Shawn is a principal in British Columbia and is doing some amazing things with technology at his school, including having kindergartners use iPads to create amazing projects. In this interview, we discuss the following:

  • What Shawn is most excited about relating to technology in his school.
  • Why do we use technology in schools?
  • Learning as scaffolding and focusing on learning first, and technology second.
  • Blended learning as having digital and physical tools in front of the student at the same time.
  • Powerful for learning are situations that capture what a student is thinking.
  • Shawn’s role as principal to teachers regarding technology in the school: Permission to try, permission to fail.
  • How to gain trust from your faculty. We are in a relationship business.
  • They need me to support them when they need support and challenge them when they need to be challenged.
  • Reflecting in front of your teachers and being vulnerable in front of them.
  • H/T to @ChrisWejr about 5 things to roar about blog posts.
  • Positive blog posts went from no big deal to students finding those positive events in the school.
  • Key elements to 5 things to roar about posts: celebrate success (student and staff successes) and give parents an idea of what learning looks like in our school.
  • What can we do to be a transformative principal? Mindset, tell the story of your school and do it wherever you are comfortable.
  • What reminds him about why he is doing this great work? For his own kids.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey


New Episode of @TrnFrmPrincipal


The second half of my interview with Dr. Briscoe, the new superintendent of Canyons District.

  • The strengths of Canyons school district.
  • The importance of the involvement of families.
  • We should try to do what we are doing even better. Teacher and principal input needs to be truly valued.
  • Making sure everyone in the organization feels valued.
  • Honoring the past before you build for the future.
  • Principal qualities Dr. Briscoe is looking for: having a vision compared to implementing a vision. Humility. Accessible and visible. Patience. Admit mistakes. Regardless of the other person’s opinion, you need to respect the person and take their opinion or concern seriously.
  • Focus on the vision and goal of your school, just take the time to meet with people and explain your rationale.
  • Most of the time, if you explain what you’re thinking, the people who disagree are OK with your decision, even if they don’t agree with it.
  • Don’t ask people for their input if you have already made your decision.
  • How to deal with taking the hits: exercise, without your health, you can’t do anything.
  • The importance of being recognizable. Walk up and introduce yourself to people out and about, and ask them if they have school-age kids.
  • A school leader is a leader in the community. You must get out and meet with local clubs and groups.
  • The benefit of being from a small district and being involved in every department in the district.
  • How to be a transformative principal: Take a risk!
  • What is in his office to keep him motivated? A poster that says, “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t enjoy the view.”

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey


New Episode of @TrnFrmPrincipal

Doing Things You Hate So You Can Do the Things You Love

As a new principal, I want to get to know all my teachers. I also want to know what they see as the vision of our school. So, I am meeting with them all. I am really excited because meeting new people and getting to know them is something that I really love. In order to make that a reality, I had to something that I really don't like much: I had to use the phone. Despite the hours spent on the phone courting my wife, I have never liked talking on the phone. It is just not fun to me. I had to call people to set up the appointments, which, by how I was procrastinating and delaying, you would have thought was a much more difficult task than pushing buttons on a phone. 


When I approach a task that I really don't like to do, I deal with it one of two ways:

1. I reward myself by doing something fun. 
2. I make a game of it. 

Today, it was all about the reward. The reward for my (hard to me) work is that I get to spend the morning tomorrow talking in person to many of my teachers. That will be worth it. 

What has been fascinating for me to learn is that different people enjoy different things. To me, talking to people on the phone is near torture for me. For other people, they would much rather call than talk in person. 

What I think will be vital for me, is to be sensitive to what people prefer and meet them where they are. As the principal, I am much more willing to make myself uncomfortable in order to make sure one of my teachers is more comfortable. 

Have a Good Life. 

My (former) school district recently hired a new superintendent, and I was able to sit down and chat with him. I think he is just what the district needs and I am really excited for what he will bring to the table. We talked about the following:

  • Where Dr. Briscoe got his start in education and in administration
  • His diverse experience as a leader of schools that were from incredibly high-achieving to greatly struggling.
  • Engaging in the community by being involved in community issues (building new police station, hospital, etc.)
  • The political struggles that lead Dr. Briscoe to retirement from his school district.
  • Why he felt like Canyons School District was a good match for him.
  • Why it is so important to be out and about and seen.
  • How to build trust. Time.
  • What happened in the past, is in the past. Let’s not worry about it.
  • The culture he wants to create: Trust & Collaboration.
  • Honoring the past.
  • How he measures the success of his superintendency, not to be confused with his job description.
  • Why that measure of success is so important.

Sanebox

Sponsor: Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey


New Episode of @TrnFrmPrincipal


My wife and I decided that we wanted an adventure a few months ago, and so we started looking around for principal positions that would be new and different for us. 

 

We found one! 


New Episode of @TrnFrmPrincipal

Moving to Alaska!

In case you haven't heard, we are moving to Alaska. I will be the principal of Kodiak Middle School! My family and I are really excited! You can follow our journey here:  http://wearedrivingtoalaska.com

PLCs and RtI with Bob Sonju Transformative Principal 032


This second interview with Bob Sonju is really great. You will enjoy every minute of it! We talk about the following:

  • How to deal with cynical stakeholders.
  • Why people need to be ready to change to make things better.
  • How to make a good school even better.
  • Why you wake up with panic attacks in the middle of the night as a transformative principal.
  • The best time to change education was 20 years ago, the second best time to change education is today!
  • The excuses we make to not make changes.
  • There is no such thing as an optimal time to make changes, but we need to have a sense of urgency.
  • The state of Utah lost 19% of students (that didn’t graduate with a diploma). That is 1 in 5 kids! Unacceptable!
  • If you don’t find a better way… You fall back to how you did it before. We need to focus on using research-based best practices to help our students.
  • The importance of the Professional Learning Communities and Response to Intervention.
  • We don’t need to find new things, we just need to get good at PLCs and RTI.
  • There is no quick fix for schools.
  • We need to remove the things that
  • A super quick overview of PLCs and RTI in case you aren’t familiar with them. Based mostly on the work of DuFour and Eaker in Learning by Doing
  • What a principal can do to be a transformative principal today: Identify the research that drives your day-to-day work and recognize the sense of urgency we have to ensure that learning is not optional.
  • What he has in his office or a story: Simplify and focus. Story about teacher telling him that he is right in pushing forward.
  • How to get ahold of him (He is not on the Twitter, but he is willing to help you by giving his email address. Bob [dot] sonju at wash.k12.ut.us)

Sanebox

Web Site

Transformative Principal on Stitcher

Refer A Principal

Best Tools for Busy Administrators Survey

Sponsor: Sanebox


New Episode of @TrnFrmPrincipal