Season 4, Episode 5 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Danny Steele

by | Dec 29, 2022 | 0 comments

6 min read

Danny Steele Joins FocusED to Discuss Essential Truths for Principals & School Leaders…and Much More 

This is Season 4, Episode 5 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Danny Steele. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Danny says about Essential Truths for Principals…and so much more.


Danny Steele Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Danny Steele is in his 30th year of education, and this school year marks his second as the principal at Homewood Middle School. Prior to this position, he has served as an Assistant Professor of Instructional Leadership, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.

In 2005, Steele was recognized as the “Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year” for the state of Alabama.  And in 2016, he was recognized  as Alabama’s “Secondary Principal of the Year.”

He has presented at numerous state and national conferences and spoken in school districts around the country.  

Danny has written or co-written five books. He has an undergraduate degree in History from Covenant College; an M.A. in History from the University of Alabama, Birmingham; and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Administration as well as a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership–both from Samford University.  He resides with his wife and three children in Birmingham, Alabama.


FocusED Show Notes with Danny Steele 

Danny talks about the inception of the book and how Todd Whitacker pitched the idea as something that would be very broad for educators but was then split into two books: Essential Truths for Teachers and Essential Truth for Principals

Danny talks about the fact that we can get lost in doing what we’re doing and forget the reasons why we’re doing what we’re doing. 

Don’t miss what he says about getting swallowed up by the administrivia. 

He talks about the difference in the focus between being a teacher and being an administrator. 

You have to hear what he says about the sign above his door and why it’s there. 

We love what Danny says about instructional leadership. It’s not about improving teachers as much as it is about creating the conditions for them to improve themselves. 

He talked about “cultural conditions” and why that’s so important for teachers and diminishing burnout. 

Fundamentally, teachers are looking for support. Danny talked about relationships and building them so that teachers can thrive in the school.

Danny talks about the fact that a collaborative approach to teaching and learning is the key to improving the student experience. 

He says that we ought to focus on what students are doing, not just what the teachers are teaching. 

Check out what he says about skills beating content every day

Danny talks about being a huge fan of Todd Whitaker and points to several of Todd’s resources. 

He calls out the book, Hacking Learning Centers by Starr Sackstein

Danny mentions Adam Grant and his book, Think Again.

He talks about the need for us to do more work on race and equity in schools. 

Danny Steele Quotes from FocusED

We can all use reminders about why it is we do what we do. ~ Danny Steele 

Sports teams shouldn’t have a monopoly on neat traditions. ~ Danny Steele 

Teachers should be empowered and inspired to try to be awesome. ~ Danny Steele 

Organizational leadership of any kind doesn’t happen in a vacuum. ~ Danny Steele 

There’s not one program that’s a problem in the school and there’s not one program that’s going to solve every problem in the school. ~ Danny Steele 

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 


FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Resources for You

Grab a Copy of One of Our Books:

Invest in Your Best: 9 Strategies to Grow, Support, and Celebrate Your Most Valuable Teachers
Click to pre-order it on Amazon

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems.
Order it Here

Retention for a Change is an Amazon Best Seller and our Latest Book: Order it Here
Have you read Candid and Compassionate Feedback? Click here to order from Amazon.
Passionate Leadership is an Amazon Best Seller. Click here to order today.
Click here to order from Amazon.