“Evolving With Gratitude”

In “Evolving with Gratitude,” Lainie Rowell, an author, education consultant, and TEDx speaker, inspires listeners to “cultivate gratitude to nurture relationships, improve well-being, and activate learning.” Now in its second season, the podcast centers around heartfelt stories that encourage listeners to practice authentic gratitude with students, colleagues, and the world. For example, Episode 64 features Marlon Styles, an education leader and recognized advocate for access and opportunity, who tells the story of Saturdays with Grandma Watson and how he learned the “art of relationships” by observing her cooking and preparing to-go plates of food for members of the community. Through his grandmother’s example, Styles was inspired to emulate and invoke the same level of gratitude with his own “to-go plates of joy.” By making concerted and intentional efforts to listen, validate, and celebrate students and colleagues every day, Styles says that we not only raise the “collective energy in the room” but also maximize joy and happiness in our learning communities. And just like a visit to Grandma Watson’s house, no one ever leaves empty-handed.

—Nicole J. LeClaire | Principal
Kenesaw Jr/Sr High School, Kenesaw, NE

“2Principals Podcast”

Kevin Jost and Jason Paurus, the dynamic duo behind the “2Principals Podcast,” aim to empower everyday leaders with practical tools to reduce stress, enhance physical and mental well-being, and lead a more balanced, fulfilling life. Paurus, the principal of Rogers High school in Rogers, MN, and Jost, an assistant principal there, drop new episodes every Wednesday. Their friendly banter and laughter-filled approach make this podcast an especially enjoyable listen. In Episode 40, “Are You Really a Resilient Leader or Just Pushing Through?” the hosts delve deep into resilience in leadership, exploring the emotions leaders face and how they can harness the support of those around them during challenging times. Episode 38, “Are You Listening?” features an interview with Jonathan Boorman, who provides therapy for teens and adults, and Episode 33, “Life and Leadership Talk on Supporting Mental Health Within Your Organization,” offers strategies and tips for fostering a workplace culture where mental health is discussed, trust is built, and guidance is given with empathy. Kevin and Jason create a welcoming space where school leaders can laugh, reflect, and grow, and remember that leadership can be enjoyable and transformative. So, are you listening?

—Brenda Yoho | Coach/Mentor
Illinois Principals Association, Danville, IL

Erasing the Finish Line: The New Blueprint for Success Beyond Grades and College Admission

If education is a marathon not a sprint, then it is vital to know where and when we can celebrate crossing the finish line. Ana Homayoun provides guidance to that end in Erasing the Finish Line: The New Blueprint for Success Beyond Grades and College Admission (Hachette Go). After more than two decades of working with students and consulting with schools, Homayoun has developed a system for success that emphasizes five core skills: organizing, planning, prioritizing, starting and completing tasks, and adaptable thinking. While many expend time, money, and untold hours of anxious effort toward conventional efforts to gain entrance to prestigious postsecondary institutions, Homayoun encourages pupils and parents to get back to the basics. Instead of building an altruistic resume supported by standardized test scores and impressive references, she encourages educators and parents to support students in developing a disciplined commitment to executive functioning skills so their academic achievement and social and emotional well-being accrue and pay lifelong dividends. When education leaders are asked what makes top students stand out in middle and high school, their memories often center on socialization, communication, and connection. Homayoun explains how educators and parents can partner to cultivate this focus.

—Mike Rumsey | Assistant Principal
Roxana Senior High School, Roxana, IL

Teaching Climate Change: Fostering Understanding, Resilience, and a Commitment to Justice

In Teaching Climate Change: Fostering Understanding, Resilience, and a Commitment to Justice (Harvard Education Press), Mark Windschitl, a professor of science teaching and learning at the University of Washington creates an environment of advocacy toward understanding the causes of and developing solutions to a problem that is constantly redesigning our world: an increasingly warm planet. Windschitl discusses the importance of teaching students the science behind climate change, the urgency of investigating alternative methods of providing energy and reducing carbon emissions, and the need for understanding not only the facts but the misconceptions, and the most effective methods of sharing the message. In his book, he begins the conversation with a focus on drawdown, “a milestone in reversing climate change, marking the future point in time when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere peaks and then drops, reversing the climb of global temperatures.” Education leaders from every level will appreciate the numerous suggestions to help teachers convey the science effectively and to inspire students to focus on climate change as they make decisions that will shape the earth they will inhabit in the future.

—Eric Basilo, EdD | Assistant Principal
Markham Woods Middle School, Lake Mary, FL