Developing Awareness, Adaptability, and Flexibility as School Leaders

How did you start off this semester? Was it a reset, relaunch, reboot, or redux from the fall? Whatever structures were in place during the first semester as our schools offered in-person learning on campus at reduced capacity, remote or distance learning, or a hybrid of those approaches, we already know more than we did […]

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Building Relationships With Candidates and Elected Officials

In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, President Abraham Lincoln is described as being the master of setting aside political and personal differences and including opposing voices in his cabinet. In an era of political chaos, that model of leadership is lacking in many arenas of policymaking and discourse, and as public school leaders, we […]

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Lead Like a Conductor: Lessons Learned as a Middle Level Band Director

Beginning band was an exciting time for my middle level students. For many, it was the first time receiving musical instruction, playing an instrument, reading music, and working collaboratively to create art. This experience led students through a journey of learning, challenges, excitement, frustration, determination, and euphoria. A conductor depends upon those they lead—if they […]

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Control+Alt+Delete: Rebooting Our Minds During Remote Learning

School as we knew it has changed, and we are sailing in a different direction. We once worried about students being late for classes and missing assignments, but now our concerns involve students being quarantined and missing instruction with a cloud of COVID-19 fear hovering over their heads. Things are different, there is no doubt […]

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Creating a High-Energy Culture of Innovation

If you’ve ever seen the movie Remember the Titans, you may know this quote: “Attitude reflects leadership.” As a school principal for over a decade, this quote is one I choose to keep close to my heart, embedded in my deep belief of servant leadership. I know the way I choose to lead will make or […]

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Restorative Practices: Seven Steps for Facilitators and Mediators

By allowing students and adults to improve and repair relationships, restorative practices are key to a healthy school climate. The steps described below are designed to help facilitate a restorative practice session between two students, two adults, or one student and one adult in a small setting—such as an office or conference room. These steps […]

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Just Pick the Pineapple: Building Trust in Turbulence

At the veggie market on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 216th Street in Queens, NY, my dad showed me how to pick a pineapple. He said, “It just has to smell like a pineapple and feel right, then it’s good to go.” I nodded in agreement, like I wanted him to really believe that […]

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Making Time for ‘Time-Ins’

Over the past ten years of being an assistant principal at the middle school level, I’ve come to realize how every meeting in my office—even the timeouts for disruptive behavior—have become “time-ins.”

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