PMP376: Year in Review – Where Are You Growing? with Will Parker and Jen Schwanke

In this week’s episode, Will and Jen flip the mic, and Jen interviews Will about his experiences with Principal Matters as his full time work in the past six months of 2023.

They discuss the emotional ups and downs of the new work, the stats from the previous year, and lessons learned in goal setting and creating systems:

Will begins by sharing a poem that has inspired him of late and may be helpful to other leaders who wrestle imposter syndrome or accepting the joy in their work:

Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson, from the book Return to Love

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear in that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World.

There is nothing enlightening about shrinking

so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

As we let our own Light shine,

we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.”

Here are some other discussions from the episode

What do you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis with Principal Matters?

Will talks about:

  • Executive coaching
  • Grow Academies
  • Masterminds
  • Keynote events
  • November example: 20 events (17 of them virtual, 3 of them in-person conferences)

You can learn more about all these offerings here.

What’s new and growing?

Principal Matters Associates

Contributing writers for extra content in the weekly newsletter.

Summer/Fall 2023 Stats Review

Principal Matters ongoing Virtual Trainings

As of 11/10/23:

141 leaders via 11 virtual Principal Matters PD groups and executive coaching members

In-Person PD:

1,400+ in-person interactions

Guest virtual appearances:

Listeners on other podcasts with Frederick Buskey on the Assistant Principal Podcast; the NASSP Ignite+ Series; The Schoolhouse302 with TJ Vari, Joseph Jones; and Apptegy School CEO podcast guest appearances

& hundreds of guest virtual interactions

Total: 2,000+ leaders in trainings online or in-person

Principal Matters podcast data

1,365,810 downloads as of 11/10/23

475,316 downloads this year to date 11/10/23

30,000-40,000 downloads a month

10,000 a week

2,500+ or more leaders on average a month

Total of above trainings/interactions + podcast listeners:

4,600+ leader interactions

These leaders represent school communities that range from hundreds to thousands. Let’s say each leader represents 300 students, to be modest in an estimate. 

All of these interactions may equal approximately 1.38 million students whose leaders are being influenced by the work we are collectively doing!

Podcast Sponsorships

We also want to thank the sponsors who have supported our podcast this past year, including:

  • Apptegy/School CEO
  • DigiCoach
  • Peer Driven PD
  • Summer Pops Math Workbooks


  • IXL Learning (coming in 2024)

2023 Podcast Guests

Finally, we are so grateful for the 41 podcast guests from 2023 (3 of them with Jen as host). Our guests were highlighted in 31 episodes this past year while Will and Jen shared on 21 episodes. 

Below is a list of those shows from 2023:

PMP375: “She Leads” with Rachael George and Jen Schwanke

PMP374: Accelerating Student Voice with Dr. James Flynn

PMP372: The Power of Principal Mindfulness with Dr. Rob Russell and Dr. Dustin Miller

PMP 371: Simplicity in Leadership Does Not Equal Easier with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP370: Middle School Superpowers with Phyllis Fagell

PMP369: Connecting Through Conversation with Erika Bare and Tiffany Burns

PMP368: Buildership with Robyn Jackson and Jen Schwanke

PMP367: Head and Heart, A Principal’s Tools with Jen Schwanke

PMP366: Navigating Leadership Drift with Cale Birk

PMP365: Likable Leadership with Lisa Parry

PMP364: Not Missing Out on Your Best Kept Secrets with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP363: Building Stronger Authentic Relationships with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP362: Be The Driving Force with Dr. Don Parker

PMP361: Coaching Questions for Leaders with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP360: Creating Resilience in Learning and Leadership with Cheryl Step

PMP359: Building Trust & Thriving as an Assistant Principal with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP358: Inspired to Be Faithful with Timothy Alexander

PMP357: Leading Your Hometown School with John Boyd

PMP356: Escaping the Black Hole of Urgency with Dr. Frederick Buskey

PMP355: Using Reflective Questions with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP354: Questions on Allocation of Support with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP353: How to Provide Meaningful Feedback in Observations with Jen Schwanke and Will Parker

PMP352: Grow Your Leadership with the Palo Alto High School Admin Team

PMP351: Understanding How to Serve Generations with Will Parker and Jen Schwanke

PMP350: T.E.A.M: Together Everyone Achieves More with Bryan Miltenberg & Gary Karlson

PMP349: Helping Graduates Be Life Ready with Jarrod Johnson

PMP348: Staying on the Path with Will Parker & Jen Schwanke

PMP347: Becoming Better Leaders with Robyn Hamasaki

PMP346: Equity for Multilingual Learners, Part 2 with Carlene Thomas

PMP345: Equity for Multilingual Learners with Carlene Thomas

PMP344: Refocusing When Exhausted with Will Parker & Jen Schwanke

PMP343: Supporting Resilience with Dr. Brooke Tuttle

PMP342: Never Stop Learning with Dr. Nick Davies

PMP341: The Power of Shared Leadership with Cissy Goodridge and Deirdre Timusk

PMP340: Prioritizing Work with Dr. Scott Beck

PMP339: Digging Deeper into the 3 R’s with Will Parker & Jen Schwanke

PMP338: Supporting RTI with Jen Schwanke & Will Parker

PMP337: Helping Leaders Improve Wellbeing with Dr. Helen Kelly

PMP336: Lessons in Influencing Change with Pete Dunlap

PMP335: Branding & Marketing Your Schools with Tyler Vawser and Britanny Keil

PMP334: Questions on Student Behavior with Jen Schwanke

PMP333: Understanding ChatGPT with Naheed Bardai

PMP332: Transformational Leadership with Joshua Spikes

PMP331: How to Help Others Grow with Mary Beth Bowling and Amy Nall, Part 2

PMP330: How to Help Others Grow with Mary Beth Bowling and Amy Nall

PMP329: How do you set and reach goals? with Jen Schwanke

PMP328: Peer Driven PD with Michael Alpert

PMP327: Candid Conversations about Education with Dr. Eric H. Tornfelt

PMP326: The 7 Levels of Intimacy in Leading with Jason Jedamski

PMP325: How Do Others See Me? Listener Questions with Dr. Jen Schwanke

Finally, Will and Jen also talk about goal setting and systems — how your outcomes are a direct result of the systems you’ve created. If you don’t like the outcomes, how can you rebuild the systems?

Free LifeScore Assessment

Will also shares a free LifeScore Assessment tool he uses each year for looking back and moving forward and can be found here.

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker