What Every Principal Leader Ought to Know About Personal Development and the Power of A Mastermind Group

What Every Principal Leader Ought to Know About Personal Development and the Power of A Mastermind Group

Learn more about Danny Bauer

Daniel Bauer is an unorthodox Ruckus Maker who has mentored thousands of school leaders through his Better Leaders Better Schools blog, books, podcasts, and powerful coaching experiences. 

His new book, The Mastermind: Unlocking the Talent Within Every School Leader introduces a proprietary process called the ABCs of powerful professional development™ which is changing the landscape of how school leaders experience professional development. 

Key Thoughts from Our Interview with Danny Bauer

  • Danny wastes no time about the harsh reality that 90% of school leaders who leave their school, leave the profession. The cost of retention is too high, which is why joining a community of dedicated professionals is paramount.

  • Listen to Danny explore the imposter syndrome, how it limits our abilities, why it kicks in, and how we can push past our self-defeating behaviors when we are a part of the right community.

  • Danny shares a quote: What’s ordinary for you is extraordinary for me. ~ Derek Sivers. Check out entrepreneur and founder of CD Baby, Derek Sivers, you won’t be disappointed.

  • A big part of the Mastermind process is the “hotseat” protocol. It’s where we challenge one another to do and be better. Listen to what Danny says about the collective IQ.

  • What is Danny looking forward to? Eventually, he wants to serve 1200+ leaders in his Mastermind. This is where the interview gets very tangible, since Danny tells about what he learned from The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale.

  • Teaching others is what leads to his growth because it helps to make the learning stick. He is always looking for something that stretches his thinking. Check out the AltMBA, an investment that he made in his own leadership.

  • Lastly, listen to what he says about “just cause.”

Let us know what you’re reading and who else you want us to bring on the show by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J.



Mindset is Everything: How To Handle Every Student Support Challenge this Upcoming School Year w/ Guest LaVonna Roth

Mindset is Everything: How To Handle Every Student Support Challenge this Upcoming School Year w/ Guest LaVonna Roth

Learn More About LaVonna Roth

As a former elementary and secondary educator, keynote speaker, author, consultant and mom, LaVonna bridges her passion for how the brain learns with education and shows every individual how to S.H.I.N.E. through their mindset and social-emotional well-being so achievement soars for all. 

She has a Bachelor’s and two Master’s Degrees, taught at the elementary and secondary levels, author of 8 books (about to be 9), and has worked with educators in the U.S./Canada, Europe, South America and the Middle East.  She is the founder of the Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.® framework and creator of brain-powered learning.  To elevate educators further, LaVonna teaches educators how to get into educational consulting – part-time or full-time – through her Prime to S.H.I.N.E. consulting course and membership site. 

She will leave you inspired, remembering why you got into education, and how to create substantial change in your classroom, district or organization that is sustainable. She is here to serve you, so you can effectively serve your students through the lens of brain research, social-emotional needs and psychological safety. 

Key Thoughts from Our Interview with LaVonna Roth

  • LaVonna discussed how the pandemic didn’t come with a manual and how we should be careful with the language we use, such as lost year, lost learning. 
  • “We need to take a step back and understand what just happened over the last year and a half. We need to survive to thrive, and we need space to transition.” 
  • Don’t miss the key strategies she provides for when students return. This reminded us of Dan Sullivan’s book, Who Not How. LaVonna clearly establishes who should be at the table.
  • Lavonna talked about how educators need to have age appropriate conversations. Check out her free SEL resources
  • LaVonna uses a structured way to look at situations, and she asks very specific questions: “What was the lesson, benefit, or takeaway?” 
  • LaVonna talks about psychological sciences and cognitive psychology. She points to books from ASCD. We also recommend taking a look at Make It Stick, Powerful Teaching, and a company called TeachFX
  • Don’t miss LaVonna’s personal hacks for self-care. Become aware of your thoughts. Check out, also, a great book on this topic, Chatter, by Ethan Kross.
  • LaVonna wants to slow down a bit…listen to what she says about it. It reminded us of Essentialism
  • LaVonna combines learning with self-care to continue to grow as a leader. You’ll want to hear this. 
  • Her final segment was powerful, vulnerable, and relatable for those of us who struggle with imposter-syndrome and the value we seek to add. 

Let us know what you’re reading and who else you want us to bring on the show by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

PS — Sign up for our next Masterclass in Candid and Compassionate Feedback and our first ever Masterclass in Building a Winning Team. 

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Season 1, Episode 2 of FocusED with Guest Adam Welcome

Season 1, Episode 2 of FocusED with Guest Adam Welcome

This is Season 1, Episode 2 of FocusED, and it features guest, Adam Welcome, with a focus on his book, Kids Deserve It. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, and you can’t miss Adam’s candor about what needs to change in our schools. You’ll hear his challenge that “most things don’t get done, because most things don’t get started” and much, much more. 


Meet Our FocusED Guest Adam Welcome

Adam has been a teacher, Principal, Director of Innovation for a district with 35,000 students and enjoys pushing the envelope to always do what’s best for kids!

Adam was Principal of the Year for his region, a 20 To Watch for the National School Board Association, guest blogger for EdWeek, NAESP magazine, and many other publications. Adam also consults and works with many education companies as a way to improve their product for others!

Adam is passionate about technology integration with all educators and a huge advocate of social media and connecting with other educators from across the country. Adam makes it clear that kids come first and has preached the message of Team Kid for many years.

He is also the co-founder of Kids Deserve It, the author of Run Like a Pirate and Empower Our Girls.

Adam has an amazing wife and two young children that keep life at home exciting and active. Adam also loves to run and has completed 29 marathons.


Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ dereka206.sg-host.com. 

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. 

Each episode we invite expert guests to join us for a live recording of the podcast, which happens in Delaware. All Delaware educators are invited to attend.

Don’t forget to like, share, and follow. You can always get more by following dereka206.sg-host.com.

Review and Reflect: Better Decision-Making Through C.A.R.E. — #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: Better Decision-Making Through C.A.R.E. — #reviewandreflect


This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on Decision-Making.

Our Review and Reflect series embraces the powerful sentiment from Soren Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Throughout this post, we take a deep dive into our leadership content so that you can develop the skills you need to lead better and grow faster.

Skills I need to develop for improved decision-making…

If you’re reading this post, which we are very grateful that you are, you probably made about five decisions just to get to this point. You may have asked yourself, should I read it on my phone or laptop? At my desk or on my couch? Should I grab a cup of coffee first? Will I take some notes or just screenshot what really jumps out at me? The point is that we constantly make decisions every second. Some of them are significant and critically important, while others are common and ordinary. Regardless of the type of decision, we make over 30,000 of them per day.

Because we are rapidly deciding on one thing or another all the time, we need to establish the right environment to improve our decision-making skills and align them to our core values and purpose. That may sound simple, given that we are the ones making the decisions for ourselves, but we know how easily influenced we can be by friends, co-workers, social media, and marketing techniques.

For stronger alignment with your values, we ask you to use C.A.R.E. when making decisions. It’s a formula to ensure better decision-making in life and work. 


#1. Core Values–If someone were to ask you, “what are your Core Values” could you answer them clearly and succinctly? If not, don’t read another word before identifying them.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” ~ Seneca

#2. Automate Routines–If someone were to ask you, “what does your morning routine look like that sets you up for success” could you tell them? If not, stop reading and identify what your morning routine will be from this day forward.

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” ~ Jim Rohn

#3. Rely on a Trusted Few–If someone were to ask you, “who do you really trust and can seek their wise counsel when needed” could you readily identify them? Take a minute, grab a pen, and write their names down, then call them and let them know how much you appreciate their advice.

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.” ~ Thomas Moore

#4. Evaluate the Impact–If someone were to ask you, “how do you know if the decisions you make are any good” could you show them the results? If not, take a few minutes right now and evaluate if a decision you recently made turned out the way you had expected.

“Reflective thinking turns our experience into insight.” ~ John Maxwell


Wherever you find yourself on the scale for each area, we encourage you to immerse yourself into some powerful literature to lead better and grow faster in the area of decision-making.

Great Leaders Are Avid Readers

Review: In our #readthisseries we featured practical books that offer actionable information to improve decision-making.

Our first recommendation is The one thing: The surprisingly simple truth about extraordinary results. If you’re tired of thinking about what needs to be done, and you are ready for real results, read this!

Our second recommendation is from Doug Reeves, Leading change in your school: How to conquer myths, build commitment, and get results. This is a terrific book for school and district leaders who are ready to lead the necessary change in their organization.

Our final recommendation is Leading with focus: Elevating the essentials for school and district improvement. What we truly respect about Mike Schmoker is that he cuts to the chase and provides real examples. If you don’t have a lot of time but want to read incredible stories about real schools, pick this up!

Let us know if these great reads change your leadership practices and deliver real results.

Who should I follow…

What does an expert have to say about decision making? Toni Faddis is the real deal. We truly appreciate her book, The Ethical Line: 10 Leadership Strategies for Ethical Decision-Making. Strategy #6, Unifying Around a Collective Vision, is just one aspect that all leaders need to read. She walks you through an organizational values audit that is quite telling.

Toni Faddis

Action: Throughout this month during our Three Minute Challenges we asked you to take decisive action to improve your level of C.A.R.E.

Our TPA: A Framework for Growth Through Reflection, is a powerful tool for personal development and growth. Reflect on the self-assessment you just completed and identify those areas that you need to develop with focus.

Think - Plan - Act

Please subscribe!

Listen to the entire podcast on iTunes, One Thing Series, and please rate and like (it helps).

That’s our #review&reflect for decision-making. Take a look back to take a step forward.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube.

Joe & T.J.



Engagement The greatest leaders all have one thing in common–they know where they are going. Their purpose is clear and they consistently pursue their goals, which engages the people they serve. Unfortunately, many of us can think of a leader who, instead, creates uncertainty and ambiguity, leaving the direction unclear. This behavior is the result of one or more of the following three leadership flaws, which can plague any of us if we’re not careful.

#1. Deviation from Core Values

Confusion sets in when we deviate from our core values, a set of principles that guide our decision-making. When this happens, chaos ensues because people are not guided appropriately.

#2. High Expectations with Minimal Direction

Uncertainty is also the result of high expectations coupled with little direction. Leaders can erroneously exchange a lack of direction with empowerment, but that’s never really the case. People need direction on where the organization is heading, along with the freedom to execute the vision in their own way. This process, bridged with support, increases clarity and the individual’s confidence.

#3. Conflict Avoidance Creates Ambiguity

Ambiguity is the outcome when we work to avoid conflict. Leaders who avoid conflict, to either create comfort or appease the status quo, end up with a lack of clarity, which eventually creates greater discomfort and disharmony. Tackling tough problems always creates greater clarity and is a high functioning behavior of successful leaders.

Take 3 minutes to challenge yourself at work.

Challenge Yourself: Let’s Get RAW

Reflect–Review your vision statement, core values, and organizational goals. Are they clear and well-known to everyone? Are all decisions backed-up by these pillars?

Act–Create a system to check-in with your direct reports on a regular basis, not to manage the how but to reinforce the why.

Write–Keep a post-it or 3X5 card nearby at all times to remind yourself of the vision, core values, and organizational goals. Write them out in several places for regular review.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following dereka206.sg-host.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple. Joe & T.J.
#SH302 — The Three Cs of Motivation: Clarity, Consciousness, and Commitment

#SH302 — The Three Cs of Motivation: Clarity, Consciousness, and Commitment

Carpe Diem

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best. ~ St. Jerome

Knowing ourselves and what it means to give our “good, better, best” for any given task is not easy. This understanding requires a deep level of self-awareness, which is only gained through self-reflection. In ancient Greek writings, “know thyself”  comes as a command to look inward. Hobbes uses the Latin translation, nosce teipsum, referring to the need for humans to study themselves to find out more about what influences our inner thoughts and what motivates our actions. This level of consciousness is necessary for us to improve in all facets of life, allowing our good to get better and our better to be best.

But even with this deep level of personal awareness, we can get trapped by the fact that knowledge alone is not a motivator. Something else from inside of us must crave change. Real improvements are drawn about by the desire to live a life in pursuit of the best we can be. Not a better you, but the best you. In fact, it has been said that hell is only your future realization regarding all that you could have accomplished in life but didn’t. The thought that so many people are disengaged with life and work, unmotivated to do their best (upward toward 70% of the workforce), is dispiriting. It’s downright unproductive and wasteful.

The world is desperate for us to be more and give more, for us to follow our dreams and lift from within. Whether it is in service to others, building a business, innovating in a new space, or challenging the status quo, every ounce of us–our intellect, spirituality, physical being–will fall short if our motivation is inconsistent or frail. Regardless of the reason–fear, rejection, doubt, or discomfort–the key is to find that magical point where we are truly motivated to accomplish what we want from every moment of every day.

Undoubtedly, a climatic event or situation can cause this to happen. Richard Rohr describes this as the coming of our second selves. It occurs when we experience something so powerful that our outlook and attitude toward life is immediately altered. But outside of such a drastic scenario, motivation is the result of what we call The Three Cs of Motivation: Clarity, Consciousness, and Commitment. Using these three Cs can help you find your motivation and stay consistent so that you can achieve your goals. 

Motivation Model

Regardless of the area in your life where you need greater motivation, whether that be parenting, starting a business, teaching in the classroom, or leadership of any kind, these three Cs are the foundational elements to get you moving.

#1: Clarity of Purpose–The first step is always to identify what you truly want to achieve, your why.

#2: Consciousness of Ourselves–The second step to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to see where we can take advantage of our natural abilities, and it helps to forecast any potential pitfalls or missteps.

#3: Commitment to Accountability–The third step is to hold yourself accountable, both by having the will to continue after you fail and by systematizing a way to ensure that you stay consistent.

That’s this month’s model for motivation. Stay tuned for challenges, nuggets of wisdom, reflection questions, and more. Follow us at dereka206.sg-host.com to join thousands of others who get alerts, resources, podcasts, and more.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.