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

My (former) school district recently hired a new superintendent, and I was able to sit down and chat with him. I think he is just what the district needs and I am really excited for what he will bring to the table. We talked about the following:

  • Where Dr. Briscoe got his start in education and in administration
  • His diverse experience as a leader of schools that were from incredibly high-achieving to greatly struggling.
  • Engaging in the community by being involved in community issues (building new police station, hospital, etc.)
  • The political struggles that lead Dr. Briscoe to retirement from his school district.
  • Why he felt like Canyons School District was a good match for him.
  • Why it is so important to be out and about and seen.
  • How to build trust. Time.
  • What happened in the past, is in the past. Let’s not worry about it.
  • The culture he wants to create: Trust & Collaboration.
  • Honoring the past.
  • How he measures the success of his superintendency, not to be confused with his job description.
  • Why that measure of success is so important.

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Sponsor: Sanebox

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My wife and I decided that we wanted an adventure a few months ago, and so we started looking around for principal positions that would be new and different for us. 

 

We found one! 

Direct download: DV-2014-07-19-211408.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:24am MDT
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This second interview with Bob Sonju is really great. You will enjoy every minute of it! We talk about the following:

  • How to deal with cynical stakeholders.
  • Why people need to be ready to change to make things better.
  • How to make a good school even better.
  • Why you wake up with panic attacks in the middle of the night as a transformative principal.
  • The best time to change education was 20 years ago, the second best time to change education is today!
  • The excuses we make to not make changes.
  • There is no such thing as an optimal time to make changes, but we need to have a sense of urgency.
  • The state of Utah lost 19% of students (that didn’t graduate with a diploma). That is 1 in 5 kids! Unacceptable!
  • If you don’t find a better way… You fall back to how you did it before. We need to focus on using research-based best practices to help our students.
  • The importance of the Professional Learning Communities and Response to Intervention.
  • We don’t need to find new things, we just need to get good at PLCs and RTI.
  • There is no quick fix for schools.
  • We need to remove the things that
  • A super quick overview of PLCs and RTI in case you aren’t familiar with them. Based mostly on the work of DuFour and Eaker in Learning by Doing
  • What a principal can do to be a transformative principal today: Identify the research that drives your day-to-day work and recognize the sense of urgency we have to ensure that learning is not optional.
  • What he has in his office or a story: Simplify and focus. Story about teacher telling him that he is right in pushing forward.
  • How to get ahold of him (He is not on the Twitter, but he is willing to help you by giving his email address. Bob [dot] sonju at wash.k12.ut.us)

Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Sponsor: Sanebox

Direct download: 32_PLCs_and_RtI_with_Bob_Sonju_Transformative_Principal_032.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
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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:
    1. Why do we exist
    2. Describing a perfect school
    3. 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!”

Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Sponsor: Sanebox

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