One Thing Series: Better Decision-Making w/ Dr. Toni Faddis #onethingseries

One Thing Series: Better Decision-Making w/ Dr. Toni Faddis #onethingseries

Toni Faddis

Don’t miss our leadership podcast with Toni Faddis.

Dr. Toni Faddis has served as a public school educator for the past twenty-six years as a teacher, principal, and district leader. For 13 years, she was a principal of two schools close to the United States/Mexico border and established strong, collaborative teacher teams that resulted in improved content delivery, greater student achievement, and increased teacher self-efficacy. In her current capacity as a district leader, Toni coaches and supports aspiring and novice school leaders.

She is also a faculty member of the Educational Leadership Department at San Diego State University, teaching courses on problem-solving, professional learning, and instructional leadership to teachers who aspire to become school principals.

Toni’s passion for educational excellence, equity, and ethical school leadership led to doctoral research to understand principal decision-making in the unique contexts of border school communities. The degree, conferred by San Diego State University, marked the end of Toni’s study, but not of her learning journey.

She recently authored The Ethical Line: 10 Leadership Strategies for Effective Decision Making (Corwin Press, 2019) and is currently developing a second book for new principals. Toni looks for something new to learn every day and is committed to improving access and outcomes for learners of all ages.

Her interview with TheSchoolHouse302 was engaging and incredibly authentic. Check it out.

  • Listen to what she says about how we have to transform ourselves professionally to meet the demands of the job. She describes how her values truly drive her decisions, her attitude, and her behavior.
  • She acknowledges that Brene Brown is very influential in her life. The quote, “being clear is kind and being unclear us unkind,” truly resonated with us. We completely agree that Brene Brown is someone we all should follow.
  • Toni talked about the power of nature. Get outside!
  • One thing we love about so many of our guests is what they share about their “bucket lists.” Toni doesn’t disappoint with her desire to go to the Olympic Games. “Citius, Altius, Fortius.”
  • Regarding what continues to support her growth as a leader…yoga! After you hear about her initial attempts, you’ll be inspired to try it.
  • We always ask our guests about one thing they believe anymore. The responses are phenomenal and Toni’s is something we all need to get better at doing–stop wasting energy on worrying about what people think. Free yourself and live with courage.

Toni’s interview is a powerful example of a great educator committed to students and staff. Her examples are real, doable, and honest.

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow

Joe & T.J.



#5thSunday: Year-End Reflection Infographic–R.E.F.L.E.C.T.

#5thSunday: Year-End Reflection Infographic–R.E.F.L.E.C.T.

Every month at TheSchoolHouse302, you get a blog post with a leadership development model, a podcast with a leading expert, a “read this” with three book selections, and a review and reflection tool–all on a particular topic of leadership to help you lead better and grow faster. Posts are always blasted out on Sundays so that leaders can think and prepare for the week ahead. In months when we have 5 Sundays, we also provide an infographic to help visualize and solidify the concept. This month, as we end our year, we want to R.E.F.L.E.C.T. on several powerful concepts to propel our success into the future of 2019. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year. R.E.F.L.E.C.T._Infographic As always, please like, follow, and comment. If you have topics of interest, guests you want us to interview, or books that we should read and recommend, please let us know that as well. Joe & T.J.
Reflection:  Using Models to Advance and Accelerate Your Organization’s #Growth

Reflection: Using Models to Advance and Accelerate Your Organization’s #Growth


Models = Momentum ~John Green (DE Small Business Owner)

Reinforce Ideas through Models

As the old adage says, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  Or what is often attributed to Napoleon, “a good sketch is better than a long speech.”  Why?  The reason is many people are visuals learners.  Some research indicates that up to 65% of people learn visually[i].  Visual representations such as pictures, graphic organizers, and particularly our focus this month on MODELS, provide clear unambiguous depictions of the content being covered.  Models have the ability to visually summarize, organize, and actually engage individuals. Ultimately, the real benefit, through the use of models, is that they allow abstract ideas, thoughts, and concepts to come together, which simply enhances our ability to understand something.  As leaders, we use words like Vision, Goals, Mission, but are we certain they communicate what we want?

Consider the following quote: “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

This is a powerful motivational message, but now consider the same quote embedded into a thoughtful picture of Lincoln.  The quote is powerful, but the quote combined with the picture evokes emotion.  Seeing Lincoln poised as a thinker allows us to imagine him creating the future in his mind. An organization’s vision and mission statements are no different.  We need models to breath life into the basic print on paper.   Creating a conceptual visualization of what we expect adds clarity, evokes action, and provides a meaningful resource.


Take a look at this basic model for maintaining the key elements for classroom walkthroughs, or for organizational leaders, management by walking around.  This basic model might sit at the top of your school’s data collection tool just as a reminder of the three-step process for walkthroughs.


This funnel demonstrates the three key expectations of the walkthroughs, as well as the ultimate goal—improved practice.  Spending time in the most important spaces of your organization, improves practices for both the observer and the observed.

75/25 Rule

Once you have an effective model, consider the 75/25 rule that we heard about in our interview with local small business owner John Green. Listen here. The premise of the rule is that the model the organization uses provides 75% of what should be done without deviation.  The 75% houses the key processes, ideas, and vetted best practices.  However, the remaining 25% allows for the individual to infuse their own vision and their own passion.  Passion = Momentum.

75/25 also means that models allow people to work within frameworks that are understood, providing guidance, but still allowing for creativity.  This is the heart of our most recent post whereby leaders provide the opportunity for workers to learn, grow, and succeed by developing self-efficacy.  It is the leader’s responsibility to create an environment that nurtures growth and development and ultimately a belief that success is attainable.

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

Let us know if these strategies work for you.

Joe and T.J.