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Sean Gaillard @smgaillard

Sean Gaillard @smgaillard

Sean Gaillard is the Principal/Lead Learner of John F. Kennedy High School in Winston-Salem, NC. He is the founder of #CelebrateMonday and moderates the #EdBeat Twitter Chat. Sean is an ambassador for Buncee and Kahoot. Conference presenttaions include ISTE 2016, ILA '16 and the Arts Integration and STEAM Online Conference. You can follow him on Twitter at @smgaillard. 

Posted by on in Education Leadership


Encouragement Comes in All Forms. 

I was thinking this as my wife was sharing with me the highlights of her Body Attack Exercise Class as we were both leaving the YMCA. She shared with me how the instructor was a motivating force for each participant. Although the instructor was earnest and firm in her encouragement, it made my wife want to excel even more and push harder. Now the encouragement from the instructor was not typical, my wife further explained. The instructor possessed the right balance of firmness and compassion. My wife said it was hard to explain but she just felt inspired to excel with the cardio challenge at hand.

The impact of encouragement is best felt when it is recognized by all involved in the endeavor. I know that this happens in any kind of collective pursuit such as musical performance. I am thinking of two songs which can serve as examples for this contagious encouragement felt by all playing the tune in the moment.

“Push, Push!” and 27 Choruses at Newport 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership


“Hey, man, do you know who my guy is? William James. He’s the father of philosophy in this country.” 

I am riding shotgun down the highway with a new friend in my first Uber ride. Destination: #ISTE2016. It is my first experience attending ISTE and I am knee deep in conversation stretching from linguistics to binary code to human communication. It is a true connection in a way that I was not expecting.

This is is my first experience attending the ISTE Conference. I had heard many positive things about this conference. Last summer, I remember being a virtual wallflower as I followed the incoming dispatches from the ISTE Convention in Philadelphia. I was determined then to make an effort to connect and bond at an ISTE Convention. In the various tweets and blogs, I saw joy being germinated in the shared learning and meet-ups. I wanted to be a part of it. The scene looked like an oasis for educators to collaborate, grow and learn.

Now, I am at ISTE in Denver and I have not had the opportunity to attend an official session as of yet. My Uber Ride has served as a precursor to the goodness ahead of me at ISTE. There is much to look forward to during the next few days of learning, meeting and greeting.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Beatles in concerto al Velodromo Vigorelli 1965

Within a sea of mania, the concluding chords of “Long Tall Sally” resonate throughout a summer evening over Candlestick Park in San Francisco circa 1966. A band leaps from the stage into an armored vehicle driving away knowing that this is their live concert. Putting aside a string of hit albums, Number 1 singles and worldwide fame, The Beatles quietly walk away from an established run towards gold-plated success. 

Here’s an Essential Question to ponder: Do you walk away from a proven formula of success, wealth and adulation in order to embrace individual or collective growth?

As educators we are given many rallying cries to kick aside the status quo and leap headfirst into the safety net of change. There are many reasons for this rally cry for transformation within our profession. I will not rewind the tape on the more eloquent tracks laid for the need to manifest a transformation in education for our kids, teachers and families. Reading my own Principal Morning Memo to Staff or visiting a faculty meeting at my school, I am passionately keeping a steady beat on the cowbell known as “Change.” I ask myself if that steady beat is simply enough to ignite sincere change in the schoolhouse. Are those kinds of things simply enough from me as a principal?

How do we encourage each other as educators to walk away from those practices which only produce a slight indentation of positive results? There are classroom practices which are usually disguised as best practices but they produce nothing to inspire and compel our kids.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

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Finding the inspiration for leadership can found in the most random of places. Of course, there are many classic books and reputable experts available for resources on leadership. School Administrators have access to an infinite volume of books helping us to sharpen our leadership craft. I have read and studied many of them. There are many books which have traversed this marrow of leaders struggling to inspire a team or organization to change. I have read many of these books to find that answer to securing a joyful buy-in from the members of an organization. Many of these books provide solid insight and steps to framing change. None has provided that all-inconclusive magic answer in my very humble opinion.

Sometimes I hit a leadership malaise and I yearn to find inspiration for being a better leader within the random places. Who would think that an album celebrating its 50th Anniversary would serve as a catalyst for courageous action as a leader? 

When I first heard “Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys, I was expecting my life to change. It did not. There was much hype surrounding this album back in 1990 when it was first released on Compact Disc. Paul McCartney had stated that this album moved him to tears and served as a direct inspiration for The Beatles to create their magnum opus, “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.” I was captivated by the fact that an album by The Beach Boys could move The Beatles. Surf Music serves as the baptism for a bar band from Liverpool? I was ready to step into that world.

I knew the hits off the "Pet Sounds" album: “Caroline, No,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B” and “God Only Knows.” All of those songs had resonated with me in some way. Hearing the album upon first listen I was expecting similar musical baptism as I had with something like “Sgt. Pepper.” It took a few years for that album to marinade within my soul for me to finally understand and appreciate it.

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