In this month’s questionnaire, Kevin Carroll, founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst, LLC, author of several highly successful books-including Rules of the Red Rubber Ball—and a Thought Leader at the 2017 National Principals Conference in July, discusses how principals enable their teachers and students to be more creative, how motivating schools is similar to motivating sports franchises, and what’s wrong with the Philadelphia 76ers.

How can principals enable teachers and students to become more creative? 

They can do so by fostering a school community culture that is energized and gives administrators, teachers, and students permission to be playful and creative. Principals who create and sustain an energized and playful culture will witness more inspiring moments filled with imagination, curiosity, and transformational learning. A great resource to understand how energy, movement, and play can be a catalyst in education is John Ratey’s book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain—it should be on the required reading list of everyone invested in the education of the next generation of leaders, makers, doers, and dreamers!

How can principals use new technology to enhance communication? 

Partner with your school’s or district’s technology expert. (Note: You can also get support from the International Society for Technology in Education at Creating a strategic communication plan that cleverly utilizes the array of social media platforms available, and remaining professional and authentic, can definitely enhance a principal’s communication efforts.

How is motivating principals, teachers, and students similar to professional athletes? 

It’s all about the leader’s/coach’s ability to inspire the team to rally around a shared and audacious vision—the result is a high-performing team that can compete and win consistently, be it on the playing field or in the classroom.

What is the most important benefit and drawback of technology?

Benefit = ACCESS to a plethora of information. Drawback = too much RELIANCE that can result in the atrophy of imagination and creative confidence.

If you could change one thing about secondary schools, what would it be? 

Ensure funding is always available for extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports programs. Students need a reason to want to get out of bed in the morning and come to school. 

What’s your educational philosophy?

Be curious. Look up! Keep a “beta” attitude—always be improving and do your “human homework.”

What is your favorite book and why? 

A few of my favorites include The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (inspiring!); The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (creative confidence!); The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (surprise and delight!). Choosing a single favorite book is impossible for me!

What’s wrong with the 76ers today?  

“Trust the process!” has taken too long!