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

This week I interview Colin Andrews, principal of Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School in Auckland, New Zealand. Mr. Andrews is inspiring. He is doing so much cool stuff, we didn’t have time to get to everything.

  • We start by talking about the learning fellowship that Mr. Andrews did many years ago. A four way study looking at transition from elementary to middle and then to high school.
  • Forest, outdoor classroom, pest control, projects all directed by the kids.
  • Envirokids, through process of inquiry and student voice that create amazing things.
  • Pathway and other Envirokids project
  • It is the ability of the teacher to be able to spot a question and really pursue it.
  • Structure of envirokids: two-three blocks of time on Fridays, one teacher, about 30 kids.
  • Working days for the families, kids need to bring one parent with them to participate in the work day (on the weekend).
  • How to make manual labor sound exciting?
  • 4 Ethics - Academics, cultural, sporting, and service to the community. Recognized through everything they do all the year long.
  • Role of the advisor of Envirokids. One teacher teaches all academic subjects, so she changes her teaching on Friday to focus on the Envirokids.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Direct download: 40_Envirokids_with_Colin_Andrews_Transformative_Principal_040.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
Comments[0]

In part two of my interview with Jordan Collier, we dive into his plan for observations. Really informative stuff, and a good plan for any administrator.

  • Observations - daily schedule.
  • Jordan focuses on helping teachers when doing observations.
  • Attempting to alleviate fears of observations by building relationships.
  • How to facilitate a role-play to help teachers see what it is like to do an observation.
  • How a two-minute conversation can change a teacher’s practice.
  • The importance of set meeting times with teachers to talk about what they are doing.
  • The schedule process.
  • The greatest compliment in the world, “You’re never in your office.”
  • Trying to get kids to think you are following them because you are in their classes so often.
  • You have arrived when you are being invited to teachers’ classrooms.
  • How to have the positive conversation and still focus on improvement.
  • Dealing with uncomfortable situations.
  • Freaky Friday folder.
  • Staff Culture Check! Sign up fo
  • Leverage Leadership
  • Looking for consistency for staff culture check.
  • Friday newsletter.
  • What you can do to be a transformative principal like Jordan: Be obnoxiously positive about your school.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Comments[0]

Jordan Collier, the principal of Central Arkansas Secondary School is an amazing principal. We barely scratch the surface of what he is doing in this first part of the interview!

  • Jordan shares how powerful this podcast has been for him, especially the interview with Sam LeDeaux
  • How it is different at a religious school compared to a public school.
  • Discipline issues at a private christian school.
  • Using Bible study time to work on issues with students.
  • Telling the story of @CACMustangs. How the students get in on telling the story.
  • Mustang Missions. - Helping kids serve others, love them, and be there for others.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Direct download: 38_Being_Positive_with_Jordan_Collier_Transformative_Principal_038.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:57pm MDT
Comments[0]

Part two of my interview with Sam LeDeaux. You’re going to love it. Here is his blog

  • How to balance the need for caring about the teacher with meeting the demands of the state and evaluation system. Evaluation in two simple steps
  • Perspective of evaluation “your performance” vs. “service to kids”.
  • I want teachers to invite me in for lessons that could go any way and possibly be really different.
  • Leaders, strive to be the weak link
  • How Twitter has changed his practice. Parents want to observe the classroom to ensure they like what is happening only when you are not transparent.
  • Dedicating entire days to being in classrooms, while still managing requirements of his job. The more I am out and about, the less things there will be that pin me in my office. Goal: 8 full days in the class per month.
  • Sharing what he learns and fails at with the staff.
  • Inspiring Twitterers: @gcouros @justintarte @8amber8, chats, and anyone who is willing to share something is really inspiring.
  • How to be a transformative principal: be patiently perseverant.
  • What inspires him: his son, is he meeting his son’s expectations for school, because all his students are his sons and daughters!

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Direct download: 37_Evalution_with_Caring_with_Sam_LeDeaux_Transformative_Principal_037.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT
Comments[0]

Sam LeDeaux is a principal at a K–5 school in metropolitan Chicago. His forté is working well with his parents and staff.

  • 62 staff members and 869 parents working together to make things happen!
  • Learning that people “somewhere” doing things were actually people who were doing these things right around him.
  • Twitter and Social networking have been incredibly transformative and empowering. [#mannschool](https://twitter.com/MsKCairns/status/497443796661960704)
  • Transparency is what makes him effective.
  • Parents suggest and respond to ways to make his school better through social media.
  • We can grow in ways that we never before thought was possible.
  • Continuous sharing and positive collaboration makes technology transformative.
  • You don’t need to have common planning periods to have time to collaborate.
  • How to balance the difficult issues with being transparent.
  • It is not about personal performance, it is about service to kids.
  • When it is seen as a personal attack, you shut down when you are evaluated. When you see it as improving service to kids, you don’t get upset.
  • Peer observations - invite and show the value.
  • We do not let schedules get in our way of improving and service to students.
  • What is the purpose of peer observations?
  • Evaluations should be about growth.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Comments[0]

5 Things to ROAR about with Shawn Davids Transformative Principal 035

Shawn is a principal in British Columbia and is doing some amazing things with technology at his school, including having kindergartners use iPads to create amazing projects. In this interview, we discuss the following:

  • What Shawn is most excited about relating to technology in his school.
  • Why do we use technology in schools?
  • Learning as scaffolding and focusing on learning first, and technology second.
  • Blended learning as having digital and physical tools in front of the student at the same time.
  • Powerful for learning are situations that capture what a student is thinking.
  • Shawn’s role as principal to teachers regarding technology in the school: Permission to try, permission to fail.
  • How to gain trust from your faculty. We are in a relationship business.
  • They need me to support them when they need support and challenge them when they need to be challenged.
  • Reflecting in front of your teachers and being vulnerable in front of them.
  • H/T to @ChrisWejr about 5 things to roar about blog posts.
  • Positive blog posts went from no big deal to students finding those positive events in the school.
  • Key elements to 5 things to roar about posts: celebrate success (student and staff successes) and give parents an idea of what learning looks like in our school.
  • What can we do to be a transformative principal? Mindset, tell the story of your school and do it wherever you are comfortable.
  • What reminds him about why he is doing this great work? For his own kids.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Comments[0]

The second half of my interview with Dr. Briscoe, the new superintendent of Canyons District.

  • The strengths of Canyons school district.
  • The importance of the involvement of families.
  • We should try to do what we are doing even better. Teacher and principal input needs to be truly valued.
  • Making sure everyone in the organization feels valued.
  • Honoring the past before you build for the future.
  • Principal qualities Dr. Briscoe is looking for: having a vision compared to implementing a vision. Humility. Accessible and visible. Patience. Admit mistakes. Regardless of the other person’s opinion, you need to respect the person and take their opinion or concern seriously.
  • Focus on the vision and goal of your school, just take the time to meet with people and explain your rationale.
  • Most of the time, if you explain what you’re thinking, the people who disagree are OK with your decision, even if they don’t agree with it.
  • Don’t ask people for their input if you have already made your decision.
  • How to deal with taking the hits: exercise, without your health, you can’t do anything.
  • The importance of being recognizable. Walk up and introduce yourself to people out and about, and ask them if they have school-age kids.
  • A school leader is a leader in the community. You must get out and meet with local clubs and groups.
  • The benefit of being from a small district and being involved in every department in the district.
  • How to be a transformative principal: Take a risk!
  • What is in his office to keep him motivated? A poster that says, “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t enjoy the view.”

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Comments[0]

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.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Comments[0]

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
Comments[0]

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
Comments[0]