When Did Schools Go Into the Stupid Business?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I don’t mean to pile on, but how is this possible?lower merion

How did one (or several) school administrators think “This is a good idea”?

How is it that just when I think I’ve heard everything, something new and ignorant happens in education?


From PhilibrityLower Merion School District is involved in a lawsuit for spying on their students at home via school issued laptops.

Apparently, administrators secretly reserved the ability to remotely monitor the students’ clickstreams, email, turn on the laptops’ webcams and generally Big Brother the students’ privacy. This came to light when a student was disciplined at school for “improper behavior at home,” using a photo taken by the student’s webcam as evidence.

This brought about a class action lawsuit on behalf of the 1,800 Lower Merion students who were issued shady laptops by the school district. Here’s our verdict: On one hand, the school district has a responsibility to protect its students from general Internet creepery, but it goes without saying that watching school students via webcam without their knowledge makes anyone an internet creeper, be they school administrator or not.

That’s not to mention the gross violations of the students’ Fourth Amendment rights.

This brings up some interesting questions, like how many other well-to-do suburban school districts are engaged in such cyber-Orwellian practices and will they even get word considering this story’s under-reported nature in local mainstream media.


I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of schools doing this, but what do I know.  Up until I read this story, I didn’t figure any schools were doing something quite this insane.

This can’t help the cause to give students more access to technology (although the students don’t seem to be the problem…).

But wait, there’s more.  Now the FBI is involved (click HERE).

Maybe it’s me, but I’m just guessing it’s probably not a good time for the administrators to ask for a raise.

Thanks to a loyal reader of the Blog for emailing this story to me.  And maybe there’s more to the story.  Maybe it’s just a wacky misunderstanding.  Maybe.

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Google Me This.

Thanks Buddy. Buddy the Dog is man’s best friend.

Or at least Mom’s Best Friend.

On my behalf, Buddy was kind enough to put together a 1 minute video for the people at Google (which is all the more impressive when you consider he doesn’t have thumbs).

Because of his good work, I’ve been selected as 1 of 50 school administrators in the United States to attend The Google Teacher Academy for Administrators (I’m no marketing major, but shouldn’t it be “The Google Administrator’s Academy”).  This is a free professional development experience designed to help K-12 educational leaders get the most from innovative technologies.

At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Basically, I’m going to get Googlized (I hope they’re gentle).

This is a win-win.  I like Google and Buddy likes it when I’m not home.

There is only one downside.  The conference is in San Antonio.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the chance to return to the home of the Alamo.  And the mall next door to it (when visiting a national monument you may be overcome with hunger pangs and need a Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookie ).

But come on Google, you couldn’t splurge for a city with a beach?

In the time it takes me to write (?) this blog, Google has made about 47 bazillion dollars.  At least.

When I think of that kind of money, I think waves.  And not Google Wave.

I shouldn’t complain because I’m guessing Google had several applications for this conference (although only 1 by a talking dog), so I’m honored they invited me.

I’m also willing to bet that out of the 50 administrators less than 10 are superintendents.

Out of those 10, probably 2 have rambling incoherent blogs.

And only 1 of them has a semi-famous talking, YouTube video-making, wife-stealing dog.

How many people are thinking… I could have done a better video than that stupid dog.  Well too bad, Buddy thought of it first.  And to review, he doesn’t have thumbs.

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Maybe It’s Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. But It Should Be.

It’s that time of year.

The honeymoon is over.

The fat lady hasn’t sung, but she is warming up (is this an insult to fat or skinny people??).

If you work at a school it’s very likely that your patience is getting shorter, shorter, and/or gone.

We’re a long way away from the happiness the beginning of school brings and an even longer way from the next sweet sweet summer vacation.

It’s too early to start the year-end countdown (although I’m willing to bet each and every reader can name the person in their school that will start the countdown… usually by January 1) and it’s too late to remember how restful last summer was.Do You Ever Feel Like You're Getting Buried.

Each year fall arrives and brings a special feeling I like to call “I’ve Got to Find a New Job” or “I Hate Everyone Shorter Than 4’10”” or “I Should Have Been a ________________ (fill in your dream occupation here).”

This feeling is so recognizable.

It has an unmistakable look.  A sort of fake smile (or grimace).  There’s also an overall brooding.

This time of year, every school has employees who absolutely hate their job, their class, their school, and anything resembling a child.  It’s like every family has a crazy person (and if you think your family doesn’t… that means it’s you).

In general, teachers are tired.  They are beginning to feel like they are getting buried.

To compound the problem, parents have also had it.

And Principals need a vacation.

Notice I didn’t mention students.  That’s because they aren’t infected with this feeling, but they are carriers.

If the general malaise of the school year isn’t bad enough, we have two major catastrophes headed our way (and I use the word catastrophe in the best possible way).

The holidays and testing.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Festivus (and any other holidays you may or may not celebrate) ruin November and December (I use ruin in the nicest way possible).

Actually the holidays aren’t so bad, but the music stinks (I hate those holiday songs… every last one of them).

Testing gives us all a giant noogie around March and April (I use giant noogie instead of a kick in the …).

These events (and 20 more just like them) are exhausting.

There is no other way to say it… working in education is flat-out tiring.

People who have regular jobs don’t understand this.  They get less time off than we do, so it’s hard to relate to our working conditions.

Educating students is draining.

That being said, I think we can often be our own worst enemy.  It’s easy to fall into the trap where we think our jobs are harder and more stressful than any other profession.

They aren’t.

Being an educator is hard.  It’s just not that hard.

Lawyers, doctors, trash collectors, waitresses, construction workers, welders and everyone else (if they are lucky enough to be employed in this day and age) also have difficult jobs.

It’s not just us.

It’s not just our class.

It’s not just our school.

It’s not just this year’s parents.

Shockingly, it’s not even the administrators (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

All jobs, when done correctly are difficult, time-consuming and tiring.

Teaching (or anything in education) is no different.

I don’t think we are wrong in pointing out the challenges we face.  I just think we are wrong when we throw ourselves a pity party.

Maybe this year’s class is more difficult than usual.

Maybe they don’t listen or aren’t as respectful as they should be.  Our job(s) is to make them better.  At least a little better before we send them on to their next grade level (if we send them on… and if they are really bad… they are so getting sent on…).

Administrators face some of the same challenges.  Maybe our employees aren’t all perfect.  Our job is to help them improve.

If it was easy, everybody would go into education.

And we don’t want that.

Because if that happens, they just might figure out how good we really have it.

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Is Three-Day Weekend a Mood?

I’m in my 7th year as a school administrator (for those of you counting at home… that’s 49 years if I were principal of a kennel).

When you have been in administration as long as I have it does strange things to you (somewhere there is a principal or superintendent starting his or her 40th year that is mocking me… and I mean mocking me more than usual).

My personality has been forever changed since I left teaching. I’ve lost something and it has taken me the longest time to figure out what.

Yesterday, it came to me.He's Grumpy.  And He has Cool Shoes.

I’ve lost my moods.

When I was younger, I had a wide range of different moods.

Happy, sad, excited, angry, jealous, fear, guilt, and all the rest.

After seven long years (that have flown by) I am left with only two moods.

Grumpy and Three-Day-Weekend.

Even when I’m experiencing the Three-Day Weekend euphoria… it always comes crashing down on Sunday night… which means grumpy returns.

Grumpy sounds bad, but it really isn’t.

It’s just a combination of extremely busy, slightly overwhelmed, mixed in with a hint of worry (on a good day… on a bad day there is a lot of worry).

This became crystal clear to me yesterday because I had a flashback.

Back to when I was teaching.

A time when I had more moods (and less money).

I spent the morning working on a highly sophisticated technology project with other administrators (sometimes referred to as a PowerPoint).

Putting administrators in charge of a project this complicated is at best a roll of the dice.

At worst, it’s an embarrassing nightmare that ends up with lots of slides with way too many words, bullet points, and bad clipart.

But we got lucky.

Because I was there (I sense there may be more mocking).

And who knows more about technology than me?

The correct answer is just about everyone. The even more correct answer is my wife.

And she has trained me well.

Not around the house, because that is still a work in progress. But with technology.

Actually, the truth is she has a long way to go before she has me fixed in knowledge of all things technology (and that’s not the only thing she would like to have fixed on me…).

But she has got me trained better than most.

This brings me back to yesterday. I didn’t have to know exactly what I was doing, I just needed to know a little more than the other administrators.

It was like when the bear chased my friend and me through the woods. I didn’t have to be faster than the bear, I just had to be faster than my friend (I kind of miss him).

So with my little bit of knowledge (learned from my wife… or stolen if you want to spit hairs), I was able to help with the PowerPoint.

For the first time in many years, I felt like I actually got to teach.

I got to experience the feeling that teachers live for. The moment when a student gets it (which if I remember correctly doesn’t happen as often enough as teachers would like).

Students light up when a concept finally makes sense to them. When it happens you can see it all over their faces.

It’s great.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen nearly as often in administration as it does in the classroom.

I wish it did.

What’s odd is I didn’t even know I missed this feeling until yesterday. I wonder if that’s because I’ve been stuck on grumpy since my last three day weekend.

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New Principals: You Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You.

As we get ready for a new school year, I feel a sense of obligation to share some important information with new school administrators.

I can only hope they are sitting down.This is Not a Happy Person.

Although new administrators probably aren’t sitting… or even taking time to read this blog (or eat or sleep).

It’s very likely they are busy drowning under the paperwork that is already piling up on their desk.

But there’s good news. They will survive (at least some of them).

In the meantime, this blog will be here waiting patiently (until they get their new jobs under control or become unemployed).

The information I’m about to share will come as a total shock because colleges and universities seldom share this little fun fact with the students in their graduate programs.

So here I go.


Are you sure?

Okay, here it is.

Parents are going to sue you.

A lot.

And by a lot, I mean several times each year (if you are “popular” this may happen several times in a single day… usually a day with a full moon).

You need to prepare yourself, not just for your impending legal trouble but also for the noise.

Parents seldom say they are going to sue you in a nice quiet inside voice.

They scream it.

You will recognize this event happening when you hear the cursing which is then followed by finger pointing (literally and figuratively).

As soon as you see a finger (hopefully index) being pointed in your direction, cover your ears.

Because the “Suing Announcement” is always concluded by the act of slamming.

After all, good parents must always express their love by yelling at authority figures (I need to check but I’m almost positive this rule is on the back of each child’s birth certificate).

The formula is a simple one. The Louder the Parent = the More They Love Their Child.

Parents get bonus points if they make a scene in a public place.

In the main office, at a game, the grocery store, maybe even at a funeral (sad and disturbing… but true).

But back to the slamming.

Parents can be very creative.

They will slam almost anything to make their point. It could a phone, office door, fist, chair, basketball… pretty much any object can do the trick.

The good news is once this happens, the conversation (or threat) is coming to a close.

There is something else you should know.

There is also a direct correlation between how loud parents scream and the odds of you really getting sued.

This formula. The Louder the Threat = Less of a Chance of Them Having a Lawyer.

So now you’ve been warned.

Let the suing (or not) begin! (if it hasn’t already happened during registration)

Lucky for us (people foolish enough to try and run a school) these threats don’t happen every day.

Angry parents usually take Sunday mornings off.

However the rest of the week, school administrators are fair game (especially when you’re trying to eat or leave school in a timely manner).

This doesn’t really seem fair to me because even deer have an offseason.

But those are the rules that school administrators have to live by, so make sure you have the school lawyer on speed dial.

Because you’re about to get sued.

Or not.

But you’re definitely getting yelled at.

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Back to School Clothes: One of the Many Reasons I Have “Edusomnia”.

Dress Code Violation!!!It’s here.

There’s no mistaking it.

I have taken my dress shirts to the cleaners, purchased some new ties, and woken up in the middle of the night thinking about things I need to do at work (my mother-in-law refers to this as “edusomnia”).

These are all telltale signs that the beginning of a new school year is about to slap me upside the head.

And mark my word, there is nothing worse than a slap upside the head when you are wearing a perfectly starched dress shirt, a new tie, and you’re in a sleep deprived fog.

How do I know?

This will be my 7th year as a school administrator.

When I started, I wouldn’t have bet you a dollar that I would survive to see year #2.

But I’ve made it. Which guarantees me nothing.

Nothing but another year of facing the same challenges. And some sleepless nights.

Followed by sleepy days.

First up on the Trouble Agenda…

…the ever popular dress code violation.

As I type this blog, parents are taking their children shopping for school clothes.

That’s a good thing.

But with the good always comes some bad (like you get your first teaching job… the good… then the principal assigns you lunch duty… the bad).

The bad news with shopping for school clothes is parents and students are making purchases/decisions that will haunt school administrators (and cause them to be even more restless sleepers… if that’s possible).

I know it’s going to happen and yet I’m powerless to stop it.

School clothes are my Kryptonite.

Ripped jeans, inappropriate t-shirts, short shorts… they are all being rung up at the register at a Kohl’s near you.

All items bought and paid for by Mom and Dad.

Even worse, Mom and Dad approved of these clothes.

I can hear it now… “My mom said this _________ (shirt, shorts, jeans, etc.) was fine for school.”

Those words will be uttered thousands of times in the next few weeks.

Followed by “Do you have any idea how much this (shirt, shorts, jeans, etc) cost?”

No I don’t.

But I do know that reading the handbook is free. Which might be a good idea before going shopping.

Just a suggestion Mom and Dad… keep your receipts, just in case.

If you do that, I promise to try and get some sleep.

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If I Write a Blog About Politicians, Do You Think My Chances of Getting Audited Go Up or Down?

Happy Flag Day!

Happy Flag Day!

This country is facing difficult times. Don’t be alarmed; we will be saved. By whom you ask?

The government.

Excuse me if I don’t sleep well tonight. Or ever again.

All over the World Wide Web you can read about the “good” work our elected officials are doing to save this country.

They are attempting to pass legislation that will make our lives better.

Call me crazy, but when politicians start coming up with “ideas”, I get really nervous (originally I used “great ideas” in this sentence, but even I couldn’t take myself seriously on this one).

When it comes to education, politicians continually have brainstorms on how it can be improved. This is fine with me because as an educator I believe we need to be pushed and challenged. This is the only way for us to maximize the United State’s most important assets.


My only concern lies in the fact that politicians always want to make education slightly better, but seem unwilling to attack the large problems because that might upset the voters.

After all, the next election is always right around the corner (I am in no way insinuating that politicians are only concerned about getting reelected… how do I type this stuff up with a straight face?).

While I’m leery of bureaucrats saving us, I have always thought school administrators and politicians have many things in common.

When you think about it our jobs are very similar.

Of course as educators we don’t get great health care, big pension checks, or wear flag pins like politicians (Political Rule #1: If you wear a flag pin people will naturally assume you are patriotic and thereby more electable).

There are many areas in which we are alike.

Both groups are expected to look professional. We wear suits (thank you Mrs. Hilary Clinton for making this statement asexual). Male politicians and school administrators both seem to own ties with various mystery stains on them (no matter what the job, never trust a man who can’t feed himself without a bib).

Administrators and politicians both live and work in the public eye. One slip up and your entire career can come crashing to a close.

Examples of this are when a politician misspeaks about the facts on TV (this is bad) or a superintendent mispronounces a name at graduation (really bad… really, really bad… in fact there might be a future blog on how really, really, really bad that is).

Politicians work long hours. Principals work long and productive hours.

Both groups are quite familiar with the standard All-American meal; fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, a roll, and iced tea.

Politicians eat this type of meal at fundraisers while begging people for money. Administrators eat this same meal at sports banquets while watching young people get recognized for their outstanding achievements.

Politicians and school administrators are both elected to their offices. Politicians are voted in by the people and administrators by the local school board.

Each gets a term in office. At the conclusion of their terms they are judged strictly on their performance (and on things way out of their control like wars, recessions, and how the basketball team did this year).

Politicians must run for reelection, while administrators hope for a contract extension.

I could go on and on with their similarities.

Both groups face the challenge of being responsible for large groups of people from various economic and social backgrounds.

Both work within a budget (my side is hurting on this one… like politicians have to follow a budget…).

Both enjoy parades (one throws out candy at the homecoming parade, while the other organizes it).

Both have spouses who are scrutinized under the public eye (say what you want… that Todd Palin is one cool guy).

So much in common, yet at their core there is a subtle difference between the two professions.

Administrators make tough decisions on a daily basis for the betterment of their students.

Politicians make decisions (or not) so they can be reelected and make more decisions (or not) so they can be reelected.

I will let you decide about my chances of getting audited. Happy Flag Day!

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Be Available. Just Don’t Be Too Available.

Technology is quite possibly the best thing to ever happen to school administrators. It could also be the worst thing to happen to school administrators.

Computers, email, Twitter, etc. are everywhere. And at a cheap price.

The only thing that separates technology from drugs is the absence of a dealer standing on the street corner giving you your first “Tweet” free.

If I am anything, it is street wise, so I know how these things work.

The first one is always free. Then you are hooked.

I don’t want to be hooked.

There is nothing more pathetic than a middle aged school administrator who checks his BlackBerry 412 times a day waiting for the next email.

This includes but is not limited to checking it first thing in the morning, while golfing, when walking the dog, and during breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.

And in the bathroom.

The CrackBerry is Adictive.

The CrackBerry is Adictive.

I may have a problem.

I may end up in a 12 step program saying, “My name is PrincipalsPage and I am hooked on my CrackBerry.”

Life is about moderation.

At least that is what people say. I have noticed the people who say this are usually eating or drinking way too much. But as always I am not here to judge.

I have my own problems.

I can’t get away from work.

Even in the bathroom.

This is one thing that has changed in my 6 years of school administration.

In the old days (2004), you could leave the office and your troubles behind.

Whatever crisis existed (and there is always at least 7 crises at any given time), would lie rotting on your desk until you returned to work the next day.

Or even better. Until you returned from vacation (if and only if you found the time to actually go on vacation).

Since you couldn’t see or smell this carcass of impending disaster, you could put it out of your mind.

Not now.

Now it is 2009.

The stench comes right through your cell phone or computer.

Everyone has access to you.

There is no such thing as time set aside to meet with actual human beings. They just email, text, or Twitter you at all hours of the day and night.

6 years ago there was a little thing I used to call weekends.

Now every day is the same.

If someone has a question, concern, or a comment, they can contact you at anytime.

Day or night.

Here is a little tip for brand new administrators. When someone threatens you in an email at 2:07 a.m., they don’t really mean it.

Actually they do mean it. They will just have second thoughts in the morning. So do your best to go back to sleep.

Although it wouldn’t hurt to double-check that your doors and windows are locked.

Access is wonderful. In moderation.

We can’t blame the people emailing us. Technology gives everyone the same amount of access, which is a good thing.

It is our fault as school administrators that we can’t turn off our phone or not check our email.

I probably shouldn’t be giving this advice because I am the idiot who has looked at my email 4 times while typing this blog.

And my Twitter account 3 times. And my Plurk account twice (all in the last 17 minutes).

Technology is great. If you can control yourself.

I can’t.

I have a problem.

The good news is the first step to conquering this demon is admitting that I am powerless to control it.

And that’s what I am going to do.

Just as soon as I answer a few emails.

Because while I may have a problem, I can quit anytime I “want”.

I just don’t “want”.

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I Have Been Called Many Things. The Good News is I Have a Title for My Autobiography.

When you are a school administrator there is a slight chance that people might not like you.

Of course, this is a very slight chance. If you are just starting your administrative career, please don’t be alarmed.

In most cases you will be honored, respected, and beloved.


The truth is from time to time people are going to be upset with you. But this only happens occasionally.

By occasionally, I mean when school is in session. Or out of session. Or when they can call get a hold of you by phone (usually during your dinner). Or better yet, when they see you at the grocery store, gas station, or a funeral.

You will know when they are upset because there is a telltale sign.

They call you names. ass-hole-get-it

Usually very loudly so that their friends and family can be impressed by their passion as they stand up to the “man” (or “woman”).

Examples of names you may hear yourself called are not limited to: idiot, jerk, loser, b*st*rd, moron, numb n*ts, dumba**, tool, son of a b*tch, dipsh*t, dork, a**hole, punk, and the ever popular a**bag.

People seem very fond of the word a**.

Or maybe I just resemble one.

You will know when they are finished calling you names when they threaten to sue you and storm off, slam a door, or hang up the phone.

Luckily, most people don’t actually sue (that sound you hear is me knocking on wood).

You should also prepare yourself for pointing. People who are angry and upset seem to point a lot.

In your case, I hope they use their index finger. More often than not, I get another finger.

Over time, I have grown accustomed to being called names so my feelings aren’t hurt. As an added bonus, after 6 years I don’t have any feelings.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit there is one name that has bothered me over the years.

When a former staff member called me… (don’t read this out loud if there are small children in the room and don’t be surprised if the following word is blocked on your computer at school)

… Steve.

For the first 9 years of my teaching career, a fellow teacher called my Steve. Which was fine except that’s not my name.

She wasn’t the problem. I was.

I didn’t correct her the first time it happened and before I knew it, we were on nearly a decade of me being Steve.

At that point, I couldn’t go back and undue our relationship. So I not only answered to Steve, I became Steve.

One day a couple of years ago, I was telling this story at a golf course. I had just gotten to the part about me planning to call my autobiography “They Used to Call Me Steve” when a man walked in the clubhouse.

I have known this gentleman for at least 5 years.

He walked up, sat down, and said…

“How is everything out at school, James?”

My name isn’t James.

Makes me wish I had also corrected him the first time.

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People Want a Boss.

It is definitely that time of year. And not just for resumes and countdowns (spring break and end of the year).

Schools districts are in the process of hiring administrators for next year.

More people will be joining me in this challenging profession (notice I didn’t say “foolish” people… although you can assume it’s implied).

In a matter of months, they will be neck deep in troubles.

The problems they will face are tough, but manageable. Especially, if they have an idea about what they are getting into.

Being in charge of anything makes you tired. Being in charge of kids makes you really tired.

Being in charge of adults makes you borderline stupid.

But someone has to do it. mean_boss2

When you are in charge, you quickly learn the tricks of the trade or you get steamrolled. And unemployed.

Once hired, people will expect you to make decisions. No one likes wishy-washy. You will never hear a staff member say “I wish my (principal, assistant principals, dean, superintendent, etc.) was more wishy-washy.”

People want those in charge to be decisive. While people hate being told what to do, they hate not being told worse.

Now this doesn’t mean they will approve of your decisions. In fact, some people will take a great deal of pleasure in pointing out your mistakes (and trust me, you will make hundreds… if things go well and you aren’t in the profession very long).

That is okay, as mistakes and second guessing are part of the job.

If you are hired to lead, you need to do it or get out of the way.

When placed in command – take charge. -Norman Schwarzkopf

While staff members may criticize your bad decisions, they will be even more critical if you don’t make decisions (in the profession we call that “smelling blood”… and by we, I mean me).

Since this is a lose-lose proposition for you, make well-informed decisions and hope for the best (and by hope I mean pray and call your lawyer… not necessarily in that order).

Others may point out your faults, but deep down they don’t want to be in charge. If being in charge was easy, everyone would do it.

People will always offer advice on the easy situations, but when things get difficult you are on your own.

While opinions are a dime a dozen, solutions are much harder to find.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help. Just make sure you involve people with knowledge of the situation. And those people want the situation to improve.

Please don’t force people to be on a committee. No one likes a committee. And if they do, that just shows the quality of their judgement so consequently you don’t want them on a committee.

It’s a vicious circle.

And if you force people to serve, they won’t be happy. Or productive. And then what have you accomplished.

You have angered people and you end up with a watered down idea.

To get something done a committee should consist of no more than three people, two of whom are absent. – Robert Copeland

You will also learn that as a school administrator you are no longer a teacher.

I picked up on this when I noticed the sign on the Teacher’s Lounge didn’t say Teacher’s/Administrator’s Lounge.

You are no longer in the group; you are responsible for the group. The trick is remaining available and approachable to all employees, but not getting too close to some or all.

A good leader is part of the group, but not in the group.

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. -John Maxwell

I believe that people want to be led. They just don’t want to be bossed. Having a boss and being bossed are two different scenarios.

Employees have opinions and like to share their thoughts. Especially on decisions that affect them. And this is a good thing.

Most good leaders will tell you that some, if not all, of their best ideas came from other people.

Give an invested person a problem and it is highly likely they will come up with a solution.

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results. – George S. Patton

Another challenge is leading people to change. Just a heads up… people don’t like change. At least at first.

People like change when it is over. But only after it has become the new norm.

Employees have put time and effort into the status qou. Things just didn’t accidently become like they are. Someone worked towards it.

So when you ask those same people to change, their first reaction is often “This will never work”

They usually don’t have a reason why it won’t work. Unless you count “Because” as a reason.

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. -Rosalynn Carter

Most people react to change better than they think they will. Too often, they don’t give themselves enough credit on their ability to adjust.

And the older we get, the more of a challenge it seems to be (I am well on my way to reaching my goal of being an angry old man who is stuck in his ways).

People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader’s job is to help people have vision of their potential. -John Porter

You can lead people to change if you give them several things. Fair warning, time to adjust, direction, and support are all important.

But there is one thing that is more important.


The people involved have to be told (usually over and over) that everything is going to be fine. We can survive this and we (and students) will be better off for it.

Hope is free. Feel free to spread it around.

A leader is a dealer in hope. -Napoleon Bonaparte

If you want to be successful, this is the best advice I can share.

Don’t be afraid to look stupid (it’s going to happen, so don’t fight it).

Surround yourself with good people. Don’t feel threatened if you aren’t the smartest person in the room.

Take this as a blessing, not a threat.

The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability. – Fred A. Manske, Jr.

Like with most things in life, leadership isn’t overly complicated.

Keep things simple.

In summary, my 4 Keys to LEAD.

Listen more than you talk.

Encourage more than you dictate.

Anticipate more than you react.

Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

Lastly, keep in mind that I have no idea what I am talking about. This advice, says my lawyer, should not be taken for anything more than it is… rambling incoherent thoughts of an administrator who is not getting enough sleep. I am just like everyone working in a classroom or a school… wondering if my spring break will ever get here.

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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.