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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Leadership

Posted by on in Leadership

It's been the first time in a long time where I start pressing the keys.  I blogged for a long time and took a hiatus.  Were my words and thoughts so important that I needed to share them with the masses? Hell no. My words and thoughts are just that...words and thoughts.  However, when issues arise, I have a platform to turn to.

The past 2 years have been a whirlwind for me. I've had the chance to crisscross the country, working with all walks of educational life in rural, suburban, and urban districts.  I've worked with districts that have had money to roll in and districts that are getting by paycheck to paycheck.  While I love doing what I do, being away from my family is painful.  My girls are 3 1/2... FaceTime is wonderful, but it only does so much. You can't kiss your kids goodnight, eat dinner with them, or snuggle up and read a story. Hence, I've been looking to get to work again in a close proximity.

Last month, I applied for a Superintendency that was close to home.  I interviewed and was offered the position. Out of 50 applicants and 10 colleagues who were interviewed, I was fortunate enough to be selected. While being the first pick is always an honor, it's just as much of an interview for me as it is for the Board. No words can describe a Board when you find the right one. It was a great fit. 

As contract negotiations began, the word got out that I was the guy. While it normally does, and small towns spread rumors super fast, this was nothing like I've ever seen.  In less than 48 hours, I was getting social media follows, emails, and phone calls from most of the community. Given my lightening-rod style, those who stalk my every keystroke and those who follow me online put 1 & 1 together, and the onslaught began.  Everyone knew it was just a question of when, and this Board was totally ready for it.  I loved that; a supportive Board who backs their pick in unison.  If you don't have that from day 1, you have nothing.

The following week, it was clear that I would not be able to start on the date that the Board wanted.  After reviewing and re-working my calendar to accommodate previous commitments and engagements, I would still be out 14 school days in October.  This, along with the annual NJ School Boards Convention, would put me at 18 calendar days of the district.  I could not move forward with a clear conscience knowing that I would be there for a modicum of time in the first month when the first month is one of THE most important months and knowing my absences would create a myriad of problems.  If I was a taxpayer, I would be livid.  Sadly, I declined the offer.  I am not the first, nor will I be the last Superintendent who had talks break down and conclude that this may not indeed be a good fit at this time.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 

Anything is Possible; Everything is Possible!

We're all just a bunch of bosses and cool ones, at that. We take turns leading and following. When we figure it out, we're like reformed Minions, having a bunch of fun together.

Every day is a celebration of learning and life. Culture is the name of the game and our beliefs, our purposes, our shared Vision and Mission are the tools we use as pieces. We are all stakeholders in the greater good. Successful cultural organization starts with getting along and working together in collegial conversation. 

Our leadership matters! Making a difference to those we work with, play with and care for has its challenges, but we overcome every obstacle. Better together, by understanding and influencing others by who we are, what we say and what we do.

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Posted by on in Leadership

goose

I've been hearing geese honking all day. It seemed last night that they were louder than usual. Since moving by the river, I expected to hear the rapids, but I certainly didn't think I would be sitting reading, hearing geese honking. I'm never sure whether they are flying back and forth to the duck ponds across the road, or going home. Wonder where their home is? Are they local geese, Oregon geese, or are they from somewhere else? Do they look the same as the other geese? Do they speak the same goose language?

The other day I read geese fly home each year. I have that instinct too, since moving to Eugene. I wonder where these geese are going? I was used to seeing geese at home in Northern California. I lived forty five minutes from Lake Tahoe, in the middle of nowhere. Mountain life was so different than Eugene. But geese in both places were comforting as my life shifted dramatically.

Have you  ever looked up and simply watched flocks of geese gliding above? We used to have a couple Canadian honkers vacationing on our property from January to May each year. Our 'snowbirds'. We named them Edgar and Matilda. It was really funny. I didn't know geese had a personality and noisy voices. I had never been around that close, before. I knew they had a funny, nasty hiss when they were waiting for the corn bucket, or not getting their way. Just like couples everywhere, pretty much. And teams resolving conflicts, which are inevitable in transforming organizations and schools.

My husband and I put out cracked corn every day, a very big enticement for company and sure enough, all of a sudden, like clockwork we'd hear the pair fly overhead, land gracefully, skimming on our pond. Never was sure how they could spot that the corn was out, then circle back around. They came for their daily visit, creatures of habit, so to speak, in rain, snow, ice, never mattered. Except for us, gingerly wading through snow to get their treat out. 

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

I’ve come to use “flat-out” to describe what others may call “bossy,” simply because it’s not as derogatory or stereotypical. True, there are little girls who live up to the stereotype and are not pleasant to be around. But, for the most part, the rest have a spunk that’s better off being channeled than stifled.

Little girls with grit are often criticized for being b*tchy or bossy at a young age. At the same time, strong-minded little boys are considered leaders, with an admirable amount of confidence.

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In today’s world, confidence and moxie are qualities that are just as important for girls. When we take a look at the strong women who have made a difference in how our gender is perceived and respected, it is clear the days of standing back and taking whatever’s hurled our way are over. Yet, we feel compelled to look a little girl in the eye and tell her to stand down and be nice.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

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When I first decided to run for Congress, I remember who I went to for input. Surprisingly, it was not my friends and family (besides my wife!); instead, it was the educators that I have worked with over the last ten years. Not just those I have worked with in schools, but those in my personal learning network.  

Their overwhelming reaction to this new journey was positive, encouraging, and supportive.  They were real with me about the difficulties and realities of this endeavor, but they were also excited. They know the need to create change at a higher level, yet also felt confident in my ability and drive to accomplish our shared goals. They encouraged me not just to pursue this path, but to do everything in my power to make it happen.

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That is what we do as teachers. We encourage. We motivate. We push. We influence. We nurture. We believe. We kindle the fire that fuels passion in the face of adversity.

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