Bob Sonju is the Director of K–12 Learning in Washington School District in Southern Utah.
In this first part of the interview, we discuss the following:
- A little about Bob’s history and what he learned to help him become prepared for being a transformative principal.
- Bob focuses on making sure all students are doing their best, not just particular subgroups.
- What prepared Bob to be a principal: being a coach and a special education teacher.
- What barriers prevent a school from being ready for change.
- Three fundamentals that are needed to change:
- Why do we exist
- Describing a perfect school
- What are we going to do to make sure we get there!
- Conversations about structural change take time and informal and formal conversations with teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders.
- All the voices have to be in the room!
- Establishment of norms are critical for the success of our school, and while we want to hear everyone’s concerns, we will move forward with the will of the group.
- The norms for Bob’s schools.
- The need for “critical friends”.
- How he deals with the fact of hearing that he is doing something wrong.
- One of the best interview questions: “Anticipate a mistake you are going to make, and how you will resolve that!”
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