PMP186: Reboot for Principals with Jen Schwanke

Throughout the world, schools are managing the challenges of school closures in response to news of the spreading corona virus or COVID-19.

Photo by Chris Benson – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions

As a school leader, you are expected to manage difficulties, but sometimes you are managing in uncharted territory. Also in the midst of helping others, what can you do to make sure you’re caring for your own mindset in leadership?

As you consider solutions for your school, let’s stay connected and share best practices. I’d love to hear your ideas and encourage you to email me at with ways your school is supporting learning and services to students.

This week’s post, however, is not specific to the current crisis. Instead this week, I’m sharing an interview with Jen Schwanke about her newest book, The Principal Reboot: 8 Ways to Revitalize Your School Leadership. In this first in a new series of episodes together, Jen and I talk about how school leaders can reinvest in their own abilities to be “lead learners.”

Questions to ask as a Lead Learner:

  1. What content are you taking in on a regular basis through reading, audio or podcasts? Suggestions include…
    • Focus on issues reflecting struggles of people we work with.
    • Use reading as way to stop, slow-down, and reflect.
    • Focus on books that describe experiences other than your own.
    • Look for books on issues you don’t understand.
  2. What on-going professional learning are you engaging in? Keep in mind…
    • Learn to really listen to others.
    • Tour neighborhood schools and look for evidence of best practices.
    • Talk to colleagues about ways they solve problems you’re encountering.
    • Attend workshops or professional development
    • Start a podcast or begin a webinar series.
    • Teach a graduate level class.

Ask yourself: What ways can I be sharing with others and stretching myself? And take time to advance others in their growth and learning staying connected with your tribe. Discover what amazing groups of other people are doing the same work, and learn from them!

Let’s Wrap This Up

One of Jen’s goal each day is complimenting others with true, authentic feedback. All of us want feedback and to feel valued. Mindsets like this help you to stay a life-long learner and model the kind of curiosity you want to encourage in your own learners.

No matter what you are managing the days ahead, stay committed to supporting others, building them up, and discovering ways to keep learning in the process. Listen to this week’s entire podcast episode for many more take-a-ways, and pick up a copy of Jen’s book that comes out this week!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker