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Counting Down the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2023

Welcome to the Leading on the Road to Awesome blog! As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve had together. In this special compilation, I’m thrilled to share the Top 10 Blog Posts of the Year. These posts encapsulate the essence of our community, covering diverse topics that sparked discussions, inspired change, and brought us closer. Join me in revisiting the highlights that made this year unforgettable and celebrating the power of shared insights.

Post #10: Creating a Culture of Excellence: 5 Essential Steps for Reinforcing Professional Expectations 

In any school community, the expectations set for adults—teachers, administrators, support staff, and even parents—play a critical role in shaping the overall educational environment. Reinforcing these expectations is not just a matter of compliance but a pathway to creating a culture of excellence. In this blog post, I’m sharing five essential steps to effectively reinforce expectations for all adults within the school setting.

Post #9: See the Problem, Own the Problem

We all have times when things don’t go according to plan. When that happens, we simply have to acknowledge what has happened and diagnose ways to fix it and avoid it happening in the future. Yet, so often, leaders will point fingers or give excuses for why things turned out the way they did. What are some ways leaders can avoid falling into this trap?

Post #8: Top Three Signs You Aren’t Leading Your Team

Among the most powerful elements of leadership growth is the development of a leadership team. Far too often I see leaders who are struggling mostly because they don’t build their team up, galvanize them together, LEAD them. Rather, inexperience or ineffective leaders will work individually with members of the team but won’t have the entire group working together.

Post #7: Five Ways for School Leaders to Find the Positives

Our vision is really all about what we are looking for; if I drive around town looking for red cars, I will find a lot of red cars and probably don’t notice all the white cars. The same is true for monitoring behaviors. If you look for violations and negative behaviors, you will find them. If you, however, shift your focus and mindset to look for the positives, the behaviors and attitudes you wish to see from students and adults alike, you’ll find them. To help you find the positive, here are 5 ways to shift your mindset and find joy in the amazing things happening every day.

Post #6: Leading Change on the Island

How do leaders guide sustainable, impactful change when they’re left on the proverbial island? If you have found yourself in this situation, you know quite well of the micropolitics involved in this particular problem of practice. There is no easy answer to affecting change in an environment with little support or direction. If you’re in this situation now, allow me to share three bits of advice to making change in this tough scenario.

Post #5: Three Tips to Increase Your Availability

I had a leader ask me this week what I thought the most important ability a leader could possibly have. I thought for a moment and said, ‘availability is your best ability’. As leaders, it can be so easy to get stuck in the office. Afterall, there is always paperwork, demands from the district leadership and state department, evaluations to be written, and so forth. There is a fine line that exists between operational management and instructional leadership. Two worlds can coexist, if you are clear about your priorities and intentional with your time.

Post #4: Reframing Rejection to Reinvent Yourself

Hearing things like: We are going to go a different way; You’re fired; I am not renewing your contract; You interviewed well but we chose a different candidate; and so on can be a blow to the ego. For so many people, this time of year can mean the end of their time in a particular job. It can be shocking but it should not represent the END. For others, interviewing for positions and not being the successful candidate also represents a significant setback. Rejection, after all, is a part of life. We all deal with rejection. It might be in the form of ending a romantic relationship, a personal friendship, professional relationship, or a partnership, or it can be found in the examples above.

How we choose to frame it and look at it is truly the most important element. Rejection can be a good thing…if we frame our minds appropriately around it, learn from it, and work hard to not take it personally. Here are three important framings for those rejections that happen in our life that allow us to get better, stronger, and happier.

Post #3: Five Leadership Lessons from the Links

It’s Masters Week! If you are a golf fan, you know this is one of the biggest weeks of the entire golf season. Not only is the Masters one of the major tournaments, winning it comes with the coveted ‘Green Jacket’. This seems, for me, to mark the real beginning of spring time, and marks that point when we can put away the cold gear and start wearing the sandals (yeah, small things make me happy).

But what can we learn about leadership from golf? Quite a bit as it turns out.

Post #2: Navigating Change: Three Strategies for Implementing New Initiatives

The leader had a plan to enhance their PLC work, which if done correctly will make a great impact on student outcomes. While the leader knew what they wanted to accomplish, the year had gotten busy and they hadn’t yet rolled out the full plan. Their ask of me was whether or not rolling it out prior to the holiday break was a good idea. My answer, in a word, was no. Timing is crucial when it comes to implementing new initiatives. As well, the success of the endeavor often rests on the strategies employed by the leader or leadership team. With that in mind, today I am sharing three key strategies for principals to follow when navigating the implementation of a new initiative.

Post #1: Be Curious…Not Judgemental

Our very best teachers are the ones who want the most feedback, input, and direction because they are constantly honing their craft. So when I was asked how to best do this work, I was taken back to my time as a principal working with some truly gifted teachers. Instead of telling them something they could try, or simply placating them with ‘you are just awesome’, I would ask questions. Simply being curious when spending time in their classrooms changed my mindset and allowed me to wonder why they chose certain strategies, how they knew a lesson play out the way it did, or even wondering what they had planned if the lesson went awry.

I hope you have enjoyed each of these blogs as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you. Please let me know your thoughts and Happy Holidays!


Have a #RoadToAwesome week


Tune in this Sunday to “Leaning into Leadership” where I have a very special episode. Brian Martin, host of the Teaching Champions podcast and I sit down and answer questions of each other related to education, entrepreneurship, and so much more.

Check out the Counter Narrative podcast holiday episode as well. I had the honor of joining host Charles Williams and several other education rockstars!

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Next week’s blog: Counting Down the Top 10 Podcast episodes of 2023.

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