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Transformative Principal is 

Jan 31, 2021

Justin Thomas, Ed.D., is an elementary school principal serving students, faculty, and community near Nashville, TN. Prior to his work in school administration, he enjoyed 8 years as a middle school and high school band director.

During his 6-year tenure as principal, his school team has been recognized multiple times by the Tennessee Department of Education for outstanding student growth and achievement gap closure. Dr. Thomas believes that the keys to success revolve around growth and gratitude - the ideas that all members of a school can ‘get better’, and that a spirit of thankfulness is key to strong culture.

Dr. Thomas is the author of “The Principal’s Toolbox: Real Talk on Tackling School Leadership” (2020). Noticing an abundance of philosophical books about leadership, his purpose in writing The Principal’s Toolbox was to take an honest look at many of the practical aspects of the principalship. Aspiring and new principals will find this title especially helpful.

Dr. Thomas is married (Susan) and they enjoy their busy life with 3 daughters in Nashville.

  • What is your policy on (some obscure thing)?
  • How to balance things you are passionate about with what people
  • The moment you think you have it figured out you learn more.
  • You can tell a lot about how people act when they
  • Are we frustrated that we
  • Cannibalize - we can’t eat each other alive over things both of us dislike
  • Too often we blame someone when we are frustrated with a situation.
  • How to overcome your frustrations.
  • Sit down and talk through the challenges that we are facing.
  • Relationships are central to finding change.
  • You can push through initiatives, but if you want spiritual believers, it has to be something that they feel like they had a hand in.
  • I don’t help them become anything.
  • It’s not what we do, it’s who we are.
  • There’s nothing that we can do or say that means anything in comparison with the little interactions on a daily basis.
  • How to be a transformative principal? Say thank you to someone who no longer hears it.



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John Catt

Today’s Transformative Principal sponsor, John Catt Educational, amplifies world-class voices on timeless topics, with a list of authors recognized globally for their fresh perspectives and proven strategies to drive success in modern schools and classrooms.

John Catt’s mission is to support high-quality teaching and learning by ensuring every educator has access to professional development materials that are research-based, practical, and focused on the key topics proven essential in today’s and tomorrow’s schools.

Learn more about professional development publications that are easy to implement for your entire faculty, and are both quickly digestible and rigorous, by visiting
Learn more about some of the newest titles:

John Catt is also proud publisher of the new book from Transformative Principal host Jethro Jones: SchoolX: How principals can design a transformative school experience for students, teachers, parents – and themselves
Visit this page to learn more about bulk orders and how to bring John Catt’s research-based materials to your school: