PMP323: Lessons for New Leaders, Part 2 with Dr. Lute Croy

Will Parker and Dr. Lute Croy continue their discussion from last week's episode, talking about lessons for new and aspiring leaders.

Dr. Lute Croy is currently an assistant principal at Prosper High School in Prosper, TX where he serves about 3800 students. Lute has been a teacher, coach, instructional coach, and assistant principal. He’s moved 12 times during his education career. In every move, he’s met new people, discovered new systems, developed new relationships, observed pros and cons of other leaders. He is in his 20th year in education and has spent 14 years as a teacher/coach in Texas and Oklahoma, and has spent the last 6 in administrative roles here in Texas. He is also the founder of the New School Leader where he dives into his passion for helping new and aspiring administrators take the next step in their leadership journeys.

His Bachelor’s Degree is from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX – Double Major in History and Psychology (2002) He was 4-year starter on the football team, and a discus thrower on the track and field team for two years. His Master’s Degree is from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX – Master’s in Education Administration (2013) His Doctorate is from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX – Doctor of Organizational Leadership (2022).

Last episode, we discussed transitions in leadership. Before we dive into lessons for new leaders, any other follow-ups you want to add to that conversation?

  • Think about the end. Where do you want to be when you retire? Utilizing backward planning helps you think through options. Think about the roles you need in order to get to that place.
  • Control what you can control. Don’t be afraid to be loose in your application of your plan; things don’t always work out the way you want them to.
  • James 4:13-15 “If the Lord wills we will do this or that.”

Tell us your story as a new leader and how it informed the way you serve now.

  • Lute’s leaders started multiplying their leadership through him, giving him the confidence to grow in his leadership capabilities. 
  • On the night before his first day as an assistant principal, July 16, Lute lay awake all night wondering what he was supposed to do when he showed up at the office in the morning. 
  • After his first year in leadership, Lute realized that there has got to be a better system for preparing new leaders to take on their first leadership role. This inspired him to spend the next four years trying to find ways to make the first year in administration easier for new leaders. 

Can you explain the work you’ve done with new and aspiring leaders?

  • The New School Leader is focused on aspiring leaders and new leaders. Lute and his team want to help individuals get into an administration role and help them feel comfortable when they get into that role.
  • For aspiring leaders: What are ways that you can actively get yourself ready for an administration role?
  • The New Leader talks new assistant principals through topics like the top mistakes that new AP’s make or how to work through difficult conversations.

Can you talk about the focus of your dissertation on new leaders and their perceptions?

  • For his dissertation, Lute interviewed 16 new school leaders and asked them questions such as: “What were you most prepared for?”, “What were you least prepared for?”, “Did your principal preparation program do a good job of preparing you for the role?”, etc. 
  • All of the research showed that overwhelmingly people aren’t prepared for instructional leadership when they step into the role.
  • Half of the people in the study said that they were not prepared for the amount of work and time management that the job entails.
  • The thing that really stood out in the study was the incongruence between responsibility of stated job description and what administrators really do.
  • The most mentioned responsibilities among the new leaders interviewed were: student discipline, parent communication, monitoring student attendance, taking care of paperwork, etc. 
  • Many leaders expressed frustration that what they spend the most of their time working on didn’t line up with what they really felt are the most important parts of their job.

Stay connected with Dr. Lute Croy:

Twitter @lutecroy

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker