Sunday, May 28, 2023

Reflections on the Past 3 Years of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy

As I write, I am in Cancun, Mexico sitting on my balcony on a much needed 7-day vacation. I went “hard in the paint” traveling and presenting from January – May and I needed to take it down for a week because my work is going to intensify from June – September. The beauty is that I do have two vacations built in to that run. As I sit here on my balcony, I am reflecting on the Virtual AP Leadership Academy a/k/a The Saturday Academy. I must say that I am quite committed to this platform and quite proud of what it has become. It is clear to me that people are benefiting inclusive of aspiring administrators, assistant principals, new principals and even veteran principals.

This Academy was born on the first Saturday in May, 2020 in the midst of the shelter in place reality we were all living at that time in the midst of a global pandemic. For years, I’ve had somewhat of an obsession with the way that the assistant principal was being utilized in general and in urban schools in particular – as full time disciplinarians. I have stated countless times over the years that “the assistant principalship is the most misunderstood and underutilized position is all of education.” My response was to create presentations about how we should be looking at the role of the AP. I then wrote a viral blog post on the topic (of the same title as my quote above) which led to the writing of my best-selling book, The Assistant Principal 50 that was released right when I launched The Saturday Academy.


In that first year. I did 52 consecutive Saturday solo presentations on The Saturday Academy using the content of The Assistant Principal 50. After the first year, I decided that my audience needed to hear other voices in addition to my own. Over the past two years, I have brought on about 105 guests while doing a few solos from time to time. My guests have been amazing. There is no session that I feel bad about. All of them have been of tremendous value. Each of my past guests have their own uniqueness which is the beauty of the messages that each of them have brought to the platform. I literally believe that the Virtual AP Leadership Academy is transforming the way that we look at the assistant principalship. Do know, that preparing for each session takes me a solid week. Many of my guests are authors so I pull from their books which I have to read portions of. My guests who are not authors requires that I learn their skillsets and plan accordingly. Some sessions, I have on 2 to 4 guests at a time….a heck of a lot of planning….all while speaking in 3 to 5 states any given week. Now that’s commitment. Heck many of the sessions are delivered in hotel rooms around the country and world. Yesterday’s session was delivered from here in Cancun on my vacation. #Commitment


I never dreamed that I would be doing this for three years though. The goal was the first Saturday in May, 2020 through the last Saturday of August, 2020….a total of 18 weeks. But here we are, 161 sessions completed with no ending in sight. My future guest list is about 3 years long! Stay tuned! And if you are aware of of any aspiring administrators, assistant principals, new principals or even veteran principals who are not aware of the Saturday Academy, please make them aware. We are LIVE every Saturday morning from 10:55 ET – 12:30ish ET on the following platforms:


Facebook @ Principal Kafele

Facebook @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy

YouTube @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy

Twitter @principalkafele

LinkedIn @ Principal Kafele


Additionally all sessions are archived on the YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the channel as well.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

To My White Colleagues: This is Why So Many of Your African American Colleagues Teach

First, let me say that I am going to keep this as short as possible, because for all I would like to say would require a book. My intent however is to give you a perspective of your African American colleagues that you may not even be aware of…but should be. I might add that I will address the shortage of African American teachers is a subsequent post.

African American people are in this country because we are descendants of enslaved Africans beginning with the first Africans captured and brought here to Jamestown, VA in 1619 as indentured servants. From that point in history to the present, the experience of African Americans has been an experience of racism to the nth degree in the form of oppression, domination, exploitation, violence, subjugation, discrimination, prejudice, marginalization, neglect and I could go on and on. I would be remiss however if I didn’t also indicate that triumph, victory and breakthroughs have also been quite normal within the African American experience despite the aforementioned oppression. African American people have always been quite resilient despite the 400+ years of racism that we have endured as a people.


African American people have never sat back and allowed racism to endure without resistance. There is no era in American history where African Americans didn’t fight back against the reality of racism. Fighting back against racism is in our DNA. It is in our blood. It is who we are. We are born with an instinct of resisting oppression. Well, this takes me to your African American colleagues in your schools. Before I go on, let me say that I will not attempt to speak for all  African American teachers but by the same token, I am very comfortable saying that in this essay, I speak for many of them.


Teaching, like any profession is something that individuals pursue because they have a particular interest in engaging in this form of work. So for example, one may love children but at the same time possess a desire to help children to grow academically, socially and emotionally. They therefore pursue education as a potential career path. I became a teacher in 1988 in Brooklyn, NY. I love children and I too possessed a desire to help children to grow academically, socially and emotionally. So I pursued teaching. The difference however was that I am Black man who was a student of African American History before I even thought about becoming a teacher. And because I was a student of history, I looked at my pursuit of teaching through that particular lens. I wanted to teach Black children. I understood the racism they were enduring in real time because I was enduring the same racism throughout my entire life up to that point. I was 28 years of age at the time. I wanted to bring the spirit of all the freedom fighters I had studied over the years into my classroom and to prepare my students for not only individual success but equally important – how to navigate the challenges, obstacles and pressures of racism and oppression as a people. I knew then as I know now at the age of 61 that racism is here to stay. I wanted to therefore position myself to teach Black children how to overcome and to be victorious in their lives while simultaneously teaching them their roles in helping others to do the same.


The key ingredient to meeting these objectives was to teach my students to have an extreme sense of pride in who they are as individuals and collectively as African Americans. Racism has done an immeasurable job of sabotaging this necessary pride and it endures to this day. This pride is restored however in teaching the children WHO THEY ARE historically and culturally. I would dare say that this is the biggest flaw in American education. Black children are in these schools every day and so many feel no connection to the learning because they do not see themselves in those lessons or on  the pages of those books. Learning in these cases lacks cultural relevance; relationships lack cultural responsiveness and far too many educators are culturally incompetent. These are ingredients for disaster for African American children with so many of the children living their lives with no clue as to who that is in their mirrors looking back at them historically.


The point of this essay – as with myself, many of your African American colleagues are in your schools teaching not solely for the joy of teaching but instead out of a sense of duty, responsibility and obligation. From the day I started this work, I characterized it as a personal duty…a personal responsibility…a personal obligation…not as my job, career or profession.  The classroom was my “battleground” in the fight against racism. I walked into that classroom with a “revolutionary spirit” in an effort to “revolutionize” the minds of my students. In many cases, that African American teacher down the hall from you is in that school and in that classroom for the same reason. Chances are that he / she is quite knowledgeable of the history and is therefore using the classroom as the vehicle to fight back against racism and to ultimately defeat it through the children. When African American teachers enter their classrooms, we are “at war.” We are “at war” for the minds of our children. These are serious times in America for African Americans and many do not comprehend the depths of how serious these times are for Black children in our schools. African American teachers are born into this “war”…they get it but when they are in the schools, their war is not limited to the classroom. There’s a whole other “political war” that accompanies their Blackness that they have to navigate daily as well….yet another layer of racism.


So when you see your African American colleague tomorrow morning, do know that your colleague’s world is a very different world from your own. And do know that your colleague is in that classroom for reasons that may be very different from your own. Your African American colleague is a descendant of the institution of enslavement and is therefore a product of a lineage of 400+ years of oppression. This makes the agenda of the teacher very different from your own. When this teacher speaks – listen. When this teacher writes – read it. When this teacher shares perspectives with staff, don’t challenge it – learn from it and grow from it. And to my admin colleagues out there, when this teacher brings perspectives that create cognitive dissonance and discomfort, don’t punish, ostracize, scrutinize or isolate the teacher. Instead, appreciate the teacher for having the willingness and the courage to speak his / her truth to colleagues.


For more of Principal Kafele’s perspectives, visit

Friday, April 15, 2022


As I write, today is April 15, 2022 a day that will be celebrated in Major League baseball stadiums across the United States as Jackie Robinson Day. Today because on April 15, 1947, it was Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Jackie had signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American permitted to play in the all-white Major Leagues and therefore April 15 is recognized as the day an African American had broken the baseball's color barrier....75 years ago.

As many know, somewhere around the start of the pandemic, I developed a fascination for the old "Negro Leagues" which I had little interest in prior to the pandemic. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the various Negro Leagues during that year-long "stay-at-home." I became so intrigued by the Negro Leagues that over the past two years, I have purchased over 50 authentic, flannel Negro League jerseys which I proudly wear on my Virtual AP Leadership Academy live stream every Saturday morning.

My fascination for the Negro Leagues is rooted in American History. From 1920 when the first of several Negro Leagues was founded through 1947 and beyond, the Negro Leagues were home to some of the most phenomenal baseball players ever born. Notice, I didn't say Black baseball players....I said baseball players. Jackie Robinson was one of them along with the likes of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Buck O'Neil, Buck Leonard, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks just to name a small few. What these men accomplished is nothing short of amazing. But because they were born Black...let me say that again...BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN BLACK, THEY WERE NOT LEGALLY PERMITTED TO PLAY IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES WITH WHITE BASEBALL PLAYERS....BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN BLACK. So in other words, despite the fact that they had extraordinary skill and ability which would help any team to win a pennant or World Series, it didn't matter. They were born Black in America. The Supreme Court landmark decision - Plessy vs. Ferguson which legalized segregation in America ensured that their opportunity to play in the Majors would be denied.

Of course, as Jackie Robinson (National League) and Larry Doby (American League) entered the Majors in 1947, they had to endure extreme racial hatred both on the field and off. In fact, Jackie was selected because it was felt that he had the temperament to endure it. It is widely accepted that not only was he not the best player in the Negro Leagues, but he wasn't even considered the best on his team, the Kansas City Monarchs. But it was felt that he had the temperament to endure the racism that was going to accompany his arrival to the "Big Leagues." Nevertheless, he went on to become Rookie of the year in 1947 and Major League MVP in 1949. That speaks volumes.

What's interesting for me with all of this is that in schools undergoing "Critical Race Theory hysteria," a teacher could potentially get in "good trouble" if they teach what I have written here or go more in depth toward telling the children the truth about the racism, segregation, etc. in general and in baseball in particular. But at the end of the day, the story must be told in its fullness. Retiring Jackie's number 42 across the league and having all Major League players wear his number today (annually) along with all of the other celebrations is not enough. Even watching the various Jackie Robinson movies is not enough. The children must be educated. Black children, white children, all children must be enlightened to the truth of American history and its ugly racist historical past. There is no healing in hiding truth. There is no healing in perpetuating "feel good" stories and falsehoods. Black children need to learn who that is in their mirrors historically and white children need to learn of the greatness of Black people across genres.

Lastly, one cannot teach what one does not know. How can a teacher do justice to content that the teacher has never been exposed to? How can a teacher teach that which has no mention in a curriculum. The whole system has to change. The future teachers of America...meaning the children in today's classrooms MUST BE INFORMED OF THE TRUTH OF AMERICA. Why? Because a percentage of those children are going to one day become America's next teachers....and quite uninformed and ill-prepared to give the children the sort of content that they require in the context of this post (essay). Again, the system must change.

One last thought. The first of several of the Negro Leagues was founded by a Black man by the name of Rube Foster in Kansas City, MO in 1920. Many of the teams were owned by African American owners. I've often thought to myself, what if so many of the Negro League players didn't migrate over to the Majors and instead there was a commitment to growing and sustaining this league? Just a thought. #bam

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Equity is not a “four-letter word,” the “boogey man,” a political statement, nor the enemy…IT’S JUST GREAT TEACHING!

Sheesh! When did the word, equity become so politically charged? I mean there are people out here who are literally terrified by it. I have had clients to politely ask me to refrain from its usage in my presentations. Recently in a Q & A after a keynote address, I had an audience member ask me in the breakout session how I navigate the usage of the word equity in presentations knowing that there are people sitting in the audience who are critical of the word. In that particular instance, I felt compelled to provide a long response so I asked my breakout session audience if I could spend some time on responding and they said yes. They seemed eager to hear my response so I devoted the entire session to responding to the one question.

As I state in the title, equity is not a “four-letter word,” the “boogey man,” a political statement,” nor the enemy. It doesn’t have a racial connotation, ethnic connotation, cultural connotation, sexual-orientation connotation, socio-economic connotation, etc….no…it has a “great teaching connotation.” In a nutshell, in classroom usage, equity means, “Meeting young people where they are…as they are.” Over the years, I have extended that definition to say that “Equity can never be solely something that you do. Equity MUST be who you are. Equity is therefore a reflection of the educator’s humanity toward the students that he or she serves.” In other words, in this context, equity is a reflection of the educators love and compassion for children….which CANNOT be taught I might add. Either you have it or you don’t. Only the rollout of equity in the classroom can be taught…the “how to” which is “what you do.” The compassion  which is “who you are” is either in you or it is not. If you happen to fall into the category of lack of compassion for your students, introspection is in order because the "what you do" and "who you are" go hand in glove.


So how and when did equity become such a controversial, politically-charged word? In several states across the country, the anti-Critical Race Theory folks who were / are legislating CRT out of schools (its never been in schools by the way…it’s really an absurd fight) wanted to include equity in the same legislation….they wanted to legislate equity out of the schools…unbelievable! I mean, they are treating equity as if it’s a “four-letter word” and imposing consequences if this “four-letter word” is uttered. This is absolutely absurd. Again, equity means, “Meeting young people where they are…as they are.” Of course, the problem lies when there is a focus on historically oppressed communities…Black and Brown students in this regard. So in other words, the racism kicks in. An “equality-mindset” pedagogy in a classroom of diverse learners where there are students of historically oppressed populations present and all students “receive the same thing at the same time at the same rate” is inherently insensitive and oppressive, whether implicit or explicit. One has to know who’s in the classroom. One has to “analyze the audience.” One has to “read the room.” There are children in that classroom who have life experiences that are overwhelmingly challenging historically due to either the skin they were born in or the circumstances upon which they find themselves that require a teacher who understands this reality fully and makes the necessary adjustments toward meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of EACH of the learners. We cannot pretend that racism never happened in this country nor that it doesn’t continue to exist. It did and it still does and its implications for children in classrooms are immeasurable. The “equity-mindset teacher” eagerly embraces this reality and strives to create an “equity-mindset classroom” where each of the learners have equitable opportunities to soar. This is equity. Again, equity is simply “meeting young people where they are…as they are” which translates into GREAT TEACHING.


For further reading, order my newest book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students (ASCD) wherever education books are sold.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Message to Superintendents About Your First Year Principals

As I type, I am on 5-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York City. As we are at the start of a new school year,  I've got those first year principals on my mind. There are a lot of them out there all over the country. Trust me, I know because many of them have shared the news of their appointment with me throughout the summer. But now that they are in these important positions, the question now is, "Now what?" Literally, what is the plan for them from the day of their appointment all the way to the end of quarter number one - and then from the end of quarter number one to the end of quarter number two all the way to the end of the school year?

There are new principals in schools across the U.S. with various different prior work experiences including but not limited to:

  • highly successful in the classroom and as assistant principal.
  • worked in various administrative capacities successfully such as an assistant principal, supervisor and director.
  • bad experiences as assistant principals and therefore never had exposure to the fullness of school leadership.
  • went from the classroom right into the principalship and never served as an assistant principal or other administrative positions and therefore do not know school leadership.
  • great assistant principal and served well in a #2 capacity but the jury is still out as to whether or not they can be a successful #1.
  • didn't go the traditional route and instead of starting as a teacher, started as a counselor, social worker, school psychologist etc. or came out an entirely different industry but had leadership experience.
  • appointed because the applicant pool was slim.
  • and of course, there are those who were appointed because they knew someone of influence

    Whatever their background coming into their first principalship, they are going to need mentorship and ongoing support. Within the field of education, one of the worst things we can do to students, teachers, a school and a community is to literally throw a non-experienced, first year principal into "the fire" with no ongoing, consistent support and mentorship and expect this individual to be successful in Year One. Of course, there are many who do in fact have solid years in Year One. I would like to think that I was one of them. But there are also many who do not. There are many whose first years are so challenging and overwhelming that their tenure as principals are short-lived. They either become frustrated and resign or the district relieves them of their duties. Ongoing support and mentorship could have been the game-changer for so many first year principals.

    As my mentor said to me during my admin internship and my first years of principal leadership, "The purpose of your supervision of teachers is their continued improvement in instruction." It is my contention that every first year principal appointed understands this. In fact, I am sure that they stated it in their interview. But because they understand it doesn't necessarily translate into them knowing HOW to be effective instructional leaders. That has to be trained. That has to be taught. There are a plethora of occurrences that can and will arise on any given school day that can prevent a principal from setting foot into a classroom, not to mention engaging in pre and post observation conferences. There is so much to learn and to know as a principal that have absolutely no relationship to previously being an effective classroom teacher and an effective assistant principal. This means that first year principals must once again have ongoing support and mentorship. It can't be circumvented.

    To the superintendents out there, I know you know this. This is just me "thinking out loud" on an airplane. No one within the school community can afford for a first year principal to be assigned to a school and that person is subsequently left to "figure it out" on his / her own. That would be leadership malpractice. That first year principal must be nurtured, cultivated, developed, trained, taught, "schooled," led, guided, pushed and challenged by a seasoned leader....and that seasoned leader just might be you or someone on your team.

    I have never been a superintendent and they jury is still out as to whether or not I will ever be one but be that as it may, I will say this - if I ever decide to take on the role of superintendent, with everything on my plate as a superintendent, my number one priority will be the first year principals in the district. They matter and it will be on me to make them great. When the principals are great, everyone wins.

    For further information, read my books, The Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Assistant Principal 50 and Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It? Also, join me LIVE every Saturday morning at 10:55 EDT for the Virtual AP Leadership Academy on YouTube at my Virtual AP Leadership Academy channel.

    Friday, August 27, 2021

    "Principal Kafele, Please Refrain From Referencing CRT in Your Presentation"

    About a month ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, Critical Race Theory, Sleight (Slight) of Hand, Smoke & Mirrors ("slight" in parentheses because I had no idea until I wrote it that the correct spelling is "sleight"). Although the blog post was widely read, a month later, I feel a need to write a follow up and hence, this essay.

    The banning and the push to ban what is called Critical Race Theory has really picked up steam over the past few months. Politicians in many of the states have made the banning of CRT a legislative priority, and some of my clients in the affected states are literally requesting / saying to me prior to my presentations, "Principal Kafele, please refrain from referencing CRT in your presentation." Talk about the misguided paranoia that has been created! The premise is that CRT is inherently racist and has no place in a K-12 classroom. The purpose of this essay is not to discuss what CRT is or is not. I discussed that in the aforementioned essay...please refer to it. The purpose of this essay is to argue that for those of us who are strong advocates of "curriculums of inclusion" for students of color, coupled with culturally-relevant pedagogy and teaching the truth and fullness of American history with fidelity, the CRT battle is NOT a K-12 battle. It is not a component of the K-12 fight for "classroom curricular and instructional justice" for children of color in general and Black children in particular. This CRT banning is nothing more than a distraction from the decades long fight to ensure that Black children are afforded the right to curriculum and instruction that are inclusive of their reality as Black people in America.

    I want to share a personal story that I have never gone public with until this essay. Back in the fall of 1997, my last calendar year as a 5th grade Social Studies teacher before transitioning to administration, I made the decision that my 5th graders needed exposure to and could handle the classic, The Miseducation of the Negro by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. My school was located in East Orange, NJ, one of the "Blackest" cities in America and it was my intent to ensure that learning was always culturally-relevant for the population of students I served.  In using this book, I started with a paragraph from the introduction that was a game-changer for me personally when I was evolving from a "misinformed boy" into a "socially-conscious man" in the 80's. As I tell anyone, this paragraph was the impetus for me becoming a classroom teacher. In the introduction, Dr. Woodson said,

    “When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

    As the teacher of my students, I wanted to take a deep dive into the meaning of this quote in a historical, cultural, socioeconomic context. This meant that in teaching American history, I had to ensure that each and every era of American history was inclusive of the Black experience in America as well. I wanted my students to see the relatability of America's past to themselves in everything that I taught. In doing so, the aforementioned Carter G. Woodson quote made that much more sense to them.

    Since The Miseducation of the Negro is in public domain, it is published by a plethora of different publishers which is unfortunate. There are no copyright violations when one publishes or photo copies this book. I therefore created small booklets of the introduction and the first two chapters for each of my students. I used to observe them walk with those booklets with pride. It was an amazing thing to see. I knew I was doing the right thing by my students.

    Since we were departmentalized, my students had several different teachers. One of the teachers was a young white woman who took issue with me using The Miseducation of the Negro in my classroom and subsequently providing the students with copies of the chapters I referenced above. She confronted me one day and told me I gave them a racist document. I was stunned and appalled and proceeded to educate her about the book and the author, who happens to be the founder of Black History Month. I thought she was "hearing" me until a week later, my homeroom students returned to my classroom one afternoon for dismissal with a gift from this teacher - each of them had a book in their hands entitled, Robert E. Lee, My Hero. I will never in life forget this day and I'm surprised it took me this long to write about it. How dare this teacher give my class of Black children a book that calls the leader of the confederate army a hero. A hero to whom? Certainly not the ancestors of my students. We subsequently had an "interesting" discussion and consequently, the books were returned to the teacher and my class and I discussed Lee the next morning. 

    This CRT hysteria that we are seeing play out is not new. It is decades old. There has been a battle to keep the Black experience in America marginalized, distorted, trivialized, caricatured, hidden and omitted for over 100 years. Why? Because there is power in that narrative and there are forces out there that never want that power to be shared. The Black experience is NOT Critical Race Theory. I REPEAT - the Black experience is NOT Critical Race Theory.  The Black experience is the experience of Black people in America. There is nothing "theoretical" about it. It is documented, although hidden history. So with my new reality of some of my clients in the affected states asking / requesting that I refrain from mentioning CRT, I will continue to enlighten them to the fact that "Critical Race Theory" will never be mentioned by me in a presentation because it isn't my fight....never has been. My fight is to ensure that the truth and fullness of the American story is told with matter how painful it may be.

    For further reading, order my newest book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students (ASCD) wherever education books are sold.

    Friday, July 30, 2021

    Sometimes, It Takes Hitting Rock Bottom to Realize You Were Born to Soar!

    I don't know who this is for, but I hope it benefits someone....and in full disclosure, this message started out as a simple Facebook post, but as it got unintentionally lengthier than I intended for it to be, I decided to turn it into a blog post.

    I have been walking in my dream as a self-employed, independent, unaffiliated, national education speaker, consultant and author for ten years now. At the age of 50, I left my purpose as a principal ten years ago to walk into my passion as a trainer of principals. The springboard to getting here however was my 6-year tenure as the principal of Newark Tech HS in Newark, NJ...the best 6 years of my professional life. Prior to my arrival to Newark Tech in the fall of 2005, I had hit rock bottom professionally. When I say "rock bottom," I mean ROCK BOTTOM...which had an obvious adverse impact on me emotionally. In today's lexicon, we would say that my mental health took a significant hit. I was not all. I was in bad shape. I was on the verge of losing everything I worked so hard for over the previous 17 years...and I was on the verge of a breakdown emotionally, because I dared to "go against the grain" professional. I dared to do certain things my way which I felt strongly were best for children...decisions I don't regret one iota today and if given the same circumstances again, I would proceed in a similar fashion. Said differently, we all have principles that we stand beside but the true test to your commitment to your principles is when they are challenged. Mine were challenged and it almost cost me my career.

    My point - there's someone out there reading this blog post who's either at rock bottom or on a downward spiral toward approaching rock bottom. Rock bottom isn't always a bad place though. For me, it was the absolute best thing that could have happened to me both professionally and personally...a blessing in disguise. It forced me to dig deep into my soul to find aspects of me that I didn't know existed. I was "comfortable" for a long time...TOO COMFORTABLE...but this experience forced me to become "uncomfortable with being comfortable and comfortable with being uncomfortable." I had no solid Plan B. Yes, I was a public speaker on the side, but not to the extent of making a career of it. I was on my backside now. I was literally suspended from my principalship - I was a local news story (television, radio and print) and my termination hearing was the following week. I'M TALKING TO SOMEONE OUT THERE....I STOOD FIRM ON WHAT I BELIEVED WERE THE RIGHT DECISIONS FOR CHILDREN....I STOOD FIRM BESIDE MY PRINCIPLES...AND NEARLY LOST IT ALL.I remember it like it was yesterday...September 22, 2004...the school board voted unanimously...7 to 0 that the decisions and actions that I took in question were appropriate and that I be reinstated immediately. Again, I stood firm by my principles.

    At the end of that school year, I transferred to a school district that I knew nothing about and became for the first time, a high school principal. What an experience it was. It gave me a reset. It gave me a new lease on life professionally. I found a fit where I truly belonged. I was able to be "Principal Kafele." Those six years at Newark Tech were the springboard to the work I have been doing over the past ten years, but in order to get here, I had to leave the situation that was taking a toll on my mental health. Newark Tech was my cure. My mental health and that situation were not compatible and something had to give. I made what turned out to be a life-changing start all over in a place where I had peace of mind.

    I'M TALKING TO SOMEONE OUT THERE TODAY. Someone reading this essay is going through something. Someone reading this essay has been challenged. Someone reading this essay is being tested. Someone reading this essay is contemplating quitting, giving up or throwing in the towel. Someone reading this essay is contemplating walking away from your dream...your purpose...your passion. Someone reading this essay feels that they have hit rock bottom....a point of no return. My response to you is WAIT...STOP...HOLD ON! Rock bottom isn't always a bad place. Sometimes, rock bottom is the blessing you were waiting for but it came to you in a disguise. That situation you are in just might not be the right situation for you but you needed to hit rock bottom in order for you to realize it. There is so much more in you. There is so much more to you. There is so much more for you. There are so many gifts and talents that are laying dormant within you that you haven't identified or unleashed yet. There are so many people in the world waiting for you to soar in another direction....a new direction...directly toward them...people who NEED YOU! That situation you are currently in doesn't have to be your final definition of who you are. It is time for you to redefine yourself. It is time for you to pursue a new breakthrough. It is time for you to blossom into your fullness....but you might not be able to do it there.

    Hey somebody out there, if I am in fact speaking to you, GET UP OFF OF YOUR BACKSIDE, start writing your new goals, devise and write your new strategy and begin to walk in it everyday in the spirt of a RENEWED YOU. Get yourself a trusted accountability partner too. Start this process right after you finish reading this essay. Don't put it off for another second. Procrastination is the enemy of all pursuits. Start today....RIGHT NOW and do know that the road will be bumpy at times, but that's okay. That's just life. Keep your eyes fixated on the prize. And realize that "flying" was always in you, but sometimes, it takes hitting rock bottom for us to fully realize that we were all born to soar in the first place.

    Reflections on the Past 3 Years of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy

    As I write, I am in Cancun, Mexico sitting on my balcony on a much needed 7-day vacation. I went “hard in the paint” traveling and presentin...