Name Game.

What’s the odds?And You Are???

My high school basketball coaches:  Coach Shurtz and Coach Bottoms (get it… shirts and bottoms).

My wife’s first principal and superintendent:  Mr. Butts and Mr. Bottom (this one is self-explanatory).

Is there any doubt we were meant to be together?

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This Blog Will Make Little or No Sense.

So how is this blog different than the last 481?My Head Feels Exactly Like This.

Now that I think about it, probably not much.

They’ve all made little or no sense in their own unique way.

Although this one is extra special because I got up this morning at 1:56 am.

Yes 1:56 am.  2 short hours after midnight (I’m rounding).  And several hours before normal human beings slap the snooze button for the first time.


I have no idea.

Everyone else in the house was sleeping hard.  Really hard.

I know this because of the snoring.

Lots and lots of snoring.

It sounded like an air horn with a sock stuffed inside.

Or like someone had stepped on a cat.

Especially, Buddy the Dog.  He was hitting the zzzz’s hard.  Evidently, he was resting up from his big day of sleeping (I think this dog will be dead for 6 weeks before we even notice).

Like most superintendents, my mind is full of gunk.

Problems I can’t solve.

Problems I need to solve.

Problems I anticipate.

Problems I could never anticipate in a million years.

Sometimes, it just problems created by other problems.

Normally, I handle this by sleeping like a baby.

But not last night.

On an average night/morning, I open my eyes and I’m completely awake in about 90 minutes (I really should intake more caffeine).

Last night, I opened my eyes and was immediately alert.

I felt great.

I felt like a million bucks.

I had the energy of a 41 year old.

That was until a short 4 hours later (this would be 6 am… again, rounding).  Then I felt like I’d been beaten with a pillow case full of non-caffeinated sodas).

It was time to go to work and I felt like I hadn’t slept.

Probably because I hadn’t slept.

The rest of my day was spent in a fog.  A deep groggy fog.

It’s hard to describe, but I had an ever so slight headache and I was seeing double.

For some odd reason my entire body hurt when I blinked.

And yawned.

About mid-morning, I noticed it was taking me twice as long as normal to both blink and yawn.

A good sneeze probably would have killed me (which would have been okay because I could have used the rest).

As I slow-motioned my way through the day, I wondered how teenagers exist.

They eat poorly.  They don’t exercise.  They play video games all night.  And they only sleep when the sun is out.

Yet, they seem to function.

I wake up once in the middle of the night and I’m no use to society for the next 72 hours.

It doesn’t seem fair.

I need sleep and they don’t.

I can’t sleep and they can.

And yet, they mock me with their excess energy.

Why is youth wasted on the young?

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Change Jobs. Changes Everything.

Getting a new job has opened up a whole new world to me.

Where It Stops, Nobody Knows.

More importantly, it’s opened up a whole new world for a bunch of other people.

I never imagined the chain reaction that takes place when one person accepts a new position.

I leave.

Someone replaces me.

Then someone has to replace them.

Another person will take that job, which opens up yet another position.

And so on.  And so on.

And so on.

It’s amazing when you think about it (not that anyone does but me).

There are even chain reactions with the people who surround you.

When you start a new job there will be instances when you have to hire new people to fill open positions.

And this starts a whole different set of chain reactions.

It’s a giant game of musical jobs.

All because one person changed where they work.

And it didn’t start with me.  Someone had to leave my new position for it to become available.

And someone else left the position they just took.

Even before that, a third person must have gone somewhere for that job to be open.

And this may happen a hundred times before the effects trickle down to you.

I think.

Actually, now I’m just confused.

But I do know what one person does has a huge impact on lots of other people.

Even more than we’ll ever know.

Kind of like being a teacher or a school administrator.

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Free Movie Winners.


Comments #15 and #35 are the BIG winners of the Waiting for Superman DVD’s.

Aren't We All Winners in Our Own Way???



#15 -  Cowpernicus

“I helped invite an entire district (gecdsb) to viewings at lakeshore cinemas. We loved it! Geoffrey Canada and Buddy the Dog are honorary Canadians because of their impact on making opportunities happen for our school kids!”


#35 – Dave Sherman

“I can’t believe I am falling for this. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Come on Mike, come clean with all of us – This is just a sneaky way for Buddy the Dog to get my email address so he can contact my dog Cosmo.”


The thing we need to remember about the giveaway comment contest is… FREE is great. 

If you have free stuff to giveaway, please contact Buddy the Dog.

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Who Wants a FREE Copy of Waiting for Superman?


Free giveaways aren’t something I normally do, but today I’m making an exception (I prefer receiving free stuff over giving it away)

The good people of M80 Internet Media Services have given me two copies of the movie “Waiting for Superman”.

Now, my job is to give them away.

I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’m up to it.

If you haven’t seen Waiting for Superman, here’s your chance.

All you have to do is leave a comment before 6 pm CST on Friday, February 18, 2010.

Somewhere in the comment, work in these words:  “Buddy the Dog”.

If you can handle this complex task, I will randomly ( pick two comments and give the authors either the DVD or Blu-ray of the movie.

It’s just that simple.

Work my dog into a comment.  Get a free DVD or Blu-ray of Waiting for Superman.

How do you know this contest is legit?

Because Buddy the Dog is the judge.

And he has an unblemished record of making good choices (except those 57 times he’s gotten in the garbage).

If you don’t win… rent the movie.  Whether you agree with it or not, educators need to see what it’s about. 

M80 contacted me (and Buddy) on behalf of Paramount Home Entertainment. We are not receiving free products, services, or payment of any kind in exchange for our participation.

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Nightmare or Dream?

My internal blogging clock has been a little off the last couple of months.

Normally, something clicks in my head (normally a voice… oddly in a Scottish accent) every 3 or 4 days that tells me it’s time to write (?) another blog.

But lately, I’ve been a little busy.

Writing a movie?Let's Hope It Turns Out to Be a Dream.


Writing the great American novel?

Definitely not because this would require some sort of understanding of the English language.

Training for the running (i.e. walking) of a half-marathon.

Yes.  But that’s not why I’ve been busy.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take long to jog 12 steps then bend over and gasp for what feels like my final breath.

I’m busier than usual because I’ve taken a new job.

I will be leaving my present school district after 16 years.  Or as I like to think of it, 37% of my life (if you want to know how truly OLD I am… do the math).

When I started teaching, I was an idiot.  Now that I’m leaving, I’m a little less of an idiot (although going from teacher/coach to principal and then superintendent may very well qualify me as an idiot of almost Biblical proportions).

Why am I leaving?

Good question.

I’m leaving, before they chase me out.  This is a much underrated key to success in the workforce.

Leave before they tell you to leave.

Leave before they start circling your half-dead body like a buzzard.

But that’s a different blog.

I’m really leaving because I have someplace else to go (duh).

Where am I going?

Wait for it… wait… wait…

I’m going…

…to the Evil Spawn’s school district.

Yes, the Spawn and I are combining forces (that’s a lot of sarcasm in one place).

She thinks it’s a good idea.  I’m not so sure.

I don’t worry about me, but I can envision how it could be a challenge for her.

She will either love having her father wander in and out of every aspect of her life, or hate it.

But what better time to launch this grand experiment than moments before she hits her awkward teenage years.

Timing is everything!

What could possibly go wrong?

Now I will have the best of both worlds.  Watching her slam the bedroom door at home and watching her slam the locker door at school.

I’m a lucky man.

I hope she feels the same when this is all over.

As an added bonus, I will be two minutes from Buddy’s house (which used to be called “my house”).

Lunch with Buddy.

That will be nice.

And it may be the only peace and quiet I get.

The good news is she’s growing up fast and I get a front row seat.  The bad news is she’s growing up fast and I get a front row seat.

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You Should Get The Urge to Write. And Blog.

I did.AASA - A Great Organization.

And so did these superintendents.

Read more in the February issue of The School Administrator

“The Urge to Write” by Scott Lafee.

If these good people can write and blog about our profession, so can you – Matthew Jennings, Dr. Mark J. Stock, Marc Bernstein, Maureen La Croix, James VanSciver,  Linda Wagner, and Howard Carlson.

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Parents: It’s Just a Game.

The following are Hockey Canada Public Service Announcements.

They should be required viewing by parents.

And it wouldn’t hurt coaches to watch.

Because nothing brings out the “Idiot Gene” like athletics (or any extracurricular).

It’s amazing how silly these comments seem coming out of kid’s mouths.








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I Thought All Decisions Were Black and White.

In another life I’m positive I was a teacher (it’s been so long, but I’m pretty sure).

Back in the good old days, running a school or school district seemed so easy.

I could sit in a teacher’s meeting and come up with the correct answers in a split-second.

You didn’t even have to ask me.  (and trust me, no one did).

Actually, you didn’t even have to have a teacher’s meeting.  I could simply stand in the hallway and share my opinion.

I just knew how things should be done.

Things seemed so simple from my vantage point (in the back… sometimes paying attention).

I was positive I understood all the decisions school administrators should make (ALL… not some… ALL).

Give me a problem.  I had the answer.Everybody is An Expert.  Until They Have to Make the Decision.

Don’t give me a problem.  Still had the answer.

No hesitation.

No second-guessing.

No mistakes.

Back then, I was a genius (in my own mind… and only in my own mind).

Basically, I was batting a 1,000% on any and all tough decisions (I was keeping track… probably when I should have been listening).

It really wasn’t that hard.

In fact, it always confused me why principals and superintendents made things look so difficult.

Everything seemed clear to me.  Very black and white.

Then I became an administrator.

About 2 minutes in, I realized decisions were seldom black and white (it took 2 minutes because the first 90 seconds I was frozen from sheer panic).

In fact, after 8 years I have come to realize there aren’t any decisions that are black and white.

They’re all gray.

Every single one.

I think this is because each decision an administrator makes involves people.

Sure, you may be deciding on a sports schedule or a printer cartridge, but eventually the decision leads you to a person.

And that makes the simple complicated.

If only I knew then what I know now.

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We All Get Way Too Much Information.

Snow is bad.  Ice is worse (I just cancelled school… again).

That’s the bad news.No School.  One Year.

The good news is we’ve known this pre-apocalyptic storm has been coming for about a week (if you are reading this someplace warm… please know the rest of us hate you).

That’s more bad news.

One would think receiving updated updates on the weather every 4 seconds would be a good thing.  It’s not.

Society is on overload.

We have so much information at our fingertips it’s consuming our every thought.

Ten years ago, the only weather information came from the local news station.

You watched it at 6 pm, then you had to wait until 10 o’clock to get the next update.

There was time to let things soak in.

Now, the interweb has allowed us to update ourselves.

And we do.  Every few seconds (hello, Twitter).

But this also allows us to blow regular everyday happenings completely out of proportion.

As we share information, too often over exaggeration and hyperbole take the place of common sense.

One person says they’ve heard there is 3 inches of snow on the way, and the next says it’s 4-6.

Before you know it everyone has heard 27 inches and there is only one conclusion to make.

We are all going to DIE!

After a bazillion years (approximately), life as we know it will cease to exist.

You would think the more information we receive would allow us to make more informed decisions.

I think the opposite is happening.

FOX News isn’t making us smarter politically.

MSNBC isn’t helping us elect better representatives.

The local news isn’t calming our fears about crimes and accidents.

Websites are available 24 hours a day.  Some even tell us the truth.

It’s so much that it’s becoming just noise.

It’s almost like the more we know, the dumber we get.

Lots and lots of information.  But so much noise.

I need to know it’s going to snow.

But I also need to know society is going to survive once it stops.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.