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

Katie Novak, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned education consultant as well as a practicing leader in education as an Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts. With 15 years of experience in teaching and administration, an earned doctorate in curriculum and teaching, and 3 books published by CAST Professional Publications, Katie designs and presents workshops both nationally and internationally focusing on implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and universally designed leadership.

Today we talk about her book with George Couros, Innovate Inside the Box.

  • UDL what is it?
  • Multiple means of engagement
  • multiple means of representation
  • multiple means of action and expression
  • Universal design stolen from architecture.
  • The traditional model of education is there is “one way to do it.”
  • We’re making content accessible as retrofits for really inaccessible lessons.
  • Dinner party.
  • Engagement is equal parts commitment and attention.
  • Enrollment vs. engagement.
  • When things get touch, I know how to manage it.
  • Macro success looks like little bits of attention.
  • Application for students with disabilities.
  • If we want kids to be learners, we are much better slated to help kids create their own journeys to get there.
  • How do we scaffold up to make it accessible and engaging.
  • In my loyalty to that ____, I am excluding students.
  • How do we teach empathy through these multiple means lenses?
  • What do I have to do so every single student can do that?
  • General ed teachers started referring to kids with special needs as their kids.
  • When we see growth, it’s because of the teachers.
  • How to be a transformative principal? In a classroom I believe in cocreation. Work with teachers to co-create professional learning and school improvement plans.

In this Jolt episode, Sarah Johnson shares about the transformative power of practicing gratitude for ourselves as well a those around us. She shares research alignment, stories, and illustrates points from stories features during the month of November on the In AWE Podcast. 

Check out the The In AWE Podcast or In AWE Website
Engage with Sarah at Sarah’s Website

Resources for Gratitude:
The Transformative Power of Gratitude Huffington Post
Four Gratitude Strategies Berkeley
The It’s Worth It Box

Direct download: In_Awe_with_Sarah_Johnson_Transformative_Principal_305.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:17am MDT


TJ Vari and Joe Jones are practicing Superintendents and coauthors of the book “Candid and Compassionate Feedback“.

  • Result of fear of offending people is that it becomes offensive anyway.
  • Ask questions to get them to see what they need to improve.
  • The lack of candor can be what people are offended by.
  • The candor is actually what is compassionate! TJ
  • Turning the corner so your empathy is backed with concrete evidence backed with what to do better.
  • Consistency is key.
  • People are given that advice when they go into schools.
  • Direct, sincere, accurate feedback.
  • Identified the problem.
  • Gave evidence.
  • Provided a solution.
  • Being clear does work.
  • Learning walks are like formative assessments.
  • Are the teachers using the “Goal” in their classroom?
  • As teachers are teaching they’re often not aware of what they’re doing. Joe
  • No way will a teacher ever grow through the formal observation process.
  • We really should be getting into the mindset work among the staff.
  • How to be a transformative principal? TJ: spend your time in the most important spaces in your school
    Joe: Disrupt your day. Speak to someone tomorrow that you haven’t spoken with this year.
  • Bonus question: how to keep principals in the building?

Keara Mascareñaz Managing Partner, Organizational Design at Education Elements. She helps schools and districts focuses build and scale a culture of innovation through leadership development, team habits, and human-centered organizational design.

  • Learning, meeting, projects
  • How do you create the environment of psychological safety?
  • the team that is more effective would be making less mistakes.
  • more comfort to talk about mistakes
  • Amy Edmondson TED talk
  • I didn’t say “I don’t know what I’m doing!“
  • It can feel high stakes, even though it is not.
  • Two types of leaders: one best ideas should strive - leaders are smarter and make fewer mistakes.
  • Interrogating archetypes.
  • Two books: Multipliers with Liz Wiseman As soon as a speaker starts speaking, everyone stops talking.
  • Here’s my interview with Liz Wiseman.
  • Talking about Failure is crucial for Growth
  • Noticing it is the first step to change.
  • It’s hard to make big shifts.
  • What foundation have I laid and signal have I given to my team about this?
  • “I’ve had good ideas before that haven’t worked out!”
  • So much deference made to people in power and authority.
  • Habit of talking about mistakes.
  • The more people in power can model talking about mistakes the more you can model and give more power to your people.
  • How to be a transformative principal? Next time you’re in front of your staff think about 1. Learning challenge, vulnerability, asking for advice.