Jimmy Casas has been an educator for over 30 years, serving twenty-two years as a school leader, including fourteen years as Principal at Bettendorf High School. Under his leadership, Bettendorf was named one of the Best High Schools in the country three times by Newsweek … and US News & World Report. Jimmy was named the 2012 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year and was selected as runner-up NASSP 2013 National Secondary Principal of the Year.
Jimmy is also the author of eight great books for educators and the owner and CEO of J Casas & Associates, where he serves as a professional leadership coach for school leaders across the country. In January 2020, Jimmy launched ConnectEDD, a publishing company aimed at giving back to the profession by supporting educators to become published authors.
This week, Will Parker and Jimmy Casas continue their conversation about Jimmy’s newest book, Recalibrate the Culture: Our Why…Our Work…Our Values.
In the part of your book on See the Culture Through the Eyes of Others, you talk about the 4 Most Powerful Words. What are the four most important words and why are they important for seeing culture through the eyes of others?
- “I need your help.” These four words can help leaders create a vision for their school and enlist the help of qualified teachers to build a plan to bring that vision to life.
- Documenting progress and building momentum can create hope and get people to believe that things can be better.
- Celebrating improvements to show how hard work pays off.
- You will get more constructive feedback from teachers if you sit down with them and discuss it face to face rather than through anonymous surveys.
- Invest time in having conversations in the front end rather than trying to pick up the pieces further down the line.
Finally, in your chapter on Average Exists in Every Organization, you explain, “… in every community, three areas affect the morale and performance of each staff member, which I have identified as System – People – Fire.” Can you explain how “System, People, and Fire” help you identify areas where morale and performance may need to be improved?
- Three levels within a system that make up an entire school district: classrooms, buildings, and district offices.
- Spending time working on systems and people in a school district creates schools that can easily overcome adversity.
- Constantly remind people what your mission is, focus on your strategic plan as much as possible.
- Superintendents who are successful do strategic work on their system, intentional in growing and developing their cabinet team, and meeting with their board team to make sure that they are all on the same page.
Now it’s Your Turn
What are some ways that you have successfully used strategic work to improve your system?
Connect with Jimmy at JimmyCasas.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @Casas_Jimmy