Thursday, March 10, 2022

2 Steps to Restoration over Spring Break

Spring Break is almost here and there’s one thing we all need and that is a break! I don’t know one person who is not looking forward to a break. From parents to principals, students to staff, and teachers to transportation, we are all ready for a break.


Well if you’re like me, you think the purpose is to get a break, and you’d be half right. Yes, a goal is getting a break from the work. We need to rest, but the real purpose goes beyond rest to finding one thing.

Step 1 to Restoration- Unplug

If we want to get the most from spring break, we must take a break, but we must also be restored. So how do we get restored? Well, the first thing we must do to break away or get unplugged from the things that are in our daily routines. Here are just a few things that i suggest you break away from.
  • Any unfinished task - it will be there when you get back.
  • Planning - finish your plans and leave them at school.
  • Social media - while it is good to catch up with everyone online, it prevents you from getting the rest you definitely need.
  • School Habits - when I say all, I mean all. Leave your resources and everything else at the school.

Step 2 to Restoration- Plug In

The other part to restoration is connection to things that really matter. In other words, we need to get plugged into important things. What are they?
  • Faith - We need to reconnect to our faith, if we are going to make it. Personally the most important thing in my life, and connecting and reconnecting with my faith is essential to my restoration.
  • Family - We need to plug into our family. At the end of the day, when you leave this earth, no one at the school will remember you more or miss you more than your family. Get restored by investing in the most important people in your life. Health - when you‘re stressed, your body takes the biggest toll. Spend time exercising, taking a walk, hiking or something that will get your blood pumping. Exercise is a great stress reliever and a great restoration practice. Reading - I was not always a big reader growing up, but now I find a way to read something unrelated to education when I’m on break. Sometimes it’s spiritual, sometimes it’s motivational (Jon Gordon), and sometimes it’s spiritual (Rick Warren or Tony Evans). Rejuvenate your mind and it will rejuvenate the other parts of you

What would you add???

The break is upon us. Will you be fully restored or only partially restored? The key to your success in the fourth quarter of the school year is taking time to fully disconnect from the work and fully replenish your body, your mind, and your spirit. If you can do find true restoration, you will have what you need to come back rested and rejuvenated to make a difference in the lives of all kids.

Happy Spring Break!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Overcoming the Great Resignation

 In 2021, a new phenomenon emerged, the Great Resignation. In all sectors of the economy, businesses saw a record number of employees resigning from their jobs. Some left to go back home because they grew accustomed to working from home. Some left for a better paying job, and some left for no other reason than they were exhausted and wanted something different in their life.

So how did this affect the education profession. Teaching and leadership positions saw more vacancies in 2021 than ever before, and I, like many of you, am anticipating more vacancies in 2022. Couple that concern with a huge decrease in qualified teacher applicants, and you would see that there is a huge problem. The Great Resignation will affect many schools this spring?


If we want to ensure that the Great Resignation doesn't hurt your school, I would recommend that you attack the Great Resignation with an initiative that I would call:


Teachers and leaders sign on for the salary, but they stay on the team because of the culture provided by the leaders. Here is a list of conditions that I believe not only retain your teachers and leaders, but reinvigorate them to return next year ready to be more effective and efficient in growing students.

  1. 1. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships. - Education is a relational profession, and as such, people come for the experience, but the come back for the relationships. It is critical to foster and strengthen relationships with every member of the team. People stick around because of relationships and leave to due a lack of them.

  2. 2. Advocacy and Protection - A big reason why people leave or stay is because of the leader specifically. If a staff member knows that the leader has their back and will protect them from attacks, they have a stronger likelihood of staying. If they don't feel safety and security, they will look for another place where they will find that protection.

  3. 3. Professional Learning - Professional learning has taken a back seat due to the pandemic and I truly believe that it is the reason people leave. If we don’t eat, we will die of starvation, and professional learning is the food people need to survive and then thrive. If we want to retain our teachers, we must make plans to provide short, ongoing, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) meaningful professional learning all teachers and leaders.

  4. 4. Professional Support - Staff members will stay when they see and feel the support. Support comes in a lot of formats, but just a few things to consider are explanations, clarifications, frequent communication, and collaboration.

  5. 5. Personal Support - Staff members stay when they know, feel, and see that the leaders consider their personal needs in addition to their professional needs. People have personal lives with families, challenges and needs that at times can conflict with professional needs. When people hear and see from the leader that they care about each staff member’s personal needs and support them with flexibility to meet those needs, they are more likely to stick around.

  6. 6. The Leader - It has been said that the players play for the coach; therefore, the staff stay for the leader. If the leader is a powerful influence on the staff, the staff will stay. If not, they will go.

Make Your Retention Plan

At the end of the day, the success of all students is based 100% on the leader’s ability to create a culture that cultivates excellence in the hearts, minds and souls of everyone. If we want to end the great resignation, we must make a retention plan. If we fail to plan for retention, we will not only lose teachers and leaders. We will lose a generation of students.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Overcome October

 Congratulation, you’ve made it through one of the hardest months in education, September, but this year was probably the hardest in everyone’s career. Next up is the awesome month October. Typically, October is a challenging month when you recognize how much work is necessary to get kids to grow as learners, but this year October will be more challenging because more kids than ever are further behind this year.

Will you Overcome or Be Overcome?

It is easy to succumb to the stress of the work, but if we want kids to grow more than ever, we must realize that it all begins in how we approach the work. If we are distressed, the work will inevitably be not as successful. After all, distress kills our success. Many think stress is a bad thing but it’s really not. Too much stress is a bad thing, and that is what we call distress.
Are you overcome by the obstacles, or will you overcome them? The great ones overcome by taking a step back and looking at the big picture. Nothing we do in education is life-threatening, but when we’re overcome with stress we overreact as if everything is life or death.

‘We work in a school, not an emergency room.’

If we want to rock October, we have to move from being overcome to being an overcomer. We do that by:
  • Starting our day with prayer, reflection, or studying things that are about making you a better person.
  • Having a routine of things you do each day and things you do on different days in your work week.
  • Embracing the fact that not everything is important.
  • Taking a step back when we start to stress out and put it all in perspective.
  • Visit with a critical friend who will pull you back when you start to be overcome.

Rock October

If we want to excel in October, we have to remember we are running a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, September exhausted you but in a marathon, the first part of the race exhausts you and makes you want to stop running. Those who run the race well recognize that it’s always about mind over matter. If you think you can’t make it, you won’t. If you know you can make it, you will. You we’re born to overcome, and the perfect month has arrived for you to make it happen. Be strong and courageous. Overcome October.

Friday, September 10, 2021

5 Steps to Surviving Stress-tember

September 2021 has proven to be even more demanding than September 2020 ever was. With the increasing cases of COVID, addressing learning gaps due to the last two years of COVID slide, catching kids up when they're out for 2 weeks, getting caught up if you're out for 2 weeks, and balancing the personal issues that go with COVID, September is definitely a stressful month for us all.

With everything coming at us, how do we deal with the stress? How do we deal with all the demands coming at us? How do we deal with the frustration of others as well as our own frustrations? There is a solution, and it involves you.

5 Steps to Surviving Stress-tember.

  1. Count your Blessings - You make the choice to be stressed or blessed. If you are breathing, you are blessed. Look at all you have. You are blessed. If you can make it to work and make it home, you are blessed. Others are not so fortunate.
  2. Stop Focusing on Everything - You are a human, not a machine. You can't do everything. Also, with more tasks on your plate, you can only do so many in a 24 hour day. Prioritize your work, and recognize some things will have to wait.
  3. Give Encouragement to Others - You may think it's crazy to give when you feel you have so little time to give, but if you encourage others, you in turn encourage yourself, and that shot of dopamine decreases your stress.
  4. Share Concerns with Leaders - Your leaders are stressed out as well. If you have concerns they need to know because those concerns can help them steer the ship or adjust the sails in these turbulent waters.
  5. Give Yourself and Others Grace - In order to win the race, you must give yourself some grace. You will fail. Others will struggle, and many will be overwhelmed. Be an ambassador for grace and give it graciously.
Bonus - Don't Neglect your Family - When we get stressed from work, we have nothing left in the tank for the people supposedly matter most in our lives. When it's time to go home, go home. The work will be there when you come back tomorrow. Without your family, your work is meaningless anyway.

With these 5 steps, you will be blessed, but without them, you will be stressed. If you want to survive September, you have to remember that tough times don't last but tough people do. You also have to remember that it could always be worse.

Don't be overcome by the circumstances. Instead overcome them by believing in all that is good, pure, noble, and praiseworthy. If you do, you will watch your stress decrease tremendously.

God's speed...

Saturday, March 7, 2020

4 Ways to Spring Forward in your Leadership

The time change is here, and since it’s spring, that means we move our clocks ahead one hour. Sadly that also means we will need go get up one hour earlier. While I don’t like getting up one hour earlier, I love the benefits of having extra daylight in the evening. Springing forward gives me a brand new perspective on my day and its new opportunities. More time is always a good thing.

With this ‘extra’ hour, we can get out more. We can attend more events. Ultimately, we experience more of what’s outside our office or buildings because the new season and the new time change entices us to seek the beauty of spring. With all of the personal benefits of the time change, it is important to explore how springing forward can impact our leadership?

4 Ways to Spring Forward in your Leadership
With the time change, there are 4 ways to leverage spring to get even more out of our leadership. 

1. Visibility - Getting out more offers leaders more opportunities to connect with more stakeholders. Use the spring to get out of the office and gather information of where the organization thrives and where it needs improvement. 
2. Spring Cleaning - Now is the perfect time to identify ineffective actions, initiatives, and resources that need to be removed from the organization. Remove the clutter or waste from your daily routine, and springing forward will be a breeze. 
3. Planning - Summer is right around the corner, and that means preparing the school to excel to even higher levels next year. Summer work can’t truly excel without spring planning. Spend time each day mapping out the next steps for organizational and personal growth. 
4. Feedback - Since spring serves as a springboard for next school year, leaders can make time to elicit feedback from students, parents and staff on the effectiveness of their leadership, communication, and support of the school. Feedback is the fertilizer for new growth. 

How will You Spring Forward?
Where does your leadership need to grow?  Where does it need to be pruned both in personal work and organizational inefficiency?  The answers to those questions lie in the leader’s ability to honestly reflect, but the results of the time change are ultimately determined by the leader’s courage to both embrace the new time and to take advantage of opportunities given this spring. 

Happy Time Change. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

The 5 Plays of a Championship School

Everyone wants to be a champion, but only champions do what it takes to become a champion. At the end of the day, what makes a champion is work, but not just the ordinary work that everyone else does. It takes the right work to become a champion.

If you think of transforming a school into the premier school in the same way you think of making a football team a state or national champion, you quickly come to realize that excellent schools do a few things really well. To be more specific, becoming a champion boils down to running a few plays extremely well, and those plays are executed with precision in order to reach the mountaintop. 

5 Plays of a Championship School 
1.  Consistency- Championship schools understand that consistency is the key to their success. From the front door of the school to the classroom and everywhere in between, the adults in the building strive to be consistent with one another because they know that consistency sets the foundation for every student to become a champion. 

2. Set the Bar - Championship schools identify the bar that every student must reach to become a champion. Within each subject educators identify the skills that every student must master in order to master the subject, and they challenge every student to believe in their ability to reach them. 

3.  Measure the Bar - Once the bar has been set, educators define how they will assess all students in order to determine which kids are making progress or even becoming proficient in reaching the bar.  More importantly they inspire kids to own their data and believe in the hard work it takes to reach the bar. 

4.  Plan to Reach the Bar - Building assessments is great but championship schools and the educators within them make specific plans to help every student master the assessments. Those plans result in fun instruction, powerful lessons, targeted interventions, and specific strategies that all students will specifically designed to prepare all kids to master the assessment. 

5.  Professional Learning - Champions never stop learning, and they never stop reflecting. They know that championships only come when they invest in their own growth and development in their craft. The best educators are no different. They know that their success and their students’ success is greatly impacted by the depth of their own learning. 

What Plays Would You Add?
So what other plays would you add?  What else does it take to become a championship school? What other actions do schools take to reach the pinnacle of excellence?  Always remember. Your school’s championship is within your reach. The question is will you have the courage to inspire your school to run the plays to reach it?

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Continental Decide

The other morning I saw an advertisement where a pastor told the story of 2 raindrops that landed at the top of the Continental Divide.  One landed just half an inch to the west of the peak and the other landed just half an inch to the east of the same peak.  That inch of separation made all the difference in the final destination of those 2 drops.

The drop that landed to the west followed its path winding through creeks, mountains, rivers, and valleys and eventually wound up in the Pacific Ocean, while the drop to the east journeyed to the Mississippi River and found its way to the Gulf of Mexico and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.  One inch changed the trajectories of the 2 drops forever.

The Continental Decide
This powerful story is no different for us, and this is how it applies to us.  We have a decision to make and this decision is so powerful that it could quickly take us to the land of pacification or it could take us to unbelievable places.  The decision is whether or not we want to commit our lives to discovering our unique excellence and why we were placed on this earth or if we want to simply accept mediocrity as our lot in life. 

The choice of mediocrity will not require a lot of work, and it may make us content and possibly happy, but the downside is that the path of mediocrity will never lead us to discovering our true gifts and abilities that were given specifically to us.  The choice of excellence will make us open to new ideas, challenging ourselves to constantly become better, but it will also be relentlessly hard work that will exceed the normal hours others will want to work.  Both paths will have upsides, but they will also have their downside. 

It took the 2 drops roughly the same amount of time to reach their destination.  We also have the same amount of time allotted to us to live our lives.  We can choose to discover our inner best or not.  The interesting thing about the Continental Decide is that neither decision is bad, but the choice we make will take us to 2 totally different places while we are on this earth.  I'll choose excellence.  How about you?