Last week’s post (9/17/14), “Treat the Symptoms Vs. Treat the Disease,” got me thinking about my real job when I was working for the state.  Yes, my title was “State Director of Innovative Redesign,” but the actual job was more along the lines of Plumber. 

When systems fail, there is either a broken component, a clog or a lack of flow.  What is true in plumbing is true in a school system.  My job was to identify the issue and correct it as quickly as possible.  But where others saw the fault as broke curriculum (component), ineffective teachers (clog), inadequate resources (flow), I recognized that these are all symptoms of the same disease, Failure of Leadership.  A no curriculum or a subpar curriculum is leadership failure. A mass of ineffective teachers is leadership failure.  Not providing adequate resources is leadership failure.  My job then was to identify at what level the leadership failure had manifested (Assistant Principal, Principal, Central Office, Superintendent or Board) and based on the severity of the disease either provide support or excise the problem.

In the case described last week (9/17/14) the leadership failure had manifested itself at the board level.  Staff can’t run off principal after principal if the Board is focused on student success and makes decisions based on that focus.  And here is what is truly sad about leadership failure at the highest level. Not only do students suffer (in terms of squandered performance driven opportunities), but at some point so will teachers when the only course action left is wholesale housecleaning and reorganization.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TESPA Fall Conference; The Fundamental 5 National Summit (Keynote Presentation); ASCD Annual Conference 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on  and like Lead Your School on Facebook