Thursday, July 11, 2019

Not Giving Up!

Although we have never met, I have followed Adam Welcome for some time on social media. I have read his books and have been inspired by his work. This past year I was humbled to have him join the Aspiring Leaders cohort that I created a few years ago. Adam is always posting motivational snippets, and a recent one was the punch in the gut that I needed.

Here’s the background story….
I have my school administrator’s license and after countless applications, resumes and even interviews, I have not landed that coveted position. This past year, I thought “I’m done. I’m truly happy with what I’m doing, so I’m going to keep refining that”. I even thought “Heck, I’m *sorta* close to retirement (then found out I wasn’t), I’ll finish, move to the beach and start something new”.

Then Adam posted about how when he first started speaking he did it for free just to get his face/name out there. His recent videos have talked about working twice as hard to get what you want. What really got me was a video saying “he just doesn’t give up”.

Why am I giving up?

Why am not continuing my “Dream Big”?

So I recently reached out to a few friends for advice. No more giving up for me!

Although I hold my administrative license, this fall I am pushing myself to do another “internship” on my own. I have contacted people to get this ball moving. Yes, I remember how busy I was, but I’M NOT GIVING UP! I’m willing to put in the hours and work with others to make connections and see what I need to do to move to the next step in my career.

So, thank you Adam and ALL my supporters who I’ve reached out to recently, and the ones who will be contacted in the future! We’re going to #DreamBig!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

#oneword for 2019




having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

When I sat and thought about what my 2019 #oneword would be I kept circling back to the same thoughts. It dawned on me then that my word had to be “aware.

Throughout the past several years I have been struggling with ‘what I want to do’ ‘where I want to go’, and ultimately ‘how am I going to get there’. I’ve recently reflected and thought maybe there have been signs that I have missed because I am too focused on one narrow path. Perhaps my “dream job” has been shadowed over by what I perceive as my “dream job”. I need to be more aware of the possibilities and options around me!

Sometimes I get caught in the “twitterverse” or “InstaWorld” and need to be aware that I am who I am, and that is perfectly fine! I need to celebrate others, but not compare myself to those other people. We are each unique and all add great value. I vow to make myself more aware of the great things going on in my life and celebrate others in a truly authentic manner.

I will make myself more aware of my health and physical being. I will set realistic goals and be aware of what my body is telling me. No more pushing or trying fads. I will concentrate on me and what feels best for me and my overall health.

I will be aware of the gifts of friendship I have been blessed with and make sure that these people are aware of their value in my life. I surely wouldn't be where I am today without some amazing friends and role models!

I vow to be more present in everyday life! See the joys, see the happiness and make everyday count. I will be aware of my surroundings and see the beauty of the people, places and things I get to encounter.

This is MY year of awareness and I am VERY excited to be on this journey!!
Image result for aware

Monday, August 6, 2018

Why I Tribe

I admit it, I’m not a great blogger. Thoughts don’t come to me like they do others. I sit in front of the laptop, and stare at the screen hoping for inspiration. I’ll write, but then I question myself. Doubt sets in. I compare my piece to the others that I had recently read. Do I post, do I delete? AGH!

The one thing that I do know, however, is that I have the GREATEST support team ever. When I joined the Compelled Tribe and started to get to know the other members and the lead “inspirers” (Jennifer Hogan, Craig Vroom and Jon Wennstrom) I immediately knew I was in a good place.

I tribe for the support that the members consistently give. I know that my tribe has my back and will support and provide feedback through my journey.

I tribe because I have a group of friends that although I’ve never met most of them face to face, I know that they are the truest, most genuine people and educators around.

I tribe because I am a work in progress and my tribe accepts that about me. They encourage my growth and journey.

I tribe because it allows me to reflect and grow. My work and words may not be the best, but they are mine, and they allow me to see where I need to go next.

I tribe because without my tribe I truly wouldn’t be who I am today.

Thank you Compelled Tribe for making me a better educator and person! Much respect to all of you!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Why YOU should be a mentor!

Mentoring often occurs organically once a new school leader enters your building or district. You take them under your wing, you help them through the paperwork, you’re the listening ear that they need. It’s a friendship that forms and often lasts for years.

But have you considered reaching out and mentoring ASPIRING school leaders? Guiding them and encouraging them prior to them entering the field? You MUST! Here’s why:

  • Aspiring School Leaders learn pedagogy and theory in leadership programs. It’s YOU as practicing school leaders that can share with them the day to day “real life” of a administrator.
  • Remember your first year? Wish you knew something more prior to going in? Now’s your time to give back and help others!
  • You know what you’re looking for in a fellow administrator. Share this so the TOP candidates are out looking for jobs. GROW our profession.
  • Think of a person who has made a huge impact on you - now pay that forward.
  • It’s such a HUGE gift to give that takes little time each month. Make a phone call, Vox, do a Google Hangout, email. Relationships matter and help mentees tremendously!
Mentoring is a small thing that adds up to BIG rewards to a future leader. Are you ready? Do you support building greatness for our students by bringing top leaders into schools? Can you commit to having this authentic, helping relationship for the next ten months? No set times, you and your protege decide what works best for you.

We have a cohort of aspiring leaders ready for you! We are in need of leaders in ALL areas!!

--- Not ready to mentor, but still feel you have something to offer --- 

We also host short webinars for these aspiring leaders. If you would be interested in sharing your experience this way we would also appreciate your support.  Sign up or suggest your area of expertise!

Mentoring does change lives! Sign up here --

This is the second year of our amazing support program -- check out what we did in year one:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Aspiring Leaders Cohort 2018 - 2019

Are you an Aspiring School Leader? Are you following the #NAESP and the #NCP conference through social media and thinking “that will be me someday?” Then THIS cohort is for you!

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, “the demand for elementary, middle and high school principals will grow 6 percent nationwide” over the next four years. 

Do you feel prepared? Having a mentor at any stage of your career is so beneficial, but often doesn't happen after student teaching, unless people personally seek a mentor out. Time constraints and location can often prevent strong mentoring relationships from being formed.

Today, online relationships are often how we connect for personal growth and learning - edchats, blogs, webinars and personal PLNs --- strong mentoring relationships can also be built through these same digital means!

There are SO many great leaders across the United States that are willing to reach out and support the next generation of school leaders! Our goal is to support aspiring leaders through a series of webinars held by some of these inspiring top leaders.

Webinar topics include:
  • Interviewing tips
  • The “behind the scenes” of administration
  • Tech tools and tips for growth
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Resume / Cover Letter Building
In addition to the FREE webinars, we want to match experienced leaders up with future leaders in mentoring relationships. We have personally experienced and know the value of mentorship and know it doesn't have to occur face-to-face. Tools such as Voxer, Google Hangouts, etc will be utilized to make these unique relationships happen.

Could you use the support? Know someone who could?

Even if you are thinking about only watching the webinars, please take a few minutes to register below. This will help us see what webinar topics would be most helpful to you as an aspiring leader.

Still not sure? Check out what we did last year - Almost half of the active participants in the cohort landed admin roles this year!!!

ARE YOU ALREADY A SCHOOL LEADER????? Sound like giving back and helping others? Join us -- YOU are exactly what we need to make the program successful!

Sign up today to be a mentor or a webinar host.\

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Women in Leadership

I’m currently co-leading a Voxer book chat using Chip and Dan Heath’s book The Power of Moments. The book is truly amazing, and talks about how events in our lives evolve into defining moments. I am so beyond words right now, as the past few days have been peaks of defining moments for me!

On Sunday I was able to meet in person (and finally hug) my mentor and friend Jennifer Hogan. For those who follow Jennifer on social media she is every bit as amazing as she appears! She has been an inspiration and mentor to me for a few years, but to see her in action truly has confirmed my desire to be a leader and continue to share her vision.

I came to Alabama to attend the 1st Women in Educational Leadership Summit. Monday was a morning full of connecting and learning from dedicated, inspiring, educated women who want to move our profession forward. I listened, took notes, and was thoroughly engaged with every word said at every session I attended. Afterwards I again met with Jennifer and I am so dedicated to bringing an event like this to Ohio that I have already started making contacts back home!

As women in education, and leadership, we have to continue to build and support each other. There is a wealth of knowledge available to us, not only in our buildings and districts, but through social media and through PLNs (personal learning networks) and we have to start sharing our message with others. 

We have to start growing our next generation of female leaders as well. We need our students to share their voice and start dreaming about their future. We need to encourage, support and be mentors.

I highly encourage looking through the #wmnleadsummit18 hashtag and start thinking about what you can do to make this happen in your area for 2019! We are better together.

Dream Big!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Power of Collaboration: Connections and Reflections

In the fall four educators came together to form a small book study group.  We all were connected to another person in some way. We chose the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and used Voxer as our communication platform.  We hope you enjoy our story of learning together.

By: Paul Bailey, Tamara Bonhotel, Holly Griffin & Jodie Pierpoint

Reflection of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie-

I have absolutely loved reading Carnegie’s book.  When I shared with some friends that I would be reading it, I heard the same thing over and over: you will love this book.  And, they were right. At first, I thought his suggestions were obvious and simple, but when I really thought about how they could connect to the world of education, they didn’t seem so obvious and simple anymore.  So far, each principle is applicable to almost everything I do daily in my current position, and I enjoy getting an opportunity to test them out.
Holly Griffin

This was a book I had heard about, but must say was never on my “must read” list. I found after the first chapter that it was enjoyable and offered great insight on better ways to communicate with others. Although sometimes I found myself thinking, “this is common knowledge” I found that in reflection I could handle situations differently to get better responses.
Tamara Bonhotel

Thoughts on being part of a virtual book study -

After participating and leading several virtual book studies, I was eager to start this book.  Our group was small, but I truly believe that this allowed us to reflect and share deeper, more personal stories and reflections. I felt a connection to the members of our group and felt more comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions.  I think that it is so important as educators to continue to read and grow. This format allows us that opportunity - and is a great way to meet others outside your local community/PLC.
Jodie Pierpoint

Depending on the length of the chapters, our book chats are usually one to two chapters per week. Participants are asked to post a message about their thoughts of the reading and respond to the messages left by others. Participants leave audio messages on Voxer and the group chats asynchronously. Other participants will listen and respond to the messages when they are able. Using Voxer for book chats allows educators to participate in professional dialogue without constraints of time, geographic location, and commitments.
Paul Bailey

Growing Your PLN -

I have “dabbled” in a variety of educational chats, but I have yet to become a regular on any of them. When I have engaged in a chat, I find when it is over I am energized from the information and the energy of the chat. Through chats, I have grown my PLN and this has expanded my connections so that I have joined Voxer groups which has increased my PLN even moreso. I have been trying to get my fellow colleagues to try out this great “PD in your jammies” idea of Twitter, but I am met with furrowed brows of “that’s just one more thing to learn.”
Tamara Bonhotel

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a PLN to learn and grow with continually.  Joining Twitter was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I have friends now, that even though I have never seen these people face to face, they are people I share stories and experiences with weekly.  They help me grow. They encourage and support me. My PLN has made me a stronger, more confident person. I am grateful, and I encourage others all the time to step out of the borders of the their buildings to learn from the amazing people you find on-line!
Jodie Pierpoint

Why Being Connected Helps you Grow -

I believe we have such a big advantage over educators who preceded us.  The ability to chat with other educators across the country would have never been an option 20 years ago (or 17 when I started).  It’s nice to know that if I have a question or just simply need guidance on an issue, the answer is literally at the tip of my fingers.  Also, I feel that I could serve as a mentor to others, even though I am only a year and a half into my position. I have an advantage that others don’t being in a small school district.  I wear many hats that many of my peers do not, and I think that gives me more experience. Given the opportunity to share with others or mentor will also help me grow as an educator.
Holly Griffin

I always read education related books but found it difficult to have available time to meet other educators for a study. For all us, families and personal well being are a top priority to stay on our ‘A game.’ We also need to lesson plan, reflect, grade, create, and grow professionally. We coach our student-athletes, participate in leadership teams, and attend extracurricular activities.
Paul Bailey

Please let us know if you would be interested in joining
us this summer in our next book chat!

Monday, March 26, 2018

8 Great Educational Resources

If you are like me you are always on the look for great resources! These eight resources are my favorite right now and will definitely be ones that get me through the end of the year. I hope you find them as valuable as I do.


Voxer is a free app that every person should be using (there is an upgrade option available for a fee). Voxer is a new age “walkie-talkie”. You simply push a button and your voice message is sent. Voxer is a popular tool for educators because messages and comments can be left for each other. It is a very popular method for book studies as well. I even suggest it to families of my students, as they can leave messages for each other, and it helps those who may still have spelling trouble (avoiding the dreaded auto-correct!)


YES! Jenga is a GREAT resource! You can turn these blocks into magical learning at any grade and in any subject. I have several sets (find them at Goodwill, yard sales, etc) and use them for sight words and math facts. I’ve even seen them used for literacy circles and chemistry. Word on the street is that you can buy dry erase tape and then you could use the same set for many activities!


I LOVE Canva, and use it for almost everything - newletters, twitter graphics, pamphlets, school reports, invites, and even a job portfolio! You can use Canva to make graphics for anything (I’m currently making a logo for an upcoming project) all for FREE! Use their images or upload your own. I have always used the free version and have been able to do everything I’ve wanted. I share this website with so many people and a graphic design friend recently gave it two thumbs up!

Tiny Scanner

This genius app that I loaded to my phone has became a LIFE-SAVER. I take pictures of my students work (dry erase math samples, shared writing etc) and it converts my picture to a PDF that I can save or print off! As an Intervention Specialist, I use it often as data collection on work samples, but I am using it more in my literacy groups as my groups change every thirty minutes and space to keep work up is limited. Another FREE app you must try!!


I read A LOT. I typically have three or four books going at a time, and have a hefty stack sitting ready to be read next. When I don’t have a book with me, but have some down time, I go to the Flipboard app. You pick topics of your interest, and short articles are arranged by category for easy reading. Flipboard allows you to share these to social media, email them, or save them. I have created Padlet boards and flip articles of interest into the boards so I can refer to them as needed.


If you’re not blogging, I hope you’re at least reading blogs of others! Jennifer Hogan (@jennifer_hogan) has said “Blogging is new resume”. I love reading other educator’s blog posts and their thoughts. As an aspiring school leader, I want to continue to grow and learn, and I easily get to do this through others blogs. Some bloggers to follow: #CompelledTribe of bloggers, @Jennifer_Hogan, @DavidGeurin, @SteeleThoughts @gcouros

PDF Candy

Where has this website been?!?! When my friend @debralcamp told me about this website I could have flown to Texas and gave her a big, gigantic hug! This website takes PDFs and converts it to a word document, will rotate the pages, will unlock them… I know, hugs to Debbie. Stop reading, bookmark NOW and then check out my last fun website!

Word Clouds

Have you seen those cute word clouds and think “I want one” - use ! I am working on a project now building a huge word cloud and I am beyond excited about it! You can change colors and shapes within the program. My students love it too. When we finish a book, we use word clouds for vocabulary. We recently did a word cloud as we celebrated Kindness Week in my classroom. Students love finding “their” words.

Please share your favorite websites and apps - I can’t wait to learn more!

Sunday, March 11, 2018


I’m not going to sugar coat things. I took a risk and started a project that I truly love doing this year, and it’s been a bigger undertaking than I anticipated. Do I regret it? Not one bit! It has taught me so much about myself, and especially the importance of balance.

I admit, I’m the type of person who wants things with my name attached to it to go well. I have learned the last few years that in order for things to go well, that it requires me to plan a little better, be a little more time savvy and have action plans ready. Do I miss family dinners, movies with friends, walks with the puppy? Absolutely not. Those are as important to me as ensuring that the projects that I am developing get fulfilled. It’s truly a balance.

I hosted a recent webinar on Work/Life Balance (presented by Lori Green and Mark French) for the Aspiring Leaders cohort. (Watch the webinar HERE). It is so important for us as educators (AS HUMANS!) to make time for ourselves or we risk burnout, which is the opposite of what we think we’re trying to accomplish!

Some healthy Work/Life Balance Strategies: 
  • Turn off work email at a designated time each evening
  • Set at least one weekend day free of email/work related tasks
  • Join a group that will enhance an interest of yours (having a commitment to this will ensure that you are serving yourself!)
  • Enlist support from your family and friends to ensure you’re making time for them/you
  • Get a planner, write things down (or use digital) and then reflect on your priorities 
  • Delegate or share tasks when you can. Rely on others. Build others up!
  • Get well needed rest 
Most importantly, it is important to take care of yourself. If you are showing signs of burnout, stress, anxiety, etc., please seek professional advice. You’re not alone.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Interviewing Tips (Aspiring Leaders Webinar)

Last week some of the Aspiring Leaders mentors (Dr. Asia Armstrong, Theresa Stager and Karen Wood) shared their best tips for interviewing on a must see webinar (will be posted soon on

Their tips are definitely worth sharing to all job seekers though! Check out these tips to ace your next interview!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ready, Set, Blog!

I’ve recently been asked by a few people for some blogging tips. Although I haven’t been the best blogger lately, this may be the kickstart that I need to get my blogging mojo back!

Pick your Blogging Site

A couple of user friendly blogging sites are Blogger, Weebly, EduBlogs and Wordpress. All are free (basic editions) and Blogger is found through Google. I personally use Blogger for blogging, but use Wordpress for my personal website. I find both to be easy to use. The preference is yours, but don’t spend too much time trying to pick a platform.

Naming your Blog

Try to think of a name that will last you throughout career advancements. Don’t generalize- “The techy teacher” is great, but what if you move out of teaching into administration or even another area? Also, don’t be “cutesy” - see your blog as an extension of your resume and personal portfolio. Make it relevant and professional.

Brainstorm Topics

It is a great idea to keep of list of topics that interest you going to spark a future blog post. Jennifer Hogan recently shared 50 blog topics on her blog (see link below). Anything goes! I am part of a voxer group and we have been talking about how we enjoy reading about great things happening in classrooms, celebrating people/students, etc. Use your blog to educate, encourage and celebrate!

Write Freely

Your blog should be your thoughts and feelings. Granted, if you post on social media, keep in mind your audience has grown, and it’s no longer your personal journal. Reflect openly, but be professional.

Create a Graphic

Canva is a great app and website that allows you to create FREE pictures to use. You can create your own, or use their samples and edit. Make your graphic, download it to your computer, and then upload it to Twitter. Canva not only allows you to create pictures for blogs, but a plethora of other materials as well (newsletters, handouts, slides). It's definitely a great resource to check out. Some graphics can be attached with a fee, but you definitely can create TONS fee free!

Share with your PLN

The world is ready! Share!!! Copy your link and paste it into your Twitter post. If you have a long link, you can cut it down to a manageable size using bitly (a URL shortener). Add a picture (Your Canva graphic or another picture) and then tag up to ten people from your PLN! Repeat and share with more people!

Here are some great resources to check out:

Cybrary Man’s Blog Page
Jennifer Hogan’s Compelled Educator’s Blog
Craig Vroom’s Fueling Education Blog
Jon Wennstrom’s Spark of Learning Blog
52 Education Blogs to Follow
EdWeek Blogs

Please share your blogs with me! I am excited to learn with you!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Super Bowl: Super Schools

I admit, I don’t know much about tomorrow’s Super Bowl. The few facts that I know is that there will be fab new commercials, my boy Justin is performing at halftime, and I need to stay awake long enough because the cliffhanger to This Is Us is on right after the big game.

Half time - ✔

After game - ✔

I do know know enough about football though...I am a Buckeye after all :) and all the hard work it takes to have a winning team is a lot like having effective, positive schools.

Get your Team Together

Any winning team needs to have a great group of people on the same mission - success. Success in schools doesn’t necessary mean winning sports events or extra - curricular trophies. It’s not having the highest test scores either. It’s about having people with a vision and mindset that ALL students can and will succeed. It’s bringing the cheerleaders, the players, and the coaches together and finding out what works best for the students in the school. You need an All Star Team for All Star results!

Read the Playbook

Good athletes read their playbooks, not once, but often. They stay current. As educators, we need to do the same. Friends, “what’s always worked” doesn’t always work. Our populations are changing and learning needs are diverse! We need to be reading works from our peers (blogs are great for this) and staying current with trends. There are so many journals available now that are so specific to what we each do, there is truly no excuse to not stay current.

Analyze the Scores

Coaches and players alike scrutinize over their team and individual scores and data. They take that and use that to improve. We do the same as educators. But are we each truly investing the time to really think about what our student/school data shows us and using it to make improvements? Most are. How do we get all our coaches, cheerleaders and players to do the same though?

Watch Old Videos

Players and coaches watch videos of games to improve. Unlikely that we would do this as often in the school, but we do need to reflect. We need to reflect weekly (if not daily) on our practices and consider what works, what doesn’t, and what we can change to better the education for our students. Sharing this through Teacher Based Teams and with your Personal Learning Network enhances growth for not only you, but for others as well.


Teams celebrate in big ways. Gatorade thrown, parties, end of season ceremonies. Do we do this enough in education though? I think we could do more. No, I don’t want Gatorade dumped on me when a student raises their reading score by a whopping 24 points, but I’m bringing the parent and student in and celebrating him! In a recent webinar I hosted, Principal Mark French said he celebrates his staff with a treat trolley. We need to celebrate the greatness in our schools.

Regardless of who wins tomorrow (I’ll be there for JT and a hopeful Prince tribute!) we’ll be back at school on Monday (after a tear filled This Is Us I’m sure).

How will you celebrate your MVPs?

Monday, January 29, 2018

The January Freeze

Anyone else go through “The January Freeze”?  You have a million things on your mind, a “to do” list a million miles long, but the “umph” isn’t there?

I’m going through “The January Freeze”.

Or, at least I thought I was.

Over the past few days I reached out to my pals Jennifer Hogan and Dennis Griffin. “I’m in a blogger’s block! HELP!”  The amazing messages they sent to me through Voxer will not be forgotten.

I am blessed!  I’m not in a “freeze”.  I can’t believe what I have gotten to experience in just January already!


Not a freeze.  I’m just warming up.  Bring on February.  I’m ready!

Monday, January 1, 2018

#My3Words for 2018

This year I have decided to follow Chris Brogan and choose three words to guide me through 2018. Last year, I chose believe as my #oneword, and as I allowed myself to believe in myself and others, I grew. Reflecting on that and what may help me this year, I choose dream, evolve and reflect as #my3words for 2018. 


For those who know me, in 2017, I took some of my dreams and turned them into reality. I am truly humbled by the support and the outcomes of the projects, but, I’m not done. I have a lot more dreaming to do! There are many ideas I have jotted down in notebooks and my ultimate dream of becoming a school leader is still something I am working towards. NOTHING is out of our realm of possibilities, and we need to believe that hard work will make these all attainable! I will continue to dream and will encourage others to #DreamBig with me.


I plan to evolve as an educator and learner this year. I will grow with and from my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and refine my practice. As I move towards a new journey into leadership, there is no doubt that I will evolve. I have more professional goals, and as I work on these, I will evolve. I am confident that the connections that I have made with the many wonderful educators throughout the US will help me evolve this year. I’m counting on all of you!


I am a huge advocate for personal reflection to help growth. This year, I will reflect more often and do so with intention and purpose. I want my reflections to drive my growth and thoughts towards improvement. I plan to journal my reflections better and share with others so they can foster my growth as well.

I am so excited about the possibilities of 2018. 
It is sure to be another year of learning, newness and excitement! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Journey in Learning

I never would have thought that when I named my blog “Journey in Learning” that I would write an entire post on it, but 2017 has definitely been a Journey in Learning

In 2017, after, well, many years, I found my personal strength, my voice, my passion. I found my fight, my determination and my resiliency. I found me! I encourage others to do the same.

Build on Your Passions

Special Education will ALWAYS be a passion of mine. I’ve taught Special Education for over 15 years at various levels. So this spring I ran with it! I am humbled to share that I was able to create, organize and run Ohio’s first SpEdCamp! In its first year, over 75 educators came together to talk about supporting students with special needs. SpEdCamp 2018 is already being planned with plans to be bigger and support even more people and students!

What’s your passion? Turn it into reality!

Take Risks - Try Something New

This year I took risks and tried new things! I hosted Twitter EdChats, mentored, presented at a conference, switched jobs, created an online mentoring community (see below), hosted book chats, started a website, and attended conferences.

Spread your wings -- fly!

Things to try in 2018:
  • Voxer Book Chats 
  • Twitter Chats (host or co-host one!) 
  • Attend an EdCamp 
  • Present at a conference 
  • Create a MakerSpace 
  • Blog 
  • Try a new teaching strategy or implement something new in your building 
  • Join a committee in your school/district 
  • Volunteer 


This summer I dreamed of creating a mentoring program for aspiring leaders such as myself. Waiting to be mentored until I got into the field seemed counterproductive. I want to learn and better myself now. So, I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and created the #AspiringLeaders cohort! We are a small, mighty group of dedicated future and current school leaders that are learning and growing together through organic mentorship relationships (connecting through email, voxer, telephone) and bi-monthly webinars! Check us out - Dream Big Mentorship

The biggest thing I learned in 2017 is that you need to have a vision and you can’t lose sight of it! People may tell you no, that you won’t be successful, that you lack skills, etc. Nonsense. Go after it! #DREAMBIG

Reflect and Be Resilient

After another round of applications and unsuccessful interviews, I reflected and realized that what I thought were the “perfect” jobs, probably weren’t the right ones for me after all. I learned from all of these. After each interview, I took notes. I’ve refined my portfolio and resume. I’ve increased my skills. I’ve talked to my mentors. I’ve read, and read, and read!

I’m ready to conquer 2018!

If I had successfully found a leadership job I’m not sure the 2nd half of 2017 would have been as epic as it has been! Good things come to those who wait, right?

My Journey in Learning has been filled with many other life lessons this year. I grew. I continue to grow. I am happy, but I am also ready for 2018! How would you define your Journey in Learning this year?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Impact Makers

I’m an avid reader, usually having a couple of books, journals, magazines all going at once. I’m currently reading (and loving) David Geurin’s (@DavidGeurin) Future Driven and Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People (which is also part of a book chat I’m participating in). Both books talk about the importance of showing others they matter.

I strongly believe that we should acknowledge those who have made an impact on us. 

There are many people this past year that have allowed me to reflect, push further, dig deep, cry, smile, laugh out loud, and lead me to be a better me. They are impact makers! These people are educators, leaders, students, parents, family members and even the local postmaster!

So this weekend I sat down and wrote them all personal notes. Twenty-two notes. Yes, it took time, but for every note I wrote, I reflected and thought about that person and only that person. They need to know that they had made an impact. One of my impact makers has passed away. Her husband will receive my note.

It was an amazing feeling to write these notes. As educators, we need to think about the people who inspire us, make us think, and make us better. We may give them a shout-out tweet or say something in an email, but an unexpected handwritten note just does something more!
I encourage all of you to think of at least five people to write letters to this week. One a day. Tell them you’re proud of them. They motivate you to be better. Share how they've made you be more reflective in your practice. Tell them you appreciate them. Five people.

Who are your impact makers?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I wonder...

This weekend I went to see the movie Wonder.  I cried.  A lot. Auggie Pullman pulled at my heart. I wonder, isn’t everyone a little like Auggie though?  

Maybe everyone doesn’t have something physically different.  Maybe it’s something that others can’t see but affects them just as much.  Something that they personally struggle with every day. Are we acknowledging that?

It shouldn’t matter whether or not our differences are physical or internal.  We have to get better at treating everyone the same.  We have to be kind, show empathy and show understanding. It's more than teaching our children and students this, it's modeling this ourselves!


Auggie, as many of our students that fill our schools, are wonders!  They are courageous and brave and stand up for themselves. It may be an identified student, it may be the basketball star.  It may be the student council president, it may be a wallflower. Our students are facing things we never had to face as children and teens. THEY are wonders.

Our students are coding in elementary school and running businesses in high school!  Our students are young artists and musicians!  Our students are on sports team for our schools and in the community (Special Olympics too!) Our students are advocates and fundraising for causes that may not even benefit them.  Our students are wonders!

There are many wonders in our buildings!  How are you going to make sure they know they are wonders?

If you haven’t seen this movie, please do.  It’s truly for everyone.  
Kindness does matter, words matter, no matter what age we are.
Auggie teaches us ALL a lesson in this great movie!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Extreme Gratitude

My heart is full of happiness and gratitude as I think about what my life is blessed with today.  I get to wake up every day and go to a school I love to work in, with students and colleagues that make me better.  I also get to connect with friends from around the United States that help me grow, learn and dream every day. When you’re surrounded by greatness, you can’t help but to feel blessed.

When I reflect upon my year, it’s hard not to recall a short period of time where my life felt different. A little darker.  Lots of questioning.  Hurtful words. But as I processed through these; reflected, forgave, and learned, I realized that I am grateful for them as well. It evoked something.

I started dreaming.
I made an action plan.
I had a vision.

I found people like me!
I found people who wanted to support people like me!

Being able to bring like minded people together is a dream come true.  I am humbled and now tears of joy fall from my eyes. I realized that with hard work and perseverance dreams do come true!

So today, my heart is full, happy, and excited about the future. I am so grateful for those in my circle who support and encourage me.  I am thankful for those who were once part of my journey too. Many people have provided building blocks to who I am and who I'm becoming.

I am filled with hope and inspiration.
My vision is clear.
For that I am grateful.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Mentoring Cohort Ready to ROLL - LAST CHANCE!


I am so excited to have so many aspiring leaders join this first cohort and honored to have so many dedicated, experienced school leaders as mentors.

We are READY TO ROLL but want you to join us!

If you are a new or aspiring school leader and are looking for mentorship please complete this form!

If you are A ROCKSTAR leader and want to mentor, please complete this form.

***We need to have these by the end of the week***

Webinars are scheduled to start in November and will include topics such as: Importance of Relationship Building, Resumes, Cover Letters and Portfolios, The “Down and Dirty” of Leadership, Interviewing Tips and “Behind the Scenes” - What they DIDN’T Teach you in Grad School.

What are you waiting for??? Join this movement!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

#ThankAPrincipal #ThankALeader

“Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor.”
-Lailah Gifty Akita

I’ve always believed in the power of collaboration!  I’ve collaborated on blog posts with amazing educators, worked with others to bring Ohio’s first Special Education based EdCamp (@SpEdCampOH) and collaborated on many book chats.  We truly are better when we work together.

But I am overwhelmed and humbled by the dedicated school leaders who are offering their time and dedication to collaborate with me to provide mentorship and webinars to aspiring school leaders this academic year.

Twenty aspiring leaders are benefiting from the generosity and power of paying it forward by the following educational superstars!  They are definitely why I celebrate National Principals Month and why I #ThankAPrincipal

Please help me thank these leaders and follow them for more inspiration:

Allyson Apsey @allysonapsey
Asia Armstrong @1AVA3
Alyse Consiglio @alyseconsiglio
Mark French @PrincipalFrench
Lori Green @Loriannegreen
Dennis Griffin @D4Griffin3
Jennifer Hogan @jennifer_hogan
Tia Holliman @Ms_Holliman
Dr. Jacie Maslyk @DrJacieMaslyk
Dr. Tim McDermott @tim_mcdermott1
Ann Oro @OroAnnM
Starr Sackstein @MsSackstein
Theresa Stager @PrincipalStager
Dr. Sarah Thomas @sarahdateechur
Craig Vroom @Vroom6
Jessica Webster @jgroteweb
Jon Wennstrom @jon_wennstrom
Karen Wood @karenwoodedu

The first cohort of #AspiringLeaders are sure to learn from their wisdom and expertise.  Be sure to follow our journey, join our webinars and share your insight too, because we truly are #bettertogether