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Monday, February 1, 2016

Combines in Schools? Recruiting #1 Draft Picks


Combines in Schools?
Recruiting #1 Draft Picks


By Kyle Barrentine
Principal, Decatur Middle School
MSD of Decatur Township
PhD Student
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

&

Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University


            The NFL Draft is still three months away, yet the screening of prospects and the ranking of “applicants” have already started.  In reality, recruiting #1 draft picks is an ongoing, day-to-day process, where NFL scouts, general managers, and coaches keep track of prospects all year long.  Consider the following:

Ø  This weekend, college football seniors will participate in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama where they will be evaluated by hundreds of NFL scouts. These scouts will be projecting players’ abilities to be successful in the NFL.
Ø  In another month, players who have declared for the NFL draft will come to Indianapolis, Indiana to once again be evaluated by hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches. Players will be poked, prodded, interviewed, and challenged in both physical and mental tests. 
Ø  After the Draft Combine, NFL teams will host targeted players for more intense testing and interviewing; some NFL prospects will even host a “pro day,” where they set the schedule and the activities that they will complete during this time.

The goal of it all is for teams to find the very best players to join them, so that they can achieve at higher levels.  Isn’t this what principals should be doing when they search for teachers to employ . . . to find the very best teachers so that their school teams can achieve at higher levels?
We think so.  In fact, we believe this process, borne of football, can bear fruit, yielding positive results in any given K-12 school.

In order to accomplish this, principals MUST look for a #1 draft pick, each and every time they have a position open.  Every hire must be better than the last.  As our friend Dr. Todd Whitaker notes, principals should want their schools to become more like their new teachers; new teachers ideally would not become more like their schools. 
Anyone disagreeing probably isn’t a Pro-Bowler in the first place, let alone one that should be starting.

In order for principals to repeatedly find #1 draft picks, they must have specific, intentional processes that they follow for recruiting, screening, and interviewing.  It can’t exist only in the spring and summer at the height of the hiring season; not unlike the NFL, this process must be an ongoing, yearlong experience.  Recruiting consistently and intentionally can’t be emphasized enough.  Principal-as-TALENT-SCOUT is the only way to play the game, as finding the best candidates and having systems in place to locate them, is what instructional leadership is all about.
How’s it done?  Rather simply, really.
One system that principals could use would be to create, compile, and update a database of potential teaching candidates. Destination events provide the low-hanging fruit.  As principals attend teacher recruitment fairs, they could create a database of candidates that would look similar to the one below.

Name
Teaching Area
College
Rating
Contact Info
Chad Champion
English 5-12
GreatU
9-10
Alison All-Star
Social Studies
AvgU
4-5
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.
Etc.

Principals might further populate this database any time they have student teachers, or even substitute teachers, in the building.  They might create a running list of students who declare interest in teaching, when they graduate from high school.  Deft principals may even begin the recruiting process with elective classes in middle school or high school that allow those interested in teaching to work with students in younger grades, under the guidance of the best teachers.  They might even offer these younglings a more formalized observation or evaluation, as part of their class grade, similar to what their teachers experience as part of their profession.
What a great opportunity to observe teaching in the classroom and to have informal conversations with those impressionable and energetic!  What a great way to influence mindset and the possibilities of lifelong service.  After all, don’t most NFL players dream of the big league while still in school?  Why should those who end-up as educators wait until their undergraduate experiences to dream a dream . . . to visualize?
When principals then have openings in the teaching ranks, their lists (databases) could be the first places they go in order to begin recruiting and screening.  They would be the equivalent of the NFL’s draft board. Maintained and updated from year to year, a principal’s database of candidates would grow as a rich resource.
So would the list of kids wanting to come home to their alma maters, moving back into their communities and raising families.  Place-bound educators “by choice,” with civic ties and community connections . . .  it just doesn’t get any better than that.

            Of course, having a draft system is one thing; the next, critical step in the hiring process would be the interview.  Principals, like NFL coaches, need to bring their own version of “game” to everyone’s first impression.  Lazlo Bock, Senior Vice President for People Operations at Google, shared Google’s goal when interviewing:

Remember too that you don’t just want to assess the candidate. You want them to fall in love with you.  Really.  You want them to have a great experience, have their concerns addressed, and come away feeling like they just had the best day of their lives.  It’s always worth investing time to make sure they feel good at the end of it, because they will tell other people about their experience—and because it’s the right way to treat people. (Bock, 2015, p. 90)
           
The interview is really the step that closes the deal for your #1 draft pick.  The process should be appropriately challenging for all candidates, loose/tight in its format, while consistent to a certain degree.  It must be fair and legal, yet malleable enough to allow for a candidate’s creativity and diversity to shine. 
Since principals are hiring people to teach, and thus in a sense, to better lives through inspiration, it is important that principals actually SEE what teachers can do, as opposed to hearing what teachers think they can do, or university professors said they can do.  The interview process should include an evaluation of the prospects’ abilities to “bring game” to the subjects for which they might compete.  We pose that this competition might involve students as commentators, more often than not.
In his book, What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that there really isn’t anything an interviewer can learn about candidates before they start that will predict how they will perform once they’re hired, so how do people really know whom to choose (Gladwell, 2009, p. 317)?  We respectfully note that much can be predicted accurately, if principals and teams are willing to take the time.
The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and thus, another great season of NFL action is about to conclude.  Well . . . from our sides of the television sets, anyway.  It’s anything but time off for those who consider themselves only as good as their next day’s best work, which must include achieving a bit more than last season, with folks who can run a bit faster, compete a bit longer, and score more effectively, as that is what the profession demands.
Combines in Schools, and recruiting #1 draft picks, can offer the same levels of success, with persistent leadership effort in growing a portfolio of viable recruits, and a selection process that works to garner the best.


References

Bock, L. (2015). Work rules!:  Insights from inside Google that will transform how
            you live and lead. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.


Gladwell, M. (2009). What the dog saw and other adventure. New York, NY:
            Little, Brown, and Company.

___________________________________________________________  

Kyle Barrentine and Ryan Donlan are vigilant in their efforts to make each day better than the last, and each year more productive and successful in the education profession.  If you have ideas on how you are ensuring the best possible draft picks, as well as processes, in your school, please contact them at kbarrentine@msddecatur.k12.in.us or at ryan.donlan@indstate.edu.  They would certainly like to borrow a page out of your playbook.
           



           

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Shifting the Monkey: "Mine vs. Yours," to "Ours"


Shifting the Monkey: “Mine vs. Yours,” to “Ours”

By Dr. E. Scott England
Principal
Northside Elementary School
Fairfield, Illinois
&
Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

Bad words. 
We’re taught from a young age not to use them. 
At the very least, we are taught not to use them in professional settings.  But what about a series of “good” words that come together to form bad statements? 
Allow us to explain.
We’ll begin with the phrase, “That’s my job.”  It’s innocent enough, to the point, maybe even said with a bit of pride and an inflated chest.  Innocence comes to a screeching halt, however, when one adds the word not. 
Our eardrums shudder when we hear someone say, “That’s not my job” or “That’s not my problem.”  Indulge us for a moment as we set the scene.
Imagine we’re at a restaurant.  It’s a busy, up-and-coming restaurant with a fresh menu and inviting atmosphere.  We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the Mediterranean salad.  We place our order, looking forward to the homemade sundried tomato vinaigrette dressing drizzled over the delicious salad topped with feta cheese.  As the server turns to leave, we remember: “Would it be at all possible to get that without olives?”  The server smiles and says absolutely.
Back in the kitchen, the server puts in the order with the chefs before rushing back out to serve another table.  After a while our order comes up in the kitchen ready to be delivered.  As our server grabs it, she notices it has olives.  Bringing it to the attention of the kitchen staff, the chef tells the server it wasn’t written on the ticket. 
The server apologizes. 
With a roll of the eyes and shrug of the shoulder the chef says, That’s not my problem, as he turns his attention back to cooking.  Not to be rebuffed, the server comes back with a quick, Fixing it is not my job. 
We now have a problem, and stuck in the middle of it all is our Mediterranean salad that is slowly absorbing the aroma of olive.
In the case of your salad—as is with most cases—someone will intervene to solve the problem.  Maybe it’s the disgruntled chef, the offended server, or even the owner.  In all honesty, even the maître dˊ is qualified.  But are there winners and losers?  Can we even really have a winner in this situation? 
Let’s apply the same scenario to education.
Imagine a teacher coming to a principal seeking guidance about a student with behavioral problems.  Obviously to us, a response of That’s not my job is not going to set well with the teacher.  It probably wouldn’t happen explicitly, but what about the implicitly?

Principal: “What I’m hoping that you’ll do is to talk with your mentor teacher about how to exhaust all of your best efforts before sending the student to the office and removing from class.” (That’s not my job)
Principal: “I’d be happy to send you to some professional development on Assertive Discipline.” (That’s not my job)
Principal: “Have you talked with the guidance counselor about the student?” (That’s not my job)
Principal: “Will you please let me know how your conversation goes with the parents?” (That’s not my job)

What all of these iterations have in common is one thing: An abrogation of responsibility.
More so, it WILL become the principal’s job when efforts fall short and that student does something to make an office visit, and more serious consequences, unavoidable. 

Instead, a principal might jump at the opportunity to serve as a teacher of teachers – to guide teachers through various classroom management practices and model them directly.  The same should apply with assessment strategies, communication skills, technology practices, and so forth. 
This is not-at-all to say that the principal should be the best teacher in the building, as many instructional leadership proponents seem to contend for effective principaling.  Rather, principals should be open, resourceful, and persistent in asking no more of their folks than they would try themselves, in full view of all around them.

For example: How about the irate parent? 
In this case, we are referring to the irate parent who, as a hobby, causes grief to anyone in the school district, more often than not without cause, and typically follows up his/her expletives with a rant on Facebook.  Well, circumstances often call for the teacher delivering a note or in some way communicating to the parent, with rebuff and retribution a certainty.  We would pose in circumstances where principals have considered effective modeling, and through such an expansion of their own job duties, teachers might be more apt to follow-through. 
In those circumstances of clear demarcation, the engendered faculty response might be stopping by the office to inform the principal that he informed the parent if there is any issue needing follow-up, an appointment can be made with the principal. 
School culture borne of leadership influence allows them to say, indirectly … That’s not my job! 
This pernicious perspective begets a complicated array of skewed paradigms and professional finger-pointing, all of which do nothing to bring schools and families together around the important, common interest of parental involvement toward a quality education for everyone’s children.  That’s not my problem becomes banter for both sides. 

Strategies for dealing with these situations and many others, once derailed, as well as how to prevent them altogether, can be found in our friend and colleague, Dr. Todd Whitaker’s book Shifting the Monkey (Whitaker, 2012). 
When That’s not my job! rears its homely utterance, the situation is typically associated with one of two phenomena: (a) A monkey is being shifted by a lazy, shirking employee (or possibly a good person working for a poor leader) or (b) A monkey shifting back to its correct spot but is being rejected by a lazy, shirking employee (or possibly a good person working for a poor leader). 
As you can see, these phrases (in most cases) bring negative outcomes.
This is not to say we as leaders shouldn’t, at times, think these thoughts.  It’s okay to admit how annoying it is to us when teachers pass off an irate parent for the sake of not wanting to deal with them.  It is okay to think This is not my problem. 
But imagine the detriment that ensues when a leader operationalizes these thoughts into behavior, either intended or unintended.  Shifting the monkey professionally, yet clearly, while modeling what needs to be modeled to assist in skill development along the way, lets others know, first, that the educational challenges that present themselves really are, OUR jobs, as is our success at rectifying them. 
Schools are busy places full of busy people.  A sure way to drive uphill in this congestion would be to allow the phrases That’s not my job and That’s not my problem to become more the rule than the exception. 
Leaders who take the time to educate their teams and staffs on how to handle situations they may feel unprepared to tackle (and thus, SHIFT THE APPROPRIATE MONKEYS as Dr. Whitaker teaches us) bring about an expansion of everyone’s job description so that a daily reality of “All hands on deck” allows everyone to handle our daily reality -- All Other Duties as Assigned.

References

Whitaker, T. (2012). Shifting the monkey: The art of protecting good people from liars, criers, and other slackers. Bloomington, IN: Triple Nickel Press.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It's 2016: Where's Your Hammock?


It’s 2016: Where’s Your Hammock?

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University
&
Dr. Steve Gruenert
Professor and Department Chair
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University


            School principals can kill their schools in just a few years (Donlan & Gruenert, 2016).  Eerily (and ironically), it only requires they do a handful of things that some K-12 leaders, at times, belief will save schools, ideas suckled through bottles of imposed accountability.
            It’s now 2016. 
Consider that through federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), we might be seeing a possible pendulum swing away from nationally prescriptive school-running.  Wouldn’t this be sweet?  With this opportunity, we encourage you to embrace even further your leadership prowess, if given more opportunities for local control and innovation. 
Yet be mindful of the risks involved, as any opportunities we now have, bring with them an obligation to step away from certain tunes that have been playing in our heads since 2002 –  a player-piano of extrinsic school improvement measures promulgated for an intrinsic profession. 
We certainly don’t want you grooving to that beat and unintentionally killing your school.
            Thus, we propose a New Year’s resolution for principals and teams.
The most relevant gift that you could give your school in terms of a leadership do-over is to promise to spend 5 to 15 minutes each week with a closed office door, doing something with the right side of your brain.  And we encourage you to ask your teachers and staff to do the same. 
It’ll be time well-spent!

Metaphorically, we want you to install a hammock.

What’s this? 
Plainly and simply, it’s taking time for YOU to build your personal and professional capacity.  Take time to read something different, just once each week.  Maybe it’s a blog, or a book of weekly reads.  It could even be children’s literature, or poetry.  Might even be that you listen to classical music, or as we like . . . classic rock.  You might simply look out the window, at the sky, or think back to your last trip to the gas station or convenience store.  It might be looking through an old photo album or yearbook, reminiscing on what used to work, and can again. 
What we’re asking you to do is to turn your mind to the right (its creative side) and apply disparate concepts to the way you do your job.  Think about how all of these different things you see in life, each and every day, apply to leadership or teaching, and could potentially be used to improve student success. 
Lie down on your metaphorical hammock, if only briefly, and don’t feel guilty about it.

            By asking “Where’s your hammock?” (Donlan & Gruenert, 2016), we mean:

“Where do you go, during school hours for a few minutes each week, to ponder uninterruptedly?” 
“Where do you spend a few moments each day, thinking unconventionally?”
“How do you carve out a brief respite in the right side of your brain, amidst a left-driven job description?”

            These are important questions for leaders to begin thinking about themselves, and then sharing with teams, by way of example and activity. 
            It’s especially important as it seems that at times, it is difficult to reach our school’s vision (a right-brained ideal, by the way) by way of our school’s mission (our left-brained train ride).  A linear path rarely results in a non-linear outcome.
How about a right-brained school mission instead? 
Not necessarily the redevelopment of your mission’s WHAT; rather your mission’s HOW.
Consider these specifics as starters:
Can we unleash our leadership minds and think of a new way of getting from here, to there (wherever here and there are, for you)?  More particularly, could the year 2016 be one in which our Professional Learning Communities take on a different look, possibly more “data-informed,” than “data-driven” . . . more “adult-centered” with permission to actually pay attention to the needs of adults . . . more focused on what we know are the right things to do, rather than what we’re told must happen? 
We believe that schools can function no higher than the personal and professional capacities of those doing the educating, and to be quite frank as we share in our Indiana Principal Leadership Institute, a school can perform no higher than its leader.
That’s YOU.
Imagine the possibilities if in the year 2016, principals and their teams could have deeper conversations about what schools could be, and what schools must do, taking just a short time each week to do it.  We might suggest supplanting the next review of a pacing guide or lesson-debrief with some hammock time for some creative thinking. 
Why not have your team bring their hammocks together in the staff lounge, or at a local coffee shop? Have some fun.  Turn your minds.  Talk about something different.  Do something together that you typically don’t do.
            Imagine if we took the time at staff meetings to provide space, then voice, to those more introverted, especially those who are rarely heard  Wouldn’t it be cool if those of us in the profession entrusted with training children to think, would actually be given time and permission from leadership to think, ourselves?  The culture may tell you not to do it . . . a recent tweet from a business consultant reminds us that if our new hires do not embrace the current culture, then there will be issues with trust, yet if that new hire is the principal, then nothing will change. Nothing will change without some creative thinking prior to the change.
Thinking might make teaching thinking skills a bit easier.
Bob Chadwick from Consensus Associates once noted, “To go fast, sometimes you have to go slow.”  Thoughts of Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare come to mind as well, as we ask you to consider not only the pacing guides of your teachers and classrooms, but also the pacing guides for your leadership and your lives. 
Could we all reap a bit more return on our investment with a weekly “downshift,” or as we say, time on a hammock thinking of ways we could re-experience our profession?
It’s now 2016, and thus, we ask by way of resolution, “Where’s your hammock?”

References

Donlan, R., & Gruenert, S. (2016). Minds unleashed: How principals can lead the right-brained way. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

____________________________________________________________ 


Dr. Ryan Donlan and Dr. Steve Gruenert invite you to join them as they unleash their minds to talk about school reinvention, in terms of reform, redesign, and reimagination.  They can be reached at ryan.donlan@instate.edu or steve.gruenert@indstate.edu. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!


All of us in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University would like you to know how very fortunate we are to have you as colleagues and friends in education.

You keep us relevant!

We hope that you will spend the next few weeks enjoying quality time with family, friends, and loved ones, and we look forward to sharing our “five-minute reads” with you again after the New Year.

Seasons Greetings!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Great Principal's "Any-Given Afternoon"


A Great Principal’s “Any-Given Afternoon”

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

            As I drove down a Michigan expressway earlier today, I called my wife and asked her to verify an address: I was going to make an impromptu (admittedly uninvited) visit to the school-building address of Principal Michele Corbat (@MicheleCorbat) of Morrish Elementary School in Swartz Creek Michigan, who was kind enough recently to endorse an upcoming book that I have coming out with Dr. Steve Gruenert.
            I wanted to thank her and to see what she was up to.
            Michele has a large social media following, an international professional learning network; she is the co-author of COLchat Reflections: Creating a Culture of Learning One Day at a Time, and has a reputation for being an incredibly successful K-12 school leader, and thus one of the busiest people on the planet. 
One might assume you can’t just drop by and see someone like this, but I bet different.   
Michele is a GREAT building principal.
            I didn’t have much time, as I was traveling between destinations myself, yet I was betting that at 4:30 p.m. today, Michele might be quite predictable, indeed.  She would probably be in her building, helping teachers and staff wind down their days, helping others wind-up their evenings, and doing about a hundred things that she didn’t get done during the day, because folks needed her to do other things. 
I was right.
In pulling into my parking space, I saw Michele with a smile at the school’s entrance, greeting families as they were visiting, waving to others who were leaving, and helping with what I believed was a school fundraiser.
These things weren’t delegated. 
Michele didn’t have a small army of “peeps” handling her clerical or public relations work.  Like other great K-12 leaders I know, she was assuming the lion’s share of everything that was going on at that moment in time. 
She was “principaling,” even with few people left in the building.
And the best part about it . . . she made me feel like a million dollars when I arrived.  I would have thought that I was the only one in the building, even with her greeting others by name as they passed, making them feel like a million dollars as well.
I began this week writing a Leadershop article on the conditions of our school buildings after the day is done.  I might not run it, because my interests have shifted, yet I will say this about that topic: I believe if schools have a culture that engenders pride and self-worth, a principal’s school building at the conclusion of any given day will still allow principals to impress visitors with how nice everything looks. 
Morrish Elementary was such a place.
What a great feeling to be in Michele’s “house,” even if staying only a few minutes.   I enjoyed our brief talk.  I look forward to visiting again, maybe with some warning.
What I will say in closing is how much pride I have knowing that our best principals around the nation, like Michele Corbat, are probably quite predictable in what they might be doing, whom they might be greeting, and where they might be making a true difference, on any given afternoon . . .
. . . At their school entrances, in their office doorways, or readying for a school event, doing too many things to count, yet ensuring that when we visit, we feel like the only ones on their calendars, at those moments in time.


___________________________________________________________________ 

Dr. Ryan Donlan believes that K-12 principals keep him relevant.  If you’re a building principal, please continue helping him in this regard by contacting him from time to time and letting him know “What’s Up?” in your building, and thus allowing him to pass-on the story of how you make a difference to his PhD students, as well as the groups to which he speaks.  He can be reached at (812) 237-8624 or at ryan.donlan@indstate.edu. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Do They Know Their Influence? Maxine, Shirley, and Lauren


Do They Know Their Influence?
Maxine, Shirley, and Lauren

By Dr. Nicole Singer
Assistant Principal
Leo Jr./Sr. High School, East Allen County Schools


As a writer new to the Ed Leadershop, I reviewed numerous past installments in order to ascertain how my writing should feel to the reader. I determined that many of the posts were written in a conversational tone and took an ordinary, everyday event and applied it to life, as well as leadership.
While sitting at a recent professional development session where Drs. Donlan, Gruenert, and Whitaker presented, I wondered what the purpose of the session was, as my “left-brained” mind had trouble following along. The session was entitled, Minds Unleashed: How Principals Can Lead the Right-Brained Way.  When the session ended, it became clear the goal was to cause us to think differently and to look at things through a different lens . . . even if after knowing this, we would have difficulty finding meaning.
I had this difficulty, and yet used a bit of reflection to my advantage.
On the over two-hour solo drive home, I had time to think and began to synthesize what I had learned over the years at State, throughout my eighteen years in education (ten in educational administration), and in life.
One thing became completely evident: I need people in my life.
I know, you are probably wondering how this revelation of needing people in my life is looking at something through a different lens. Well, until this point, unless you read the byline, I have not identified myself. All I will say at this point is that I am a female leader in school administration working in a sea of men and sometimes one that must have a thick skin in order to really hear people and understand their perspective.
I have been nicknamed “The High Commander” by some.
I’d like to think the nickname conjures images of Condoleeza Rice, Colon Powell, Mother Theresa, or Abraham Lincoln (all great leaders), but I’m not sure that was the intent of the nickname.  Not minding the intention, I take the name as a high compliment.  All of those individuals are wise, respected, consistent, and fair.
Who could go wrong following these leaders?
Now, back to needing people … I need the right people.
As a female leader, it is important to have different kinds of people in my life, each with his or her own roles to fulfill. My right people start with the woman I admire most – my grandmother. She was not educated past the 8th grade, but boy, could that woman spell. And, I am not sure ever a day went by for her where hard work was not a part of it.  She raised five boys, handled live snakes left in pockets, and cooked for what was a small army.
I recall a story she once told about one particular evening. Grandma shared that she was playing baseball with her boys one summer after dinner, and a neighbor lady inquired why she was playing ball instead of doing dishes. Grandma looked the neighbor lady in the eye and said, “My boys will only be young once. Those dishes will be there tomorrow.”
What grit to go against the grain in the 1950s!
Next is the woman who taught me all the things I didn’t learn at home. This woman taught me to think for myself, to be confident, to dress well, and to act like a lady no matter the situation (sometimes I need to do this better).  She also taught me to cook, sew, as well as to understand the value of fine china and to be passionate about what is important.
So many of these skills, learned in my formative teenage years, have made me the graceful woman I am today.
Lastly, I turn to the woman who gives me my energy.
This young lady is a former student of mine, turned close friend.  She is professional, not afraid to live life to the fullest (and on the spur of the moment), and what she says is gold. Her determination has taken her far in her 26 years, and I am excited to be a part of the journey as she continues in life.  
My only fear, really, is that I am turning into her Woman #2, but I guess that is not all bad.
You are probably thinking, this lady (me) has had some strong, positive females in her life, but how does that have anything to do with looking at things through a different lens?  Well, it was during that solo ride home from a leadership conference when I realized I am who I am, because of these women.
I have grit, grace, and gumption.
I challenge you to think differently about who has made you the leader you are.
Ask yourself, “Who has shaped me?”
“How have they influenced my life?”
“How have they made me who I am?”
Then do something it takes courage to do, something that many may find a bit different: Consider telling them exactly what they mean to you. Those words may truly be the best gift they could ever receive.
And as one of the great men in my life, Dr. Terry McDaniel, might say, “It could be their lollipop moment.”

_________________________________________________ 

Dr. Nicole Singer is a Ph.D. graduate of the Department of Educational Leadership in the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University.  She is a school leader, dedicated to educational excellence in our nation’s schools, and can be reached at: drsinger13@gmail.com