Sunday, July 31, 2022

The First 75 Commentaries of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy Sunday Morning Commentary


For those who watch my Virtual AP Leadership Academy either live on Saturday mornings or the recordings later on, you know that I write a follow up commentary every Sunday morning for the past 75 weeks and post on my FB Virtual AP Leadership Academy page.. Well I am proud to announce that I wrote my 75th commentary this morning. Each of these are follow ups to the Saturday Morning Academy for the past 75 Saturdays. Check them out here and continue to join us live on Saturday mornings @ 10:55 EST on FB LIVE @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy or Principal Kafele, or YouTube LIVE @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy or Twitter LIVE @PrincipalKafele.

7/31/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#75)

 

TOPIC:  What Kind of Bridges are You Building?

 

First off, let me say that for the 118th consecutive week, I can sit here proud of the content that was delivered. My man and colleague, Dr. Don Parker brought the flames yesterday and was thorough on the topic, Building Bridges Between Administration and Staff…a vitally important topic indeed. If you missed it, check it out here with the previous 117 sessions: https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy.

 

The practice of “building bridges” is ongoing throughout your leadership. There must be an ongoing intentionality toward building bridges to your students, both collectively and individually; building bridges to your staff, both collectively and individually; building bridges to your students’ parents, both collectively and individually and building bridges to the community, both collectively and individually. That’s a whole lot of bridge building for sure. Building bridges builds solid and sustained relationships…and I don’t have to tell you the significance of relationships. The relationships that you build with the aforementioned categories of people are key to your bottom line – student learning and student achievement. In other words, you can’t even do this work at an average, let alone high level if relationship building isn’t a central component of your leadership. No leader can perform at a high level in a silo or a vacuum.

 

My question then is, “What kind of bridges are you building?” Not only must you build the bridge, but you must also build bridges that are sturdy and durable. Imagine you put effort into building the bridge but it lacks durability and has the potential of collapsing. This means you must have a focus on not only building bridges but building bridges that will stand the test of time.

 

If you missed Week 118 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 117 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 119.

 

 

 

7/24/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#74)

 

TOPIC:  Are You Excited About the Prospects for the New School Year?

 

Did you catch #WEEK117 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy yesterday? It was another banger. My guest, charter school superintendent, Ray Ankrum brought the fire for sure! If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

As many of you know by now, I do a commentary before I get to the main topic each and every Saturday morning, which I previously called my “motivational message.” Yesterday’s commentary was entitled, Are You Excited About the Prospects for the New School Year? Now I know that some of you are not ready to talk about the new school year given that there are people reading this commentary who do not return to school until late August. Some of you might be getting ready to board the cruiseship for example….lol. But the question is not a question of “time” or “when.” It is a question of excitement or enthusiasm or passion for WHENEVER you are returning back to school. In other words, I am talking about your attitude about the work that you do day in and day out. If you are reading this commentary, chances are very good that you are either a principal, assistant principal or aspiring principal. Yes, there must be a time every day that you turn the “switch” off and divorce yourself from the work. But during those moments when your “switch” is on, I’m asking you are you excited about the prospects of what 2022-2023 might bring. That truly matters! You’ve got to be thinking BIG! You’ve got to be thinking BETTER! You’ve got to be able to envision that under your leadership and as a result of your leadership, the prospects for student success is great. You’ve got to be able to envision that under your leadership and as a result of your leadership, the prospects for solid staff professional growth and development are great. But you can’t start thinking about this the last week of the summer. You’ve got to find space for it in the back of your mind right now. In other words, when you compare the 2021-2022 school year to the 2022-2023 school year, your effectiveness has to have improved significantly. And it all starts with your excitement about the prospects for the new school year. #LetsGo #bam

 

If you missed Week 117 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 117 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 118.

 

 

7/17/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#73)

 

TOPIC:  Your Passion Moves Mountains!

 

Did you happen to catch yesterday’s #WEEK116 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy? What an amazing session it was. Former Florida Principal of the Year, Dr. Rachel Shelley brought the FIRE!!! She had so much fire that I didn’t get to ask all of the questions I had prepared. Every question I asked her, she hit it out the park while fully exhausting the topic.

 

One thing that stood out for me in this interview was that although I was fully engaged, inclusive of hanging on to every word that Dr. Shelley articulated, I couldn’t help but to notice her energy, excitement, enthusiasm and passion. It was truly contagious and infectious. With all of the accolades that this leader has achieved, she could simultaneously be on the lecture or professional development circuit, but she chooses not to. She has no social media accounts either. Her professional focus is on her students and staff. She’s “all in” on students and staff. She is fully invested in her students and staff. She is committed to her students and staff. She goes hard for her students and staff. Her passion for her students and staff was more than evident. Listening to her kept me in a self-reflective mode. I kept thinking to myself….asking myself did I bring this level of passion to my work? I am convinced that Dr. Shelley’s obvious intelligence matters but it is her passion that moves mountains!

 

What about you? Where’s your professional focus? Are you “all in?” Are you fully invested? Are you committed? Do you “go hard” regularly? Your education matters. Your professional development matters. Your people skills matter. Your ability to lead matters. Your planning, organization and time management matter. But you know something….you passion for your work, your leadership, your professional growth and development, your students, your staff and your school matter too. I will argue until I cannot argue anymore that “your passion moves mountains!” Be sure to engage in a “passion check” regularly. When your passion weakens, everyone around you weakens along with it.

 

If you missed Week 116 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 116 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 117.

 

 

7/10/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#72)

 

TOPIC:  Despite the Demands of Leadership, BALANCE MATTERS!

 

Did you catch #WEEK115 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy yesterday? If not, scroll down and check it out now. It was Part 3 of my Perspectives on Leading While Black series. It was an amazing conversation on school leadership in general and “Leading While Black” in particular. In other words, issues of race permeate all facets of life and the principalship and assistant principalship are no exceptions. The grad school ed. admin. programs prepare students for success as school leaders. What these programs do not necessarily do is prepare leaders of color for many of the nuances of school leadership as a school leader of color. It is my hope that this series is filling a void. I plan to also launch a series called Perspectives on Leading While Latino/a. Stay tuned.

 

Regarding today’s topic, I want to briefly address “Leadership BALANCE.” I know what it is to be a workaholic. As an assistant principal, I spent 10 to 12 hours at my school per day and as a principal in my earlier years, many days were 12 to 14 hours including 8 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. Both positions are quite demanding and utilize a ton of our time. Where I fell short was balance. The work consumed me because I didn’t have the right mentors around me at the time who could guide me with navigating my time appropriately. Over time, I learned though. As a leader, whether you be an assistant principal or principal, you must make balance a priority of your leadership life. In other words, you must make it a priority to turn your “leadership switch” off every day and engage in activities that make you whole. There is no way that leadership could be your totality. There is so much more to you. You have a family; you have friends; you have other interests; you have the demands of your health. Toward keeping yourself sane in this work, you must make sure that balance is a priority of your life. Failure to do so leads to rapid burnout and therefore a deterioration of your leadership. Take it from me, I KNOW.

 

If you missed Week 115 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 115 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 116.

 

 

7/3/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#71)

 

TOPIC:  Do You REALLY Know and Understand American History?

 

Did you catch #WEEK114 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy. As always, I loved delivering it. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. My commentary before the message was an interesting experience for me personally. It was supposed to be about 5 minutes or less which is my norm, but it turned out to be 26 minutes long! I gave it a title after the session and made it a stand alone video. I consider it to be that necessary. You see, every July 4th season, my soul churns due to the historical implications of the Colonies’ independence from Britain in 1776 and the continued enslavement of African Americans until the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865 89 years later!  In other words, the contradiction between fighting for liberty but failing to liberate those that they enslaved. My soul started churning at the start of that commentary.

 

In yesterday’s commentary, I am certain that there are many Americans who have no clue as to what I was sharing because they have simply never been informed or exposed during their school years. There are millions of Americans who master American or U.S. History in school but do not know U.S. History relative to the Black experience. They have superficial knowledge but they do not know or understand the specificity. For example, they know that “slavery” existed but they don’t really understand the cruelty of this institution nor how it led to the rapid economic rise of America AND the implications that enslavement continues to have on African Americans contemporarily. In other words, if you don’t know the Black experience in America, there’s a gaping hole in your understanding of American history.

 

What does all of this have to do with school leadership? Everything and at all levels of school leadership. The continued marginalization, distortion and omission of the Black experience in America must come to an end and leadership has to be bold enough to make this happen. Said differently, the African American story must be told in America’s schools in its fullness (despite the discomfort it may evoke) for more reasons than I can fit into a commentary. For a fuller perspective as to why, please refer to my books, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 (ASCD) and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life (ASCD).

 

 

6/12/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#70)

 

TOPIC:  Does Race Factor into the Principalship?

 

Did you see #WEEK111 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy yesterday. As the young people would say, “It was lit!” For those who may not be aware, I have started a series within the Academy called Perspectives on Leading While Black which was inspired by this great book I got my hands on entitled, Fighting the Good Fight: Narratives of the African American Principalship. This is a book of 30+ Black principals from all over the U.S. who wrote short essays about their perspectives on being Black principals. I decided that I want to hear from every one of these principals on the Academy and asked the two editors, Dr. Aaron Griffen and Dr. Isaac Carrier to give me access and hence, every second Saturday will be designated to Perspectives on Leading While Black until I have completely exhausted the book. Yesterday’s guests, Dr. Jimica Howard, Dr. Raphael Crawford and Dr. Wilbert Andrews were absolutely phenomenal in their remarks on this most important topic.

 

My thoughts here are simply that to be a Black school leader is most definitely a different experience from being a non-Black principal for the reasons expressed yesterday and more. Obviously, I too was a Black principal and I knew from Day 1 that I had to maneuver differently and strategically which was inclusive of understanding the politics of education. I had a few major challenges in this context. I have hinted about them here and there but I haven’t been fully forthcoming just yet but the intent is to write about that entire ride at some point in the near future because I feel strongly that it will be beneficial for many. Until then, if you are a Black principal or an aspiring Black principal, do know and realize that professional learning that is racially generic is not a bad thing BUT in your quest to become phenomenal as a school leader, your professional learning must be inclusive on learning how to maneuver and be great as a Black principal.

 

If you missed Week 111 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 111 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 112.

 

 

 

6/5/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#69)

 

TOPIC:  How’s Your Writing Skill?

 

First, let me say it is so good to get back to doing solo presentations which I call “Solo Saturdays” where it’s just “me and you” with no guests. For the entire first year of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, I went solo….for 52 weeks. But then I decided that I wanted to add other voices. This enhanced the Academy exponentially! But I was missing speaking directly to the folks who tune in so I launched “Solo

Saturdays” which is the first Saturday of each month this past May, 2022 and boy do I love it. Stay tuned every FIRST Saturday morning for my solo sessions.

 

Yesterday was a blast (if I may say so myself). My focus for the entire session was communication skills with an emphasis on verbal and written communication. Time actually ran out on me so I didn’t get to delve as deeply as I wanted to on the written side of communication. I will do that in July, but for this commentary, I do have some brief thoughts I want to share on the written side communication. Your ability to write matters. I repeat…your ability to write matters! You cannot lead at an optimal level with deficient writing skills. If you are an athletic coach (leader), you could probably pull it off, but in this case, you are an assistant principal or principal. Do you in fact have shortcomings in writing? One way of finding out is writing a paragraph or essay on any topic and then sharing with an accountability partner…someone who will be brutally honest with you but one you can trust to keep your conversations private. If it turns out there are deficiencies such as grammar deficiencies or a lack of an ability to fully and accurately express yourself in writing, then you know you have a problem that requires your attention. When I say attention, I mean that you may have need to take a writing course. You may not be able to correct this on your own. You may need assistance; particularly if you have been writing this way all along.

 

The bottom line is that you are in a school leadership capacity. School leaders are required to write often and in countless capacities. Be sure to make writing an area of focus toward your overall proficiency as a leader. I will go much deeper in this area in #WEEK114…the first Saturday in July, 2022.

 

If you missed Week 110 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 110 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE @ 10:55 EST for Week 111.

 

 

 

5/29/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#68)

 

TOPIC:  What is Your Number One Leadership Priority at Your School? LET’S TALK ABOUT IT

 

Last week on May 24 while celebrating my son’s 29th birthday, I received an alert on my phone that there had been a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX where the number of people reported murdered kept increasing until it reached 19 children and 2 teachers. This was alarming news not only for me but the world. At that point, this mass shooting dominated my thinking from then to now as I type. I posted about it for the remainder of the week and discussed it on yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy. In other words, THIS HURTS!

 

As I continued to ponder over what occurred on May 24, I couldn’t help but to attempt to process it all through my principal’s lens. I have literally been obsessed with considering whether or not I as principal and we as a school community would have been prepared for a tragedy of this magnitude. I will be the first to say that nothing can prepare anyone for a blind-sided attack with a military style assault weapon on a school. I get that fully. However, as I have questioned myself over the past several days, I am wondering, based on the information that we now have, is there anything I could have done that may have prevented this tragedy from occurring. Of course, we now know that a teacher propped open a door because she left a cell phone behind. As principal, I’ve asked myself repeatedly if my leadership would have been influential enough to have prevented that decision from being made. I don’t know.

 

My point of this commentary though is the topic – What is your number one leadership priority at your school? It is typical to conclude that student learning is the number one priority. It makes sense. But in today’s world, I would dare say that student learning is not the number one priority. As a school leader, the number one priority has got to be student safety – physically and emotionally. Here, I want to focus on physical safety. So much time, energy, effort and resources must invested into the physical safety of everyone in the building…including yourselves. This is the absolute number one priority of the leadership of a school and district. I am well aware that this is an unstated given in many places but as a society in contemporary times, it can no longer be an unstated given. Instead, it must be a stated priority. As school and district leaders, we must prioritize doing all that is humanly possible toward ensuring that all children and staff are safe and secure while in their schools. Everything else, including student learning is secondary. We are living in dangerous times replete with a lot of “sick” people. As school leaders, we must be prepared.

 

If you missed Week 109 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 109 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 110.

 

 

 

5/22/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#67)

 

TOPIC:  Assistant Principals Must be Exposed to the School Budgeting Process Too!

 

Did you miss yesterday’s #WEEK108 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy? It was quite powerful as my guest, Ohio Deputy Superintendent Jen Schwanke dropped INVALUABLE nuggets for the entire session. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

Discussions on the school budget are not necessarily the topics of breakout session choices at your typical education conference unless the theme of the conference is related to school budgeting. Breakout session topics are typically issues consistent with classroom instruction, school leadership, counseling, equity, SEL, etc. These are all important topics for sure. But the topic of the school budget is an equally important topic because at the “proverbial end of the day,” there is no education without money. Education has to be financed….it has to be paid for. The topic of school budget therefore MUST be discussed.  The problem here as I see it is the role of the Assistant Principal. YES….there are principals who ensure that their AP’s are well-rounded which is inclusive of being conversant in all things school budget. But on the other hand, there are also assistant principals out there who know absolutely nothing about their school budgets and have not been trained in how to develop and manage a school budget. For whatever the reason, their principal did not provide them with the exposure. One cannot lead optimally if one lacks skill in managing a school budget for the reasons that Deputy Superintendent, Jen Schwanke discussed yesterday.

 

Assistant Principals must be well-rounded in their school’s budget. I REPEAT: Assistant Principals must be well-rounded in their school’s budget. If you are an assistant principal reading this commentary, ask yourself, “What do I know about my school’s budget? What is my level of involvement in managing my school’s budget? Based upon my experience and exposure to my school budget as an assistant principal, would I be prepared to develop and manage a budget as a principal?” These and many other questions I could list are essential questions for you to ask yourself as you mentally prepare for your future principalship. You can learn every aspect of education leadership under the sun, but you must also learn school budgeting and the best way to learn school budgeting is to be engaged in school budgeting.

 

If you missed Week 108 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 108 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 109.

 

 

 

5/15/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#66)

 

TOPIC:  The Courage to Fight

 

It’s early Sunday morning and I am literally sitting here reflecting on yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy #WEEK107. Atlanta-area principal, Andre Benito Mountain brought the FIRE for sure as we discussed, Leadership Realities That May Not Come Up in the Grad School Program. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out here.

 

For the most part, the questions that I generated came from Principal Mountain’s book, Principals Don’t Walk on Water, They Walk Through It. One of the chapters is entitled, The Courage to Fight. The title alone resonated with me because I recall vividly my own courage to fight. Yep….I was always down for a good fight if it benefitted children. After all, that’s why I got in the education business in the first place.

 

I don’t want to be reckless here in my thoughts so let me explain what I mean by “being down for a good fight.” What I am not NOT saying is that you should put your work or career on the line. Yes, that would be noble of you but your family might not see the nobility in your decision-making. Instead, I am saying that your children and staff are always your number one priority and as either the leader or one of the leaders, you must always be willing to go to bat for them. You must always be willing to advocate for them. Some battles they just can’t fight for themselves. They need you….but they need you to be smart…to be strategic…to be conscientious about how you go about advocating for them. But as their leader, you must have the courage to fight for them. I can recall “protecting” my staff on numerous occasions. In other words, when certain initiative were coming from the top that I felt were not in the best interest of my staff, I would speak up about it, but again, I was smart about it…I used my people skills…I was strategic. As a leader, you too must come with courage. When you lack the courage to fight within a leadership capacity, the “end of the day” question becomes, “Then why does your staff need you?” Think about it.

 

If you missed Week 107 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 107 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 108.

 

 

5/8/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#65)

 

TOPIC:  You’re Not Blogging?! LET’S TALK ABOUT IT

 

Yesterday’s #WEEK106 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy marked the 2nd anniversary of this platform. As I look back on all 106 sessions, I am quite pleased with the impact that each of the sessions have made on countless aspiring administrators, assistant principals and principals. So much more is coming in the forthcoming weeks, months and years.

 

As I discussed yesterday, starting yesterday, every first Saturday of the month will be designated as “Solo Saturday” which will give me an opportunity to deliver my own content, thoughts, perspectives, etc. and the remaining weeks of each month will be devoted to interviews as I have done for the past year.

 

In yesterday’s discussion which was the launch of a two-year theme on “Protecting Your Leadership,” I started with “Protecting Your Leadership Authenticity” with a focus on leadership brand identity and image, reputation and credibility. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. At some point in the discussion on leadership credibility, I talked about the significance of blogging. Blogging is a tool that is still relatively young that far too many administrators are yet to take advantage of. As I said in yesterday’s session, what a powerful way to communicate a plethora of educational issues, thoughts and ideas relative to the work of your school community. It is not uncommon for assistant principals to be so immersed into their work that they don’t always have the time nor the platform to engage in “edutalk” with staff. Blogging gives the AP the opportunity to put their thoughts on a variety of educational issues in a blogpost that can be emailed to the staff members that the AP supervises on a weekly or monthly basis. On the one hand, this will keep staff informed and particularly around how the AP is thinking but it also establishes and sustains the AP’s credibility as one who is conversant in all things or a variety of areas of education. These blogposts can also be posted for broader audiences to read on social media platforms. This in turn positions the AP to become a familiar name to a much broader education community inclusive of hiring decision-makers who otherwise may never know that the AP even exists.

 

The sky is the limit relative to how blogging increases communication and increases credibility which as I stated yesterday, must always be protected by you the administrator. Again, if you missed the session, scroll down and check it out.

 

If you missed Week 106 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 106 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 105.

 

 

 

5/1/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#64)

 

TOPIC:  Today (May 1) is the 7th Anniversary of My Biggest Storm – a Heart Attack While Delivering a Keynote…But I Weathered It. HOW ARE YOU WEATHERING YOUR LEADERSHIP STORMS?

 

Did you miss yesterday’s #WEEK105 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy. It was FIRE and my guest, Larue Fitch, a Chicago principal who returned to the classroom did not disappoint. He brought vital information. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

Normally, my Sunday morning commentary is an extension of the Saturday Academy but since today, May 1 is the 7th anniversary of my heart attack, I wanted to use the occasion to talk about YOUR leadership and weathering storms.

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 was a beautiful sunny day in Miami, FL. I was there at the University of Miami to deliver a one-hour keynote address to school and district administrators and then to return home in Jersey to attend a wedding the following Saturday morning. Regarding my health, I was feeling GREAT…I couldn’t have felt better. I had no warnings of an impending heart attack at all. Well, about 20 minutes into the keynote, I suffered a heart attack. My main artery clogged due to a poor diet (when on the road) and severe lack of exercise. Type II diabetes accompanied the heart attack, which again, I had no early warning signs.

 

The good thing is that with the assistance of my wife, I “weathered this storm.” I completely changed my diet and commenced a cardio program. I FOLLOWED MY DOCTORS INSTRUCTIONS. I feel great and have never felt better.

 

What about you? There’s no doubt that as a school leader, you are confronted by all sorts of storms. But the question is, how are you weathering your storms? What’s your strategy? What’s the thought process? Who are your allies? Are you operating as a lone ranger or have you garnered support? How are you weathering your personal storms and how are you weathering your professional storms? Personal storms sometimes impact work life. Storms are inevitable but the challenge is that you must be intentional about how you weather them. You can’t run away from them because they aren’t going anywhere and they will remain until you confront them and ultimately weather them. Had I not weathered my heart attack and diabetes storms, I’d probably be dead now (if I can be blunt). If you don’t weather your leadership storms, you could be out of a job or even your school leadership career. In other words, leadership storms can do you in if you are not strategic toward weathering them. So always know that weathering storms and how you weather your storms is an inherent part of your leadership.

 

If you missed Week 105 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 105 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 105.

 

 

 

4/24/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#63)

 

Topic:  “Highly Effective is a Place You VISIT…Not a Place You LIVE”

 

Did you catch yesterday’s #WEEK104 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy? It was yet another powerful session. My guest, Superintendent Anibal Soler did not disappoint. He brought FIRE for 90 minutes. Much was discussed and if you missed it, scroll down and check it out here.

 

It is normal for me to spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on the conversations I have with each of my guests. I take this academy that seriously. In yesterday’s discussion, Superintendent Soler said something that really resonated with me. He said, “Highly effective is a place you VISIT…not a place you LIVE!” Although we proceeded to cover a variety of topics, I literally got stuck on that comment yesterday, unbeknownst to my guest or the viewers…but in a positive way. I didn’t disagree with it at all. It makes a ton of sense, but I had never heard it before. It is normal in any success discussion to talk about the goal of becoming “highly effective.” In fact, I and many others preach the sermon of becoming “highly effective” regularly. Superintendent Soler’s assertion is that yes, one can become highly effective, but you’re not necessarily going to stay there permanently…here will be ebbs and flows and hence, his comparison of VISITING vs. LIVING. The whole idea of the “visit” vs. “live” really resonated with me because it challenged my thinkijng. I feel that there is an entire 1000+ word blog post in me to take a deep dive on this topic, but since my Sunday morning writing is a commentary as opposed to a blog, I will withhold those thoughts until another time.

 

What about you? Is “highly effective” a place of permanent residence? Can you settle down there? Can you give your bill collectors your “highly effective” mailing address? Can you hang out your shingle there? Or is “highly effective” a hotel stay; a resort stay; a timeshare for a week or two? What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment right on the thread.

 

If you missed Week 104 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 104 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 105.

 

 

 

4/17/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#62)

 

Topic:  Your Calling is Not a Competition

 

Did you catch #WEEK103 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy? If so, you know that my guest, Principal Jessica Cabeen did not disappoint! She dropped gems for the entire session! If you missed it, scroll down and check it out now.

 

So much was said in yesterday’s session but Principal Cabeen said something that really resonated with me and then as I looked at the comments, it resonated with many in the chat as well. She said, “Your calling is not a competition.” Wow! Let me say it again – “YOUR CALLING IS NOT A COMPETITION!” For my commentary, I want to break this down.

 

Personally, I am a firm believer that the most effective principals are the ones who were “called” to do this work. I will not be so bold to define “called” in this space. I will leave that to you. But I will say this….to be called is much more significant than to choose or decide to lead. I’m not criticizing choosing nor deciding to lead however. I am only saying that being called to lead is an entirely different discussion. Did you choose to lead or were you called to lead? Let’s say for the sake of this discussion, you assert that you were called to lead. That translates into you answering your call and working to be the best leader that you can possibly be….working to become the best version of yourself within your leadership capacity. It’s all about you working to be your best YOU so that your staff and students can be their best SELVES. The point here is that you striving to be the best leader that you can be is not a competition beyond competing with YOURSELF. No, as a school leader, you are not competing with others toward outdoing someone else. You have been “called” to lead YOUR school. What another principal is doing lacks relevance in a competitive sense. Your staff and students benefit most when instead of competing, you are collaboratig with one another. Collaborating with one another is far more productive than competing with one another. But I will say this – I am competitive – it’s the athlete in me. So friendly competition is definitely in-bounds with me….”friendly competition.” But in no way will I use my leadership to be in an all-out competition with another principal. Why? Because “MY CALLING IS NOT A COMPETITION.

 

If you missed Week 103 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 103 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 103.

 

 

 

 

4/10/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#61)

 

Topic:  IT’S POSSIBLE!!!

 

I will start out by saying that yesterday’s #WEEK102 of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy was yet another powerful session! I hope you had an opportunity to see it live but if not, you can catch it on my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel (see link below). My guest, Principal Michael McGrone, Sr. dropped steady nuggets for the entire 90 minutes. I might add that he is currently the principal of IYC Chicago (all boys prison) so we are talking about a principal who does some extraordinarily heavy-lifting.

 

Given the environment upon which Principal McGrone leads, he said a lot of things that resonated with me but the one thing that really stood out for me in the context of the purpose of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy was when he said, “It’s Possible!” He was referring to his own mindset within his leadership…“It’s Possible!” For this short commentary, I want to express these words in the context of YOUR leadership. You chose leadership. At the start of each Saturday morning broadcast, I state this emphatically. I yell out that “YOU CHOSE LEADERSHIP!” You knew prior to landing the position that school leadership is not for everyone. You knew that it is challenging, if not difficult work. You knew that school leadership requires special individuals and you decided that you are one of those special individuals. I therefore contend that you much have an IT’S POSSIBLE attitude…always. You must sustain an IT’S POSSIBLE attitude throughout your leadership. You have to believe that IT’S POSSIBLE as long as you are serving in a leadership capacity. If you do not believe that IT’S POSSIBLE, why would that school need you? Quite frankly, that school would not need you. If you do not believe in the POSSIBILITIES of your school and your students, you are actually a liability to your school and students. You must believe, despite the challenges, obstacles, pressures and demands that you confront on a daily basis. The challenges, obstacles, pressures and demands can never be deterrents to your belief in the possibilities of your school. Instead, as you walk into your school every morning, make sure you walk in there with an IT’S POSSIBLE attitude. It matters and it’s a game-changer.

 

If you missed Week 102 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 102 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 102.

 

 

 

4/3/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#60)

 

Topic:  Who’s in your space?

 

Let me start out by saying that yesterday was “Straight FIRE!” My guest, world renowned principal, Akbar Cook did not disappoint. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out here. He said a lot things…he gave a ton of information that can be implemented immediately. Again, scroll down and check it out.

 

Of all of the gems that Principal Akbar dropped on us, the one that sort of distinguished itself for me from everything else was when he said, “I am the sum of the people around me.” I’ve heard that before but it meant something different for me when he said it in the context of the intent of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. So in other words, you can in fact be a great school leader in terms of your skillset, your commitment, your purpose, mission and vision, etc., but if you have the wrong people around you, chances are that you are not maximizing your potential….chances are that you are not at your best! Again, Principal Cook said, “I am the sum of the people around me.” So what if you have slackers and underperformers around YOU. You can’t prevent these folks from having an adverse effect on your ability to be great at what you do. They are literally holding you down and keeping you back. They are an anchor with a chain wrapped around your ankle.

 

As a leader then, one of your many duties is to build the people around you. Yes…you are not just leading a school but as the, or one of the leaders in your school, you have the important responsibility of building, nurturing and inspiring the people around you…your immediate team and your staff because once again, as Principal Cook said yesterday on #WEEK101, “I am the sum of the people around me.” The question then is, “Who’s in your space?” Are they an asset to you, the children, the team, the school? If not, what are you doing to change your current reality? Remember, you are the sum of the people around you. Hey somebody out there…LET’S GO! #bam

 

If you missed Week 101 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 101 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 102.

 

 

 

 

 

3/27/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#59)

 

Topic:  What does your FOOTPRINT say about your leadership?

 

Yesterday’s session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy was historic for me on a personal note. It was WEEK 100…I might add that it was the 100th consecutive week without missing a beat. After the initial commitment of 18 weeks, I made a decision that I would keep this Academy going for 52 weeks and then 100 weeks. Now, my commitment is FOREVER! In other words, every Saturday morning at 10:55 EST, we talk, listen and learn leadership. Of course, the primary focus of the Academy is the professional growth and development of the assistant principal but I have also formatted it in a way that all leaders at all levels and aspiring school leaders can benefit without losing its core focus of the assistant principalship.

 

My point – These past 100 weeks are my “footprint.” Yesterday’s guest, Dr. Levatta Levels nailed the whole idea of the “footprint.” If you missed yesterday’s livestream, please scroll down and check it out. Dr. Levels spoke about the footprints that you make and leave behind within your leadership and how they speak to who you are as a leader. When you look at my immediate past in this context, each of the past 100 Saturdays of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy is my footprint. I can say to each of you that I am proud of the footprint that I have left behind. It represents my commitment, my consistency, my purpose, my passion, my work.

 

Let’s take a look at you. What does your footprint say about your leadership? What does your footprint say about your commitment to your craft? What does your footprint say about your purpose for your work? What does your footprint say about your vision for your school?  What does your footprint say about your preparation for your work daily? I would dare say that you should take ownership of these questions and ask yourselves these questions daily. Question yourself about your footprint daily. Reflect upon your footprint daily. Assess your footprint daily. Use your questions, reflections and assessments to make whatever adjustments are necessary based on the most recent footprint you have made. At the end of the day, you want your footprint to speak to your leadership greatness.

 

If you missed Week 100 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 100 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 101.

 

 

 

3/20/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#58)

 

Topic:  Who’s Training Your Assistant Principal?

 

I missed the past two weeks with my commentary but I’m back. I got up early this morning here in my Chicago hotel room to make sure that I share my thoughts before preparing to speak here at the ASCD Annual Conference. To that end, did you catch the yesterday’s #WEEK99 edition of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy? It was FIRE so if you missed it, scroll down and check it out. My guest was former school turnaround principal and current Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Deidre Hannible. Her words resonated on so many levels. One of her thoughts that really stood out for me was when we discussed the training and preparation of the assistant principal….those situations where the principal is being thoroughly prepared for a one-day principalship. Deputy Hannible indicated that the training and preparation of the assistant principal is a core responsibility of the principal and if the assistant principal is not receiving the training that is required, it is a direct reflection of the principal.

 

I am in full agreement with Hannible’s assertion. The primary responsibility of the assistant principal is to assist the principal. My question is, how do I assist you if I haven’t been trained to assist you? The assistant principal must be more than a disciplinarian. The assistant principal must be well-rounded. It is my contention that the majority of assistant principals out there aspire to become principals in their journey. In this regard, the assistant principalship is the preparation for this role. We must therefore refrain from limiting the growth and development of assistant principals due to a perceived school discipline problem so that assistant principals can fully develop into successful principals and when this fails to occur, it speaks directly to the training (or lack thereof) that they received from their principal.

 

If you missed Week 99 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 99 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 100.

 

 

 

3/6/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#57)

 

Topic:  Am I up for the present set of challenges?

 

Yesterday’s #WEEK97 edition of the #VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy was yet another MUST WATCH session. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. It was my first of a 4-part series called WOMEN OF COLOR IN LEADERSHIP to pay tribute to Women’s History Month. My first guest, retired Chicago-area principal, Dot McKeever-Jeter dropped gems for 90 minutes that benefitted not only women in school leadership but men as well. Again, check it out.

 

To start the broadcast, I read a quote from Maya Angelou that reads as follows:

 

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

 

This quote resonates with me on multiple levels. Let’s break it down – Ms. Angelou opens up by saying that you may encounter many defeats. As my core audience for the Saturday Academy is assistant principals, I will say to each of you that yes, you may or you WILL encounter many defeats but as Ms. Angelou says, YOU MUST NOT BE DEFEATED. I repeat, YOU MUST NOT BE DEFEATED. As a leader, you must anticipate challenges to your leadership daily and already have in your mind how you would handle them. Defeats are simply a part of leadership. What’s key is how you respond to each of them but as a leader or THE leader, you must not allow yourself to be defeated! To be defeated is to give up, to quit, to give in, to acquiesce. No….never allow yourself to be defeated.

 

What I love most about Angelou’s quote is when she says, “It may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” My interpretation of this line is that she is saying toward grappling with defeats, you must know what you are made of. We all handle defeats, challenges, obstacles etc. differently. We have different temperaments. As a leader, you must know you….you must learn you, and where internal adjustments might need to be made, you must make those internal adjustments. But at the end of the day, know you.

 

If you missed Week 97 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 97 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 98.

 

 

 

 

 

2/20/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#56)

 

Topic:  Does “Leading While Black” Present a Different Set of Challenges?

 

Yesterday’s WEEK 95 edition of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy was quite important. My topic was “Leading While Black.” If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. It’s the longest of the 95 sessions…3 hours…but worth every minute. I am thankful for Dr. Aaron Griffen, Dr. Isaac Carrier, Dr. Tiffany Spicer and Cherise Ayers, all contributors of the new and important book, Fighting the Good Fight: Narratives of the African American Principalship.

 

Why would I entitle a session, Leading While Black? Isn’t leadership just leadership? Is it necessary that I racialize school leadership? Is race a necessary discussion in school leadership? Are the challenges of a Black administrator different from the challenges of a white administrator? Let me answer my own questions like this: YES…an emphatic yes that the challenges are different. YES…an emphatic yes that race is a necessary discussion in school leadership…which is why our conversation lasted for 3 hours. As I said in the broadcast, if we were given 40 hours to discuss this topic, it still wouldn’t be enough time because what could be discussed within the realm Leading While Black is an endless discussion.

 

America is an extremely race conscious society and it permeates all aspects and institutions in America. Why would one think that school leadership would be any different or an exception? It is not. Leading While Black is a real thing. As Black administrators; particularly in schools with diverse staff and student populations, one is and has to be ever so mindful of who and what they are as Black administrators. The school is watching. The challenges are different which force many of us to have to “move” differently than our non-Black counterparts. I could go on and on here but this is not a blog post, it’s just a brief commentary. Check out yesterday’s session for a fuller discussion by scrolling down.

 

If you missed Week 95 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 94 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 96.

 

 

 

2/6/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#55)

 

Topic:  It’s Black History Month….What Are You Reading Relative to Black History Toward Better Understanding Your Black Students?

 

I hope you had an opportunity to catch yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 93) where my guest was “The Revolutionary Principal,” Principal Amen Rahh. He dropped gems on a multiplicity of levels. Some of the viewers even indicated that they were going to watch it a second time. It was that powerful! If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

Yesterday was also the first Saturday of Black History Month so you know I had to pay homage to its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. I will praise this man forever for his immeasurable insight and foresight. He understood clearly that the history of Black people throughout the African diaspora must be told, taught, studied, read, researched, learned, digested, understood and celebrated. As a school leader or assistant principal, your study of Black history is non-negotiable and non-debatable; particularly if you have at least one Black student in your school. As a leader, you and your staff owe it to your students in general and your Black students in particular to know who they are historically. Of course, if the fullness of the history of Black people in America was taught in America’s classrooms, there would be no need for me to write these words. But the reality is that it is not. It’s 2022 and so little is taught to this day.

 

It is not uncommon for educators to ask me for reading recommendations. I therefore compiled the following list of Black authored books some time ago and have revised it over the years. Take a look. Those books that you haven’t read that have a title of interest to you will be a great place to start.

 

African History

1.         Black Man of the Nile – Yosef ben-Jochannan

2.         Introduction to African Civilizations – John G. Jackson

3.         The African Origins of Civilization – Cheik Anta Diop

4.         The Cultural Unity of Black Africa – Cheik Anta Diop

5.         Stolen Legacy – George G. M. James

6.         Destruction of Black Civilization – Chancellor Williams

7.         World’s Great Men of Color, Vols. I and II – J. A. Rogers

8.         Sex and Race, Vols. I-III – J. A. Rogers

9.         Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization – Anthony T. Browder

10.      Nile Valley Civilizations – Ivan Van Sertima

 

African American History

1.         Before the Mayflower – Lerone Bennett, Jr.

2.         From Slavery to Freedom – John Hope Franklin

3.         Notes For An African World Revolution – John Henrik Clarke

4.         African American History: A Journey to Liberation – Molefi K. Asante

5.         How Europe Underdeveloped Africa – Walter Rodney

6.         They Came Before Columbus – Ivan Van Sertima

7.         Blacks in Science – Ivan Van Sertima

8.         Black Inventors of America – McKinley Burt, Jr.

9.         Great Negroes: Past and Present – Russell Adams

10.      Introduction to Black Studies – Maulana Karenga

11.      What They Never Told You in History Class – Kush

12.      The Black Holocaust for Beginners – Sam Anderson

13.      Peculiar Institution – Kenneth Stampp

14.      Africa’s Gift to America – J. A. Rogers

15.      Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey – Amy Jacques Garvey

16.      Marcus Garvey, Hero – Tony Martin

17.      Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa – John Henrik Clarke

18.      Up From Slavery – Booker T. Washington

19.      Life and Times of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass

20.      Harriet Tubman – Ann Petry

21.      Autobiography of W. E. B. DuBois

22.      Autobiography of Malcolm X – Alex Haley

23.      Malcolm X Speaks – George Brietman

24.      Malcolm X, The Man and His Times – John Henrik Clarke

25.      King, A Biography – David Lewis

 

African American Education

1.         Miseducation of the Negro – Carter G. Woodson

2.         Afrocentricity – Molefi Kete Asante

3.         Black Students Guide to Positive Education – Zak Kondo

4.         Issues in African American Education – Walter Gill

5.         For the Children – Madeline Cartwright

6.         Africa Counts – Claudia Zaslavsky

7.         SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind – Asa G. Hilliard III

8.         Maroons Within Us – Asa G. Hilliard III

9.         Young, Gifted and Black – Asa G. Hilliard III, Theresa Perry, Claude Steele

10.      Infusion of African and African American Content in the School Curriculum – Asa G. Hilliard III, Lucretia Payton-Stewart, Larry Obadele Williams

11.      The Failure of Public Education in the Black Community – Anyim Palmer

12.      How to Transform Your Inner City School and Raise Student Achievement - Shawn Hurt

13.      The Crisis and Challenge of Black Mis-Education in America – Gyasi A. Foluke

14.      African-Centered Schooling in Theory and Practice – Diane S. Pollard

15.      The Education of Black People – W.E.B. DuBois and Herbert Aptheker

16.      Going to School: the African American Experience – Kofi Lomotey

17.      Nationbuilding: Theory and practice in Afrikan-centered education – Kwame Agyei Akoto

18.      Too Much Schooling, Too Little Education – Mwalimu J. Shujaa

19.      Sailing Against the Wind: African Americans and Women in U.S. Education – Kofi Lometey

20.      Educating Our Black Children: New Directions and Radical Approaches – Richard Majors

21.      Unbank the Fire: Visions for the Education of African American Children – Janice E. Hale

22.      The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954 – William H. Watkins

23.      Improving Schools for African American Students: A Reader for Educational Leaders – Sheryl Denbo

24.      Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior – Marimba Ani

25.      African-Centered Pedagogy:Developing Schools of Achievement for African American Children – Peter C. Murrell, Jr.

26.      Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students – Donna Y. Ford

27.      Center Shift: An African-Centered Approach for the Multi-Cultural Curriculum – Joan D. Ratteray

28.      Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria – Beverly Daniel Tatum

29.      We Want To Do More Than  Survive - Bettina Love

30.      Learning to Survive: Black Youth Look for Education and Hope – Atron A. Gentry

31.      A Black Parent’s Handbook to Educating Your Children (Outside of the Classroom) – Baruti K. Kafele

 

 

Teaching African American Children

1.         A Handbook for Teachers of African American Children – Baruti K. Kafele

2.         A Talk With Jawanza – Jawanza Kunjufu

3.         Black Students/Middle Class Teachers – Jawanza Kunjufu

4.         Black Children – Janice Hale

5.         Learning While Black – Janice Hale

6.         Marva Collins Way – Marva Collins

7.         Ordinary Children/Extraordinary Teachers – Marva Collins

8.         I Choose To Stay – Salome Thomas-El

9.         Black Teachers on Teaching – Michele Foster

10.      From Rage to Hope: Strategies for Reclaiming Black and Hispanic Students – Crystal Kuykendall

11.      African-Centered Interdisciplinary Multi Level Hands-On Science – Bernida Thompson

12.      Positive Afrikan Images for Children (Social Studies Curriculum) – Red Sea Press

13.      African American Children: A Self-Empowering Approach to Modifying Behavior Problems and Preventing Academic Failure – Carolyn M. Tucker

14.      Heritage – Joyce Jarrett

15.      How to Teach Math to Black Students – Shahid Muhammad

16.      Motivating / Inspiring African American Children

17.      Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children – Amos N. Wilson

18.      Developing Positive Self-Images and Discipline in Black Children – Jawanza Kunjufu

19.      To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group – Jawanza Kunjufu

20.      Motivating and Preparing Black Youth for Success – Jawanza Kunjufu

21.      Harvesting New Generations: The Positive Development of Black Youth – Useni E. Perkins

22.      Doing It My Way: Decision-Making for College Students – Matt Stevens

23.      Doing It My Way: A Decision-Making Workbook for Today’s Youth – Matt Stevens

24.      Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflicts in the Classroom – Lisa Delpit

25.      Culturally Responsive Teaching – Geneva Gay

26.      Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children – Gloria Ladson-Billings

27.      Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy - Gholdy Muhammad

28.      Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? A Student's Perspective - Stephen G. Peters

29.      Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap - Anthony Muhammad

30.      Honoring Ancestral Obligations - Chike Akua

31.      For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y'all Too - Chris Emdin

32.      Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education - Donna Y. Ford

33.      Becoming the Educators They Need - Robert Jackson

34.      The Athletic Trap - Craig Boykin

35.      Even on  Your Worst Day You Can Be a Students Best Hope - Manuel Scott

 

Connecting With African American Males

1.         Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life – Baruti K. Kafele

2.         Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, Vols. I-IV – Jawanza Kunjufu

3.         Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education – Jawanza Kunjufu

4.         Raising Black Boys – Jawanza Kunjufu

5.         State of Emergency: We Must Save African American Males – Jawanza Kunjufu

6.         Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap – Alfred W.Tatum

7.         Bringing the Black Boy to Manhood: The Hare Plan – Nathan and Julia Hare

8.         Educating African American Males: Detroit’s Malcolm X Academy Solution – Clifford Watson & Geneva Smitherman

9.         Educating African American Males: Voices From the Field – Edited by Olatokunbo S. Fashola

10.      Educating Black Males: Critical Lessons in Schooling, Community and Power – Ronnie Hopkins

11.      Coming of Age – Paul Hill

12.      A Dark Journey to a Light Future - Tommie Mabry

13.      The Diary of an Emotionally Constipated Man - William "Flip" Clay

14.      The Burning House - Desmond Williams

15.      African American Males in School and Society – Vernon C. Polite

16.      Practical Application of Social Learning Theories in Educating Young African American Males – George R. Taylor

17.      Curriculum Strategies: Social Skills Intervention for Young African Males – George R. Taylor

18.      Kill Them Before They Grow: The Misdiagnosis of African American Boys in America’s Classrooms – Michael Porter

19.      The Trouble with Black Boys – Pedro A. Noguera

20.      Wake Up Young Black Males – Steve Johnson

21.      “Yo, Little Brother…”: Basic Rules of Survival for Young African American Males – Anthony Davis & Jeffrey Jackson

22.      The Warrior Method – Raymond A. Winbush

23.      Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity – Ann Arnett Ferguson

24.      Letters to a Young Brother – Hill Harper

25.      Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males – Hrabowski, III; Maton & Greif

26.      Young, Black and Male in America: An Endangered Species – Edited by Jewelle Taylor Gibbs

27.      The Estrangement of Black Male Youth From a Teacher’s Perspective – Jerald McNair

28.      Empowering African American Males – Michael Wynn

29.      Teaching, Parenting and Mentoring Successful Black Males – Michael Wynn

30.      African Centered Rites of Passage and Education – Lathardus Goggins II

 

Psychology

1.         Developmental Psychology of the Black Child – Amos N. Wilson

2.         Chains and Images of Psychological Slavery – Na’im Akbar

3.         African-Centered Psychology: Cultural Focusing for Multi-Cultural Competence – Daudi Ajani Ya Azibo

4.         Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder – Omar Reid, Sekou Mims, Larry Higginbottom

5.         Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome – Joy DeGruy Leary

 

 

1/30/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#54)

 

Topic:  “Storms” are Inevitable So Buckle Up!

 

It’s 24 hours later but I still have WEEK 92 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy on my mind. What an awesome conversation I had with the Louisiana Secondary Schools Principal of the Year, Ronnie Harvey, Jr. We covered a plethora of topics that are relevant to aspiring principals, assistant principals, new principals and veteran principals. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

Principal Harvey leads in Lake Charles, LA, an area that was ravished by not one but two major hurricanes last school year that were 50 days apart from one another. The entire city and region were devastated and they are still in recovery mode for so many families over a year later. I can only imagine the challenges of being a principal during that time….two hurricanes in the midst of a global pandemic! But thinking about these storms made me think about the so many other “storms” that can occur in a learning community and the plethora of “storms” that principals and AP’s have to grapple with regularly if not daily.

 

“Storms” are just an inherent part of the job. When I say “storms,” I mean those challenges that can be so overwhelming that they become all-consuming. As an aspiring principal, assistant principal, new principal or veteran principal, you must be able to embrace the fact that storms are inevitable. Just as weather related storms are inevitable, school-related storms are equally inevitable. Graduate school doesn’t always prepare you for the storms of leadership either. Preparation for them frequently happen on the job in real time. At best, we can anticipate a plethora of different scenarios and plan ahead for their inevitability but at that end of the day, it’s only a plan…a necessary plan but still only a plan. Like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” In other words, planning is unavoidably necessary but at the end of the day, you must be READY to face the anticipated, unanticipated AND unexpected storms as they arise. THAT is a part of being a great leader too.

 

If you missed Week 92 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 91 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50, The Principal 50 & The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 93.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/23/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#53)

 

Topic:  Parental Engagement and the Silver-Lining of the Pandemic

 

Yesterday’s WEEK 91 edition of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy was yet another powerful session! Coach Carlos Johnson brought the heat for the full hour and a half. The comments were non-stop! One of the topics we discussed was Parental Engagement. Coach Carlos offered some real and serious solutions to parental engagement that are more than worth exploring. If you missed the live conversation, scroll down and check out the video.

 

The past two years under the pandemic have been absolutely horrific on countless levels. By the same token, there have certainly been some silver-linings. One of those silver-linings has been the emergence of virtual platforms. Many out there make their entire living virtually for example which was practically unheard of prior to the pandemic. Virtual platforms can also take parental engagement to heights probably never seen in the history of education – particularly in communities where parental engagement has been historically low. In other words, there are a variety of reasons why parents might not attend the various meetings at a school and many of those reasons are legitimate. For example, there are neighborhoods across the country where parents simply don’t feel safe traveling to their children’s school in the evening. The answer to this concern is virtual platforms. Due to the proliferation of access to virtual platforms, a principal can lead the effort of creating a culture with parents where important meetings can occur virtually and regularly….ongoing communication. There are two unavoidable words that are key to making this happen – culture and intentionality. There must be a mindset of creating a virtual culture of parental engagement and it must be done with intentionality. Teachers can do the same with the parents of their students and I encourage teachers to explore this if they haven’t already. I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that if building a virtual culture of parental engagement is something that is done in earnest, the school will soar to heights previously unimagined.

 

If you missed Week 91 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 90 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 92.

 

 

 

1/16/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#52)

 

Topic:  Dr. King’s Birthday Isn’t Just a Day Off….His Life and Legacy Should Also Be Inherent in Curriculum and Instruction

 

I hope you had an opportunity to see yesterday’s WEEK 90 edition of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. It was powerful and probably one of my favorites. My guest, Principal Chris Gadsden dropped some real nuggets for the entire time we were on. The topic was, The Parallels Between AP Leadership TODAY & Dr. King's Education Perspective in 1967. I chose this topic because Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was on the same day as the broadcast so I wanted to honor his legacy throughout the livestream. Since the Academy’s focus is school leadership and education, I decided to delve into Dr. King’s education perspectives which are captured in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.

 

In Where Do We Go From Here, Dr. King stated: "I wept for my children and all Black children who have been denied a knowledge of their heritage. I wept for all white children, who through DAILY MISEDUCATION, are taught that the Negro is an irrelevant entity in American society. I wept for all the white parents and teachers who are forced to overlook the fact that the wealth of cultural and technological progress in America is a result of the commonwealth of inpouring contributions.”

 

These are powerful words and not the words that we typically here from Dr. King; particularly this time of the year. His words are typically confined in the media to “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Important messages indeed but there is so much more to Dr. King than these two speeches. As a school leader, it is your role and responsibility to lead the effort in expanding upon what your students (and staff) know about Dr. King and particularly in the context of how Dr. King’s words and actions are relevant to today. Dr. King’s birthday cannot be reduced to solely a day off. It’s got to be a day of service as well. But on the educational landscape, the season must serve as an opportunity to immensely widen your students’ knowledge and understanding of what this great freedom fighter was all about on multiple levels.

 

If you missed Week 90 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 89 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 91.

 

1/9/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#51)

 

Topic:  School Should Never Be a Traumatic Experience

 

I certainly hope you had an opportunity to see yesterday’s WEEK 89 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy! My guest, Tovi Scruggs-Hussein brought the fire for two hours on the topic, Leading in Your BEingness. So much was discussed but I think that the one thing that resonated with me over everything else was when Tovi discussed “educational trauma.” Almost 24 hours later, I still have this terminology on my mind so I want to share my thoughts on it from my vantage point.

 

Typically, when we think about trauma associated with children, we think about it in the home environment. But as you know, traumatic experiences are not confined to home. Trauma can occur anywhere and in this case, school and the classroom. The obvious trauma in school is bullying, whether it be physical or verbal. I can recall being bullied to this day very early in high school. The pain never goes away. You just deal with it emotionally throughout life which is why as a teacher and a principal, I was extremely adamant about addressing it frequently as a reminder to my students that bullying was an area where I wasn’t going to waver. As much as I despise the term, “zero-tolerance,” to this day, I am “zero-tolerance” when it comes to bullying. I equate it to educational trauma.

 

There’s another area of educational trauma that I want to address in this commentary. I might say before I do however, that I could write a book on educational trauma (maybe I will one day). There is so much to say about it. But here, I will reduce my thoughts to curriculum and instruction. Instruction rooted in curriculum can be a traumatic experience as well….and it is for countless children; particularly Black and Brown children across the U.S. Imagine going through school for 13 years of your life (K – 12) and you cannot relate to or identify with anything you are learning culturally. In other words, the learning environment is extremely Eurocentric relative to instruction but the world of the students is the antithesis of Eurocentricity. This was my life in school and I shut down completely. What I was learning and being exposed to didn’t speak to my world. It spoke to the world of the teacher. I wound up being a complete failure in high and even repeating a grade. I was experiencing “educational trauma.” I thought that I was the problem during those years and the five years after graduation where I continued to do little to nothing. I thought I was incapable of learning. I didn’t see myself as “college material” at all. I saw myself academically as a loser. I could relate to or identify with nothing I was being exposed to. I was educationally traumatized.

 

After those five years of nothingness, I decided to go to undergraduate school and I graduated Summa Cum Laude. It wasn’t ME after all.  I just needed distance from the trauma. How about your school…the place where you lead? Is the classroom a traumatic experience? What is the experience of being Black or Brown in your school under your leadership? Is cultural relevance a priority? I cultural responsiveness a priority? Is cultural competence of staff a priority? Is classroom equity a priority? These questions and more must be your priority toward ensuring that educational trauma isn’t happening in your school, under your leadership.

 

If you missed Week 89 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 88 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 90.

 

 

 

1/2/2022

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#50)

 

Topic:  Every New Day is Replete With New Opportunities and New Possibilities!

 

Happy New Year! I hope you had an opportunity to see yesterday’s Week 88 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. It was my 2022 New Year’s Day message. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out.

 

For my Sunday morning commentary, I want to recap my motivational thoughts that typically come prior to the body of the session. My topic was, “HAPPY NEW YEAR…but every minute, hour, day, week and month is a new possibility as well!” In other words, it is quite normal in this season to have New Year’s resolutions and goals to start out the new year. But I want to remind everyone who will read this commentary that you can set goals and in this case, leadership goals anytime you want….because every second, minute, hour, day, week, and month is a new opportunity and possibility! It boils down to how you use each second, minute, hour, day, week and month.  As a leader, you must be constantly thinking of new ways to solve old problems. As you’re considering these new ways, you must turn them into goals and objectives that are accompanied by a well thought out and well written plan of action. And I say that at the core of your considerations should be the self-reflective question, “How can I become a better leader.” In other words, always striving to be better today than you were yesterday.

 

One of the beautiful things about life is that when we wake up each morning, there are new opportunities and possibilities but it boils down to how we take advantage of them. Don’t wait for New Year’s Day though. New Year’s Day is behind us now. Today is the 2nd of January. Start NOW…and don’t stop until the mission is accomplished.

 

If you missed Week 88 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 87 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 89.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/19/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#49)

 

Topic:  BE GREAT!

 

Yesterday’s 86th session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy was FIRE! If you missed it, please scroll down and check it out. Former principal, Dwight Carter brought so much valuable information to the Academy yesterday. Our topic was, BEING GREAT in Your Leadership.

 

For today’s commentary, which I will keep short during this busy holiday season, I want to share my thoughts on BEING GREAT. First and foremost, Dwight Carter was spot on yesterday in his analysis of “BE GREAT!” I truly encourage all of you to give it a thorough listen. To lend my two cents to the discussion, I think about my reasons for creating the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (VAPLA) in the first place. I have said for many years that the most misunderstood and underutilized position in all of education is the assistant principalship. I have been so passionate about my contention that I speak on it as often as I can, I wrote a blog post about it that went viral and I wrote The Assistant Principal 50 which became an overnight best-seller. In other words, this topic has resonated with many. As long as assistant principals are relegated by their principals to full time school disciplinarians for example, they can never be great AP’s. Yes, they can be great disciplinarians (if there is such a thing) but they can never be great leaders. To be a great leader is to be a well-rounded leader who leads effectively and at a high level, with a particular emphasis on instructional leadership. So when I say, BE GREAT…as an assistant principal, I am saying LEAD AT A HIGH LEVEL WITH A PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON INSTRUCTION. My question to you then is, based on my simple definition of greatness, are you GREAT at what you do? If so, keep soaring. If not, what’s holding you back and how will you improve your situation?

 

Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Don’t forget that I will be LIVE & SOLO ON Christmas Day (the last Saturday of the year) and New Year’s Day (the first Saturday of the new year). Join me LIVE @ 10:55 EST.

 

If you missed Week 86 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 85 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 87.

 

 

 

12/12/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#48)

 

Topic:  At some point in your journey “the stuff” just might hit the fan!

 

Did you catch yesterday’s session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (WEEK 85)? Yet, another powerful session and my guest, Dr. Marck Abraham “hit it out the park!” My topic was, “So what’s the big deal about my school?” Scroll down and check it out.

 

One of the things that Dr. Abraham and I have in common is that in some part of our careers as principals, “the stuff hit the fan.” In other words, one of the things that most of you will probably never learn in grad school is the politics of education….the politics of education at the community level, the parent level, the municipal level, the district level, the school level, and the union level. There are a whole lot of layers there to navigate which go far beyond relationship building. Relationship building is not enough. You must develop a keen understanding and awareness of the politics of each of these levels and respond / react accordingly. Some of us fail, not because we performed unsatisfactorily, but instead because we didn’t know how to navigate the politics.

 

My personal situation in navigating the politics is a complicated one and one to this day, I have not gone public with nationally since that phase of my professional life almost 20 years ago. I intend to as a chapter in a book one day, but until then, I only speak about it vaguely. Obviously, folks here in North Jersey locally remember. But I will say this….I completely understood the politics of my district at that time and understood how to navigate it…but I CHOSE to “stand my ground” in this particular situation. I stood on PRINCIPLE. It nearly cost me my career in which I was good with. I needed to be able to look in the mirror at night. I bounced back though and 5 years later, was awarded the Milken Educator Award….considered the most prestigious educator award in the U.S. But that was ME and that is MY story. Standing your ground in the midst of some very tricky politics may yield a very different ending for you than mine. I was blessed. I am suggesting to you that you learn the politics of the various levels I mentioned above and learn how to navigate each layer. You work in a system. Systems are comprised of people and when you have people working within an organization, there are going to be some politics. That’s not always or necessarily a bad thing though. You just need to learn how to navigate it so that ultimately, you emerge victoriously.

 

If you missed Week 85 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 84 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 86.

 

 

12/5/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#47)

 

Topic:  Planning MATTERS…but adjusting and adapting matters too!

 

I really hope you didn’t miss yesterday’s session (WEEK 84) of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. The session was ON FIRE! My guest, Dr. Anthony Muhammad brought the flames from the beginning to end. The conversation went on for about an hour and a half, but it could have very well gone on for several hours. The content was that rich. If you missed it, please scroll down and check it out.

 

Typically, my Sunday morning commentary is an extension of the Saturday virtual session relative to content but for today, I want to move in a different direction as it relates to the format of yesterday’s session. I will start out by saying that as a school leader, everything that you do in your school should be supported by a high degree of planning. Of course, there are a plethora of situations that you will react to that will require you to make decisions on the spot without time for prior planning. But as it relates to the things that are most pertinent to the success of your school or within the capacity upon which you work, planning is required. In fact, it is non-debatable. As the cliché goes, “a goal without a plan is an hallucination.” You can’t set big goals and have no plan attached to them.

 

For my Saturday Academy, when I have guests on, I typically have a few intro or preliminary questions (3 or 4) for my guests before I get to the heart of the topic. The topic itself will be typically 10 questions that will take up the hour (or so). Well yesterday, Dr. Muhammad took my intro questions and ran with them. His responses were so rich, engaging, inspiring, reflective and empowering. The viewers comments were coming in like wild fire! In other words, I had a plan but due to how the initial discussion unfolded, I needed to “adjust and adapt.” There was no way I want to “extinguish the fire” that was raging in this interview. I was loving the place we were in and so was the audience. So we stayed in that “space” for about an hour. At the top of the hour, I switched gears, asked the viewers to stay on and we made a pivot to the actual topic.

 

My point here is that I had a plan….a comprehensive plan….a full agenda of questions as I always do…but I saw clearly a need to make an adjustment and adapt to the space I was in. I could not have made a better decision.  Well, I am saying the same for you in your leadership. You MUST plan. I repeat: YOU MUST PLAN! But you must also anticipate deviations and departures from your plan. You must be prepared to move in another direction when circumstances warrant it. In many situations, circumstances will warrant a better strategy than what you previously planned for. Where Dr. Muhammad’s responses took the discussion was a far better place to be than what I planned for. I just had to be ready for the shift. THAT’S LEADERSHIP and that’s what I want you to take away from this commentary.

 

If you missed Week 84 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 84 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 85 right here at 10:55 EDT. My guest will be Dr. Marck Abraham, author of What Success Looks Like.

 

 

 

 

 

11/28/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#46)

 

Topic:  “Ruthless Equity”

 

Did you catch yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (WEEK 83)? Ken Williams was powerful! If you missed our conversation, scroll down and check it out. We talked about a variety of issues pertinent to the AP and the principal. For my commentary, I want to focus on “Ruthless Equity” which is the title of Ken’s forthcoming book.

 

When Ken Williams speaks of “ruthless equity,” he has his own thoughts, views and definition of what he means by this term. Here, I want to use the term generically. I’m thinking about the significance of equity on the district level, the building level and the classroom level. There’s no such thing as a world-class or quality education if equity is not at the heart and soul of the work. Equity absolutely matters and equity is absolutely essential at all three levels and particularly for historically oppressed populations of students. I don’t think anyone will disagree with my contention. But now, let’s add the word, “ruthless” to equity. That takes it to another level. When I think of the word, ruthless, it conjures up for me a thought of, “I will do whatever it takes to bring about equity for my students.” Ruthless is defined as having or showing no pity. When you therefore combine ruthless and equity, I see “ruthless equity” as having or showing no pity for ANYTHING that stands in the way as a barrier to equity being an ongoing reality at the district, building or classroom levels.

 

Do you bring a ruthless equity approach to your leadership? Is it evident to all that you lead with a mindset that equity must prevail under your leadership? Are you adamant about the reality of equity under your leadership? Do you bring a “nothing will stop equity from being our reality” mindset to your leadership? Again, using “ruthless equity” generically, this is what I see and think when I think of this term….going all out to ensure equity. I am certainly looking forward to reading Ken Williams forthcoming book, Ruthless Equity to gain his specific insights as to what it means to implement equity ruthlessly in our schools.

 

If you missed Week 83 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 83 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel, subscribe, and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 84 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

11/21/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#45)

 

Topic:  Your school’s culture is a reflection of YOUR leadership!

 

Did you catch yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (WEEK 82)? If you did, you know that my guest, Jimmy Casas was ON FIRE! As I said to him, he was “teaching hard!” Many even said to me that they would be watching a second time. That’s why I created this academy…to put out pertinent information for school leaders in general and assistant principals specifically.

 

Jimmy is the author of the blockbuster book, Culturize. It’s sold over 200,000 copies to date and you should certainly get a hold of a copy if you don’t have one already. For today’s commentary, I want to share some thoughts on school culture relative to the leadership of the school. I say it all the time – “the culture of the school is a reflection of the school’s leadership.” I actually mean that with every fiber of my being. Yesterday, Jimmy referred to the leader as being the undercurrent of the school’s culture. I agree with this wholeheartedly. It is very easy to walk into a school with a multiplicity of dysfunction and point the finger at all of the dysfunctionality that is present and place blame there. That is both easy to do and convenient. But it is something entirely different when the leader takes responsibility for the culture of the school and with intentionality, starts the process of collaborating with all stakeholders to toward transforming the school’s culture into a learning environment that is conducive to high academic performance. The starting point however would be what you the leader, and your team can conceptualize what you want your school’s culture to be. You’ve got to be able to see it. You’ve got to be able to feel it. You’ve got to be able to believe it. These really matter. Then the work begins with fidelity.

 

Culture is everything. I repeat: Culture is Everything! Your school cannot be what you conceptualized it could be if the culture of the school is not prioritized. Everything about the way everyone is living and functioning in your school is culture….EVERYTHING. But along the same lines, everything about the way everyone is living and functioning in your school is a reflection of your leadership. There’s a correlation between your leadership and the culture of your school which is inclusive of the role of the assistant principal, which I never want to lose sight of.

 

Ask yourself, is the prevailing culture of my school what I want it to be….what I conceptualized it could be? If you are not satisfied with your answer, do know that the prevailing culture is a reflection of your leadership. You therefore have work to do.

 

If you missed Week 82 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 82 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 83 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

11/13/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#44)

 

Topic:  How are you defining your excellence?

 

Did you catch yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (WEEK 81)? If you did, you know it was powerful! My guest, Dr. Sanee Bell dropped all gold for a solid hour. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. Our topic was, Purposeful Excellence and the Assistant Principal – a particularly powerful topic for these times.

 

For this morning’s commentary, I want to continue to explore the theme of “excellence” by exploring how you are going about defining your own excellence. The pursuit of excellence is the right pursuit. Whatever you have determined is your passion or your craft, it is my contention that excellence should be / must be your goal. Toward the pursuit of your goal, I would dare say that you should do more than just “strive” for excellence….the pursuit must be to “BE” EXCELLENT!

 

My question to you is how are you defining excellence? What is your definition of excellence? How are you applying your definition of excellence to yourself and your leadership? Excellence is a word that you have to be particularly careful with because if your personal definition of excellence is a “low bar” definition, then there is not a lot of work and effort you will have to engage in. As you examine “excellence” and begin to define “excellence” for yourself and particularly as it relates to your leadership, your bar must be sky high. As you define what excellence means in the context of school leadership, you must ensure that your standard is high and a large part of your standard is that the teachers that you supervise are performing at high levels and that the students of the teachers that your supervise are achieving at high levels. Low standards or a low bar of excellence for yourself translates into a low-performing school. Your school goes as you go. As you therefore define “excellence,” be sure that you always consider the implications that your own personal definition of excellence has for the reality of your school.

 

If you missed Week 81 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 81 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/VirtualAPLeadershipAcademy

 

And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 80 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

11/7/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#43)

 

Topic:  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 passion for your students, introspection is in order.

 

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), they 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.

 

 

 

 

 

10/30/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#42)

 

Topic:  Leading WITHOUT Passion

 

Did you catch yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (#79)? It was “FIRE!” I was honored to have the 2022 NASSP National Principal of the Year, Beth Houf as my guest. Our topic was, Leading With Passion During These Times. It is safe to say that she “hit it out of the park!” If you missed the interview, scroll down and check it out.

 

As I thought about the significance of “Leading With Passion” this morning, I couldn’t help but think about what it means to lead WITHOUT passion. Ahh….a very different dynamic indeed. Walk with me on this one – the passionate leader is excited about the work; excited about leadership; excited about the children and excited about staff. This leader is unequivocally passionate about waking up in the morning and heading to that school for another opportunity to lead the school to the promised land. His / her passion is so intense that it is contagious and pervades the entire school. But imagine that leader who leads WITHOUT passion. Oh man….that is a very different leader; a very different experience with predictably very different outcomes for students and staff. The leader who leads without passion just shows up “to work.” The enthusiasm is not there. The energy is not there. The excitement is not there. It’s just work. It’s just a job. I would dare say that you can’t lead at a high level if the passion is lacking, and if the passion is lacking, it’s probably lacking throughout the building. Why? Because as you and your leadership goes, so goes your school.

 

Are you passionate about your leadership? Are you passionate about your school? Is your passion evident throughout your building…even in an assistant principal capacity? On the other hand, are you leading without passion…and is your lack of passion evident throughout the building? Hold up your mirror and have that honest conversation and if a pivot is necessary, make that pivot. But if on the other hand, you can’t find your passion within you or you have lost your passion, soul-searching is in order. You can’t do this work at a high level without passion for what you do.

 

If you missed Week 79 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 79 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 80 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

10/24/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#41)

 

Topic:  Punishing All When One is Out of Compliance

 

I hope you all had an opportunity to watch the Week 78 session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. I interviewed Dr. Todd Whitaker and it was a powerful interview if I might say so myself. Of the twelve questions that I had prepared, there was one that I didn’t get to that dealt with punishing all when the issue is one. Let me set this up as follows:  When I was in middle, school, I played Pop Warner football. To this day, what always stands out for me was the days when out of about 30 boys on our team, if one made a mistake or performed poorly, the entire team had to suffer. We were required to run lap after lap or engage in some kind of strenuous drill….the entire team because of one person. I have never forgotten this and years later, it informed my practice as a teacher and a principal. In other words, admittedly, I was not a perfect teacher or principal…I made mistakes, but what’s key is that I learned from those mistakes. One of those mistakes was comparable to what was happening to me and so many of my teammates during Pop Warner. I had to learn not to take out my frustrations with one or two staff members on my entire staff. An example would be a principal who has a staff member who didn’t comply with a particular policy or procedure and proceeds to express his or her frustration to the entire staff at a staff meeting, forcing the entire staff to listen to this rant although they were all in compliance with the exception of the one person. This equates to “punishing all when one is out of compliance.” Instead, avoid at all costs engaging in such behavior which always runs the potential of undermining moral and alienating staff. The better strategy is to speak to the teacher one-on-one while avoiding subjecting (and thereby punishing) and entire staff.

 

If you missed Week 78 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 78 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 79 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/17/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#40)

 

Topic:  “Color Blind” or “Color Brave”….Which are You?

 

It’s 24 hours later but I still have my interview from Week 77 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy with Dr. Rosa Perez-Isiah on my mind. Her words were strong and powerful. Our topic was, Children Win When Equity is Normalized. We discussed a range of topics under the equity umbrella but one area that really resonated with me was our discussion on Color Blind and Color Brave. For today’s commentary, I want to share my thoughts on both.

 

There’s a perception out there by some that to be color blind and / or culture blind is a noble thing to be. In other words, along this line of thinking, the teacher doesn’t see the race, ethnicity or culture of the children. All the teacher sees is “the children.” I will consider this to be dangerous thinking. Who the youngsters are racially, ethnically and culturally is a part of their identity. To suppress or deny a child’s identity is to suppress or deny the child. It’s comparable to not seeing the child or the child being rendered invisible which consequently begs the question, “Why is this student being subjected to this learning environment?”

 

On the other hand, there’s “color brave.” Color Brave is the antithesis of Color Blind. There’s no denial nor suppression of color or culture. Instead, the racial, ethnic, cultural identity of the student is embraced. It’s not denied, suppressed, circumvented, run away from or swept under the rug. The race, ethnicity and culture of the student is appreciated, respected, accentuated and celebrated. All children deserve to be in a classroom with a teacher who is color brave….a teacher who takes the time to learn what it is to walk in the shoes of each of the children and uses that information to build and strengthen their relationships with their students toward the overall goal of high academic performance of each of the learners in the classroom.

 

If you missed Week 77 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 77 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 78 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

10/10/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#39)

 

Topic:  Let’s Talk About Your Faith in Your Leadership

 

I hope you caught Week 76 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy yesterday. My topic was “Shifting the Culture.” It was a long one - 2 hours - but worth the watch. When I was formulating my thinking for what I would write in today’s commentary, my mind was fixated not on expounding on yesterday’s topic (which is my norm) but instead going back to yesterday’s Motivational Message of the Week that precedes the topic which was, Protecting Your Faith.

 

In yesterday’s motivation message, I indicated that you must have faith in yourself, your leadership, your ability, your purpose and your calling. To be clear, I am not referring to your belief or confidence….I am referring to your faith. In other words, I’m asking you to go deeper than your belief and confidence in this regard and to tap into your spirit. You chose leadership and no one forced you to do this. There was something inside of you that said that you are the person for this work. For some of us, it was our spirit. For me, it was my spirit. In other words, I knew innately that I belonged in principal leadership. This fortified and solidified my faith in my decision and myself as a leader. And I refused to allow anything to break, threaten or compromise my faith. This way, when the inevitable challenges or even threats and / or attacks on my leadership arose, I was more than ready. My faith in myself, my leadership, my ability, my purpose, my mission, my vision and my calling were solid.

 

What about you? How strong is your faith in yourself, your leadership, your ability, your purpose, your mission, your vision, and your calling? It is one thing to develop professionally. It matters. But it is another thing to work on your faith in yourself. That matters too. Before closing out, you will notice that I referenced “calling” a couple of times. Quite frankly, that word is not for everyone. Everyone isn’t leading schools our of a calling. Some are leading out of a desire to lead. For me, it was a calling….no doubt about it. For those of you who “know” you were called, my point here is to say PROTECT YOUR CALLING. In other words, don’t contend you were called, and then bow down to flesh. I’ll leave that right there.

 

If you missed Week 76 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 76 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 77 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

 

10/3/2021

THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#38)

 

Topic:  “Who am I? What am I about? What is my most recent evidence?”

 

I hope you were able to join us live for yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 75). My topic was, Closing the “Attitude Gap” in Your Classrooms. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out. Within the discussion, I shared the circumstances around me dealing with the question, “Who am I?” back in 2006 when I was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. It was a powerful moment of coming to grips with who I was as the principal of Newark Tech HS in Newark, NJ. Standing on that historic bridge for the first time in my life while reflecting on what occurred on that bridge on March 7, 1965, known as Bloody Sunday, I had a moment of reckoning relative to my own leadership. Out of nowhere, the following three questions popped into my mind:

 

Who am I? (as it relates to my attitude toward my students and my overall leadership of my school) – a question of identity

 

What am I about? (as it relates to my attitude toward my students and my overall leadership of my school) – a question of purpose

 

What is my most recent evidence? (relative to my answers to questions one and two) /  (as it relates to my attitude toward my students and my overall leadership of my school) – a question of authenticity

 

I ultimately made these three questions I central part of my leadership preparation….daily. I posted them on my office wall along with a mirror and asked myself the three questions upon arrival and upon leaving every day. They really kept me grounded. I also shared them with staff and encouraged them to make these three questions a part of their individual practice along with a mirror. Many followed my example.

 

In this short commentary, I am encouraging you to do the same. Take ownership of these questions…embrace them…incorporate them into your daily routine. Keep yourself grounded by literally asking yourselves, “Who am I?, What am I about?, What is my most recent evidence?” You will be surprised at how difficult these questions may be to answer (or even look at) on difficult days. Those are the days that you will need them most. If you happen to be feeling discouraged and off-centered, they will help you in your effort to re-center yourself. Hang them up on your office wall with a mirror. Encourage your staff to do the same in their classrooms. As a leader, your identity, your purpose and your authenticity truly matter toward your overall leadership effectiveness.

 

If you missed Week 75 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 75 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 76 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

9/26/2021 – THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#37)

 

Topic:  Making Emotional Decisions While Ignoring the Data

 

If you missed yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 74), you missed a powerful conversation with turnaround principal, Shawn Hurt. Instead of focusing on one topic, we discussed a variety of topics relevant to school leaders. One of the topics centered around data analysis which is an area that Principal Hurt is particularly strong. For today’s Sunday Morning Commentary, I want to expound on data analysis in the areas of making emotional decisions.

 

As an assistant principal or principal there are going to be an enormous number of times when you are going to have to make on the spot decisions where there is no time to analyze data. In those situations, you will have to make the best possible decision rooted in whatever information / data you have at your disposal. Once you make the decision, you must stand by it.

 

On the other hand, there are many times when you are afforded the time to think through your decisions before you make them. In these cases, emotional decision-making must be the exception and not the rule. You have data…you have tons of data at your school at your disposal. Everything is data! As a school leader, your role is to make good usage of your data. Instead of making emotional decisions, the question is, what is your data saying to you? Your data must drive your decision-making because your data dictates your school’s “story.” I urge you to never ignore your data when making the various decisions that you make or will make in your leadership capacity. Instead, analyze your data and allow it to drive the decisions that you make toward the betterment of your school.

 

If you missed Week 74 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 74 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 74 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

9/19/2021 – THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#36)

 

Topic:  Do your students see “themselves” on the pages of the books that are utilized in your school?

 

If you missed yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 73), you missed a powerful conversation on Leading Resilient Schools. Dr. Sheka Houston and Principal Tammy Taylor “brought the house down!” They were both so insightful, powerful, on point and relevant. If you missed it, scroll down and check it out when you finish reading this commentary.

 

Speaking of “relevance”…relevance is the basis of this writing today. In yesterday’s interview, I asked Dr. Houston and Principal Taylor about their perspective on cultural relevance in the classroom and particularly about culturally relevant reading material. Their responses were so on point and relevant to everyone watching or everyone who will see the video. I’d like to add my thoughts on culturally relevant reading material here. Anything in a classroom that is less than culturally relevant is essentially biased and racist. It falls into under the umbrella of systemic racism and white supremacy when books are used in classrooms where everything is white. This is not only problematic in diverse classrooms or minority-majority classrooms, but it is equally problematic when white children make up the majority.  Black and Brown children need to be exposed to reading material (and pedagogy) where they are reflected in what they are reading in both imagery and content. In other words, they need to be exposed to reading material where they can “see themselves.” White children are typically exposed to reading material and content where they see themselves. This is quite normal in so many U.S. classrooms. But in addition to white children seeing themselves, they must be given opportunities of seeing others….and in this case, seeing imagery and narratives that are reflective of their Black and Brown peers. And I might add, imagery and narratives that go far beyond the typical pop-cultural negative and /or stereotypical images and narratives that we see in media regularly. It really matters

 

What does this all have to do with you? Everything! Many who will read this commentary are either aspiring principals, assistant principals or principals. As a principal in particular, one of your many hats is the one of “advocate.” You have to be an advocate for your students. If your students are sitting in classrooms and being exposed to reading, curriculum and instruction that does not reflect their own reality, you owe it to your children to change this reality. This too is leadership. This is sound leadership. I therefore urge you to fight for your students and ensure that the education  they are receiving in their classrooms speaks directly to all of them and not confined to only some of them.

 

If you missed Week 73 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 73 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next Saturday morning LIVE for Week 74 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/12/2021 – THE VIRTUAL AP LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SUNDAY MORNING COMMENTARY (#35)

 

Topic:  I know it’s professional…but is it personal?

 

Yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy was another “banger.” If you missed it, please scroll down. Yes, it was a little longer than my norm but I simply had a ton to say and didn’t want it to carry over into another week. It was called “20 Leadership Truths to Live By.” I spent the entire preceding week developing these “20 Truths” because certainly there are far more than 20 truths to live by for leaders but I wanted to share 20 that are particularly salient. Of the 20, there is one that resonates with me personally a little more than the other 19 which I am devoting to this commentary as follows:

 

“The success of your students and staff under your leadership has got to be personal! (beyond professional)”

 

Whew….that’s a big one! Now I know full well that there are some of us out here whereas the work is solely PROFESSIONAL. I get it and I understand it. But there are others of us in this business called school leadership (or education for that matter) because it is highly PERSONAL. For me, the way I always phrased it was,

 

“I conducted myself always as a professional but my motivation for doing this work was highly personal.”

 

In other words, becoming a teacher; becoming a principal was not a professional decision. It was a personal decision. On my personal side, I saw things within schools and society that bothered me. They bothered me particularly because of who I was personally. In other words, the things that irked me personally didn’t necessarily irk the masses. It was personal and it was a part of my essence as human being. The things about school and society that bothered me spoke to my personal humanity. So the decision to enter the ranks of teaching and subsequently the ranks of school leadership was driven by who I am personally as opposed to a professional decision to follow a certain career path. Teaching was therefore highly personal for me. School leadership was highly personal for me. I wanted students to achieve at high levels badly. I wanted to be effective badly. THIS WAS PERSONAL!

 

How about you? Who are you as a leader and is your leadership personal? I am not advocating for either way. I am simply giving you something for your consideration…a perspective.  I will say this however….when this work is personal, you tend to “move” a little differently. There’s a greater sense of urgency to perform your duties at the highest possible levels…because it’s personal. When it’s solely professional…your career, your profession, your job for example…it sort of removes the personal YOU from the equation and your simply doing what’s expected of you like any other job as a professional. But when it is YOU personally…and it is an outgrowth of your essence and it epitomizes who you are….aw man….that’s a different level of energy, excitement, enthusiasm and commitment. Is it professional…or is it personal? Think about it.

 

If you missed Week 72 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 72 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 73 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

9/5/2021 – SUNDAY MORNING “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#34)

 

Topic:  Hey Assistant Principal, what….who is your source of encouragement during these difficult times?

 

Before getting into my content, let me first say that for the first time since I started writing these commentaries (with the first one posted on 11/8/2020), I counted them today and had no idea that I had written a total of 34 including this one. Have you read them all? More valuable information toward becoming an effective assistant principal and principal. Be sure to like and follow this page so that you do not miss any of these commentaries. They are posted every Sunday morning.

 

Yesterday’s session was a needed session for this time of the year…the launching of a new school year. I felt the need to revisit the “WHY” and to expand upon what I referred to as a “Mental Preparation Plan” and few weeks ago which has evolved into “My Leadership Blueprint.” But in my opening, I revealed that I was extremely inspired by the Create and Educate live stream led by Principal Dr. Sheka Houston and Principal Tammy Taylor (tune in every Saturday morning on the Create and Educate Facebook page at 10:30 ET). They discussed the necessity of SEL for staff in the context of Covid 19 and the devastating effects of the recent hurricane – Hurricane Ida. As I listened to the broadcast, it made me think of the leadership, not only in the context of the leadership’s role in supporting staff, but in how the leadership itself is actually supported. How leadership is supported is an important consideration. With the zeal to support staff and students, it is very easy to lose sight of oneself and not even realize the deterioration of oneself. In other words, to give, give and give in a times of crisis and to be in the midst of dealing with your own challenges with comparable situations but not receiving, receiving and receiving translates into a lack of balance for the leadership. You too need support. My question to you then is what is your source of support? Is it coming from your superintendent or other central office administrators? Is it coming from your admin team (if you have one)? Is it coming from you inner circle (if you have one)? Is it coming from colleagues…your friends…your family? In our leadership capacities, we need support too….we need encouragement too.

 

In the midst of doing the heavy-lifting of keeping your staff supported and encouraged, I encourage you to be extremely mindful of your own emotional needs. You too are human. You too may be dealing with tragedy. To give, give, give and not receive, receive, receive can lead to rapid deterioration and burnout and then you are of no use to anyone. Whatever your source of encouragement, be sure to lean on it regularly.

 

If you missed Week 71 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 71 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 71 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

8/29/2021 – SUNDAY MORNING “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#33)

 

Topic:  If YOU don’t tell your story, someone else will!

 

Yesterday’s session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 70) was another big one. My guest was Texas Principal Josh Tovar and my topic was Social Media, School Branding and School Culture. This is an area where Josh is particularly strong so I looked forward to this timely interview. To add to the interview via today’s commentary, I want to remind everyone who will see this text that your school’s story is going to be told one way or the other. The question is, who’s going to tell the story? Said differently, who’s going to control your narrative? If the story isn’t told by you, it may not be the narrative that you want told. Or it might just be a distorted narrative of the real story.

 

What I am referring to is your public relations…your PR. As a school, you’re probably not going to hire a public relations firm to tell your story. That could prove both costly and unnecessary. Instead, ensuring that the story of your school is consistently told is a part of your leadership and a reflection of your leadership. Principal Tovar chose social media to get the words out about practically everything that happens in his school. I am in full agreement. What a powerful communications tool and particularly when used correctly. What’s key then is how aggressively you build up a following on your school’s various social media platforms. Ideally, you want to build an internal following of both students and staff. This way, as you tell the school’s story via acknowledgements, recognitions, celebrations, information, updates, events, etc., you have your entire school community on board with you and listening. But on the other hand, you want to pursue building a following of the parents and the community. This is where the word really gets out. And this is where you control your own narrative.

 

I am a firm believer that print and broadcast media no longer have the viability they once had to get information out due to the advent of social media. No longer do we have to write press releases and pray that the media covers the news you want to share. When you are aggressive with building a following via steadily requesting that the various stakeholders follow your school’s social media platforms, you now have power and control over the dissemination of your story. You are your own public relations firm. You have control over your own narrative. And always remember, if YOU don’t tell your story, someone else most certainly will…..and it might not be the story that accurately depicts the solid work that your school community has accomplished toward building a school that each of you are proud of.

 

If you missed Week 70 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 70 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 71 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

8/23/2021 – MONDAY “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#32)

 

Topic:  Teacher Development is a True Measure of YOUR Leadership!

 

I remember it like it was yesterday…It’s was the winter of 1996 and I’m in the midst of my administrative internship. My mentor, Dr. Kenneth King would meet with me regularly every week to get me ready for school leadership. We’d meet at my school where I was a 5th grade teacher, in the office conference room. My principal would attend our sessions as well. One day during this time, he uttered a sentence to me that would prove to be not only a game-changer but the most potent thing perhaps that a mentor could say to a mentee. He said to me, “Mr. Kafele, when you become a school administrator, the purpose of your supervision of your teachers will be their continued improvement in instruction.” Period! That shook me because in the era of my professional growth, I was just not there yet. That wasn’t my thinking yet. My thinking was on being a strong disciplinarian; particularly with the assistant principalship being my next chapter. I mistakenly thought that discipline was the primary role of the assistant principal. I had an vast amount of growing to do.

 

The same applies to you. As an assistant principal or aspiring assistant principal, you must always be thinking as an instructional leader. You must be thinking about student learning and student achievement. They must be at the core of your leadership existence. These will require you to think as a teacher developer. If student achievement is a priority in your school and district (which I’m sure that it is), you must always be thinking about how your leadership will improve the pedagogical performance of your teachers. This is non-negotiable and non-debatable. Yes, your staff can grow outside of your leadership but they must also grow BECAUSE of your leadership. I repeat, they must also grow BECAUSE of your leadership. The growth of the teachers that you supervise is a true measure of your overall leadership effectiveness. So therefore, yes, engage in all aspects of school leadership and strive to be proficient and effective in all of them, but at your core of leadership existence must be “the continued improvement in instruction of the teachers that you supervise.”

 

If you missed Week 69 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 69 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 70 right here at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

8/15/2021 – SUNDAY “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#31)

 

Topic:  Do you have a mental preparation plan?

 

On yesterday’s 68th edition of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, I discussed mental preparation for the assistant principal (or for anyone for that matter). I want to build on that discussion here. I’m saying to you that in no way can you simply walk into a building and start leading. There’s got to be a mental preparation that precedes leading. Everyone is different so I will not make suggestions as to what’s best. I have a variety of mental processes and strategies that I engage in before I start my work but they may not all be for you. What might yours be? Do you have any? Do you see the significance?

 

In addition to your mental preparation however is your mental preparation plan. Yes, you must plan your success…not just walk into it. Following, I will give you a synopsis of the plan. If you did not see yesterday’s broadcast, please scroll down and watch as I go much more in depth than I will here.

 

Your mental preparation plan is comprised of three sections – your Situation Analysis, your Goals and Your Strategy. Let’s look at each.

 

I. Situation Analysis

 

As a leader, your goal is to become the best possible leader you can be while always keeping in mind that you are there to serve. The reality is that we all have room for growth. None of us has reached a pinnacle where there is no margin for additional growth. We all have flaws and deficiencies in our leadership that can be improved upon. My challenge to you in the Situation Analysis is to assess your leadership in earnest and to list all of your self-perceived leadership deficiencies and flaws. What’s key is that your ego does not cloud your list. You must be honest with yourself. List everything you can think of where you need to improve.

 

II. Goals

 

The second section of your mental preparation plan is a list of goals that correspond with everything you listed in the Situation Analysis. Here you want to determine where you want to be relative to your deficiencies and write your goal for each. You are literally mentally preparing to take your leadership to another level of effectiveness via developing a written plan for doing so.

 

III. Strategy

 

This is the section where the rubber meets the road. This is where you want to write a detailed a plan of action where each section corresponds with what you wrote in your Situation Analysis and your Goals. What’s key is that you devise a timeline within your strategy toward holding yourself accountable for when the goal will be achieved. Toward experiencing success, you must plan for success. I therefore encourage you take this section and your overall plan extremely seriously. Use this process as a vehicle to prepare mentally for the solid leadership that your students and staff require and expect of you.

 

If you missed Week 68 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 68 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 69 at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

 

8/8/2021 – SUNDAY MORNING “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#30)

 

Topic:  Don’t Take Your Composure Lightly!

 

On yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, my topic was, Protecting Your Truth. But before I got to my main topic, I did my customary mini motivational message and that topic was, Protecting Your Composure. For this week’s commentary, I want to expound on my mini message of composure.

 

As an assistant principal, your composure matters. I repeat, your composure matters. Toward writing this commentary, I took the liberty of looking up the word composure and it is defined as: the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself. For those of you who have been in administration for at least one week, you are well aware that there are a multiplicity of circumstances and variables that can block you from being calm and in control of oneself. I have witnessed leaders on numerous occasions lose complete control of themselves. And in full disclosure, I have found myself in that predicament myself; particularly as a young administrator.

 

Toward maintaining your composure through all circumstances, it’s like anything else that you want to become proficient at….you must practice. Every situation in life is practice…a dress rehearsal for the next comparable situation. So during any given challenging situation, you must be intentionally cognizant of your own demeanor while asking yourself, “Am I in control of myself in this moment?” Chances are that you may or may not be in control of the situation, but that is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not you are in control of yourself and your emotions, and remaining calm. How you go about protecting your composure will go a long way toward how you handle the situation at hand. Calm heads always prevail. So remain calm and in control of yourself always. And be ever so mindful to use each challenging situation as a “dress rehearsal” for the next one.

 

If you missed Week 67 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 67 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copies of my books that accompany the Virtual AP Leadership Academy – The Assistant Principal 50, The Aspiring Principal 50 and The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. See you next week LIVE for Week 68 at 10:55 EDT.

 

 

 

 

 

7/25/2021 – SUNDAY MORNING “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#29)

 

Topic:  When your LEADERSHIP REALITY doesn’t align with your LEADERSHIP VALUES

 

Let me start out by saying that yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy was “fiyah.” I had as a guest, Dr. Salome Thomas-El (Principal El) and we discussed a plethora of topics. One of the questions that I asked was, “What do you do when your leadership reality doesn’t align with your leadership values?” This is a heavy duty question and a heavy-duty topic of discussion. Let’s dive in.

 

Without getting into all of the specifics, I recall back from 2003 – 2005 as a principal, I was confronted by a situation where my leadership reality was in stark conflict with my leadership values. I was a young veteran principal at the time having completed five years of principal leadership. Up to that point, everything was pretty much smooth sailing and then “bam,” I find myself in a situation that seemingly, I cannot win. I promise to one day tell this story in full but space will not permit it here. My point then is that I ran into what seemed to be an insurmountable situation with my thinking at the time being that either I live with it or I resign. Ultimately I resigned and moved on to another district but there is so much in between, again, for another time.

 

How about you? Perhaps you have not been in a situation where your reality and your values have clashed. Perhaps you’ve already gotten through a situation like this. Perhaps you are in it right now. Perhaps your situation is right around the corner unbeknownst to you. Whatever your situation, do know that inevitably, there will be a time when your values, and in this case, your leadership values will be put to the test. Don’t “freak out” though. Stay calm. Think it through. Weigh your options. Communicate with individuals you can trust. Seek their advice. Ask yourself if this is a situation you can live with and endure. After all, everything in school leadership is not going to be to your liking. Yes, there will be times when compromise is in order. At the end of the day however, you’ve got to ask yourself, can I lead effective in an atmosphere where my values are being compromised? This is a little different from something you don’t agree with. This is your values. If you find that you cannot endure leading in a situation where your values are being compromised…where your leadership reality and your leadership values are unaligned, then you have some heavy decisions that you will have to make; particularly as it relates to your mental health and overall self-care concerns. Whatever the situation however, you cannot let it destroy you emotionally nor professionally. You must remain in control of yourself at all times and throughout the ordeal.

 

If you missed Week 65 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 65 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copy of my

new book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50.

 

 

 

 

 

7/11/2021 – SUNDAY MORNING “KAFELE COMMENTARY” TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#28)

 

Topic:  Are My Students at an Advantage BECAUSE They Attend My School?

 

Yesterday, in Week 63 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, my topic asked the question, “Are my students at an advantage because they attend my school?” It’s a heavy-duty question that I would challenge any school leader to embrace as a part of who they are as school leaders. In other words, take ownership of the question and ask oneself daily this same question. I will caution you that the answer to the question when answered in earnest could be uncomfortable at times. But that’s ok…discomfort creates growth.

 

Let’s delve deeper….at some point in your journey, you decided that school leadership is your next “calling” OR you were “called” to school leadership. During this time, you felt firmly that you had something substantial to offer to your future students, staff and entire school community so you decided to take the leap out of the classroom into school leadership. Do I have it right so far? And now here you are in this position as either a principal or an assistant principal. I now ask you the question once again: Are your students at an advantage BECAUSE they attend your school? Of course, there are a plethora of variables that determine what makes a great school for all children and a plethora of variables that determine whether or not all students are at an advantage because they attend a particular school.  But for this commentary, I’m looking at the anchor, the foundation, the rock…the leadership. Leadership is everything and everything starts with the leader. I am therefore asking you the following questions:

 

·  What is it about your leadership that each of your learners are at an advantage?

·  What is about your leadership that there is a higher probability for each of your students to succeed?

·  What is it about your leadership that the professional growth and development of teachers is ongoing and significant?

·  What is it about your leadership that every parent is pleased with the school that their children attend?

·  What is it about your leadership that each youngster feels emotionally safe and secure in the building?

·  What is it about your leadership that each youngster is being held accountable for maximizing their potential?

 

I could go on and on but the point here is that you are always focused on how your leadership translates into each of your learners being at an advantage BECAUSE they attend your school.

 

After reading, I encourage you to drop a comment regarding your thoughts on the topic as it relates to your leadership.

 

If you missed Week 63 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 63 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copy of my

new book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50.

 

 

 

6/28/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#27)

 

Topic:  I Know You WANT to Lead, But Are You Walking in Your WHY?

 

In Week 61 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy this past Saturday, I had a special guest – long time friend (spanning 6 decades) and colleague, Principal Dr. Vincent Stallings. We discussed the WHY of School Leadership. What a fascinating conversation. If you missed it, please go to my YouTube channel at Virtual AP Leadership Academy and check it out.

 

I think about the WHY literally every day because it is such a critical component to effective school leadership. Your WHY is your purpose….your reason….your because. Without being firmly rooted, grounded and planted in your WHY, you are essentially just wandering about all day responding to various different stimuli as it arises along your daily journey. That’s no way to lead. True leaders aren’t waiting around for things to happen. They go about their business making things happen. They aren’t reactive. They are proactive. But driving everything they do is their WHY. It matters. To be clear, their WHY is not ALL that they do, but it drives WHAT they do. Case in point – when I became a teacher, I entered the ranks of teaching because I wanted to be a living, breathing example for my boys of what it is to be a man. I wanted to model manhood and I wanted to teach and talk about manhood. That didn’t mean that I neglected my girls because I didn’t. My WHY however was personal. It was rooted in my own childhood of not have my father present in my daily life. As a teacher, I wanted to fill that void. It literally drove every aspect of who I was as a teacher. When I became a principal, my WHY intensified. I wore a plethora of hats as a principal but what drove me WAS MY WHY!

 

How about you? What is your WHY? Have you determined your  WHY? If so, are you walking in your WHY? Are you living your WHY? Does your WHY drive your thinking…your decisions….your actions…your mission…your goals…your vision? Your WHY is so critical to your success as a school leader. Never take your WHY lightly. Spend time considering it, reflecting upon it, refining it and walking it daily. It is so easy to distinguish a school with a leader who’s living their WHY vs. the one who is not. That one walking in their WHY walks with a completely different sort of “swag” and goes about their leadership with a completely different disposition. Know your WHY and walk in it regularly.

 

If you missed Week 61 of Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 61 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copy of my

new book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50.

 

 

 

 

 

6/13/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#26)

 

Topic:  Your Values Matter…And You Must Protect Them!

 

Every Saturday morning before I get to my main message of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, I start off with a short motivational / empowering message. Yesterday’s motivational message was, Protecting Your Values. Protecting your values is important on many levels which includes preserving your sanity both on a personal and a professional level. Protecting your values is so critical because it is inevitable that they will be challenged. That challenge could come from your superiors, staff, students, parents, the community, politicians, etc. If your values define who you are, you must therefore give your all to protecting them….guarding them…shielding them.

 

I can recall many years ago I had a superintendent that I had zero agreement with professionally and philosophically. In order for me to “get along” would have required for me to compromise my values. Without going into detail in this forum, I had some tough decisions to make. I knew that I did not want to lead that school while simultaneously not recognizing who that was in my mirror, but I was literally in a situation where I would have to step outside of myself in order to function. As they say, “long story short,” I decided to leave the school and the district at the end of the year and to a district where I could work within the expectations of the organization but simultaneously “be me.” I was not willing to compromise my values or to be other than myself.

 

What does this mean for you? Most if not all of us will face times and circumstances where our values will be called into question. I am by no stretch suggesting that you depart from your school as I did but I am suggesting that you productively put as much effort as you can into protecting your values. You cannot possibly be happy in your assignment if your assignment requires for you to be other than yourself. This will require some tough conversations with whomever the stakeholders may be in question but at the end of the day, YOU HAVE TO BE YOU….you’ve got to protect your values.

 

If you missed yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 59 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all. And don’t forget to order your copy of my

new book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50.

 

 

5/22/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#25)

 

Topic:  “I’M READY TO LEAD MY OWN SCHOOL!”

 

In yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 56), I discussed the mental preparation of getting to a point where you KNOW that you are ready to go to the next level of leadership – THE PRINCIPALSHIP. In other words, many of you out there are either aspiring assistant principals or assistant principals who aspire to become principals. Your graduate school coursework and attending conferences is necessary but it is not enough. You must also consistently prepare yourself mentally…and emotionally. Inherent in your mental / emotional preparation is seeing yourself as the leader of a school…right now….imagining yourself as the principal of your current school and considering who you would be in your leadership capacity in all aspects of your school. This is a necessary component of preparing for the principalship. For every scenario and situation that arise in your school, you must ask yourself who you would be if you were the principal of the school. Keep a journal and record your thoughts. Refer back to it regularly as you grow mentally / emotionally daily in your pursuit of school leadership. SEE YOURSELF AS THE PRINCIPAL NOW AND REMIND YOURSELF TO THINK AS A PRINCIPAL REGULARLY.

 

If you missed yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, scroll down and watch it now. If you have missed any of the previous 56 weeks, visit my Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and see them all.

 

 

 

5/16/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#24)

 

Topic:  “Is Principal Leadership REALLY For Me?”

 

Yesterday’s session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 55) was truly hard-hitting if I may say so myself. For an aspiring principal and an assistant principal, I laid out 30 realities of what principal leadership REALLY is. Honestly, it’s not for everyone. It requires special individuals who can adapt to a multiplicity of different situations, challenges, obstacles, pressures, demands and people. Excelling at graduate school is simply not enough. So much more is required in order to become an effective school leader.

 

For today’s commentary, I decided that as a follow up to yesterday’s session, I would provide the self-reflective questions that I used to deliver my message. If you missed yesterday’s Week 55 session, please go to my youtube channel at Virtual AP Leadership Academy and check it out along with all of the other sessions you may have missed and I’ll see you next Saturday at 10:55 EDT for Week 56.

 

Topic: Is Principal Leadership REALLY for Me?

 

1)    How would I handle inheriting a school where true leadership was previously lacking?

 

2)    How would I handle inheriting a school where true instructional leadership was non-existent?

 

3)    How would I handle inheriting a school with historically low achievement levels?

 

4)    How would I handle inheriting a school where a large percentage of students are reading below grade level?

 

5)    How would I handle inheriting a mission-less school?

 

6)    How would I handle inheriting a vision-less school?

 

7)    How would I handle inheriting a school where its brand-identity runs counter to its mission and vision?

 

8)    How would I handle inheriting a school with a large number of unmotivated students?

 

9)    How would I handle inheriting a school in an economically disadvantaged community with its accompanying challenges?

 

10) How would I handle inheriting a school with a culture of generating a huge volume of disciplinary referrals?

 

11) How would I handle inheriting a school with student attendance and tardiness challenges?

 

12) How would I handle inheriting a school with a toxic climate and culture (staff and students)?

 

13) How would I handle inheriting a school with a high dropout rate?

 

14) How would I handle inheriting an unsafe school?

 

15) How would I handle inheriting a school with a heavy gang population?

 

16) How would I handle inheriting a school with low staff morale?

 

17) How would I handle inheriting a school where administration is not respected by staff?

 

18) How would I handle inheriting a school with poor staff attendance?

 

19) How would I handle inheriting a school where staff collaboration is virtually non-existent?

 

20) How would I handle inheriting a school where there are staff members who do not get along with one another?

 

21) How would I handle inheriting a school where lesson planning is not the norm?

 

22) How would I handle inheriting a school where missing deadlines is normal?

 

23) How would I handle inheriting a school where going above and beyond is non-existent?

 

24) How would I handle inheriting a school where parental engagement / participation at the building level is virtually non-existent?

 

25) How would I handle inheriting a school where chaos is normal and anticipated?

 

26) How would I handle inheriting a school that has a horrible reputation in the community?

 

27) How would I handle inheriting a school that has bad community relations?

 

28) How would I handle inheriting a school where the facility has been poorly maintained?

 

29) How would I handle inheriting a filthy school that needs a lot of attention?

 

30) Is principal leadership really for me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/9/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#23)

 

Topic:  “I know my worth….I know my value!”

 

In yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 54), I asked the viewers to either repeat after me or to write in the chat, “I know my worth…I know my value!” Why would I make this request of my viewers? Because these are crucial affirmations to success in any genre but since my focus is assistant principal leadership, they are absolutely crucial toward the success of a school leader. The challenges to school leadership are real and vast. The role of leadership is replete with challenges, obstacles, pressures and demands. You could literally bet everything that you own that there will in fact be overwhelming times within your leadership. There will be circumstances AND people that can undermine your efforts….if you allow them to. I repeat…IF YOU ALLOW THEM TOO. You therefore cannot afford for circumstances and people to undermine your efforts or compromise your attitude and vision of excellence. You must do everything that you can to sustain your attitude and vision of excellence. Inherent in doing so is “knowing your worth and knowing your value.” When I say you must know them both, I mean you have to feel it in your soul. There can be no wavering or vacillating. You must maintain confidence in your ability to lead at a high level while knowing that you matter. If need be, remind yourself regularly and particularly during difficult and challenging times that you know your worth and you know your value. Now repeat after me: “I KNOW MY WORTH…I KNOW MY VALUE!” Enough said…LET’S GO! #bam

 

 

4/25/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#22)

 

Topic:  What is your daily morning message to your students?

 

In yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 52) I addressed the topic, How YOU Start Will Determine How THEY Finish. In other words, I spent an hour discussing the role of the principal on a typical school day prior to instruction, and the fact of the matter is that there is MUCH to be done prior teaching and learning in the morning. In this case, one of those responsibilities is the principal’s morning message. It is absolutely essential that the principal’s message occurs each and every morning before the formal school day begins.

 

Think about it, in the world of sports, on game day, the teams go into their respective locker rooms and put on their uniforms. What they don’t do is subsequently walk out onto the field, court, diamond or ice. No…before they leave the locker room to compete, they hear final words from their head coach – not the assistant coach but the head coach. The head coach has a message…a final message before the athletes leave the locker room to compete. It may be an informative message or a motivational message or a reminder of details message or whatever the coach deems essential as final preparation before the start of the game, but you can best believe that the head coach will have a message. What’s this got to do with you when you become a principal? EVERYTHING! You will be the leader of the ship! As the leader, you must lead in all aspects of school leadership. This includes, just as the head coach, delivering to your entire school a daily morning message of inspiration and empowerment. You must always remember that there is a percentage of students in your school who TRULY NEED to hear from you. Your morning message theoretically lays a foundation and sets a tone for learning each and every day. What’s empowering about the morning message is that it is coming from THE LEADER. No clichés but instead a “from the heart” message that addresses the current needs of your student today. My parting questions for you are, “Will you deliver a daily morning message? What will you say? Why will you say it? What impact do you expect that it will make?” Be sure to deliver your message…daily.

 

See you next Saturday morning, May 1 @ 10:55 EDT for Week 53 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy.

 

Principal Kafele

 

 

 

 

4/18/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#21)

 

Topic:  Do my students seem genuinely interested in having conversations with me?

 

Yesterday during Week 51 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, my topic was, The Intentionality Student Engagement. One of the self-reflective questions that I raised was, “Do my students seem genuinely interested in having conversations with me?” When we talk about the importance of student engagement, this is a significant question indeed. What the question is asking is, “Do you matter to your students? Do you matter to the extent that they would want to hear from you…would they want to hear your words…do your words add value to their lives?” Because if they do not, it is time for you to look into the mirror and ask yourself why. The problem is not external….it’s internal. You must go into self-discovery mode and decipher what it is about you that your children don’t want to converse with you. Said differently, what is it about YOUR LEADERSHIP that your students don’t see value in your words. As a leader, I am certain that you have a wealth of knowledge, information and wisdom to share with your students but in order for them to benefit from your words, they have to be willing recipients. That’s where your earnest introspection must come into play which is an inherent component of you properly positioning yourself to be someone that your students are genuinely interested in having conversations with.

 

 

 

4/11/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#20)

 

Topic:  Your PRESENCE in their lives is reflective of your ESSENCE as their leader

 

The title alone requires some deep introspection as either an aspiring school leader, an assistant principal or a principal. I don’t care how many leadership courses one takes, books, articles and blogs one reads, videos one watches and podcasts one listens to, unless your leadership must epitomize a high level of humanity toward your students and staff. In fact, the question of humanity for me engenders the question of equity. I am known to say that “Equity is not solely something that you do…equity is who you are. Equity is a reflection of the educator’s humanity toward the students he / she services.” More deep introspection for a school leader.

 

Your presence in the lives of the students that you lead matters. It is reflective of your essence as a leader. Those relationships that you forge with your students matter. When you think of your leadership skillset, forging relationships with your students must be an integral part of your skillset. As I indicated in yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy session #50, “You must Love them while you LEAD them and engagement comes before achievement.” All of this speaks to your humanity as a leader, and your intentionality toward developing solid relationships with your students is simply unavoidable. It’s all about nurturing a sense of family within your school community where ultimately, everyone in the school feels that they are truly valued and that they matter.

 

 

 

3/28/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#19)

 

Topic:  Curriculum, Content Standards and “Teaching to the Test”

 

It is my hope that you had an opportunity to watch either the LIVE or the video of yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 48) entitled, THE CURRICULUM…The Lifeblood of Your School. If you haven’t seen it as of yet, please take a look at it.

 

In a classroom, as a teacher is preparing for the annual state standardized assessments, the direction that comes from you will dictate what happens in those classrooms. In other words, will your teachers “teach to the standard” or “teach to the test?” The answer speaks volumes to who you are as a school leader. Yes you are the assistant principal in this moment and therefore do not have full authority over your school just yet, but as an assistant principal, you are in training for your future principalship so you need to be thinking about who you will be in that role NOW. But on the other hand, even in your capacity of assistant principal, you get to “control that narrative” with the teachers that you supervise. It’s all in who you are as an instruction leader with your teachers. You have choices and it boils down to the choices that you make.

 

As a school leader, you can never lose sight of the fact that teaching to a test is NOT education. It’s just preparing children to pass a test. Am I guilty of this practice back in my principal days? In full transparency, absolutely until a “grew up” in my leadership. Despite the pressure however to encourage teachers to teach to a test, use everything you have within yourself to resist the pressure and instead ensure that your teachers are providing your students with a world-class education that aims to teach to the standards toward mastery. Anything less is a disservice to the children that you serve.

 

See you next Saturday, April 3 at 10:55 EDT for Week 49 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy.

 

Principal Kafele

 

 

 

 

3/21/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#18)

 

Topic:  Your First Principalship is Awaiting You!

 

Let me tell you something…I receive a ton of emails, inboxes and DM’s from unhappy assistant principals and unhappy aspiring AP’s who have worked diligently to land their first principalship or assistant principalship but continue to be informed that the district went with someone else for whatever the reason. It happens to all of us at varying points in our journey. But I’m writing to either inform you or to remind you that YOUR FIRST PRINCIPALSHIP OR ASSISTANT PRINCIPALSHIP IS AWAITING YOU! Your task is two-fold…#1 is to continue to prepare for it and #2 is to locate it. Every principalship is not meant for you. What God has for you is for you. Sometimes, we have to be proficient in patience. Those multiple interviews you have attended may not be for jobs that are good fits for you. Those multiple interviews may instead just be rehearsals for the interview that is going to land you the principalship of your dreams. It’s coming….but be patient. Don’t quit on yourself. Don’t quit on your dream. Don’t be discouraged. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. The journey can be tough, long and lonely. That’s okay though. I remember my journey to become a nationally-renowned public speaker. I wanted it badly but the doors were nailed shut. So I had to grind for decades. It took me longer than others to get to where I wanted to be. It’s okay though…I got there. I therefore encourage you to HOLD ON but to keep on working hard AND smart toward ultimately landing your first principalship. If not you then WHO? It’s coming.

 

See you next Saturday, March 27 for Week 48 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy

 

Principal Kafele

 

 

 

2/28/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#17)

 

Topic:  What Do I Know?

 

For the entire month of February, 2021, I devoted all four Saturdays of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy to Black history. Specifically, I devoted the month to discussing why school leaders must be conversant in Black history and aspects within Black history that are just non-avoidable to know. For whatever reason, yesterday’s discussion that covered the 50’s and 60’s was particularly emotional for me to deliver using my Saturday Academy platform. I found myself holding back tears, unbeknownst to my audience. The information was real but continues to be absent in far too many American curriculums. For example, I went in depth with areas such as but not limited to:

 

·  The reasons behind the Brown vs. the Board of Education class action lawsuit and Supreme Court decision.

·  The Little Rock Nine

·  The closure of the entire Prince Edward County Schools from 1959 – 1964 in order to prevent school desegregation.

·  Emmett Till’s murder

·  The Greensboro Four

·  The Montgomery Bus Boycott

·  The 4 Little Girls who lost their lives during the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL

·  The two boys who lost their lives in Birmingham to racial violence on the same day

·  Bloody Sunday and the lead up to Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL

 

My position has been unchanged for the past 37 years: that American history is not the true narrative of America when the narrative either marginalizes, distorts, trivializes, caricaturizes or omits the complete narrative of the African American…who represent the only group in America who came to these shores involuntarily. This is where you come in leader. Change starts with leadership. Your schools and districts go as you go. If we are serious about bringing about real change and real racial healing in America, one of the areas that will require maximum attention is exposing all children to an honest account of the history of the African American, regardless of how painful, sensitive and delicate the narrative may be.

 

Be sure to join Principal Kafele live every Saturday morning at 11 EST on FB Live @ Principal Kafele or Virtual AP Leadership Academy, Twitter Live @ PrincipalKafele or YouTube Live @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy.

 

 

 

2/21/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#16)

 

Topic:  Are you telling the truth?

 

Yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy was one hour and fifty minutes long meaning that I made a one hour broadcast two hours long. It is standard for me to engage in intense self-reflection and self-assessment with any work that I do upon completion. As a teacher, I engaged in it daily and as a principal, I engaged in it daily. I wanted to have an honest conversation with myself daily relative to whether or not I brought the best version of myself to my students and staff. This conversation mattered because it spoke to what adjustments I needed to make going into the next day toward my overall improvement as an educator. This was ritual for me. Well the same holds true for my role as a presenter, whether that be on a stage with thousands in the audience or sitting in my dining room conducting my Saturday Academy with an audience that I cannot see.

 

As I reflected upon yesterday’s session, my focus was more so on my content. “Did I say all that I needed to say? Did I present it in a way that a diverse audience would understand my thoughts and intent and be able to embrace all that was presnted? For a one hour session, did I share too much over a two-hour span of time to digest?” I spent a considerable amount of time on these questions and more. At some point in the afternoon, I received a couple of inboxes from viewers that were very similar. They both stated, “Thanks for having the courage to tell the truth.” These resonated with me because to be quite frank with you, my “honesty” over the years as an educator has been my achilles heel. I’ve gotten “good trouble” for telling the truth…because the truth hurts. I’ve turned people off by telling the truth. I’ve created distance between myself and others by telling the truth. I’ve lost out on opportunities by telling the truth. But you know something…if I had a reset and could start my career all over again, I would continue to tell the truth. Why? Because the truth MATTERS!

 

Now let’s look at you. You are either an aspiring school leader, an assistant principal or a principal (or in some other leadership capacity). For those of you with Black students enrolled in your schools, are you willing to tell the truth as it relates to their history? Are you willing to engage your staff in difficult, uncomfortable, bold conversations on the truth about the history of your students? Are you willing to challenge curriculum and instruction that either distort, marginalizes, trivializes or outright omit the truth about the history of your students? I am well aware that the questions that I am asking can put your careers in jeopardy in different parts of the country as it did mine so I’m definitely not advocating that you become careless and reckless in your pursuit of “telling the truth” or working in an environment where the truth and honesty in history are welcome. That would be careless and reckless on my part. Instead, I am encouraging you to be strategic in all aspects of your work in this regard. As I stated above, I was commended for “telling the truth” on yesterday’s broadcast. Your students deserve the same truth. The denial of truth is a huge contributor of the Black – white achievement gap nationally.  Your Black students history is a vital component of their academic achievement. Moreover, it is a part of their truth. It is therefore imperative that as you listen to me share their truth on February Saturday mornings, that the message doesn’t remain in Saturday but instead makes its way into the lives of the students whom it is primarily intended for while always keeping in mind that it is imperative that your non-Black students be exposed to the same truth as your Black students throughout. They too need and require this truth about the history of Black people.

 

Be sure to join Principal Kafele live every Saturday morning at 11 EST on FB Live @ Principal Kafele or Virtual AP Leadership Academy, Twitter Live @ PrincipalKafele or YouTube Live @ Virtual AP Leadership Academy.

 

 

2/14/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#15)

 

Topic:  Who Am I?

 

In 2008, I wrote a book entitled, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life. In this book, I share a plethora of thoughts, ideas, suggestions and strategies toward motivating and empowering the Black male learner. As I reflect back on what I wrote, my primary motivation for writing this book was a three word question: Who am I?  I therefore devoted an entire chapter to this question. In other words, Chapter 4 is entitled, “Who Am I?”

 

Since 1984, I have argued that school districts can spend all of the money that they want to spend toward closing the so-called racial gap in achievement but until they come to grips with the fact that the masses of Black children are looking into their mirrors and not recognizing the greatness of who that is looking back at them both historically and culturally, school districts are pretty much “spinning their wheels.” It’s called “historical and cultural amnesia” and historical and cultural amnesia can last a lifetime if there is no intervention. The intervention is curriculum and instruction where Black students see consistent and ongoing representation of themselves across content areas. In other words, they must see the relevance in what they are learning but simultaneously, they must be introduced to the history and experience of the people who look just like them…their ancestors. The information is infinite.

 

In yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy #42 (2/13/21) entitled, “What Do I Know?” – 50 Things School Leaders MUST KNOW About Black History, my premise was that if Black children are going to be properly educated via culturally-relevant teaching and learning inclusive of learning their historical past, you, as a leader in your school have a particular role to play, whether in your present position or your future principalship. As a leader in your school, the passion, drive and determination for this work commences with you because ultimately, it must be a school-wide effort which enables Black children to be in a learning environment that appreciates in earnest who they are historically as Black children. Toward demonstrating this appreciation, I cannot overstate that YOU must be knowledgeable which is why I have devoted February – Black History Month – to providing various themes in Black history that all of the educators in the building should be and must be conversant in, which is inclusive of your Black students’ African past beyond enslavement. Be ever so mindful that helping your Black students to better recognize who that is in their mirrors historically and culturally is not solely for the benefit of your Black students. It’s for all of the students in your school. Not only are the masses of Black children unfamiliar with their historical past (because it is rarely taught), but the masses of non-Black students are equally unaware of who your Black students are historically and culturally as well. Translation – we have a ton of work to do.

 

 

 

2/7/2021– KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#14)

 

Topic:  If your teachers’ lessons were mirrors, would your Black students be able to see themselves in the reflection?

 

Now this is a heavy-duty question. Walk with me on this one. I’m asking you if the lessons of the teachers that you supervise were figuratively mirrors, what would your students see in the reflection? But I want to be a little more specific here….what would, your Black students see? If they looked into these “mirrored lessons,” would they see themselves in the reflection? Would they see themselves looking back? I cannot overstate the significance of these questions. They speak to equity, cultural-relevance, cultural-responsiveness and social justice education.

 

On yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, I referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Specifically I cited:

 

"I wept for my children and all Black children who have been denied a knowledge of their heritage. I wept for all white children, who through DAILY MISEDUCATION, are taught that the Negro is an irrelevant entity in American society. I wept for all the white parents and teachers who are forced to overlook the fact that the wealth of cultural and technological progress in America is a result of the commonwealth of inpouring contributions."

 

Every time I read this, it resonates with me. He’s saying that he felt sadness for Black children existing in learning environments where learning is not reflective of them. Translation – Black children being educated (or miseducated) in learning environments where the prevailing internal questions become, “What’s this got to do with me? How can I use this? How is this relevant to my life? How is this going to enhance my life?” Black children must see themselves in their own learning. Learning must be relevant. If they do not see themselves or see the relevance of what’s being taught, why would you and I expect them to embrace it?

 

As an assistant principal or aspiring assistant principal, this is where you come in. As an instructional leader, it is your duty…your responsibility to ensure that learning is relevant culturally. I will deem this to be nonnegotiable and non-debatable. The closure of the “achievement gap” is probably the oldest, most discussed topic in all of education. Countless strategies have been brought forth, but the one that deserves the most attention and effort but is all too often dismissed is culturally-relevant pedagogy and culturally-responsive relations in the classroom.  Again, as a school leader, this must be at the core of your work because at the proverbial “end of the day,” your students must be able to see themselves in “the reflection of the lesson.”

 

For more Principal Kafele writings, visit principalkafelewrites.com.


 

 

 

1/31/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#13)

 

Topic:  “We are Striving to Achieve the Unimaginable, the Unthinkable, the Inconceivable, Yet Attainable!”

 

Back in the early 2000’s, I took over the leadership of a school in which five days after my arrival, it was designated by the NJ Dept of Education as a persistently dangerous school. I didn’t see that coming and it therefore caught me off guard. I went into that school with a focus on raising the achievement levels but now I had to pivot and devote my energy to not only achievement but in removing this widely known horrible stigma quickly. I knew instinctively that there was nothing dangerous about my students but I wanted the world to know as well as the persistently dangerous designation became a national media story.

 

We put a ton of measures in place to bring about change, but one that stands out to me to this day – 18 years later – was my daily morning message. I would grab that microphone and after greeting my students and staff, I would yell out, “We are striving to achieve the unimaginable, the unthinkable, the inconceivable, yet attainable!” In other words, I was telling my students and staff that despite how the outside world now sees us due to the negative and salacious media attention we received, we are going to prove them all wrong. We are going to defy their perceptions and imagination about who we are.

 

What’s all this got to do with you? Everything! I am saying that my morning statement is applicable to your assistant principal leadership too. In 2021, being a status quo leader is simply not good enough. This is a new day replete with new realities. This will require you to continually renew yourself. Through your team, you must relentlessly “strive to achieve the unimaginable, the unthinkable, the inconceivable yet attainable.” You must be able to demonstrate to your entire school community that whatever the challenges, you and your team are ready to meet them. But moreover, you must be able to demonstrate ongoing ingenuity, innovation and creativity toward leading and achieving at heights never seen before….constantly renewing yourself toward not only adapting to change, but creating change. Your students and staff deserve this from you….they deserve the best version of your leadership.

 

 

1/24/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#12)

 

Topic:  You cannot be an optimally effective school leader while ignorant of your district’s policies

 

On yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 39), I spent an hour discussing the importance of being conversant in your districts policies. I cannot overstate the importance of you being knowledge of your district’s policies relative to your decision-making in a plethora of areas over the course of any given day. Pretty much any decision you make will have policy implications but toward making the various decisions that you make on any given day, you more than likely will not have an opportunity to read the policy before you make the decision. You must know the policy prior to. This requires that you spend sufficient time reading and familiarizing yourself with all of the policies of your district. Of course, as it relates to students and particularly your advocacy for your students, you will inevitably encounter policies that you don’t agree with. It happens. It happened to me more times than I can count from an equity standpoint. These were the times that I had to use the appeals process toward ensuring that equity was our reality as a school community. The bottom line though and the purpose of this commentary is to say to you that reading, studying and knowing your district’s policies must be made a priority toward your overall professional growth and development as a school leader.

 

 

1/17/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#11)

 

Topic: What do your students know about what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said and what he wrote?

 

As I indicated in yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, it is normal for schools to focus on biographical information and the various different campaigns that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr led throughout his years of Civil Rights leadership. But there also needs to be an equal amount of emphasis on his writings and speeches….speeches beyond his “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington – an important speech but not his only speech. In listening to his speeches between 1955 and 1968, it becomes more than evident that Dr. King was steadily evolving in his thinking. The same can be said about his writings. He was the author of the following four books: Strive Toward Freedom (1958), Strength to Love (1963), Why We Can’t Wait (1964) and Where Do We Go From Here (1967). Students should and must be exposed to Dr. King’s words…not just his actions. Between YouTube and the aforementioned books, this is an excellent starting place. In the spirit of “King Weekend,” I encourage you, in your leadership capacity to approach the teaching of Dr. King in your classrooms via not only teaching what he did, but also through what he said and what he wrote.

 

 

1/10/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#10)

 

Topic: It takes guts to lead!

 

On yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 37), my topic was, School Leadership in Times of Social Unrest, Uprisings, Rebellions and Riots (Part 1). If you missed it and you are in school leadership, I urge you to scroll down and take a look. At the heart of the discussion was the need for leadership to engage staff in the not so easy discussions and conversations about social justice issues and race. These are not easy conversations to even broach, let alone delve into deeply in a lot of places; particularly when the staff is diverse. Within staff for example, there could be a multiplicity of perspectives, beliefs and values politically that are on the opposite end of the spectrum from your own. That’s okay though. The social justice issues that impact your students are real and they are not going away. Looked at differently, as your students enter your school every day (or log on during the pandemic) those social justice issues that impact them, their families and their communities outside of school come into the school with them when the school doors open up in the morning. In other words, your students are a product of those issues. To that end, they must be addressed. To ignore them translates into ignoring significant aspects of your students. These discussions begin with staff. Despite the reality that you may have staff members who do not see the world the way that you do, the conversations are unavoidable. YOU MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO ENGAGE YOUR STAFF. SAID DIFFERENTLY, YOU MUST HAVE THE GUTS TO ENGAGE YOUR STAFF IN THE TOUGH, UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND RACE.

 

Of course, I am not suggesting that you utilize an “in your face” approach. You must learn your staff and bring the appropriate people skills to the discussion. As you learn your staff, you learn who can tolerate what (initially) and how to approach them collectively and individually. What’s key is that you have the “guts” to broach these uncomfortable conversations about issues of social justice and race. If you shy away from it, no one benefits. Everyone loses. We are living in very interesting times and as a school leader, you must adapt to these interesting times. That’s what leadership is all about. In other words, a heavy component of leadership is making a series of ongoing adaptations in order to better position yourself to effectively lead your staff. But again, leadership requires courage. Leadership requires audacity. Leadership requires GUTS. You didn’t get into leadership to run away from challenges. You got into leadership…to lead.

 

Much more will be said on this in Week 38 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy on Saturday morning, January 16, 2021 at 11 ET right here on FB Live, Twitter Live or my YouTube Channel at School Leadership Thoughts.

 

 

1/4/2021 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#9)

 

Topic: Don’t you ever allow anyone to steal your passion for leadership!

 

On yesterday’s Virtual AP Leadership Academy, my topic was: LET’S START PREPPING FOR THE PRINCIPALSHIP…NOW! I structured the presentation around the following “12 P’s for Leadership Effectiveness.

 

Purpose

Passion

Possibilities

Potential

Planning

Preparation

Prioritize

Perseverance

Persistence

Pressure

Patience

Positivity

 

After the presentation, as I was engaged in my normal decompressing after presentations, I pondered over the “12 P’s” and I wondered if any one of these words is more significant than the other eleven. I considered this for a long stretch of time and I concluded that as it relates to school leadership, there was no one word that stood above the rest, but I kept pondering. As I eventually found myself gravitating to the word, “passion,” I finally concluded to myself that “passion” is a little more significant than the remaining eleven….in my estimation.

 

Your passion for something is a strong emotion toward something. It’s an intense enthusiasm. For example, I am passionate about the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. I REALLY enjoy creating and delivering these presentations…probably more so than the 2000+ presentations I have conducted over my lifetime. In other words, this academy matters! But I was also very much passionate about my principalship. It was my life. I was passionate about my students, my staff, my school, my community and my leadership. It too mattered to me. As I reflect back upon it now, I don’t think I could have endured it for as long as I did if I wasn’t passionate about waking up every morning and walking in my passion. When your passion is gone, it’s equivalent to your energy being gone; your enthusiasm being gone; your excitement being gone; your fire being gone. You MUST be passionate about your leadership. For those of you who are not yet in administrative leadership, you must be passionate about your process of getting to your destination.

 

As I close, I want to caution you – never allow anyone or anything to steal your passion. Difficult people and difficult situations have a way of undermining passion….if you allow them to. You must therefore embrace the reality that you WILL encounter difficult people and situations. That’s just a given. But you must embrace your passion even tighter.

The difference between your leadership effectiveness and leadership failure boil down to the strength of your passion for your leadership. You must therefore protect your passion; shield your passion; guard your passion with everything you’ve got, and if you do, everyone under your leadership will be better for it.

 

 

12/27/20 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#8)

 

Topic: So, you want to become a principal? Your SELF-DETERMINATION is absolutely essential!

 

As I type, it is the 2nd day of the 7-day African American holiday, Kwanzaa, known as KUJICHAGULIA (Self-Determination). This particular principle is and always has been my absolute favorite principle. It separates those with the will to achieve their goals from those who lack will. I always say that skill and ability are good but they are not enough. One must have a strong sense of WILL if one is going to be successful at their endeavors.

 

For this short commentary, I am going to make the assumption that if you are an assistant principal, that this role is only a stepping stone and that you are actually in pursuit of the principalship. If my assumption is correct, then I have a question for you…do you have the will to turn your goal…your dream of becoming a principal your reality? How badly do you really want this position? How hungry are you for a principalship? What level of commitment have you demonstrated toward becoming a principal? How much effort have you put into becoming a principal beyond being a good assistant principal? Your answers to these questions matter! If you are going to BECOME a principal, you are going to have to POSITION yourself toward becoming a principal. That means that you must commit yourself to becoming the best version of yourself as a leader but simultaneously positioning yourself in a way that stakeholders who have the authority to open doors for you are aware of your talent and skillset. It all boils down to your self-determination….how bad you want it and your commitment to yourself toward making it happen.

 

12/20/20 - KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#7)

 

Topic: While 2020 is Coming to a Close, Be Sure to Keep Your Peace Well Protected

 

What a year! I repeat, WHAT A YEAR! Some of you who will read this message are first year assistant principals. Some have only one year under their belt while others are now veterans. And of course, some of you aspire to become assistant principals. Whatever category you fall in, 2020 has been a challenging year and I am certain 2021 will start off just as challenging if not more so. When I say 2020, I am specifically referring to COVID-19 in this regard...among 2020's multiple other challenges. My message to you however is to remind you that yes, 2020 is a problem for all of us...but it isn't your fault...nor do you have control over it. That means you just have to roll with it...adapt to it...maneuver through it while doing all you can to prevent it from overwhelming you.

 

As I stated yesterday on the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 34), while dealing with the current challenges of the world, you must always strive to PROTECT YOUR PEACE. That is absolutely crucial. Your internal peace matters and you must do all you can to protect it. The challenge is that your peace can be quite fragile. The slightest occurrence can adversely impact it. In fact, the slightest thought can adversely impact it. You must therefore be ever so conscious of your internal peace toward maintaining your sanity, balance and emotional stability. Guard it, shield it, protect it. Build a barrier around it so that no matter how enormous the challenges of life may be, your peace is well protected.

 

 

12/13/20 - KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#6)

 

Topic: Everyone loses when “going through the motions” is YOUR reality

 

It is my strong conviction that school leadership ranks amongst the most challenging work that one could ever endeavor to do. When one assumes the position of school leader, one has taken on quite an awesome responsibility….you have taken on the responsibility of ensuring the academic, social and emotional development of an entire student population! This translates into the necessity of you consistently being on top of your leadership game. You must lead to the best of your ability daily. In doing so, you must be highly intentional about maintaining your focus while walking in your leadership purpose and striving to fulfill your leadership vision. This means that you must do all that you can to prevent your work from becoming stale, burdensome and boring. If your leadership is ever reduced to simply “going through the motions,” everyone loses. Your leadership becomes a “job” in this scenario lacking real substance. It is no longer purpose-driven, mission-oriented and vision-fulfilling. It’s just a job with you going through the motions. It’s a “9 to 5” with you watching the clock. Your professional growth and development will more than likely cease to continue in this scenario. Your dream of school leadership will become your nightmare of an ordinary job.

 

Toward avoiding “going through the motions” of school leadership, you must constantly remind yourself of your “why”….your purpose. You must remain rooted in your purpose; you must walk in your purpose; you must wallow in your purpose and you can never, ever lose sight of your purpose. It is your reason for doing this work in the first place and it must remain stronger than any distraction that may come your way and undermine or sabotage, your drive, your determination and your passion to lead at a high level. If you ever feel yourself devolving into “going through the motions,” find yourself a quiet place and ponder over your “why,” and if need be, go find your “why” which may actually be lost or mislocated. And once you’ve identified it, keep it close to the vest throughout the duration of your leadership. Your students require that you do just that. #YouGotThis #bam

 

 

12/6/20 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#5)

 

Topic: Sometimes, it’s just a “bad fit” that is keeping you unhappy and wearing you down!

 

Yesterday on the Virtual AP Leadership Academy, I delivered the first of three sessions on avoiding school leadership burnout. As I read through the comments, it was more than evident that this session resonated with many of the attendees; particularly, where I focused on “fit.” In other words, I indicated that many “beat up on themselves” when they find themselves in bad situations, not realizing that THEY are actually NOT the problem. The problem in so many cases is that the “fit” is just wrong….it’s a BAD FIT. You can’t excel in this environment because it’s an environment that is not meant for you to excel. Every environment isn’t for everyone. Take it from me, I led four different schools but I was not my best self in all four schools. Every school wasn’t compatible with my purpose, my mission, my vision, my goals and my skillset. The good thing though is that I had the foresight AND the audacity to move on to an environment where I could grow, develop and excel as a leader….a perfect “fit.”

 

I will not use my “pen” recklessly and carelessly and recommend that you walk away you’re your situation….unless you have a solid, well-thought out plan or another position already lined up. In the interim, use your present reality as a learning experience. Treat it is a doctoral level course and use it to become great. Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged or to contemplate going back into the classroom due to frustration….no….USE YOUR CURRENT SITUATION AS A LEARNING ACTIVITY ON WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO. Remember, “fit” matters!

 

Lastly, and since today is Sunday, allow me to talk briefly about God relative to this topic. As you know God is STILL in the blessing business. One of the things that I learned about God over the decades is that the blessing may not appear when you want it or within our immediate vicinity. He might leave the blessing in a place that you have to travel to get to via your car, a train, plane or boat to receive it. In other words, the blessing could be 4000 miles away waiting for you. What am I saying? Simply that if…and I mean IF you are in a bad “fit,” maybe…just MAYBE you might need to relocate. Never rule it out. I don’t mean 4000 miles away but maybe your blessing is in another district; another city; another state; another region. At the end of the day though, never allow yourself to become defeated by a bad “fit.” If you purchase a pair of shoes that are too tight, too large or just uncomfortable, it wouldn’t make sense to keep them. Your “fit” is back in the store and if not there, some other store has just what you need….

 

If you missed yesterday’s session of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy (Week 32) on avoiding school leadership burnout, scroll down and check it out in its entirety.

 

11/29/20 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#4)

 

Topic: There’s no excuse…you must intentionally grow DAILY as a leader!

 

A critical, unavoidable component of school leadership is leadership professional growth and development. Obviously, professional development comes in a multiplicity of forms including conferences, academies, institutes, books, journals, articles, blogs, accountability partners, thought partners, etc. They all matter and I encourage you all to immerse yourselves in all of them throughout your leadership development and careers. For this short commentary however, my focus for your professional growth and development is on your own experiences. In other words, there is so much to be learned from just being you. I am suggesting strongly that with everything you experience as either an assistant principal or an aspiring assistant principal, you ask yourself, “How could I have done this differently? How could I have done this better? Was this my best effort? Am I completely satisfied with my effort? Is this the “stuff” that will take me to the principalship? Is there room for improvement? Is my leadership of value to my school?” In other words, I’m saying to you that a part of your professional growth must be an intentional, earnest critique of yourself. You must be intentional about your own professional growth daily but rooted in your experiences on the job. It’s professional growth and development on the job. It’s treating your leadership not solely as your work / mission, but also treating it as a mirror of yourself. It’s engaging in ongoing self-reflection, self-assessment, self-adjustment and self-improvement while always striving for self-actualization in the process. YOU GOT THIS! #bam

 

 

11/22/20 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#3)

 

Topic: “So you didn’t get that principal position yet….stay encouraged!”

 

Undoubtedly, many if not most of you are aware of the YouTube playlist I created for assistant principal and principal job interviews. I am elated to know that well over 200,000 interviewees have watched those videos over the past three years and a countless number of them have landed AP and principal positions. But on the other hand, there are those who are yet to land their dream leadership position and that’s who I am writing to today. Understand, there are reasons that you have not landed that position yet – some you have influence over and others are well beyond your control. It is incumbent upon you to be able to discern those situations where no matter how talented or qualified you may be or how much potential you may have, the person on the other side of the desk just doesn’t want to hire you for whatever the reason. As harsh as this may sound, it’s real world. Some of you are dwelling over situations that are well beyond your control and you are allowing it to discourage you. Here me well….YOU MUST NOT ALLOW SITUATIONS THAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL TO DISCOURAGE YOU! If and or when you don’t land the position, simply shake the dust off your feet and keep moving. Your dream job is out there waiting for you. It is up to you to get out there and get it.

 

On the other hand, there are reasons that you did not land the position that you do in fact have influence over. If you do not land the position, it is incumbent upon you to learn why you didn’t land the position. There is no harm whatsoever in asking the interviewer (after you have been informed that you didn’t get the job) what you could have done better or differently so that you can use this information the next time out. It may not have anything to do with you. It may be that there were simply too many candidates and they could only select a small finite number. The bottom line is to inquire. The interviewer’s responses are good information for you. It’s good data toward your preparation for your next interview.

 

Again, don’t let the process discourage you. I know people who went on 10 to 15 interviews before landing their first position. They hung in there and are now principals. This will be your reality as well. Keep your attitude positive and optimistic. Know that you are qualified for the position. Don’t personalize it when you are not hired…instead LEARN from it. Your dream is YOUR dream. Never give it to someone else. When you become discouraged and ultimately give up, you are essentially giving your dream away to someone else which will translate into you sitting on the sidelines watching someone else STAR in your dream. Keep your head up! Let’s go! #bam

 

 

11/15/20 – KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#2)

 

Topic: “YOUR POWER IS IN YOUR ATTITUDE”

You would not believe the volume of AP’s that reach out to me every week to express either their displeasure with the way they are being utilized by their principals or the less than productive relationships they have with their principals. There’s so much I could write about that here but I addressed it fully in Week’s 13 and 14 of the Virtual AP Leadership Academy. If you are in this situation, I strongly urge you to watch both videos on my School Leadership Thoughts YouTube channel.

 

Here, I want to approach it a little differently. I want to remind you that you have power within you. Just by virtue of the fact that you are in a leadership capacity tells me that someone saw something in you that spelled L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P. Someone such as a superintendent saw a principal in you and saw fit to recommend you to the Board for an assistant principalship. I am therefore reminding you that despite the challenges that you may be experiencing, you are a leader and your power is in your attitude. I repeat – YOU ARE A LEADER AND YOUR POWER IS IN YOUR ATTITUDE. You did not go to grad school to become an assistant principal. You went to grad school to become a principal. The assistant principalship for you is therefore a training ground only. You must resultantly utilize your attitude productively. Don’t allow yourself to be led and controlled by the emotions of disappointment, discouragement, despair and anger but instead use your power….a positive attitude to keep you balanced, stable and focused. Because things are not going the way you want them to doesn’t have to defeat you. You must always keep your focus on what you worked hard for and not get overly distracted by your temporary situation. It’s temporary and it’s micro. Keep your focus on your bigger picture….your macro and make whatever adjustments and adaptations that are required toward one day getting you to your next level while never burning down the bridges you will need to cross in order to get you to where you want to be.

 

 

11/8/20 - KAFELE SUNDAY COMMENTARY TO THE AP’S & ASPIRING AP’S OUT THERE (#1)

 

Good morning to all of the assistant principals and aspiring assistant principals who are associated with this page. If you are a new AP, I am willing to bet that this has been a rather challenging start and very different from what you imagined it would be. Maneuvering through a global pandemic is a different beast and nothing could have prepared you for this and that includes the vets out there. But I will say this - a lot of what you are doing as a reaction to the pandemic is transferable to post-pandemic. Do keep that in mind. The pandemic is forcing us all to expand our thinking toward connecting with children and staff. For example, as burdensome as virtual learning and meetings may be, the possibilities are endless with this platform moving forward. And that's only one example. As an AP, continue to know your lane, grow and develop in your lane and document the journey along the way. When you become a principal, this pandemic will have given you tools that no grad school could have ever prepared you for. You got this. Let's go! Have a great week and STAY POSITIVE & OPTIMISTIC! #bam

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