Good Advice From Bad People

Recently, I was reflecting on how fortunate I am. Throughout my life and career I have had some incredible mentors who have guided me, supported me and given me fantastic advice. As you would expect, these are good people with good intentions who had and have my best interests in mind.  My life is richer…

Uncle Mike’s Advice

Last week LYS trained over 400 campus leaders on the PowerWalks observation system. Every trainee was diligent, attentive and earnest. We could not have asked for better groups. While we were doing that, a LYS Principal was writing his weekly newsletter. At the end of the newsletter he included something I had shared in the…

A Reader Writes… (Advice for the First Year Principal – Part 1)

In response to the post, “Advice for the First Year Principal,” a reader writes: “Since the Texas Charter School Conference I have read all your postings but, Advice for the First Year Principal, is what I’ve been waiting for. Even though I am assistant principal, my principal is three hours away at the main campus…

A Reader Writes… (Hiring Decisions – Part 1)

In response to the post, “Hiring Decisions,” a reader writes: “Being the first with a solution to a problem is…” …more importantly the BEST way to make a DIFFERENCE in the lives of our children!!!!! SC ResponseI hate to steal the mojo, but not exactly. The first solution is usually the best one for adults.…

A Reader Writes… (Instructional Discussions – Part 6)

In response to the posts addressing, “Instructional Discussions,” a reader writes: “These have been good posts. As I recall, you told me to go into “bunker mode” once. It was great advice. As we know, I didn’t follow it (just like you wouldn’t), but it was still the right advice at the time. “ SC…

A Reader Submits… Sunday Advice

An LYS reader shares, “Teaching that brings about no change is as effective as a parachute that opens on the first bounce.” SC ResponseThere you go again, always focused on being effective. I guess on your campus, just showing up isn’t enough? Great advice. Great reminder. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

A Reader Writes… (Advice 2/7/10 – Part 6)

In response to the posts relating to, “A Reader Shares… Sunday Advice (2/7/10),” a reader writes: “If I’m ever referred to as ‘ a good principal ‘ – shoot me…”SC ResponseHold on there, cowgirl. There is nothing wrong with being a good principal. There are even times when being a “not bad” principal is a…

A Reader Shares… Sunday Advice

An old school LYS principal shares the following: “I had the opportunity to have a conversation with an aspiring administrator this week. He came to me after observing that I don’t talk like most principals and my actions are not like most principals. Inevitably our conversation turned to politics. The aspiring administrator correctly noted that…

Sunday Advice… More Gant Wisdom

I learned a lot from my grandfather. Some of the conversations that I had this week got me thinking about a plaque he kept on the wall. In formal and fancy script it read, “When you are up to your ass in alligators it is difficult to remember that your primary objective is to drain…

Brezina’s Advice

I forgot to mention the following in my last post. When I went into a District, I always rented a house during the first year.BB

Sunday Advice – Problems with the Boss?

Everyone at some point in time has boss problems. Here are a couple of keys to managing those problems. 1. Provide solutions, not problems. If you are a fountain of negativity (even if it is reality), have some potential solutions for the problems you discover or point out. 2. Focus on accomplishing your goal, not…

Sunday Advice from an LYS Reader

Just a reminder for existing LYS readers and an invitation to new LYS readers, Sunday is advice day. Send me your favorite piece of advice and why, along with your mailing address. If I post it, I’ll send you a world famous Lead Your School can koozie. An anonymous (send me you address and I’ll…

A Reader Writes… (Schaper Wisdom Commentary)

In response to “Schaper’s Wisdom,” a reader writes: “Having served six years in the charter school system working with students seriously at-risk of never achieving high school graduation with a diploma or G.E.D. because history has not been fair to them in and out of the classroom, I have come to look at NCLB with…

Great Advice – Schaper Wisdom

Early in my career as a fixer, I was in a meeting with some district principals and administrators. The issue was seriously delinquent students and what to do with them. Most of the solutions entailed expulsions and looooong suspensions. The Deputy Superintendent stepped in the room, assessed the conversation for about 2 minutes and said…

A Reader Writes… (Dress Code – Part 7)

In response to posts on dress codes, a reader writes: “Cain nailed it when he writes, ‘Therefore, pick your battle. When you are constantly nagging students about shoelaces, their energy is directed towards deviant shoelaces, not more destructive and dangerous behaviors.’ This could be a quote from Sun Tzu. Pick the time and place of…

Sunday Advice – From an LYS Reader

An LYS reader submitted the following piece of useful advice: “I once heard a wise man say…ok, it was Sean….but wise nevertheless. ‘What you ignore, you condone.’ At times, I would get “too busy” to deal with the mundane issues such as what my teachers were wearing….after all I had student achievement to think about.…

Great Advice – Patton

As you read this, school leaders across the country are preparing to address their staff when they return for the start of the school year. For a lot of schools and districts, the prior year was a case of a couple of steps forward and a couple of steps backwards. That is one of the…

Great Advice – Sundberg Wisdom

A couple of years ago, I was complaining to a very successful, business owner friend of mine. The complaint was about how difficult it was to move a particularly entrenched bureaucracy. It was a case of one step forward, two steps back. He said, “They can’t help it, they are a’ama crabs.”To which I said,…

Great Advice – Col. Hunter Wisdom

When I was middle school and high school, before summer football practice would begin, I would go and spend a week with my uncle to get ready for the season. My uncle, a retired Marine fighter pilot and successful businessman would push me and my cousin to be ready both physically and mentally. When we…

Great Advice – Brown Wisdom

In honor of E. Don Brown’s birthday yesterday, today’s advice is something he pointed out to me soon after we first met. He stated, “You do understand that the campus principal is the only pure advocate for students in the system.”He went on to explain that everyone else in the system, at some point, will…

A Reader Writes… (Sunday Advice and Book Recommendation)

In response to the Sunday Advice, Dr. Mike Seabolt writes (and then recommends): “The advice to ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood,’ is a basic principle of Steven Covey’s, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a great read and will dramatically improve your leadership ability. The book focuses on communication and…

Sunday Advice – From a LYS Reader

“In response to the request for interesting advice that we have received in the past, one piece definitely stands out for me. My current principal often shares with us, ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ I think this is especially profound in the field of education. It can be applied not only to…

Readers Advice – “Next Day”

In general, Sunday is advice day. The posts relate a piece of advice that for good or bad, made an impact. Last week, I invited you, the Lead Your School reader, to join in; to expand the collective memory and mine the nuggets of wisdom that that help guide our decision making when faced with…

A Sunday Grab Bag

Today’s post is the equivalent of the weekly campus memo. 1. Announcing the first Lead Your School contest. The Lead Your School can koozies and cup insulators have arrived. I’ll be handing them out during the summer speaking tour, but Lead Your School e-mail subscribers, you can get one before anyone else. Here’s the contest:…

Great Advice – Patton Wisdom

In honor of the Memorial Day Weekend, a quote from “Patton on Leadership,” by Alan Axlerod, that resonated with me early in my career as a principal. The essence of the quote was, “Victory is achieved when you declare it.”The school year is a marathon. If we don’t announce and celebrate our short-term victories, we…

A Reader Writes… (Sunberg Wisdom)

In response to the post, “Great Advice… Sunberg Wisdom,” a reader writes: “We really do need more strong shepherds in educational leadership. And what is the shepherd’s main tool of accountability and control: The sheep dog! The sheep dog fights off the wolves and protects and guides the sheep. Once again, surrounding yourself with other…

Great Advice – Sunberg Wisdom

I have a friend who is a very successful entrepreneur. He constantly reminds me of the following: “For every 1000 sheep, there is one shepherd. Be the shepherd.” If you are in a leadership role, from lead teacher to superintendent, then everyday you have to step up and lead. If you abdicate that responsibility, your…

Bad Advice From a Former Boss

On Sunday’s I’ve been sharing advice I’ve received over the years that I have found useful. Not all of that advice has been good. In fact some of it, even though it was given in good faith, has been absolutely horrible. Here is some bad advice, given to me by a well intentioned boss. In…

Great Advice – More Brezina Wisdom

I mentioned this as an aside in an earlier post, so today I will officially post it as great advice. Early in my administrative career, I was concerned about the first year turn-over rate that I had on my campus. When I mentioned this during a regular status report to the superintendent, Bob Brezina, he…

A Reader Writes… (Health)

In response to the post, “Great Advice – An Unknown High School Principal,” a reader writes: “I couldn’t agree more. I also heard an expert in human resources say that there are hidden disqualifiers for teachers getting into teaching and the biggest one is obesity. Research shows that obese employees are more likely to miss…
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