PMP158: Why Telling Your Own Story Matters

A few nights ago I was sitting in a theater with my wife watching the movie, Yesterday, starring Himesh Patel and Lily James.

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I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I do want to say I was completely affected by the nostalgia and its focus on the legacy of Beatles music. In fact, it brought back some vivid memories of two great men I admire and whose love of music influenced me – both who died prematurely. One was my oldest brother, Harvey, and the second was a veteran teacher colleague, Brooks Walton. I’d like to share some reflections and memories from their stories that may influence how you think about your own story:
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PMP157: Preparing for the Start-of-School Year

Jenny is a returning student at her high school. She has a part-time job which keeps her up late most nights.

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When she arrives late to school, she has already missed breakfast and she’s tardy. She stands in a long line at the counseling office until she is given her class schedule. She reads it quickly: First hour, Mr. Samuels, room 125, Algebra II. She doesn’t recognize the name. Maybe he’s one of the new teachers. 
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PMP156: 6 Tips for Managing School-Wide Changes

When my family recently visited the Rocky Mountain National Park, we enjoyed drives through snow-peaked mountains. 

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But my 13-year old son, Jack, was most excited about hiking and climbing. One morning, we gathered the family by Shadow Mountain Lake, and began a hike along the lake that eventually led to a 3-mile ascent to a lookout tower on the summit of nearest mountain.
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PMPEncore077: Four Tips for Parents as Principals

Two years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from the high school where I was principal.

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When she headed off to college that fall, it was a mix of celebration and grief on my part. Recently, Jen Schwanke and I co-hosted two podcast episodes on Parenting as Principals. You can check them out here: Part 1 and Part 2.

This week I wanted to share an “encore post” I made when my daughter headed into the new chapter in our lives. In it, I share four tips for parents who want to make the most of the years you have left… Continue reading

PMPEncore028: Four Reasons Your Vacation Matters

This week’s post is an encore episode I shared a couple of years ago. Since I’m enjoying some vacation, I thought I would remind you why your time away from school may help you better serve your school.

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Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or short, taking time away from work is healthy for a number of reasons. Here’s why: Continue reading

PMP:Encore090 Branding Your School with Marlena Gross-Taylor

When I was in junior high school, everyone on my basketball team wore Converse high-tops. Yes, that means I’m officially from the 70’s! I’ll never forget mine:

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They were the color of golden-rod, and I was so proud of them that I never wore them outside the gym because I didn’t want to scuff them up. For a thirteen year-old boy at the time, Converse was the only brand to wear. But a few years later, when Michael Jordan came on the scene during my high school years, Nike soon became the new must-have shoe.  Continue reading

PMP155: Parenting as Principals – Do’s and Don’ts, Part 2

A few years ago, we had a lockdown drill at the high school where I was principal.

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Local police had called to say they were aware of a potential threat against our school on social media. They were locating the person of interest in a location outside the school community but wanted us to lockdown until they had isolated and confirmed the situation at hand. Continue reading

PMP154: Parenting as Principals – Do’s and Don’ts, Part 1

Oklahoma has experienced its share of storms and severe weather this spring.

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The other day, our family was sitting in our storm closet as sirens were sounding at 6:30AM. Afterwards, I was driving my seventh-grade son, Jack, to school. As we approached the school, I began to predict how his principals would manage the morning. Continue reading

PMP153: Maintaining Balance and Focusing on What Matters, Part 2

When Principal Jen Schwanke was talking to one of her teachers about the importance of balance, her teacher asked an honest question. “Why should I do this when you don’t?” 

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Jen realized then that she had been modeling bad habits for her teachers. For instance, when she sent emails to teachers at 10:00 PM, she was demonstrating that work was happening when her teachers should have been resting.

All of us are guilty of not practicing or modeling the good habits of maintaining balance. And frankly, none of us will ever achieve perfect balance. But you can focus on areas of your life that need attention in order to keep those essential areas (your health, mindset, family, personal interests, etc.) of healthy and growing. Continue reading

PMP152: Maintaining Balance and Staying Focused on What Matters

We just celebrated Mother’s Day. This time of year is a good reminder that our families play such an important role in our lives outside of school.

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No matter how many principals I visit, one conversation comes up often: how to maintain balance and stay focused on what matters even while leading a school. Although I think it is naïve to believe you can achieve perfect balance, I do believe you can take time to reflect and focus on important areas of your life – other than just your leadership – that lead to healthier self-growth and stronger care for others. Continue reading