Friday, July 28, 2017

What are you waiting for? Make that PORTFOLIO!

Creating a portfolio is a way to sell yourself and your talents. A friend and I were talking last night about portfolios and I shared that I am constantly updating mine.  It is important that we continually keep our portfolios up to date. In today’s generation, it is crucial to have both a traditional and an online version of our portfolios.

For the past few years I have used as my online portfolio.  It worked well and I was pleased. It is free and user friendly.

Recently I found This free website is made with educators in mind.

There are many ways to create an online portfolio and many websites that will assist you in creating one.  I have used different websites for many things.  For instance, I use Blogger to host my educational blog, and am starting to use as a professional website.  All are free or have upgrades available depending on your needs.

The key is to make a portfolio to represent who you are. Highlight your attributes and share with others prior to even applying for or looking for jobs!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dreamers Never Give Up

I spent a lot of time this summer reflecting on the past few years.  Although things have not turned out as I might have liked, I’ve decided I need to see these as learning experiences instead of setbacks.

As educators and professionals we cannot focus on the “fails” or negatives.  We need to see them as growth opportunities.  In what areas can we improve?  Where can we make a bigger impact? What have we learned?

It is a choice to allow the negative to build, gnaw at our guts, consume our thoughts, or we can choose to be resilient.

I choose resiliency.

I choose to take action instead of staying stagnant.

I choose to allow myself to let go and move on from things that aren’t beneficial to me personally or professionally.

I choose to continue to connect with others who support and encourage me.  

I choose to take risks and try new things.

I choose to reach out to others who will help me on my journey.

I choose to continue to dream and set goals.

I choose to encourage and support others in their journey.

I choose to grow and learn from others in as many ways as possible.

I choose to stay determined, passionate and persevere.

I choose resiliency.

Friday, July 14, 2017

National Principal's Conference 2017

Late last Friday night I found out I was going to be able to attend the National Principal’s Conference in Philadelphia.  I literally booked a room, packed a bag and started driving!  My heart was still racing, along with my now overloaded brain, as I drove home in pure encouragement, excitement and renewed hope in my leadership journey.

The conference was a different experience for me than it was for most I am sure.  I am not currently an administrator, but aspiring to be one. I took in everything - I took copious notes, many pictures and journaled ideas throughout the two and a half days that I was there.  I concentrated on people’s words and expressions and the passion that they had for making education great.  There were times that I laughed, times that I was confused and admittedly, times that I cried.  

What I learned though, is there are great leaders and educators that want our educational system to get better for the people we serve.

For example:
  • Brad Gustafson and Todd Nesloney presented on Building A Culture Conducive to Change.  Granted, many leaders talk about culture changes, but to see the pictures and hear the excitement in their voices as they talked about their schools and their students was refreshing. It was the little things like the teaching with their teachers, giving “spark plug” awards, and having students record messages through green screens in their offices that showed they truly put their students and staff first.
  • Jeff Zoul and Jimmy Casas always amaze me.  They go out of their way to greet attendees in their sessions and make sessions personal.  I am humbled by how both of them would remember who I was from an encounter months ago, but that truly demonstrates who these leaders are.  Their session on their recent publication Start.Right.Now was filled with personal stories and encouragement.  These men are truly humble educators and leaders.
  • Meghan LeFevers led an intimate, small session on Inclusion and the IEP process that I wish more people could have attended. It is so important that as leaders, teachers and educators we fully understand the IEP process and involve ourselves in it.  It’s not just another meeting - it’s about a student and their plan to succeed in school and, ultimately, in life.
  • Todd Nesloney, Ben Gilpin, and Brad Gustafson once again blew my mind with their “This is Us - Ideas to Expand Your Leadership” session.  Leadership and successful school culture truly is about bringing everyone together and realizing what makes your school special.  “Dinner with Gentlemen” rather with “Donuts with Dads” promotes ANY male role model in a student’s life being welcomed into the school. “Tech Taco Night” encourages students to be tech leaders and share what they know with their families.  It’s little things to bring BIG smiles into the building.

This conference was about more than the sessions though.  It was meeting people that I had connected with through twitter for the first time face-to-face (like the AMAZING Sean Gaillard), reconnecting with old college friends (how random!) and meeting new people and having great conversations about our shared passion for students and education.

Aspiring leaders need the opportunity to experience what I was blessed to experience.  School leaders who are reading this, please mentor others like me and find ways for them to attend learning events such as this conference or even state level conferences.  Introduce us to others and help build us as we become the next generation of leaders. We need strong mentorship and role models. NASSP and NAESP - please continue to find ways future leaders can attend this great event.

To my fellow aspiring admins --- don’t quit dreaming!  Don’t give up!  Get involved, attend events that keep you motivated and inspired.  Find a mentor that will encourage you through your journey.  Reach out to me - I’ve been, and I’m in, your shoes.  The world awaits us!!!

Finally, a huge thank you to A Pass Education ( who provided me with my opportunity to attend this year’s conference.