The Call to Reduce the Use of Email

The first email was sent on a local network in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson. He sent this to a computer sitting right next to his computer and the message was "something like QWERTYUIOP" in the email. Tomlinson was also the one who began using the @ sign in emails. 1 Historical Context … Continue reading The Call to Reduce the Use of Email

Video Introductions

School is about to begin again and there is nothing is worse than an excited parent that goes to the school's website to meet the administrator or teacher and all they see is a boring letter, or even worse, the person's name with no other information. You had the parent right where you wanted them! … Continue reading Video Introductions

Celebrating Your Home Team -#DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

When you  think of your “home team,” what comes to mind? Is it your family or your favorite sports team? Why don’t we put as much energy and passion into celebrating our family or our school as we do our favorite football team? This post is part of a series we are starting with our … Continue reading Celebrating Your Home Team -#DadsAsPrincipals Super Bowl Edition

Don’t Let Your Speed Bumps Turn Into Stop Lights

A goal without a plan is just a wish. If it matters, follow through, work the goal every single day, make it a priority, and success will be inevitable. Don't let your speed bumps along the way turn into stop lights and stop you from accomplishing your goals. Recently our school teams met with me … Continue reading Don’t Let Your Speed Bumps Turn Into Stop Lights

Ritualize – My #OneWord2018

The 'One Word' movement originated by Jon Gordan and has been a fantastic way to retool every January, sort of like a more thoughtful New Year's resolution. As I write this post about my #OneWord2018 for others so that it will hopefully help them reflect, posts like this are major introspective moments in my leadership … Continue reading Ritualize – My #OneWord2018

20 ‘18’ Ways to Start the New Year

Happy (Early) New Year! As you are wrapping up the last few days of 2017, taking in those last hugs, smiles, high fives, and waves for a few days we (Lindsy, Eric, Jessica, Andy, Todd, and Nick) wanted to challenge ourselves, and our PLN, to think about how to ring in 2018 when everyone returns. … Continue reading 20 ‘18’ Ways to Start the New Year

Costumes Show You Care

Recently I was cleaning out my office closet and noticed that most of it was full of my costumes and accessories that have accumulated over the years! I thought to myself, I wonder how many other principals' closets look like this? I've taken Dave Burgess' philosophy of going above and beyond to create excitement and … Continue reading Costumes Show You Care

Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making

I originally wrote this reflection as part of an assignment for my Virginia Tech Government and Policy in Education class a few weeks ago. Recent decision-making regarding changes at the national level has provided excellent reflection on the skills and processes that leaders need in order to have successful and positive change. The recent news of … Continue reading Ours, not Mine: The importance of shared decision-making

Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

The #WeirdPrincipals effort is all about energy and starting movements that inspire others. Similar to #PrincipalsInAction and #KidsDeserveIt, we seek to unleash leadership potential by inspiring others to be themselves, do their very best, and run into school to make magic happen every day! @_AndyJacks and @JessicaCabeen wrote this together to show how two principals … Continue reading Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

How to Be Happy in Your Work

Are you happy in life? Are you happy in your job? Do you even know the things that should make you happy? As a renewal of motivation in our school, I met with all of my school teams recently to discuss this very thing. To be effective with students, I have come to realize that teachers … Continue reading How to Be Happy in Your Work

Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

Virginia Tech security just taught me a life lesson this week, but probably not the one you would expect! Every week, two times a week, we have class at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center. Hamish and I always make it a point to say hi and get to know the security guards or custodians … Continue reading Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

If my students are Batman, then I must be Alfred…

Usually, I’m looking for any excuse I can find to dress up and act like a nut for our students at school. If you follow anything of mine, you’ve probably seen that already, dressing up like Thor, the Elf on the Shelf, Mustafa, you name it. But today, as we were getting ready to come … Continue reading If my students are Batman, then I must be Alfred…

Keep it Simple, Less can be More

The easy. The obvious. Why are we spending so much time coming up with complicated plans and strategies when the best ways to connect are so simple? Before winter break, I asked all of our staff members to write a postcard note to one of their students. We mailed these out over the break so … Continue reading Keep it Simple, Less can be More

Life is like a box of…puzzle pieces

Sometimes inspiration for writing comes at the oddest times. As we were putting together a puzzle as a family for the holidays, I was struck with how much this was a powerful metaphor for life, leadership, and education. Forrest Gump so famously said, "Life is like a box of choc-o-lates" but I think he had … Continue reading Life is like a box of…puzzle pieces

Hustle Like It’s the Last Game of the Night

What do you think? One more game or we done for the night? Can we see the ball? Yea? Then let's get one more game in! Sometimes the best inspiration comes when you aren't even thinking about it, and in this case I was 2 hours into a night of pick up basketball in the … Continue reading Hustle Like It’s the Last Game of the Night

Get Stronger, Every Day

He's the MVP of the NBA right now for a reason! Of course this is a commercial, but these statements describe the attitude it takes not only to win, but to continue to grow and strive to be the best you that you can be. It's a new workout, every day. It's physical, every day. … Continue reading Get Stronger, Every Day

The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency

A football game is broken into 4 quarters and the final quarter is the last chance to bring everything you have before the game is over. Players and coaches on the sidelines and the field routinely hold up 4 fingers during the start of the 4th quarter. These images for many of you like me … Continue reading The Falcon Fourth & A Sense of Urgency

Why We Gave our Reserved Parking Away to our Teachers

I really don't know why principals have reserved spots. I tend to be at school really early and leave really late, so it's not like I can't ever find a parking spot. I've always felt weird about it. When I go to a business, store, or other public place, they typically have their staff park … Continue reading Why We Gave our Reserved Parking Away to our Teachers

All They Need Is Love

With Valentine's Day approaching, the love that is in our classrooms has been amazing. But let's not forget the power and importance of loving our students as we move past this holiday into the rest of the year! In education, we are so easily distracted by programs and activities that it becomes easy to forget our … Continue reading All They Need Is Love

The Teaching 4-4-2: Organizing the Art of Education

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook I am one of those soccer fanatics who wakes up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch the matches from “across the pond”. As the rest of my apartment complex is fast asleep in their nice warm beds, I am up drinking coffee and screaming … Continue reading The Teaching 4-4-2: Organizing the Art of Education

A Powerful Day as a School Principal

Whoa! What a day! I love my job, especially on days like this when I get to be with kids the whole day! I had somewhat of a plan, but I definitely woke up knowing that I was going to bring it today no matter what! Started my day with popping in and out of a 5th grade math … Continue reading A Powerful Day as a School Principal

Learn How to Code to Learn How to Think

Why the pressure to have our students coding all of a sudden? It's not like everything that they do uses computers, right...right? Wrong. Basically every recreation and professional occupation now uses computer programming in some way. The old emphasis on teaching simple machines is now evolving to into complex machines. This is coming to us in the form of … Continue reading Learn How to Code to Learn How to Think

A Positive Mindset

This guest post is written by Lauren DeIntinis @laurendeintinis, a 2nd Grade Teacher in Manassas, Virginia. Check out more of her information at the end of the post. My name is Lauren DeIntinis and I am a 2nd grade teacher at the FABULOUS Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, VA. I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA but have lived in Virginia for … Continue reading A Positive Mindset

Open Your Eyes To See Your Students Leading

Are you listening to your students when they have ideas for improvements or helping others? Do you turn these into opportunities for developing their leadership skills? What has really caught my attention over time is seeing individual students that have shown leadership WITHOUT adults giving them the ideas. This has taught me to keep my eyes … Continue reading Open Your Eyes To See Your Students Leading

My #OneWord for 2016 is BELIEVE

My #OneWord for 2016 is believe. Although I am cheating a little bit, since believe is a word that we have been discussing as a school team all year! I'm definitely still focused on it for 2016! Believe in Yourself: If you want to make a difference in others, you must first have confidence in your own abilities. … Continue reading My #OneWord for 2016 is BELIEVE

Our Students Need Grit

I've almost been trying NOT to use the term 'grit' because of how trendy it has become, but I've found it may be one of the best character traits we could possibly teach our students! Grit is courage and resolve; strength of character. It's clenching the teeth, especially in order to keep one's resolve when faced with a tough or difficult responsibility. Angela … Continue reading Our Students Need Grit

A Lesson from Yoda on Achieving Goals

"No! Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try." Yes, I'm excited! Can't wait to see the next Star Wars movie soon, so I'm catching up with the original series with my oldest daughter and then bam! A lesson by Yoda! In Star Wars V Empire Strikes Back, Yoda challenged Luke Skywalker to believe he could … Continue reading A Lesson from Yoda on Achieving Goals

Manage Stress, Have Fun!

WE LOVE KIDS. We love making a positive difference in the future of students. We love feeling like our job matters and that the work is worth it in the long run. We radiate absolute joy when our students show growth and success. WE FEEL STRESSED. Like...all...the...time. Stressed about the tasks that have to be done. About the thousands of decisions … Continue reading Manage Stress, Have Fun!

Don’t Give Up on Your Players During the Game

Even though there are so many reasons why a team may win or lose, the Steelers made an epic leadership mistake that cost them the game this week. They gave up on one of their players during the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 23-20 in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens on this week on Thursday night football. … Continue reading Don’t Give Up on Your Players During the Game

Their feelings matter

I went into this position as a school leader thinking so much about what tasks have to get done and the programmatic changes that would need to be made. But as I reflect and gain experience (of course the best teacher) I realize that in most ways I had it all wrong. People's feelings matter.  People will forget … Continue reading Their feelings matter

Believe in Your Success

Pulling up to the railroad tracks... Crossing lights off, arms up... Each car slows down while crossing... One car STOPS right in the middle of the tracks... The driver looks left, looks right... WHILE STILL STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRACKS... Wait, is he really stopped in the middle of the tracks to check … Continue reading Believe in Your Success

You Better Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

"The Answer is in the Room" (But are you honest about why you can't or won't see it?) How many times have we said, "We can do this, the ANSWER IS IN THE ROOM" when we try to solve problems? So much, that it's now a cliche, and maybe we need to reconsider what it actually … Continue reading You Better Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself