ARTICLES

Category: Leadership Lessons

My #OneWord2017 is focus! If you know me at all, you wouldn’t be surprised that this is my one word for the year. You may be muttering under your breath, “…it’s about time…”  or “…that should have been your one word last year…” As I’m typing this, I have eight tabs open in my web browser and had to stop midway through this to start another post because I was getting off topic. It’s not that I’m exactly unfocused, but it’s that I want to do it all, and I try to do it all at the same time.

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 it wrong. I think life is like a box of puz-zles pie-ces. (you can fill in the Forrest Gump accent on your own, don’t pretend like you weren’t already)

I was recently tasked in one of my graduate classes at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) to write a statement about my beliefs in the form of “This I Believe.” This style was founded through NPR as a series that is pretty similar to what Ted Talks have now become. I thought not only was this very powerful in making me focus and reflect, but that if I believed it so much, that I should put it out there publicly. I chose to focus on one specific belief that I feel very strongly about. Here we go…

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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 neighborhood. I couldn’t help thinking about writing this out and what this thought meant for life and working with my students and staff.

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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.

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  Every school year the same thing happens. On the first day of school I tell my students the story of George the Gummy Worm.  George is no ordinary gummy worm.  George, like any other candy animal, decides to take a summer vacation in the Caribbean and gets stuck on the top of his boat.   Problem is…gummy worms can’t swim and they definitely dissolve if they float in the ocean too long.

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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 will bring immediate memories of sports growing up.

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What an opportunity I had today! As a father and as an educator, I was so inspired today by my new hero Conner Cummings! If you don’t know Conner, you soon will. Conner is an up-and-coming 23 year old young man who is a nationally recognized advocate, connected to the top researchers in the world of Autism, and now has a law passed in his name! Oh…and by the way, he has the superpower of Autism.

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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 as far back as possible to let customers park closer to the building. But when I go to schools, there is an abundance of reserved parking up front for staff. I feel that more and more, my job is to help support and amplify others’ efforts. How can I park up front and feel good about that while my team parks in the back? Leaders eat last and leaders park in the back! This year, my assistant principal, RJ Lucciotti, and I decided to practice what we preach in every way possible. Parking was an easy and obvious example for us. I’m proud of RJ because he didn’t even flinch when we discussed this and …

Why We Gave our Reserved Parking Away to our Teachers Read More »

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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!

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