Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Donya Ball Talks about How Administrators Can Adjust Their Sails to Weather Any Storm

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Donya Ball Talks about How Administrators Can Adjust Their Sails to Weather Any Storm

About Donya Ball

Dr. Donya Ball is a leader, author, and national keynote speaker. She currently serves as a superintendent of schools in California and, for over two decades, has been a change-maker in public education. 

Dr. Ball is a professor of both educational administration and teacher education. She is passionate about studying, writing, and speaking about overcoming leadership hardships. 

Her first book of the leadership series, Adjusting the Sails: Weathering the Storms of Administrative Leadership, was published in 2022. Her second book, Against the Wind: Leadership at 36,000 Feet, will be released this January.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Donya Ball

Donya starts with a story about her experiences working through various positions and the fact that we tend to talk a lot about “the stuff,” but there isn’t enough “real talk” in books. She wanted her work to get to the real talk. We call that “real talk for real leaders.” 

Listen to Donya’s thoughts on why we’re so reactionary in educational leadership.

She has unique ideas about writing and conveying her message, particularly how she combines her love for reality TV and what needs to be in books for school leaders. 

One “sail” we talked about adjusting is the negative reviews in books. 

Joe tells the story of how TheSchoolHouse302 was born because it relates to Donya’s take on the need for “real talk.”  

One inspiration for her book is the need to discuss career rejection; it happens, but not enough of us are actually talking about it. 

Don’t miss her story about her dad, who was born in Iran, and how he had to establish a new life. We all need to become fighters! 

Donya talks about the need for branding…our perception of ourselves is not always in alignment with the public perception of us. 

Listen to her describe how branding is an obstacle and how we need to do an assessment of our social media accounts. What message are we sending to our school community? 

Donya says that we need to embrace the crises when they occur, not shield ourselves and others from them. 

Don’t miss her analogy for the three types of leadership strategies with social media. 

  • Dismissive
  • Passive 
  • Engaged  

Donya tells us to follow Roni Habib at eqschools.com for inspiration and aspiration in the space of leadership and personal well-being. 

Great leaders ask this question daily: “Are my people taken care of?” This transcends resources, facilities, pay, etc. She wants to know if those she leads truly feel taken care of.

Don’t miss what she says about “raw, authentic, heartfelt conversations.” 

Donya wants to master the art of patience. Joe says that TJ is not a person to ask for help in this area. 

She talked about growing as a leader and why it’s imperative to surround yourself with people who are different from you–political leaders, community leaders, thought leaders in various fields. 

She delivered a great call to action: We need to get outside of our comfort zones when it comes to bringing people into our circle. 

She recommends Blindspots: Hidden Biases of Good People for school leaders who want to uncover their own biases and move past them. 

Donya admits that she used to think about short-term results and getting quick wins on accountability metrics, but she’s shifting her thinking to more long-term approaches to teaching, learning, and leading that have a lasting impact on the world. 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

 

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read The Song of Significance and Retention for A Change

 

 

Unlocking Excellence: Read to Lead, Learn to Grow Faster

It’s no mystery that we are big fans of Seth Godin, especially T.J., but there is a good reason for that in terms of learning to lead better and grow faster. In many ways, Godin challenges conventional wisdom but remains practical in his advice. His insights are unique, and school leaders can benefit from his work. Here’s what you’ll learn from this podcast about Seth’s new book.

 

  • Find your unique voice as a school leader to help develop a school environment that empowers teachers and students. There is no greater superpower than authenticity. The goal is to create a space where people live out their feelings of significance. 
  • Schools are not only a part of the community; in many respects, they are a community within themselves. Godin writes about tribes and groups that join together to unlock potential. Schools are a natural place for this work. It requires a skilled leader to create the right conditions, though.
  • Lastly, Godin talks about generosity. Tune in to find more.

 

We always feel a little odd showcasing our own work. However, Retention for A Change (RFAC) is packed with great strategies, from practitioners for practitioners.

  • Learn how to Motivate, Inspire, and Energize your team.
  • Uncover key ways to onboard and support your new hires. The real work starts when the hiring is done. 
  • Lastly, schools are in a constant state of transition. We would love for things to slow down and for the waters settle, but we don’t see that happening any time soon. RFAC recognizes that reality in education and provides school leaders with real tools to navigate the daily grind. 

 

 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

A Three-Pronged Approach to Building an Environment that Attracts and Retains Talented Teachers

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

 

In this episode of the Leading Better and Growing Faster podcast for school leaders, Joe and T.J. tackle strategies for building an environment where teachers want to work and want to stay. 

As our good friend, Principal EL, always says, “trying to find, hire, and retain teachers is like the hunger games.” There is definitely a shortage of qualified teachers, so it is imperative that we hang onto the ones we have. To do so, every school leader must actively work to create an environment where teachers thrive. 

 

We recommend a multifaceted approach: 

  • First and foremost, celebrating and praising the dedication and hard work of educators is paramount. Recognize their achievements, both big and small, not only to boost morale but also to reaffirm their value in the school community. 
  • Secondly, finding more time for teachers to engage in professional development, collaboration, and self-care is crucial. We know it’s difficult, but school leaders must uncover ways to reduce the unnecessary administrative burden placed on staff, prioritizing time for their growth and renewal.
  • Lastly, creating leadership opportunities within the school empowers teachers to take ownership of their roles, fostering a sense of purpose and investment in their work. 

 

This three-pronged approach is grounded in celebration, time management, and leadership cultivation.

In the episode, T.J. digs into one the communication feedback models that we work with school districts on, including Specific Praise. The challenge is that managers believe they do this, but most workers disagree. 

Joe doubles down on the need for the 3Rs: Recuperate, Rejuvenate, and Regroup. Leaders often mistake downtime as wasted time, a major mistake. We suggest finding time for staff to achieve the 3Rs at work and beyond. The key is to communicate the goal and intended usage of the time provided for them. 

Lastly, don’t forget to lift your influential teachers. They can galvanize school culture, but they should be developed as well. Do not leave their growth to chance. Find ways to give them leadership experiences and avenues to grow as a leader.

Achieve the aforementioned strategies and you will be well on your way to developing the school culture where teachers thrive.

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover in our short Leading Better & Growing Faster episodes by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J

 

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

When you stop believing that what you do matters, you can’t make a difference anymore. ~ Debbie Silver

About Debbie Silver

Dr. Debbie Silver is a former Louisiana Teacher of the Year, a best-selling author, and a highly sought-after speaker. She has presented to educators, administrators, parents, and students in 49 states, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the Middle East. 

Her best-selling books include Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers, Teaching Kids to Thrive, and the recently updated and revised Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8, and Deliberate Optimism: Still Reclaiming the Joy in Education

Debbie’s high-energy sessions address both the art and heart of teaching. Audiences delight in hearing this 30-year veteran teacher whose presentations are described as “where learning collides with laughter.”

 

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Debbie Silver

Debbie starts off with the fact that her book Deliberate Optimism focuses on leadership, specifically teacher leaders. 

Dr. Silver talks about the need for teachers to have more time without students so they can break the stagnation and build a relationship culture.

Don’t miss what she says about optimism and “what matters.” 

Debbie talks about incremental steps rather than massive changes. We need to balance the art and the heart of teaching. 

She reminds us to look for glimmers, not triggers. 

She dives into the idea of failing better and building our collective efficacy.

She talks about teaching educators to vent properly and not pull the profession down. 

Don’t miss what she says about new teachers not having more than 4 hours of teaching a day so that they can spend more time observing master teachers. 

T.J. asks Debbie about modeling. Don’t miss her response and her call for unity. 

Her insight about teacher training and isolation is thought-provoking. What we expect from teachers, specifically new teachers, is impossible and unlike any other profession. 

Joe mentions the potential that PLC has to support teacher capacity and growth. Listen to what she says they cannot be. 

Her ingredients for leadership success are straightforward: common vision, shared value system, mutual respect, and optimism. 

Debbie brings up Brene Brown, Rick Wormli, Association of Middle Level Educators, and other resources that you’ll want to check out. 

The one thing people should do more regularly is to give others the benefit of the doubt. She reminds us that adults want to be treated like adults. 

Dr. Silver ends with wanting to learn more about how to use Artificial Intelligence. Our riff on Chat GPT is great.

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

Five Actionable Strategies for School Leaders Who Want to Avoid Initiative Fatigue and Maintain a Positive Culture

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

 

In this podcast, we are completely focused on successfully implementing and managing the multiple initiatives that can be found in every school system. What you’ll find in this episode:

 

1. Despite the enormous amount of various initiatives in schools, maintain a mindset that sees how they all fit into the system versus it being “one more thing.” 

2. Zoom out to gain a greater perspective so you can successfully organize the initiatives and work into buckets. Very often the area of focus may gel nicely with work already being done. 

3. As a school leader, be sure to include the teacher’s voice and their perspective. They will point out obstacles and roadblocks that will save an enormous amount of time. 

4. Let teacher leaders run with the work, but don’t leave them out to dry. Providing ongoing leadership development and capacity building is key. 

5. Lastly, do an inventory of all the programs and initiatives. Sometimes the work overlaps with other efforts and either something can be eliminated or coupled. 

 

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover in our short Leading Better & Growing Faster episodes by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J

 

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

Two Must Reads on Navigating the Challenges of Implementing Initiatives for School Leaders

Walk into any school and you’ll find countless different types of work being done. Yes, teaching and learning are at the heart of what we do, but a great school culture, one where teaching and learning can thrive, is about so much more. Creating this kind of culture places a huge demand on countless people who are doing exciting work. But, at times, with all of the spinning plates, it can also be overwhelming.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced, whirlwind of initiatives and responsibilities that can tax even the most formidable educator. The goal is to successfully lead initiatives, striving to achieve the goals of the school, yet without burnout looming. This requires the effective use of proven leadership strategies along with a collaborative approach, paving the way for successful implementation.

That’s why we picked these two books as our recommendations for school leaders who want to implement initiatives well. They provide the tips, tools, and tricks for the necessary learning and insight to do just that.

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read These Two Books

 

These two books are powerful reads that can transform how you operate and manage initiatives in your schools.

T.J. tells us that one major takeaway that we had from Right From the Startwas to find bright spots. Jim Marshall tells us that school leaders often look for gaps to fill, but the bright spots show us the places that need replication. The bright spots are those areas that are working well and performing optimally. We often want to fix things, but it is within the bright spots where we identify what is working and potentially what can be reproduced elsewhere.

Don’t miss what we say about the power of preplanning as well!

In our recommendation that school leaders read Every Teacher a Leader we emphasize the need to build teacher leaders and to invest in the capacity to influence others. School administrators cannot do it all, and they certainly won’t do it well without the help of teachers. Schools are constantly implementing initiatives and that reality should prompt every school leader to embrace this mindset–the need for teacher leaders–and drive change through their development.

The classroom is the most important space in a school, and at the end of the day, teachers need to be inspired and empowered to teach, learn, and lead.

Our reading tip for this month is simple: find reading material and books that support the ancillary aspects of what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are implementing restorative practices in your school, don’t only read books on that topic. Yes, it’s critical to become highly skilled in that space, and there are great books to help you on that journey, however, digging into Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch, which covers the psychology of change, can prove to be invaluable. Pick something up that isn’t in the typical school leader’s library or playlist.

Enjoy these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. And, if you read our newest book, please rate it on Amazon. It helps.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J.