Transformative Principal
Discover the secrets of school leadership in this weekly interview podcast with top leaders in education.


Matt Coleman, DEd, has worked at every level of the secondary education system. He has served as educational assistant, middle school teacher, high school teacher, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, high school principal, director of secondary education, and assistant superintendent. In his administrative roles, Matt supported significant change resulting in improved outcomes for all kids—with a positive, differential impact on students who have been historically underserved.

  • Not for profit organization - research and consulting about making school work for all kids.
  • Think about what it means to be successful.
  • All kids are served well.
  • Organizational theory - inflexion framework.
  • School identity should inform
  • Schools don’t have a consensus of outcomes that defines readiness.
  • As Inflexion, we use the Four Keys (Think, Know, Act, and Go) developed by our founder, Dr. David Conley, as a critical driver in our work with schools. This framework represents a holistic vision for schools and systems to align with as well as a shared mental model for staff to anchor their understanding of readiness.
  • Our instructional approaches don’t engender ownership.
  • Some information is available only to the privileged few.
  • AVID is one of the programs that helps give kids privilege.
  • Must think holistically
  • Schools that are working for all kids have a consensus of outcomes and clarity of identity.
  • Life readiness maxims
  • Map skills they have learned against “Think, Know, Act, Go“ (or 5 C’s, or 21st Century Skills)
  • Identity is a concept of vision.
  • Take a look at what you do, and making a system that serves ALL students.
  • What are you doing to what end? How do the activities you’re doing link to “Think, Know, Act, Go”?
  • Life Ready Maxims Nike has 11 maxims.
  • Maxims - how to distill and communicate key ideas of your vision.
  • We are Valley
  • Structure should reflect identity.
  • Being consistently inconsistent
  • Question to ask in interviews. 2nd question: How would you define fair and how would you apply it to kids.
  • Hiring practices should reflect core maxims.
  • Articulate that you understand that your perspectives are different.
  • How to be a transformative Principal? Schools cannot form identity if the principal doesn’t have an understanding of their own maxims.
  • Identify 10-12 stakeholders and ask 3 questions: What do I (as the principal) value, what do I believe, how do I see the world? (And what about what I do reflects those things)
  • If you don’t see consistency in maxims, you need to do your own development work.
  • How do I help my staff develop that same maxim? Be consistently inconsistent around the function of the behavior.

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Please follow me on Twitter: @jethrojones for the host and @TrnFrmPrincipal for the show.

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