It’s all about the Journey AND the Destination

Scholastic cover: @NMHS_Principal

Our superintendent was able to secure a visit to New Milford, NJ to visit with Eric Sheninger, principal, blogger, presenter, leader, father, husband, traveler, and more. In Millville Public Schools, we use a systems approach to everything. One of the most important principles in systems thinking is to look to the “best in class”. Eric is considered to be the “best in class” when it comes to social media, leadership, and technology. Who can argue with his close to 20,000 followers, books, presentations, keynote addresses, Scholastic Administrator of the year, and other accolades?  Rightfully so!

We were scheduled to be in New Milford High School (NMHS) by 8AM.  Our crew (Dr. David Gentile, Superintendent; Dr. Pamm Moore, Assistant Superintendent; Mrs. Kathy Procopio, Principal, Millville Senior High School; and Dr. Spike Cook, Principal, Rebecca Mulford Bacon Elementary) assembled at our meeting place at 5:30AM in order to beat the traffic and allow ourselves time to get there safely.  We knew the journey would be part of the experience, so we all set our alarm clocks – EARLY. Armed with my contribution of coffee, we were set to take off.

The ride up was both comical and inspiring. We dealt with a lot of technical issues, including a new GPS system and our lack of experience in commuting in North Jersey.  We talked about how our lives were going. We learned about each other’s families and our recent experiences at school. Somehow, we even managed to make it there on time!

Once we arrived at NMHS, Eric’s secretary greeted us with a warm smile. The office was quiet, and all the students and teachers seemed to be in their places. Eric brought us into his conference room and spent the first 30 minutes discussing the day’s planned events, as well as what to expect in this school building. We had prepared questions to guide the discussion, but after a while that was not necessary. Conversation and ideas just flowed. We were curious about the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, technology in the classroom, cell phones, culture and climate of NMHS, and of course, Eric. He took great care in crafting his answers making sure to let us know that he was no “prophet” but rather a man on a mission to bring 21st century learning to the forefront of the educational experiences for his students. Eric feels that the way NMHS embraces technology speaks to what students already understand – that phones are now devices, and making them taboo only adds to the problems, as opposed to being part of the solution.

NMHS's new 21st Century learning environment

As we walked through NMHS, it was clear that Mr. Sheninger was in his element. Students approached him with ease, said hello and some continued their conversation with him from earlier. One student, in noticing the visitors remarked, “The suits are here. This must be something important.” We laughed. Eric had us visit a few classrooms to experience what he can only describe to his Twitter followers or presentation attendees. His classrooms are, in some regards, traditional-looking from the hallway, but once inside, I felt something much different. As the students texted answers to their teachers, or looked up resources on their cell phones, there was something oddly normal. As a young lady in a Geometry class articulated, “Using our cell phones in class is really no big deal. When we are finished with it, we just put it away and move on with something different.”

Solve and text

In another math class, the teacher used the responses from the cell phones to understand the learning process of his students. In one question, 100% of the students answered correctly, and he moved on. Following a second question, 55% of the students missed the answer. Using that information, he promptly revisited the skill to address the needs of his class. To me, this was evidence of data driven and learner-centered education at its best!

After our classroom visits, we went back to the conference room for more discussion. Eric showed us his new “interactive white board in a bag.” No, Eric is no magician, he showed us a newer device that connected his iPad, Apple TV, and HDMI display tool to create an interactive display wall. Of course, he mentioned, this can be purchased for a fraction of the cost that an interactive white board costs.  Ideas were swirling around in our heads.

Eric was excited to show us the cafeteria. We descended upon one of the first lunches to watch how the students used technology at lunch. Sure enough as we walked through the cafeteria, students were on their devices watching videos, playing Angry Birds, or reading. Dr. Moore and I chatted with two sophomore girls. Similar to the other student in math class, they both said that having their cell phones out at lunch, and when the teacher lets them in class, is nothing big. I asked if they felt that students used these devices to bully, harass, or cause problems at the school, to which one of them said, “Maybe at other schools, but not here.”

MPS and Eric Sheninger

We concluded the visits by getting our pictures taken with Principal Twitter, as his secretary jokingly mentioned, “I knew him before all of this, you know.” Eric signed a copy of the Scholastic Magazine featuring his story. He encouraged us to keep Tweeting, blogging and modeling the way for our teachers and students. 

On our car ride home, we reflected on the day. It was obvious to us that Eric had developed a culture and climate that valued technology and treated students with dignity and respect. It was also clear that the stakeholders of NMHS mutually agreed that learning was priority number one. We each shared our “takeaways” from the day (in between navigating Teaneck, New Milford, and the NJ Turnpike – think Clark Griswold from European Vacation, “Hey Kids, Big Ben, the Parliament”). Mrs. Procopio, who took 4 pages of notes, felt the experience helped her see how technology can be an integral part of the high school experience. She reflected on the many positive teachers at NMHS, and how she couldn’t wait to explore options for her school. Dr. Gentile felt that the whole experience, both the journey and the destination, was worthwhile and inspiring. Dr. Moore saw the important benefits of technology and curriculum integration which was neither forced nor contrived at NMHS.

Spike Cook and Eric Sheninger

As for me, I am looking forward to our district’s journey through technology exploration and our future destination of becoming a world class district.

 

 

 

 

Are you going to ASCD12?

Check out Dr. David Gentile, Dr. Pamm Moore, Mrs. Joanne Colacurcio, and Mrs. Arlene Jenkins, as they present on Saturday 3/24/12 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm #1335 — Transforming Schools Through Powerful and Systematic Walkthroughs

http://myeventmarket.com/ascd12/pre-conference-and-conference-session/44734/1335-transforming-schools-through-powerful-and-systematic-walkthroughs

Turtle On The Fence …Post By Dr. Pamm Moore

Source: beeryblog.wordpress.com

“If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know someone helped him get there.”  I’ve been reflecting on that saying lately as I settle into my assistant superintendent position. Many people have offered encouragement, guidance, and much needed support throughout my journey. I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people who were placed in my life.   So my question for you is who have you helped along the way?

Each of us has an obligation to reach back and bring someone along with us as we journey through life. I’m often saddened when I hear comments such as “He/she will just have to learn through their own mistakes,” or my favorite, “If I help them, they may do a better job than I can.”  You may say that these comments are not the norm but I beg to differ. These sentiments, whether vocalized or merely demonstrated through actions, are present in each of our work environments.  

So I offer a challenge to you today.  Call one person in your organization and do one the following:

  • Offer your support
  • Help them avoid a potential landmine with one of the written or unwritten policies
  • Have lunch with them to help them brainstorm ideas for one of their current challenges
  • Call to see how they are progressing with their new position
  • Send them a note of encouragement
  • Listen

This list is finite but the possibilities are infinite. This is just the beginning of what you can do.  Each one of us is in a different job situation but everyone of us can do something.  I encourage you to do something today to help someone else.  My name is Dr. Pamela Moore (@DrPammMoore) and I am proud to say that I am a turtle sitting on a fence.  I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to all of those who helped me get there!

If you are reading this, then you might be…

If you are reading this then you might have been at Alicia Discepola’s workshop at Stockton College learning about the Social Network. Or you may have just listened to my presentation in Dr. Thompson’s “Introduction to the Principalship” class through Rowan University.  Or you may have seen this posted on twitter and kindly followed the link. However you landed here, I thank you and appreciate your time! I hope you enjoy what I can offer.

twitter-bird-looking-at-you-m3qczl.png

Social media has become an amazing resource for educators. As a principal,  I am able to use twitter, and blogging (I have 2 – this one and my school blog rmbaconweekly.blogspot.com) to communicate with parents, teachers, and administrators either within my district or throughout the world. In fact, today as I was walking up the stairs at my school, I had a 3rd grader tell me he read my blog! I consider myself a life-long learner, so I also use these platforms to reflect on my insights into my learning experiences, and model the way for the students.

Although it may seem like a lot of work, it really isn’t. I actually find it very relaxing and inspiring. At first, setting up a blog or twitter account might be time consuming, but once you have the format, it only takes as long as you want and or need. It takes more time to prepare the blogs then a tweet because twitter reduces your tweets to 140 characters. Because of all this, I read a lot more then I ever did before getting into Social Networking. I have been able to communicate with other teachers and administrators around the world. I read their tweets, twitter links, and blogs to learn information and answer questions.

Eric Sheringer, Scholastic Cover2-175ft5c.jpg

For example, over the weekend I saw a quote on twitter and I thought I would share it with you. The quote was from Eric Sheringer, Principal at New Milford High School, in New Milford, NJ. He was presenting at the NASSP2012 (National Association of Secondary School Principals) conference which was held in Tampa, Fl. During the presentation he said, “If you don’t tell the story of your school (insert district, curriculum area, classroom, etc.) someone else will. Be the storyteller-in-chief.” Wow, I thought that was so powerful. And to think, someone tweeted it out while he was talking. Then I was able to discover it while he was speaking. I did mention he was Tampa, but I wasn’t!

As you go through your journey, you will find so many connections. I agree with Eric that we all have a story to share.

What is your story? Who is going to tell it?

Good luck!

INTENSITY!

This is the first in a series of one word blog posts.

INTENSITY

Intensity encourages me.source: google image intensity of conflict It comes in all shapes and sizes and it is different for everyone. There are intense people, situations, movies, songs, and even tests.

When I think of INTENSITY, I think of power, focus, and tenacity. Someone who is intense never gives up. I like that. I aspire to be that.

For instance, when my wife gave birth to our children without an epidural – That was intense!

For me, it was finishing the 2001 Philadelphia Marathon. The last 13 miles were run almost exclusively on intensity because my left knee was suffering from severe tendonitis. I wanted to give up.

Source: themusicelitists.wordpress.com

I saw it last night as I watched the drummer for The Black Keys at their concert in Philadelphia.

I thought about it today while I watched college basketball games or when I remembered the time Michael Jordan played against Utah Jazz in Game 5 of the NBA finals with the flu.

As a principal, I can only hope to bring the intensity of someone like Randy Pausch whose Last Lecture was delivered as he stared death in the face.

Source: wisdomportal.co

Where do you see intensity?

What are you intense about?

 

Oh the places we went…. and are going

Finger knitted thneed bookmarks

“It’s not about what it is, it is about what it will become.” Dr. Seuss, the Lorax.

A few weeks ago a teacher asked me if I would approve the students seeing the new Lorax movie. She made a compelling presentation. She said, “It is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Read Across America, and the new Lorax movie all in one day. It will be epic! We will tie in activities, themes, and even a Seussville themed hallway decoration. Also, I contacted the Movie theater and we will be the first ones to see it!” I replied, “I will see what I can do, there is not much time. I doubt it will get approved, but I will try. Make sure to collect resources.”
From that point on, just as the seed in The Lorax, it grew and

3rd grade math and Seuss

spread. I found out we could get buses and afford them. I talked to the PTA who graciously approved donating $4.00 per ticket to reduce the parent/student responsibility in half. I talked with my Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and she supported the curricular connection. I talked with our amazing educational technician, Alicia Discepola, and she agreed to pool all things Seuss into one site for kids, parents, and teachers. We were, to a certain extent, on a roll. We had to wait a day for the final approval, and then we got the call around 10:00 AM “You are approved!”It was Thursday, and I was going to be out on Friday.
We contacted the movie theater and began the process of making final arrangements. They wanted the money by Tuesday. Time was of the essence. We decided to have an “emergency” assembly at the end of the day to tell the kids about this epic Read Across America event. We showed the original Lorax movie and then stopped it with a few minutes remaining. I asked the students if they would like to see the end and they all yelled, “YES!” I then replied, “Well, how about you see the new Lorax, which is the “ending” to the Lorax?” The kids went nuts.

 

Oh the places we will go someday

Throughout last week the entire school turned into Seussville. Each classroom decorated their door with a different theme. Teachers took pictures of students with the Cat in the Hat, Lorax mustaches, 1st grade did Thing 1,2,3 until they did the whole grade.

Seuss + Math = Learning

Teachers integrated the themes of Seuss into math, reading, writing, science, social studies as well as art, Spanish, physical education, and music. I watched 5th graders construct their own math problems for others to solve on Truffula trees, while 3rd graders compared and contrasted themes from the Lorax. I received, via twitter, excellent trivia questions along with facts about Dr. Seuss from @PrincipalJ in Wisconsin. We took time throughout each of the days to make sure the whole school stopped and listened. Sometimes the winner had to run to the front office, other times we would take the 9th caller. Each winner received a prize for their hard work. It was a truly amazing week to be an educator.

 

4th grade used the book Wocket in My Pocket and had the students each pick an object in their classroom to write their own page for a rewrite of the story.  They illustrated their pages and we made a poster book which is in the hallway.  They used Kerpoof.com to make a “tech” version as well. They highlighted the difference between computer illustrations and personal illustration and they did a Venn diagram to compare.

 4th graders also watched the original Lorax to decide focal points to be debated between the Lorax and the Onceler.  This turned into more of a summarizing and exploratory lesson for the kids to gain insight into what could be expected from the new Movie we saw on Friday.  They will follow up with a comparison essay between the two letting the kids pick their own way to organize the details from the movie.

Dr. Moore at Read Across America Assembly

On Read Across America Day students and teachers dressed as their favorite characters from the Seuss books. Our Kindergarten through 2nd grade had a wonderful assembly with guest readers. After the assembly they watched Green Eggs and Ham while eating green eggs prepared by our teachers. Grades 3-5 watched the new Lorax movie and were the first kids to see it on the east coast. Which ended up being the number 1 movie over the weekend. During the movie, the students were so well behaved I had to keep reminding myself that we actually pulled it off. On the way out of the movie theater, as students walked by me they said, “Thank you”, and others hugged me. One girl told me that she cried because it was such a good movie. One 3rd grade teacher told me that we should plant a tree during the Earth Day activities and have the students put stones around it like they did in the Lorax.
At dismissal, students asked when we were going to “clean up the outside of the school” because they do not want any litter, leaves or branches on the property.

Truffula trees growing

 

Truffula seed from new Lorax movie. Source: truffula-seed-from-movie-rxzo3v.jpg

I still can’t believe we pulled it off. But luckily we are not finished. K-2 will be going to see the movie in a few weeks. Teachers and students are already (as you can see from above) looking for that next thing. Believe me, there are many things I did not include in this post about just how busy I was during this week (discipline issues, parent conferences, Professional Development plan due, redesigning our upcoming basic skill interventions, observations and APRs due, not to mention the walkthroughs, faculty meeting, and bullying paperwork just to name a few). But as I sit here and type this out that stuff seems so insignificant when I reflect on the impact this week had on our students, teachers, and me.

3rd graders answer higher level questions

I watched the video by @Mrs. _Devita and I told her I was going to cry. After the 5th grade students did their announcements for the upcoming week, she went around and filmed each door, hallway, and classroom that had a connection to Dr. Seuss. As the images passed by on the screen I could hear the recording of a 3rd grade class and the music teacher singing, “I will not eat green eggs and ham.”


Here is a list of the places we went, and will continue to go:

One teachers slide share on Lessons from the Lorax:

Lessons from Dr. Seuss by Mr. Selfdevelopment:

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/8-must-read-success-lessons-from-dr-seuss/

@aliciadiscepola’s most excellent Read Across America website:

http://www.wix.com/missdiscepola/raa

30 Dr. Seuss quotes that can change your life:

http://principalspage.posterous.com/30-dr-seuss-quotes-that-can-change-your-life

 

 

Understanding the Law of the Few: What’s your Tipping Point?

http://darmano.typepad.com/.shared/image.html

As an educational leader, it is important to know about yourself, as well as those you lead. The Tipping Point by Gladwell (2002) was a book that was able to bring abstract concepts of change into real world application. At the time I first read the book, I was busy preparing for my dissertation. I recently decided to revisit the book and see how it applies to my organization. I feel reading the book a second time afforded me the opportunity of going through a double-loop learning process which assisted me in making the deeper connections to the text.

The Law of the Few – Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople

The Maven

http://www.flickr.com/photos/austinevan/1225274637/sizes/m/in/photostream/

According to Gladwell, the word Maven refers to people who accumulate knowledge. Mavens, once they acquire their information, are able to provide specific detail on various aspects to life. I am married to a Maven and I work with many other Mavens.

When I first met my wife, Theresa, we played Jeopardy every night after dinner. I enjoyed the competition, but I rarely won. I can remember being struck by the depth of her knowledge on various sorts of seemingly useless facts. Every morning, Theresa watches the weather with a passion. She is also an avid grocery shopper. I have rarely seen someone study the local circulars for the weekly sales like she does. She likes to make lists. She likes to get the “best” of something or the “sale” item. Gladwell says this about Mavens, “They like to be helpers in the marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you,” (62). Does this sound like you? If so, you might be a Maven.

The Mavens in education are very similar to the Mavens of the shopping world. Mavens in education tend to want to “know” every detail about something before they do it. So when a new curriculum comes out, they will tell you that they don’t feel ready for it, or they need more time to find out all the information. Very rarely, if not provided enough information, will a Maven “just go with it.” Mavens are planners, and you will never receive lesson plans from them late. Mavens love social media because it opens them up to more….you guessed it – INFORMATION!

The Connector

nowdenver.blogspot.com

As I read the section on Connectors in Gladwell I “connected” on several levels. First, I realized that a Connector is someone who knows a lot of people. Second, I felt like Gladwell was talking to me when he described Connectors. I know I am a Connector. It happens all the time. Now it is happening online. One of the reasons why I love Twitter, Linkd-in, and blogging is because of the connections. I am amazed when I look at my ClustrMaps to see where people have visited from. I immediately think to myself, “There is another connection!” In my conversations, I generally refer to other people. For instance, when I was at a recent birthday party I met someone who was an architect. When I hear the word architect, I think of my brother-in-law, Mark. Through Mark, I have met at least five different types of architects because Mark usually hangs out with architects.

In conversations at school, I usually refer people who ask me things to other people (usually Mavens but sometimes Salespeople). I find myself saying, “I know someone who could help you.” As for new things, Connectors can usually “just go with it” but they would rather talk to someone first. So if you are introducing a new curriculum, the connector would want to find other people who are using it, not read a brochure.

zazzle.com

The Salespeople

According to Gladwell, Salespeople are effective at persuading people to purchase things. They are adept at engaging and persuading. Salespeople tend to build relationships with people and utilize subtle, often non-verbal cues to get their information across. Salespeople, if they are effective, can convince people that the item they are talking about is something that can be used. As a principal, I have salespeople contact me all the time. Someone always wants to sell me agendas, curriculum programs, T-shirts, signs, furniture and playground equipment.

My friend Keith has been a salesperson since the day I met him. He has a unique ability to build relationships with people. So it doesn’t come off as selling. One day while visiting him in Florida, he took me on the road while he worked. As we went from store to store, Keith amazed me at the relationships he had with the owners. They never shied away went he entered their store; rather they welcomed him with big hugs. Depending on the person, he talked with them about their families, the news, or the stock market. He made personal connections. He was there to sell his product, but he never mentioned the product first.

In education, the salespeople are trying to sell you on something. I often listen to teachers, parents, administrators, and even students trying to “sell” me on an idea or a concept. The salespeople always think that buying something or implementing something new will make things better. Having trouble with something, we should buy this. Or if there is a need for __________ (fill in the blank) they will sell you the idea that you need to “get it.”

Working with Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople can be difficult. A word of caution, though, one type of person is not better then the next. In fact, we need all of them to be successful. The difference is, just like our students, each personality needs something different. We need information, people, and products in education, right? In order for it to benefit your school, you have to remember the Law of the Few, and make sure you know who you are talking with. This could make all the difference.

References

Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

 

Interview with Malcolm Gladwell

http://failuremag.com/index.php/feature/article/malcolm_gladwell_the_tipping_point/

 

TED Talks With Malcolm Gladwell: What can we learn from spaghetti sauce:

Getting “into” double dutch

This is the approach

How many people out there can say they have been able to Double Dutch jump rope? I have tried on and off for about 12 years. It all started when I worked in Camden. The girls would be swinging the ropes during recess, and I would try to get in. I couldn’t do it. I asked for help. I still couldn’t do it. Nothing seemed to work.

 

So when I started here in Millville, as an Elementary Principal, I knew I would have another chance to redeem myself. This year, I have made it my mission to get into the Double Dutch world. I also extended the challenge to a 5th grade teacher who has had similar frustrations with the Double Dutch world. Not soon after the challenge, she came in (with her colleagues of course) to show me a Flip video she took at recess. I figured it was going to be something bad or an incident that would prompt some investigating. On the contrary, it was a video of her DOING Double Dutch. To add insult to injury, she was waving at the camera, laughing, and jumping all at the same time!

This is the Jump

 

Recently, we had our annual Jump Rope for Heart fundraising event. I tried again and again for about 10 minutes.  A small audience gathered to see the principal trying to get in. Each time, nothing, just ropes hitting my face and shoulders. Kids tried to explain it to me. “When this one gets to the top, jump in with your right foot then immediately switch to jump with your left foot.” Guess what? It still didn’t work.

 

I figured I would do some research on this topic. I found that there are numerous “how to” web videos, web sites, etc. The first lady is actually able to Double Dutch!  I asked a former teacher to talk to me about her Double Dutch experiences.  I showed her my post. She said, “Your post brings back so many memories. I used to double Dutch…well, try to Double Dutch with my 5th graders.” She then asked me, “Did they advise you to “feel” the rhythm of the ropes?” “Well, of course they did,” I replied. She went on to say, “My kids (patiently) instructed me to watch, feel, listen, and move to the rhythm of the ropes…like music. After NUMEROUS attempts, their advice worked for me, and I finally got in. Learning how to Double Dutch taught me a lot about teaching them. Taking opportunities to learn from my students was some of the best Professional Development I ever had. If you want to find out how students learn best, give them the opportunity to teach you something you can’t do naturally…ENLIGHTENING!  Thank you for bringing back something I have forgotten.”

This is ... Not good

 

 

I figured I would put this out to the blog as an attempt get more HELP and eventually get into the Double Dutch world.

 

How many people can say they can Double Dutch?

 

Want more information?

Michelle Obama and Basics:

http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/08/the_first_lady_can_double-dutch_can_you.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Dutch_%28jump_rope%29

 

http://www.nationaldoubledutchleague.com/

 

The Peppersteppers:

 

Coming Back From Maternity Leave

@mrsbensonsbunch Tweet This!

Any mom’s out there? Remember coming back from maternity leave? Each time it gets harder, right? Anyone have 3 and then come back to a completely different type of environment? @mrsbensonsbunch did!

 

She was on maternity leave since September and just returned on January 30th. When she returned, she found a SMART board in her room, and a principal who talked about blogging and tweeting. So what did she do?

 

After working with her very helpful (and thankfully still employed at our school) maternity leave replacement @Mrs_DeVita she learned how the SMART board worked, signed up for twitter and is developing a class blog. She hasn’t missed a beat.

 

One of the cool things that I noticed in her room was her Tweet Wall (above). When students want to share something, they get up, get a post-it and write their tweet. In fact, I tweeted the class after my recent observation.

 
Listening Center

I really enjoyed watching the students work with the listening center. Look at the rubric! They have to grade themselves on whether they are reading like a robot, like a news caster or a rock star. I asked one student and he knew that being a rock star was the best. 3rd grade!

 
 

So, to all of the moms who are coming back, going out, or simply “remember those days” here is to one who did it with panache!

Where is the LOVE?

source:free-extras.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As I reflect on the meaning of Valentine’s Day, I figured I should do a little research. I googled the “Meaning of Valentine’s Day.” There were about 2,540,000 potential connections to this search. The story goes something like this: St. Valentine did a lot of work in the area of marriage, February has long been associated with love, and the card companies wanted to sell more cards. I tend to believe a little of all the major theories. Regardless, I wanted to take this time and share my appreciation of the things I love:

-My Wife – She is the one who has stood by me and believed in me. We always say to each other, “You’re my number one supporter!”

– My Kids – I have two exceptional children: Henry and Catherine. They have grounded me, and made me believe in the future, their future.

– My family – My mom, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, in-laws- I have learned so much from everyone!

– RM Bacon – Since being selected the Principal last April I have fallen head over heels for the BEARS. I have had such an awesome experience thus far and it is because of the students, parents, staff, and teachers.

– Coffee – Anyone who knows me (So that is why I received so many Starbucks cards over the holidays) knows that I love coffee. That first cup in the morning is precious. And it always has to be HOT!

– Exercise – Whether I am running, biking, golfing, playing basketball, kickball, hockey, Karate, or Insanity I love to exercise.

– Watching Movies – I tend to like documentaries or sports oriented movies, and most of all I love cuddling on the couch with my wife and kids while I am watching. Well, I have to be more honest, if I want to watch something to do with sports, the room clears out.

– Indian Food – Indian food is by far my favorite food. I am not sure saying that I love it gives it justice.

So where is your LOVE?

Love,

Dr. Cook

 

 

Where does the road of excess lead? Emotional Intelligence? Resonant Leadership?

"The Long, and Winding Road" source:istock

I truly live by William Blake’s famous quote, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” The problem is that road goes in two directions, with many turns, stops and hills. The road of excess can make you tired, stressed and dissonant. On the other hand, it can make you energized, healthy, and focused. As for the middle path, I don’t know much about that path. I do know that learning about Emotional Intelligence and Resonant Leadership has helped me tremendously.

 

 

 

 

We all have personal energy source:personal-energy jpeg

Emotional intelligence has been defined as the ability to recognize how leaders understand themselves and others (Goleman, et al., 2002). Leaders, including myself, are prime candidates for stress, weight issues, and health issues (Boyatzis & McKee, 2006). Using the concept of emotional intelligence, Boyatzis and McKee (2006) proposed that leaders utilize a process of renewal to deal with the sacrifices that have been inherent in today’s work world. When leaders do not renew themselves, they run the risk of becoming dissonant, and therefore, ineffective or burnt out.

 

 

Are you running on empty? source:energy_crisis jpeg

Ironically, being a principal causes a lot of stress and anxiety.  It also has an energizing effect, but these two forces do not always balance each other. Through much reflection, I have found that I am a potential candidate for Sacrifice Syndrome (Boyatzis & McKee, 2006). I tend to volunteer for activities even when my plate is full. I have a tough time declining opportunities because I feel that everything I do has the potential to benefit my professional growth and school community. In my world, there is always another mountain to climb. In the process, there are occasions when I become stressed out and continue to take on those potentially advantageous opportunities that end up becoming more detrimental to my well-being and supersede the intended beneficial outcomes.

 

 

 

source:life-balance-e1276962324836

When I am feeling well, I tend to be more charismatic and full of energy. I realize this because others point it out to me. “Hey Spike, you seem full of energy!” or “Wow, I wish I had your energy!” On the other hand, when I am stressed out, I have people tell me, “You look tired,” or “Is everything OK?” I am the kind of person who wears my emotions on my sleeve. In the fall, sometime after Thanksgiving, I knew I was deep in the cycle of sacrifice. I was tired all of the time. Although it took me a few weeks to get out, I was able to recognize, reflect and make the necessary changes to break that cycle. As a leader, I know that I must be awake, aware, and attentive. In order to achieve this, I need to adhere to a Cycle of Renewal (Boyatzis & McKee, 2006).

Henry and Daddy went for a snow run today. His idea!

Maintaining a Cycle of Renewal has become more difficult as I grow older and add more responsibilities to my plate. I used to run marathons, triathlons, and hike mountains. Since that time, I have fathered two children and earned both a masters and doctoral degree.  Plus, I became a principal. It has only been in the last year that I have truly committed myself to a new cycle of renewal. It has helped that the kids are more independent and out of diapers. I go to karate three days a week, eat as healthy as possible, meditate, and spend time with my family. I try to laugh, a lot. I like watching funny things on TV. I dance with my wife and children. We have competitions of all sorts. I listen to music and enjoy reading.

 

So now, I maintain two blogs, participate on twitter, and am a building principal (January 30, 2012 posts:  What is it like being a principal? Are you in meetings all day?). I know my colleagues wonder, “How does he do it?” As I stated earlier, I travel on the road of excess. On that road, I balance the cycle of sacrifice and the cycle of renewal. Want to learn more about the cycle of sacrifice, renewal or Emotional Intelligence? Here are some resources: