PMP187: Reboot for Principals, Part 2

As schools across the nation continue closures because of the Coronavirus pandemic, this week’s episode includes an update from listener, Terrence Simmons, Assistant Principal at Floyd Elementary, in Nye County, Nevada.

Photo by UW-Colleges / UW-Extension – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Their team has already launched distance learning for their students, and the district website serves as a great resource for parents wanting guidance and digital tools. Nye County educators reached out to every parent to determine distance learning options, which include both online services for those with access and lesson packets for those without digital access.

Floyd Elementary Staff are providing curb-site pickups for parents whose students did not have access to digital learning.

The district is also serving meals through pickup locations as well as bus deliveries to locations around the county. Listen-in to the first 7 minutes of this week’s podcast for Terrence’s update and some encouraging words he shares for other leaders facing these same challenges.

Maintaining Balance in Leadership

In the remainder of this week’s podcast episode, Principal Jen Schwanke, from Indian Run Elementary in Dublin, Ohio, discusses her newest book, The Principal Reboot: 8 Ways to Revitalize Your School Leadership.

We talk about how school leaders must reflect on their motivations as they lead others by considering the following:

  1.  Why are you here in the first place? Understanding your ‘why’ must be more than a paycheck, position, or power.
    • Instinct – recognize the possibilities you have through your natural abilities.
    • Desire to lead – embrace your desire to help others improve.
    • Desire for change – learn to embrace your abilities to influence others.
    • It’s okay to cultivate your natural prowess for learning, leading, getting along with others.
    • Recognize the complexity of the work, and learn to lead people through it.
  2. Choose joy in the work.
    • Laughter – It’s therapuetic!
    • Celebrate the silly.
    • Connect with students, staff, and community.
    • Jump on a committee… or start a new one (no, not kidding). Learn about Jen’s motto-mascot committee which turned into a new school song and motto, “What begins here will change the world.” This also led to a new logo and marketing for the school.
    • Do something brave and bold. Try the six word memoir. Instead of one book, one school, Jen tried a school-wide writing project that inspired all students to participate.
    • Travel with students – Use these opportunities to connect, learn and have fun.
    • Equanimity – Cultivate your mental calmness, composure, possession of self so you can model these behaviors for others.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Talking about balance in leadership may seem unrealistic during crisis management or while implementing major changes with your school, but you must keep taking care of yourself in order to have the motivation to keep taking care of others.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are some ways you’re taking care of yourself even in the midst of managing difficulties? How would you describe your own motivation for leading? What ways are you able to maintain joy in the journey? What are some healthy steps you and your teams are taking for yourselves while serving others?

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker