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Showing posts from 2013

Paying Gratitude When It Is Due

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Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday and begins a time of year where I continually stop and reflect about all of the things in my life for which I am grateful.  As an elementary school principal of two buildings (@EpworthElem) and (@FESBobcats), I have the opportunity to work with a variety of people who provide a tremendous deal of support and make my job very rewarding.  Within this post I will list some of the wonderful aspects of the elementary principalship at Epworth and Farley Elementary Schools for which I am grateful.

Community Partnerships 
I am so fortunate to be part of a community where education is valued, celebrated, and where stakeholders go out of their way to support our schools.  A prime example of this support became very clear a couple of weeks ago when @WesternDubuqueW participated in the Celebrate My Drive competition powered by State Farm Insurance.  This competition asked students and community members to take a daily pledge toward safe driving by logging o…

Perseverance, Resilience, and Grit

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Over the past few months these three words have gained traction in discussions through Twitter, You Tube, TED Talks, Educational Leadership magazine, and other educational forums.  Angela Lee Duckworth delivered an excellent TED talk in April, 2013 describing the key to success in the classroom and life which she identifies as grit.  As I have read through articles, participated in Twitter chats, and watched a number of videos related to grit, I am constantly reminded of a young man that continues to inspire and touch my heart on a daily basis.

Four years ago, a young man by the name of Matt in our school system had a terrible accident with a four-wheeler on his farm in Iowa.  Matt suffered a very bad break in his leg, and was required to have surgery to repair the damage.  As time passed, Matt experienced many complications with infection and was forced with an unbelievable decision that a person should never have to make, let alone a fourteen-year-old young man. Matt is a football p…

Focus On the Process

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When I was younger I played a lot of baseball in a number of different leagues.  I enjoyed myself very much and experienced some success along the way.  While playing I was solely focused on getting two hits in every four trips that I made to the plate during each game.  It didn't matter to me how I was able to get those two hits: a deep fly ball in the gap, a little blooper, a screaming line drive, or a swinging bunt would be fine, as long as I was able to reach base safely.  If I was unable to get two hits in four at bats, I would consider it a failure and would be disappointed with myself.  I was not focused on my technique; the only thing I cared or thought about was getting two or more hits in the game.  When I finally started listening to my coach, hero and number one mentor (my father) I realized the importance of focusing on my swing, bat speed, and technique (the process) and the hits (the results) would take care of themselves.  If I was able to figure out what I was doi…

Why Do I Lead?

Throughout the past year I have become interested in social media and using various tools to make connections with educators across the country and world.  Twitter has been a "game changing" professional development tool for me, as I have been able to consume, create, and share a number of resources with unbelievable people within my Professional Learning Network.  About eighteen months ago I heard a lot of buzz about Twitter as an educational tool, but refused to believe the hype because all I could think of when this was mentioned was Ashton Kutcher, Shaq, one million followers, and what these people had for dinner the night before.  Only when I gave Twitter a chance along with some educational chats (most notably #iaedchat) did I find the true power and the ability to connect with so many great minds.  Twitter has given me the ability to connect with my educational hero, Todd Whitaker: @toddwhitaker, and learn from some of the best in the business such as Jimmy Casas: @ca…