Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

About Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss Murphy has spent 32 years as a software engineer (20 of those years in games and gaming and twelve years building educational games. He spent 3 summers hosting the NSF’s Edugaming workshop and six years as a professor of game design at Laguna College of Art and Design (for their Game Design MFA program). 

He has a few dozen minor publications/chapters. He’s an award-winning speaker, author, and game designer. He’s been on 21 episodes of the podcast Game Design Zen. He’s currently the VP of Engineering at a Mobile Game Studio.

He is the recent author of What Makes Great Managers Great: How to Raise Engagement, Give Feedback, and Answer the Questions No One’s Asking.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss starts by flipping the show back to Joe and T.J. with a question about why they would want to have an “outsider” from education on the show. Listen to hear about comfort zones, learn from new people, and seek alternative perspectives. That’s what Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and TJ is all about. 

Curtiss simply says it, many managers are doing it wrong. His story will resonate with you as he admits that he once was one as well. Don’t miss what he says about how it all changed for him.

You want to hear what he says about medical errors and deaths based on miscommunication. 

He talks about going from 5 people to 40 and what management practices have done to increase performance on his team. 

The number one premise to start with as a leader is that there’s confusion everywhere. ~ Curtiss Murphy 

Tune in to hear why we must always be clarifying expectations. 

Joe asks about “safety and making people feel safe at work.” 

Reminder for school leaders: Whatever we do impacts our employees. Don’t miss what Curtiss says about “not enough” in this category. 

Curtiss looks for inspiration from his wife (and he tells us that we can’t have her). 

He talks about being a nerd by trade and using the rules of improv (we wrote about this in 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders). Three rules: (1) accept everything, (2) use yes, and (3) make your co-workers and partners look good. 

Curtiss wants to learn to be calm, be in the moment, and slow down his sense of urgency. 

He focuses on praising people for supporting the behaviors that he wants them to repeat. 

Curtiss used to think that his job was just to empower people; he learned to empower the skill, not the person. 

His final thought: leadership = influencing others through trusting relationships.  

 

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@theschoolhouse302.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 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@theschoolhouse302.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. 

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

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@theschoolhouse302.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@theschoolhouse302.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. 

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

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@theschoolhouse302.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

 

Learning to Lead Like A Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Learning to Lead Like A Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky–Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Talk less, listen more. ~ Miriam Plotinsky

About Miriam Plotinsky

Miriam Plotinsky is an instructional specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where she has taught and led for more than 20 years. 

 

She is the author of Teach More, Hover Less, Lead Like a Teacher, and Writing Their Future Selves (W.W. Norton & Company). She is also a National Board–Certified Teacher and a certified administrator.

 

What You’ll Find in this Educational Leadership Podcast Episode with Miriam Plotinsky

Miriam says that her new book–Lead Like a Teacher–was pretty much an accident. She simply found that the schools with more teachers at the table had stronger cultures. 

She talked about teachers’ misconception of school leaders as well as school leaders’ misconception of teachers. She called this “the empathy gap.” 

Miriam points out that “if you don’t know the story, you’ll create one. And, it might be wrong.”

Miriam acknowledges that we often learn from the models we have around us, which is only a good thing when the model is effective. Otherwise it works against us.

Hear Miriam discuss why visibility is so critical for a school leader. 

Miriam gave us some insights into how the book unfolds, including what she calls “macro” and “micro” aspects of school leadership. 

She calls for more classroom visits. We couldn’t agree more. 

Don’t miss what she says about “Wait Time 1” and “Wait Time 2” as both teaching and leadership strategies. We can’t disagree with talking less to learn more. 

Miriam mentions Twitter as a place to go to find like-minded people and new ideas. 

She identifies some well known and not so well known resources that are valuable for all educators. She points to Teachers Going Gradeless as a cool organization. She also calls out Edutopia and ASCD as well as Solution Tree as great resources.

Miriam uses the ten-minute reset each day to make sure that she does something that she loves. Tune into what she says about movement and breaks.

She talks about being a “dabbler” in a bunch of things, and she wants to learn how to write more nonfiction. And, we all agreed to learn how to be more funny.

Joe reflects on the need to get more people involved early in our process for any given initiative. 

Don’t miss what she used to think about those who wanted to go into administration and how her perspective has changed. 

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@theschoolhouse302.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.