Transformative Principal
An interview style podcast discussing how to be a transformative educational leader in the K-12 setting.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Curt Rees Twitter is a tech-minded principal at Northern Hills Elementary School in Onalaska, WI. He is also one of the hosts of the Techlandia Podcast, a great education podcast.

  • Experience as a principal and a teacher around the country.
  • Why he has moved around so much.
  • Doctoral Program and how he balances that with being a principal and what he hopes to get out of it.
  • Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus
  • Every single day I learn something about being a school leader.
  • The 4 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity
  • Ninja video by his kids. (And the Harlem Shake)
  • Technology as a tool that supports the kind of learning we want for our kids.
  • Voxer App. Sharing things a little more privately and allowing for a little more emotion.
Direct download: 25_The_4_C_s_with_Curt_Rees_Transformative_Principal_025.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
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William D. Parker is the principal of Skiatook High School. His web site and Twitter. He has also done some amazing interviews himself. I have learned a ton from reading those, and I am sure you will, as well.

Due to technical difficulties, we recorded our phone conversation, so the quality is a little old school. But, I almost felt like a radio DJ with a call-in show.

  • What he learned as the Assistant Principal to the Principal at his school, who recently retired.
  • Bonuses for students who take all the assessments they are required to.
  • What skills he had to learn as an educational leader, that he wasn’t taught in school.
  • Key Responsibilities Areas from Entreleadership tells people who is in charge of what area. Here is his blog post about KRAs.
  • Michael Hyatt leadership podcasts.
  • How he has dealt with student loss. They have tragically had 2 student deaths this year.
    1. Excellent and a lot of communication.
    2. Be visible.
    3. Maintain as much stability as possible.
    4. Open to creative and spontaneous.
    5. Show appreciation to the kids who are present.
    6. Tried to communicate well to media.
    7. Allow yourself to grieve.
  • How he knew what the right thing to do was. Be part of a good team. Trust your people.
  • How he has established collaborative culture of trust.
  • Hiring great instructors and compassionate people.
  • Treat teachers how you would want to be treated. Shotgun blast of directives is not effective.
  • Relationships matter.
  • His blog rocks!
  • Give him some more followers on Twitter, because he has great things to say. I have learned so much from Will.
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Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Doug Robertson (Twitter) teaches 3rd grade in Southern Oregon.

Here’s his blog or media empire homepage.

Youtube Channel

Facebook Fan page

He is the author of “He’s the Weird Teacher” (paperback) (Kindle edition).

I interviewed Doug because I read his book and was really fascinated by it. I have learned that not everyone teaches the same way (DUH!). But, also, our own life experiences have taught us and shaped us into the people we are today. To be a great teacher, you don’t need to be like [Enter Great Teacher’s Name]. Doug and every excellent “popular” or famous or movie teacher have two things in common:

  1. A strong desire to be your own person, regardless of the status quo or anybody else’s judgments.
  2. A passion to help kids learn.

As part of this podcast, I want to start interviewing master teachers who are really great at what they do. I am especially interested in teachers that are great at making their kids enjoy class and learn life lessons, not just making sure they are acing the tests. ;)

Notes from my conversation with Doug:

  • He used to teach in Hawaii, so we talked a little about that before the official interview started, but it was fascinating, so I included it.
  • Teaching is a performance art
  • Acting vs. Teaching.
  • Importance of trust in teaching.
  • What happens in my classroom happens because I want it to.
  • To Principals: You hired me to do my job, now let me do it.
  • Chris Hardwick
  • How he takes away the opportunity to make excuses.
  • How swimming helped him learn to stop making excuses.
  • Why you can’t keep complaining without doing something to fix it.
  • It is OK to vent about kids. “But, my kids don’t give me much to complain about.” (That is because if they did, he would take responsibility for it!)
  • “My classroom is noisy because it has to be noisy.”
  • “My students are weird, what am I doing to make them weird.”
  • I give two cents on why I like a noisy cafeteria.
  • Some discussion on the term “digital native”.
  • We should call what we do “Practicing Education” just like lawyers practice law and doctors practice medicine.
  • How being a good teacher and establishing the basics allows us to know how we can change things up as we go along.
  • What kind of an environment does Doug need to thrive? Trust!
  • How trusting students is an extension of the trust from administration.
  • Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire by Rafe Esquith
  • How to have your own style. Don’t teach like someone else. Teach like yourself.
  • Some kids don’t respond well to the style of Doug’s teaching.
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What Makes it all Worth it with Chris Wejr Transformative Principal 022

 

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

In this second part of my interview with the amazing Chris Wejr, we go deeper into the ideas of student discipline and learning. We also discuss some other cool things that are happening at his school.

  • Punishment. How to approach it correctly.
  • How do we help students with disabilities.
  • How to deal with parents of victims that are upset that there are not visible consequences for misbehavior.
  • If we don’t teach this child, he will continue doing this.
  • Following up with parents a couple weeks after an incident to ensure it is not still happening.
  • Restorative practices - should be tied to negative behaviors.
  • Finding opportunities for kids to serve others.
  • Be proactive to find opportunities to prevent problems that may arise.
  • FedEx Prep - giving teachers time to be innovative and productive on their own with their own passions.
  • Advice for being a transformative principal. “It comes from the teachers, of course. I can’t transform something in a classroom.”
  • Something in his office that motivates him. I asked him to send me the picture of him with the paddle.
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