles, and joy of the little ones whose lives we’ve impacted.  


This week, I’ll close with a question from Stoic philosophy. To paraphrase, “Will this (fill in the blank) affect my ability to live a fulfilled life?” Anything that does not get a “yes” is really not that important in the long run.  As we approach these last two weeks, let’s focus on what is truly important and let the rest slide off, as it will all soon be forgotten. 

My Favorite Education Lines

After years of reading and participating in professional development, I've heard my share of new ideas and philosophies and strategies.  Most of these, even the ones that didn't work well, had some redeeming value.  Below are some of my favorite quotes and one-liners that I try to keep at the forefront when working with kids and adults.  These have been helpful over the years.  (I'll try to attribute when I can remember the source)

Q.T.I.P. - Quit Taking It Personal   (This reminds me that kids are not acting out because they are mad at me. I just happen to be there at the time)

It takes one fool to talk back.  It takes two to make it a conversation.  (Fred Jones - Tools for Teaching)

Some kids are born on third base and we think they hit a triple.  (Something to remember when we are working with our high achieving kids from strong family backgrounds.  Also serves as a reminder that most kids are starting in the batter's box)

Nevertheless....  (Great phrase when a child talks back or makes a personal verbal jab at us)

Is it what's best for kids? (The ultimate criteria for what we do)

We are here for student success, not adult comfort. (Like the question above, it is easy to focus on what is most convenient for adults and lose sight of our reason for being here.  We must never let our our own agendas get in the way of children having the greatest opportunity for success)

These are just a few of my favorite lines.  Please add your own to the comments as I need to increase my repertoire.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Art Show

Tonight was Northside Primary School's Sixth Annual Art Show.  This year's theme was the jungle.  Our amazing Art Teacher, Misti King (she is in the black t-shirt) worked with students to design, create, paint, and display pieces created from recycled plastic bottles. The students also created and built the jungle items that make up the displays. To put this into perspective, these are five to seven year old kids.

Work on the show began in January and continued until just minutes before the guests arrived.  Students and staff spent the last week turning the building into a jungle including creating a walk through cave with cave drawings and a waterfall.  The rest of the building looked like a scene from "Jumanji."  In the middle of all of this, each student created their own jungle-themed art piece that was displayed throughout the hallways.

As a school leader, I am so proud of the work put in by the students and staff here at Northside Primary.  Honestly, the only thing I did was set up a couple of tables and try to document the work on camera.  Throughout this process, I've seen students actively engaged, excited, and ready to show the over 100 parents who came the work they did.  It was an amazing night at Northside.