Principal Matters: The School Leader's Podcast with William D. Parker
Principal Matters: The School Leader's Podcast with William D. Parker
William D. Parker: Principal, Author, Speaker and Blogger
Principal Matters with William D. Parker & Friends
PMP229: Facing Your Giants with Samantha Bartrom
In the book David and Goliath (Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants) by Malcolm Gladwell, the author presents two ideas in the introduction of his book. First, he says that much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of ‘lop-sided’ conflicts – the act of facing overwhelming odds creates moments of greatness and beauty. Second, he says that we consistently get these conflicts wrong. We mis-read them. “Giants are not what we think they are” (page 6). This reminds me of the ‘Bull fight’ story from another book by Tim Elmore who says, “If those bulls knew that the little red cape was not their real enemy, and began to pursue the real enemy, that little matador wouldn’t have stood a chance” (Pivotal Praying, page 107). This week my guest Principal Samantha Batrom shares the lessons she has been learning while facing unexpected giants in her own school leadership journey. Meet Samantha Bartrom Samantha Bartrom is the Principal of Coastal Academy High School, a charter school, serving students in grades 9-12. Her school is located in San Diego, California. Prior to becoming a Principal, Samantha served as an Assistant Principal, Director of Student Leadership, Writing Specialist and 6th grade teacher. She also has experience supporting military families through previous work for the Department of Defense. Also known as the “Power Lifting Principal,” Samantha enjoys competing as a powerlifter.  Samantha is also a member of the Principal Matters Mastermind. WDP: Can you think of a time where you have faced an enormous ‘giant’ to later find out what you were facing was something much different or more meaningful? If so, can you share that story and lesson? Samantha: Let me take you on a walk down memory lane. A couple of summers ago, I just returned from a trip to Europe. My chief executive officer came to see me. He wanted to know about my trip. I told him about Postano, Italy. And then he asked me to prepare myself to channel those favorite memories into an unforeseen challenge. The summer renovations to my current building had not gone well, and we were not going to be able to begin school in my building. We were two and half weeks away from the start of school, and we needed a backup plan.  We had about 400 students who needed a home for school to begin. We ended up finding space at a nearby convention center in the San Diego area. QLM has large meeting rooms for conferences. I stood and looked at the enormous space with no walls, desks, white boards or technology. I was at a crossroads: delay the start of school, or make this work. I was able to gather other directors from our organization. This giant was too big to face alone. We stood in the space and imagined what could we accomplish. Two days before school began, we brought students to campus to meet. Imagine walking into a huge convention room that looks like a maze. We were able to turn that space into a school. Once we made it through that orientation day, I knew we could make it work for the start of school. WDP: What unexpected outcomes did you experience from conquering this ‘giant’ of moving your entire school?
Jan 20
37 min
PMP228: Strategic Leadership During Times of Uncertainty
Years ago, when I was transitioning from assistant principal to high school principal, my superintendent gave me an assignment to map out goals for the next three years of my school. Photo by shixart1985 – Creative Commons Attribution License What was helpful about this assignment was the long-term planning required. Determining where I wanted my school to grow in the next three years meant taking a hard look at student data as well as understanding my school’s culture, community and resources. In essence, my superintendent was asking me to think strategically. It is the strategic vision that helps us define the overall purpose and mission of our schools. But strategy is ineffective unless it is followed by action. I also needed organizational and tactical applications. Enter my staff, teachers, students and school community members. Leaders cannot implement strategic vision without the input and relationships of the people whom you are directly serving. You may be asking: “How do I work tactically, operationally, and strategically during a time of pandemic?” “How do I respond to the pressures you are facing with current social and political unrest?“ Before I answer those questions, I want to first unpack the terms tactical, operational, and strategic in two separate applications. #1 A Military Application A few months ago, I interviewed Colonel Brad Ruttman, an Airforce officer and fighter pilot, on my podcast. Colonel Ruttman talked about tactical, operational and strategic leadership from a military perspective. In the military, tactical leadership involves the ‘boots on the ground’ activities and personnel – those who are involved in like maintaining equipment or the delivering of weapons, for instance. The operational side includes the day-to-day management and coordination of systems, protocols and policies that govern implementing the work at hand. Strategic leadership involves understanding the purpose of the overall mission and communicating what’s ultimately at stake as the entire organization is involved in successfully accomplishing its mission.  Colonel Ruttman told a story of when his commanding officer came to visit a division of maintenance operators at the end of their work day. He wanted to see them increase the speed of maintenance on aircraft so that pilots could accomplish more flights. He began to talk to them about strategic concerns happening with rival countries. Colonel Ruttman noticed the maintenance personnel members were only politely listening. Frankly, they didn’t care about the strategic mission at that point. They were at the end of a work day and wanted to head home and pick up their kids from football practice.  #2 A School Application When you apply this to school leadership, your staff and teachers are often the ‘boots on the ground’ or tactical personnel in working with students in learning and well-being. Principals and building administrators often function as operational managers in organizational leadership, hiring personnel, overseeing site budgets, and guiding instructional outcomes. District leaders are tasked with strategic leadership: understanding the moving parts of the entire organization, including policies, school finance, oversight and compliance, and developing and relaying the mission of the collective community. But for the people you serve, all they often care about is right in front of them. For parents, they want to know if their students are making good grades. For students,
Jan 13
19 min
PMP227: Me, Myself and Bob. 7 Lessons from the Rise and Fall of VeggieTales
Have you ever had a dream you’ve been unable to fulfill? Phil Vischer was born in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1967. He grew up mesmerized by Disney films, Star Wars, and later by MTV. Phil also came from a family that was deeply religious. As he grew up, he longed to see media created that would portray his Christian values in ways that were both appealing and entertaining. Phil Vischer was a technology wiz, even at a young age. Some of his earliest memories involved making special effects with his grandfather’s home video camera. And when the first Atari 400 personal computer was on the market, his family found a way to buy one for him. He went to St. Paul’s Bible college in Minnesota, but he dropped out in his second year and began his first company making advertisement videos in 1989. It was during his twenties, that he began to experiment with software that allowed him to do what no one else was marketing at the time, lattice deformation: the ability to make digital images “squishy” instead of just blocks on a screen. This discovery led to his creation of a cartoon character named Larry: a green cucumber with quirky eyes and a toothy smile. Later he created his sidekick, Bob the Tomato, and the VeggieTales industry began. Actually, the company was called Big Idea Productions, started in August of 1993. Throughout the origin story of the company, Phil Visher had several benefactors whose combined contributions gave him the capitol to take the next steps he needed in making his first 30-minute children’s video with animated vegetables telling stories from the Bible with funny songs and Phil’s brand of sly humor throughout. For the first time in his life, Phil felt he was on the verge of creating something that matched the dreams he had as a boy. He idolized the stories of Walt Disney, and he thought maybe this was the opportunity to launch something as appealing as the Disney brand but with a focus on the values of his faith. By 1994, Vischer had a staff of 4 and 50,000 orders for their first two VeggieTales videos, “Are You My Neighbor?” and “Dave and the Giant Pickle.”  By November 1996, with 700,000 copies of his first six videos sold, Big Idea Productions now had 15 staff and revenues at $1.8 million. By 1997, with the release of “Madame Blueberry,” Big Idea Productions had 36 staff with $4 million in the bank and no debt. Enter the leadership team. It was at this juncture, that Vischer decided to bring in some heavy hitters in finance and marketing. He hired a new company President who took over day-to-day operations, and increased the staff to 80 members with 8 million videos sold. But the rapid growth soon hit several snags. As Phil’s dream began to grow, he began to wonder would happen if Big Idea Productions became successful enough to build an amusement park. Already, families were traveling to their office area outside Chicago to see where ‘Bob and Larry’ were being made.  That same year, Phil and his leadership team took on several new ventures in addition to children’s videos. The idea for a new office headquarters launched a $10 million dollar building project. In addition, an idea for an extended video release soon became plans for a full-feature film.  Also, Big Idea Productions started a new cartoon series as well as creating lots of merchandise. All these decisions moved Big Idea Productions from creating an essential product (children’s videos) to several products while hiring at a rapid rate to keep up with anticipated growth. By July 1999, with the release of the video “Larry & the Rumor Weed,” the company had 150 staff. From 1996 to 1999, revenues grew 3,
Jan 6
19 min
PMP226: Year in Review and Power of Masterminds with Jeff Springer, Part 2
This past semester, Dr. Jeff Springer has helped me facilitate the weekly book study portion of our Principal Matters Mastermind. In this week’s podcast episode, we share Part 2 of a conversation about the benefits of Masterminds for education leaders. Dr. Springer’s dissertation was on the power of play at the secondary level. As we planned for this show, Jeff asked me, “What if we took each tenet of ‘play’ and tied it into the benefits and results of participating in a Mastermind?’ The Power of Masterminds, Part 2 For a quick overview, Dr. Springer explains P.L.A.Y. and its connections to a Mastermind as follows: People – A Mastermind community helps members establish and identify who your people are. Love –  A Mastermind helps members verbalize how are you care and love for your team and others. Acknowledge – A Mastermind helps participants acknowledge success, failures, and develop a plan for areas of improvement and investigation. Yearn – A Mastermind helps members establish a platform to reconnect educators why they became educators in the first place, renewal with passion. It’s a reminder of what gets them out of bed in the morning and gives them purpose! Listen in to this week’s podcast episode to enjoy these takeaways and more! Principal Matters, 2020 Review Some of you have been readers of the Principal Matters blog or have listened to the podcast for a long time. Others may be brand new members to the community.  I began blogging in 2013 and podcasting in 2016. At the beginning of my blogging journey, I had just been named Oklahoma’s Assistant Principal of the Year. I continued sharing blogs and podcasts as a high school principal. In 2017, I began the fulltime work I do with my state principal association. Principal Matters, LLC, has always been and continues to be a passion project for me. I dedicate time in the evenings and weekends to writing and recording. If I’m invited to present or keynote, I take vacation time from my full-time work, which means my time is somewhat limited. To date, my blog posts have been downloaded 345,885 times and my podcast episodes 495,784. On average, between 2,000-2,500 education leaders are digesting my weekly posts.  I like to think about how many students are being impacting by our collective learning. If each Principal Matters podcast listener, for instance, represents 300 to 500 students, it is possible we are influencing the lives of over 1 million students.   Whether you are a long-time subscriber or first-time listener, I want to thank you for learning along with me. It seems odd to be celebrating at the end of such a crazy and difficult year, but as I look back on the past 12 months, I am amazed at the opportunities we had to grow together through a global pandemic, school shutdowns, and re-openings or hybrid settings. I have so many people to thank for the wins of 2020. These include my guests, partners, Mastermind members, and executive coaching clients.  Guests A special thanks to the 20 friends who shared on my podcast this past year, including: Juan David Campolargo, Tim Elmore, Anthony Fisher, Marlena Gross-Taylor, D.J. Klein, Jethro Jones, Jeremie Kubicek, Sonia Lopez Morales, Andrew McPeak, Patrick McLaughlin, Anthony Muhammad, Jena Nelson, Don Parker, Brad Ruttman, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Jen Schwanke, Jeff Springer, Josh Stamper, William Stubbs, Justin Thomas. Early 2020 Masterminds
Dec 30, 2020
30 min
PMP225: 4 Wishes for Your Much-Deserved Break (Plus Will’s Bonus Christmas Hymns)
As you are wrapping up the semester, I wanted to send this note of encouragement. Photo by Brooke Lark – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions This semester you have managed school in ways you never have before. Some of you have served students who have been at home all semester. Others have been in-person or in hybrid models. Whatever your circumstance, I have heard from many principals that this has been the most challenging year of their education career. With that in mind, I want to wish you the following during your much-deserved break: 1. I wish you rest from unending decision-making.  For some of you, you will still manage a lot of family to-do’s over break. But give yourself permission to turn off your technology. Put an automatic reply on your email that you are on vacation until the New Year. And then ignore your inbox. You deserve this time off. 2. Do something that recharges your emotional batteries.  If you are an extrovert, it will be hard to avoid crowds, but find an outlet that brings you joy. If you are a hunter, hunt. If you love exercise, start a new workout. Whether it is: dancing, knitting, reading, or taking long walks – find that thing and do it. 3. Make a list of what has been challenging and what has been a blessing this past year.  Sometimes it’s helpful to see the pros and cons of your experience. Accept the things you could not or cannot change, and then celebrate the experiences that were still happy moments this past year. 4. When you’ve had time to re-charge, think of something outrageously optimistic you’d like to accomplish this year.  Mike Mattos, Solution Tree author, calls this a ‘BHAG’ – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I like to encourage leaders to apply this to your personal life too: Maybe you want to run a marathon, start a YouTube channel, earn your doctorate, write your first book, or climb a mountain. If it’s a school-wide goal you’ve always dreamed of reaching, go for it. I can’t tell you what that dream is, but think of a BHAG, and give yourself permission to pursue it. Even if you don’t accomplish the goal, you’ll always go farther when you take action and learn a lot about yourself in the process of trying. On behalf of the Principal Matters community, I want to wish you a much deserved time-off. As a bonus to this week’s podcast episode, I have included an additional 15 minutes of Christmas piano music from my home to yours (with ‘Yours Truly’ playing, mistakes and all). I look forward to continuing to learn together in the year ahead. In the meantime, cheers to your Christmas Break & Happy New Year!
Dec 22, 2020
21 min
PMP224: The Power of a Mastermind with Jeff Springer
This past semester, I had the honor of leading a Mastermind with principals from across the U.S. Photo by Viviana Rishe – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions Like eating a meal with family members each week, a Mastermind is a way for consistent growth with people you trust and admire. Dr. Jeff Springer has helped facilitate the Principal Matters Mastermind by leading our weekly book study portion. In this week’s podcast episode, we spend time talking about the benefits of Masterminds for education leaders. Welcome Back Dr. Jeff Springer An educator for 34 years, Dr. Jeff Springer is the founder of Spring Strategies LLC and the G.O.A.L. TEAM (Getting Others to Achieve Higher Levels), created for helping high school students and young adults to maximize their personal leadership potential. Jeff, a former Texas High School Head Football Coach and eleven-year veteran of the classroom, is also formerly the Principal at Magnolia High School (2002-2016), in Magnolia, Texas. In 2013, he was selected as the State of Texas TASSP State Principal of the year. Jeff resides in Montgomery, Texas with his wife of 38 years. They have two children, and two grandchildren. Community, Engagement, Transformation and Collegiality WDP: One of my friends Jethro Jones compared the Mastermind to eating a great meal. A conference or workshop can be a great event or experience, like a quick meal. But a Mastermind can be like a family meal shared every week with people you trust, admire and respect. Dr. Springer: Yes, I like that analogy. The opportunity to sit around the table with leaders from across the country who bring their own flavors to the feast. We enjoy several courses, and each week we experience new recipes from each other. And you walk away with one new idea to apply every time! WDP: I know we want to talk about how Masterminds building community, engagement, transformation and collegiality. Can you start with how a Mastermind builds community? Dr. Springer: The ability to share what you learn is a powerful opportunity. To listen to leaders share where they are – the different localities, grade levels, experiences that can inform others. That support provides a community approach to leading your campus. WDP: Yes, it seems every time you are together, you discover something new about the other members you didn’t know before. During our book study of my new book Pause. Breathe. Flourish., for instance, we build community through exploring areas each of us is discovering in self-reflection. Dr. Springer: There is the professional growth. But the bonus is knowing each other on a personal level. Between meetings you also share via Voxer messages. This Mastermind is a great model for carrying into your in-person relationships with your teams and schools. WDP: Can you unpack how Masterminds lead to engagement? Dr. Springer: What I have seen and hear from our Mastermind members is that this is vital part of their week. Whether they are principals or assistant principals, they make this a priority. They are so involved in the process, they don’t want to miss a week. If duty requires them to miss, they ask for the recording so they can keep learning. WDP: I love how the Mastermind also facilitates additional conversations. Even outside the hot-seat moments, people continue connecting after the meetings for further learning and collaboration. Dr. Springer: That leads to our next area,
Dec 16, 2020
23 min
PMP223: A Fighter Pilot’s Lessons for Leaders, Part 2
In last week’s episode, Colonel Brad Ruttman shared lessons from his military experience that may also apply to education leaders. Oklahoma Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. C.T. Michael This week, he unpacks more of his “Pocket-List for Leading a New Command” as well as some of his favorite leadership quotes. Meet Colonel Brad Ruttman  Col. Brad Ruttman is a 21-year veteran of the US Air Force and currently serves as the Operations Group Commander for the 138th Fighter Wing.  He has commanded at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels and is a graduate of Air War College. As an F-16 fighter pilot, Col Ruttman has 5 combat tours and over 100 combat sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is the recipient of several military awards to include 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Combat Air Medals, the Aerial Achievement Medal and the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals. He resides in Owasso, OK with his wife Stephanie and their five children: JJ, Christian, Coleman, Savannah, and Dawson. All five of his children attend Owasso Public Schools. Part 2 of the Leadership Pocket-List WDP: Thank you again for being on the show. Last time you shared several takeaways, including setting boundaries/instilling discipline, project empathy/right any wrongs, and building trust. Can you take us through the other elements of your list? Col. Ruttman: Sure. Let’s talk next about “Leading Your People Where They Are.” For strategic leaders, it is very important you think about your tactical team members from their perspective. That means understanding your people, what they do, and your own limitations. You cannot just assume you know how to do their work. In my own experience, I have seen officers or commanders show up to enlisted personnel and tell them why they need to work harder because of the global, strategic outcomes needed around the world. This kind of feedback is not helpful. Most people at the tactical level, however care about purpose, security and relationships. Don’t spend time trying to convince others of strategy. Meet them in the ways that matter most to them. WDP: I’ll give an education application. When I was a high school principal, I would visit our cafeteria staff to thank them for the good work they were doing in feeding our students. Sometimes we would have lunch together or a quick meeting so that I could hear any concerns. I did not try to burden them with academic targets, for instance, as they were really not interested in the organizational or strategic plans I was working on. They were most interested in making sure every student was eating.  Col. Ruttman: That’s a great segue to the next area: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” (Covey). I think many times as leaders, especially brand-new leaders, someone may have been a teacher for a long time, and when they become a principal, they cannot wait to lead a school the way they always dreamed of it being. The challenge is finding ways to influence others because most of them will not be inspired by your ideas. As a leader, it is your job to take your ideas and influence others. The best ways to influence are to first understand what their priorities are, understanding their history, and showing empathy for their experiences. If you can convince others that new ideas are ones they suggested, then they will be more committed to new outcomes.  WDP: Yes, ownership has to happen for accountability to be meaningful. You also talk about the “Staying sharp” with sev...
Dec 9, 2020
38 min
PMP222: A Fighter Pilot’s Lessons for Leaders
Leadership is tactical, operational and strategic. These are three words Colonel Brad Ruttman has learned as the framework for understanding how to help others accomplish their goals. In this week’s episode, I had the privilege of learning lessons from a fighter pilot that also apply for all leaders, including in education. Oklahoma Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. C.T. Michael Meet Colonel Brad Ruttman  Col. Brad Ruttman is a 21-year veteran of the US Air Force and currently serves as the Operations Group Commander for the 138th Fighter Wing.  He has commanded at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels and is a graduate of Air War College. As an F-16 fighter pilot, Col Ruttman has 5 combat tours and over 100 combat sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is the recipient of several military awards to include 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Combat Air Medals, the Aerial Achievement Medal and the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals. He resides in Owasso, OK with his wife Stephanie and their five children: JJ, Christian, Coleman, Savannah, and Dawson. All five of his children attend Owasso Public Schools. A Leadership Pocketbook Listen to the entire podcast episode for the full conversation. Here is a short summary of our talk: WDP: Thank you again for being on the show. School leaders have a lot to learn from other leaders. As I think about strategic and operational leadership, I wanted to ask you to unpack areas that may help any leaders apply lessons to their own teams. Let’s jump in: Col. Ruttman: When I finished college with a degree in engineering, I was looking for my first job in the field. I always wanted to be in the military. When I realized the Air Force also had an engineering squadron, I decided to enlist for four years. I discovered I loved being in the Air Force, but I didn’t enjoy being an engineer. When I saw how much fighter pilots loved their work, I thought that is what I want to do. Through some hard work and the grace of God, I was able to do that. It definitely wasn’t the normal path to becoming a fighter pilot. WDP: First of all, thank you for your service to our country. In addition to your training as a pilot, you’ve also learned a lot about leadership. You keep a running list of lessons you think about when considering managing a new command. What are those areas, and then can you choose one or two to unpack? Col. Ruttman: In the military and in education, you go from follower to leader quickly. As I have gone through leadership training and conferences, I have kept a running list that I call ‘pocket leadership’ that I share with others in my work. At a Commander’s Development course, I heard presentations from other officers, and it inspired me to begin writing down lessons I could share with others. Here is a short summary: Leadership steps for a new command: * Set boundaries/instill discipline* Project empathy/right any wrongs* Build trust* Lead your people where they are* Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Covey)* Stay sharp *     Never think “you’ve arrived”*     Think like your boss’s boss*     Beware of the Bathsheba Syndrome*     Study Psychology WDP: From that list, can you talk about “Set boundaries/instill discipline”? Col. Ruttman: I remember going through officer training school and watching a movie about a stoic, stone-faced leader.
Dec 2, 2020
42 min
PMP221: Designing Leadership Outcomes with Jethro Jones
This week I’m honored to talk to Jethro Jones about his new book, SchoolX: How principals can design a transformative school experience for students, teachers, parents – and themselves. Five years ago, I had the privilege to talk to Jethro Jones, host of the Transformative Principal Podcast, about my first book. That conversation began a friendship that we have enjoyed since then. Jethro has been a guest on my podcast, including Episode 74, on July 26, 2017, as well as episode 163 on September 5, 2019. What a joy to catch up with him this week and share takeaways from his new work and new book! Meet Jethro Jones Jethro Jones is an education leader and consultant who helps schools and districts to find simple solutions to complex problems. Named a Digital Principal of the Year in 2017 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, he has served students as a teacher, district coach, media and distance learning specialist, and principal, with experience at every level of public education. He has been hosting the Transformative Principal podcast since 2013 and is the founder of the Transformative Leadership Summit. Jethro is married and has four children.  As always, listen to the podcast episode for our full conversation. But here are several takeaways: How Leaders Facilitate Change WDP: Welcome back to the show! Congratulations on your new book. What is one tool or strategy you find yourself using the most when helping principals facilitate change in their schools? Jethro: The first area I would focus on is gaining empathy. Understand what others are experiencing so you have a better position for facilitating change. Here’s a quick tip: Walk up the front of a school and ask yourself how you feel when you walk into the school. Do you see threatening or intimidating signage? Do you feel welcomed? WDP: You’re so right. That’s where leadership helps others move from understanding to change. As leaders are seeing these needed changes, how do they help others move forward to change? Jethro: Normally, when something is negative, no one will complain when it is gone. Take down those negative signs in your school entrance and see what happens. This same rule applies in other ways. What if your district has a policy for turning in lesson plans if there is no purpose in the accountability? If you trust your teachers are doing good work, stop collecting their plans. See what happens when you stop doing things that don’t seem to have a positive purpose or meaning for your school. Ask the question: If we didn’t do X anymore, what would happen? WDP: That makes me think about encouraging listeners to do an action audit.  Jethro: Yes, but sometimes simple changes don’t require a lot of consensus. Think about the small changes that move you closer to the desired result, and do that. Lessons from the Pandemic WDP: Now that we are heading into the end of the first semester, what are some lessons or takeaways you are seeing as principals manage so many different scenarios connected to educating during a pandemic? Jethro: This may seem controversial but I’m convinced that learning loss is not a reality for our students.
Nov 25, 2020
48 min
PMP220: Aspire in Leadership with Joshua Stamper
This week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Joshua Stamper for his podcast, Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast.  When our mutual friend, Jimmy Casas, from, encouraged us to talk about my new book, I was in for a real treat. Not only did we discuss Pause. Breathe. Flourish.: Living Your Best Life as an Educator, but also, we unpacked several other topics together. In fact, Josh agreed to make this a simulcast – an episode we would both share out with our listeners. I am very grateful to bring you this episode that Josh so generously allowed me to post here as well. Meet Joshua Stamper Joshua Stamper is a middle school Assistant Principal for a North Texas School District, where he’s had the amazing opportunity to work at four campuses, two districts, and with hundreds of students, teachers, and administrators. Prior to Joshua’s current position, he was a classroom educator and athletic coach for 6 years working with students in grades 6-8. He and his wife, Leslie are the proud parents of five children. In addition to his administrative position, Joshua is a podcaster, blogger, leadership coach and education presenter. Here are some takeaways from our conversation: Lessons in the leadership journey Joshua Stamper: First of all, can you share your origin story in leadership? WDP: I guess my first lessons in leadership came from the influence of my father who was a veteran and a small business owner. Also, during college, I received leadership training as a college resident advisor. Later, I was quickly overwhelmed with the responsibilities of leadership when I moved from teacher to school administration. Over time, you learn that leadership is not really about you. It’s about serving others. With that perspective, you begin to find more balance in doing what leadership is really about: helping others. Joshua Stamper: What are some things that can help new leaders find balance? WDP: First, remember you’re not as important as you think. Second, remember you are more important than you think. I know those statements sound contradictory. But if you unpack those statements, you’ll realize they are not as contradictory as they sound. Your school will still exist when you are no longer there so it’s important to walk into leadership with humility. At the same time, the small actions you take each day are so important because who you are as a person will influence the effectiveness of your leadership. Joshua Stamper: Balance is hard to find. Can you explain more about finding balance in leadership? WDP: My listeners are familiar with my story as a young administrator when my wife shared with me that I had become a shell of the man I had once been. Because of that frank conversation, I wrote a resignation letter to my school district. I took the letter to school, placed it in a folder, and set it on the corner of my office at school. I told myself I would either begin to find more balance in taking care of myself and family, or at the end of the year, I would resign and find a new profession. That letter became a reminder of the new habits I needed...
Nov 19, 2020
38 min
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