Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Amanda Holdsworth: Telling Your School’s Story #OneThingSeries

Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Know your area of expertise and stick to it. ~ Dr. Holdsworth 

About Amanda Holdsworth

Dr. Amanda Holdsworth, APR, is the founder of Holdsworth Communications, a PR and enrollment marketing agency in the education sector; the School Comms Lab, a membership community for school communicators; and Comms Mom, a global community for moms working in communications.

A former collegiate tennis and soccer player, Amanda earned a B.S.B.A. in Communications Management and Honors International Studies from Robert Morris University, and both a Master of Arts in Strategic Public Relations and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Amanda’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., and Parents Magazine, but her pride and joy is her family: her husband, Doug, a successful entrepreneur, and two daughters, Avery and Shelby.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Amanda Holdsworth

Amanda has done PR work in higher education, private schools, and public schools. Her insight into marketing and branding your school is invaluable. Learn how “to cut through the noise.”

It’s all about telling the story of the people who work in the organization. Create connections by telling their story to the community. Don’t miss the Curt Schilling example. 

Too many PR agencies, schools, and districts still think that public relations are about sending out press releases…not true. 

She gives sage advice regarding how stories should tie the school to the community so that it matters to the interests of the local people. 

T.J. gravitated toward the concept of an “ideal customer avatar” and how the ICA drives the narrative. The people, the vision and mission, and the impact the school is making are all ICA drivers.

To develop your ideal customer avatar, we need to enumerate our audiences. Schools and districts have multiple audiences, all with different interests. 

  1. Who are we communicating to? 
  2. What are their interests? 
  3. Who can help us get the word out? 

Schools can’t have a one-sided relationship with local journalists. You’ll want to hear what Amanda says about supporting relationships with the press so that they know how to help when the time comes. 

Amanda talks about the trend in the ability to get a hold of the national press versus local organizations. 

Amanda tells us about a two-prong approach that she learned at USC–have a strategic PR plan and “brand ambassadors.”

Amanda connected us to Jeremy Tiers to study how higher education is attracting students. Check out @coachtiers.  

She talks about practicing gratitude as something that all leaders can do daily. Use this sentence stem: “I’m so lucky to be in a position to…”

She acknowledges that she has never seen this degree of negative reporting about schools, making gratitude even more important. 

Listen to why she wants to play the bass guitar.

Amanda has learned to stay in her lane. Schools and districts can learn to focus on what they do best and how we can communicate that. 

Don’t miss what she says about being afraid to be an entrepreneur and what she realized when she went out on her own. 

Amanda ends by saying that we should tell the stories of our teachers and staff. Who is the school nurse? What can we share about the bus driver? It’s a people business. Let’s tell their stories. 

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 And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Jonathan Alsheimer: Don’t Leave Supporting Your Teachers to Chance #OneThingSeries

Jonathan Alsheimer: Don’t Leave Supporting Your Teachers to Chance #OneThingSeries

Why can’t school be more like Disney World? ~ Jonathan Alsheimer 

About Jonathan Alsheimer

Jonathan Alsheimer is an unorthodox, energetic, and entertaining middle school teacher who refuses to live a life of limitations. Jonathan is often referred to as “my favorite teacher” by his students, and he’s the author of NEXT LEVEL TEACHING.

As a passionate educator and National Keynote Speaker, Jonathan Alsheimer presents limitless possibilities for teachers and the impact of an infectious classroom and school culture. NEXT LEVEL TEACHING is about every teacher bringing their unique flair to better their school every single day, always reaching for the NEXT LEVEL.

Jonathan taught at the world-renowned Fred Lynn Middle School, which was featured in two documentaries “Relentless” and “Relentless: Chasing Accreditation.” He has been featured as the teacher who forged a partnership with UFC Fighter and light-weight contender Paul Felder to bring the message that students should never give up, fighting for their education, and empowering them to believe in themselves, all principles that Jonathan promotes in his classroom.

As Jonathan always says, “Game-changing is not a cliche motto; it is a way of life…some talk about it while others live by it!”

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Jonathan Alsheimer

Jonathan starts out of the gate on fire! His energy is almost a superpower.

Listen to him dispel the misunderstanding about what it means to be a “next level teacher.” It’s not about perfection. 

Jonathan opened up about the stress that teachers feel and what school leaders can do about it. These are things leaders can do right away. 

When asked about protecting teachers from minutiae, Alsheimer talked about meaningless meetings that “kill the heart of the staff.” 

Don’t miss what Jonathan says about teachers’ time and what it takes to plan an awesome lesson. 

Jonathan talks about working together so we don’t all have to work harder. Let’s pool our resources and share more. Think about what this would mean for new teachers!

Jonathan gives administrators advice:

  1. Develop “lesson plans” for staff meetings.
  2. Reflect on the agenda items–are they critical?
  3. Does the meeting focus on learning, teacher development, and relationships?

Jonathan throws out a number of ideas to gamify the classroom and make it more fun for students. How can you use this in your classroom? 

Alsheimer mentions Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy), Hamish Brewer (@brewerhm). Bottom line, go on Twitter. 

Teachers and leaders should see us smiling and having fun. If we want kids to be motivated to learn, we have to be motivated to teach and lead. 

You have to hear what Jonathan says about turning a worksheet into an activity. He literally cut it up and put it into paper bags to make it more fun and exciting for kids. 

Oh, Boy! Wait till you hear what he says about diving with sharks and our response as Delaware beach-goers. 

Jonathan talks about being tough on himself in a competitive way to get 1% better each day. He reflects on his “why” often, and that reflection makes a difference in his growth and perseverance.  

He thinks about what kids deserve, including his own, and that fuels his drive each day. 

He used to think that test grades matter; now he believes that growth is the bigger deal. 

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 And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Frederick White: The Labyrinth of Leadership #OneThingSeries

Frederick White: The Labyrinth of Leadership #OneThingSeries

Success is not established by winning all the time. ~ Frederick White 

About Frederick White

Dr. Frederick White is the COO of Digital PD 4 You, LLC and the author of

the book, The Skin You Are In: Colorism in the Black Community, the First (2020) and Second (2021) Edition. Frederick has served as a leader in the educational field for twenty-four years.

Dr. White has also spent the past fourteen years serving as an AVID staff development instructor. Dr. White obtained a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Trevecca University and currently serves as a principal of a middle school in Memphis-Shelby County Schools in Tennessee.

His newest book is The Labyrinth of Leadership: Navigating Your Way Through the Maze, which we talk about on the show along with so much more leadership insight for school leaders who are looking to lead better and grow faster. 

Follow Frederick on Twitter @fdwhite02 to get his bi-weekly Labyrinth of Leadership tips for school leaders.


What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Frederick White

The Labyrinth of Leadership, as Fredrick explains it, is a solicitation of ideas from leaders around the country–folks with “skin in the game.” 

Don’t miss what Dr. White says about his personal take-away from the Labyrinth project. 

Listen to the language he uses, so important and grossly undervalued. 

Frederick talks about self-reflection as a universal need for leaders. It’s all about finding the time. 

Dr. White tells us about the importance of defining the “end product.” This part is profound. 

He says that the greatest leaders are the ones who are willing to continue to grow, regardless of how much they have achieved. 

Joe asks Frederick to explain one of his recent tweets about celebrating small wins. Every school leader needs to hear this. 

Dr. White talks about the difference between goal setting and dream chasing. This alone is worth the listen. Be a dream chaser!

You want to hear the part about failure being the struggle that we often need to grow. Frederick’s butterfly story is awesome. 

Frederick mentions both Principal Kafele and Todd Whitaker as inspiration. 

Check out The Principal Project

Advice from Dr. White: pause and go for a walk. Just taking the time to walk and observe is powerful for peace, self-reflection, and a solid reminder of what we want and need. 

Frederick is striving for the most perfect environment he can provide. His reflection about this is great. 

To continue to grow, Frederick starts by never settling. He looks to be present with his teachers to learn from them. He mentions writing and researching as things that force him to continue to grow. 

Books We Recommend Based on this Podcast with Frederick White 

What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker 

Is My School Better Because oI Lead It by Baruti Kafele 

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 And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Ryan Hawk: Being Able to Change Your Mind is a Super Power #OneThingSeries

Ryan Hawk: Being Able to Change Your Mind is a Super Power #OneThingSeries

Leaders have to regularly do hard things. ~ Ryan Hawk  

About Ryan Hawk 

Ryan Hawk is the host of The Learning Leader Show. He has recorded more than 475 episodes over the past 7 years. Forbes called The Learning Leader Show, “the most dynamic leadership podcast around.” Inc Magazine said, “it’s one of the 5 podcasts to make you a smarter leader.” Apple named it an “all-time best seller” in 2020 and 2021.

Ryan is the author of Welcome to Management: How To Grow From Top Performer To Excellent Leader.  Book Authority named it to its 100 Best Management Audiobooks of all time (#25). Forbes called it, “the best leadership book of 2020.” Ryan’s second book is called The Pursuit of Excellence: The Uncommon Behaviors of The World’s Most Productive Achievers. It sold through its first printing in eight hours and shot to the top of the Amazon rankings.

Previously, Ryan worked in corporate America for 12 years. He started as an entry-level telephonic sales rep and worked his way to manager, director, and ultimately VP of sales for a multi-billion-dollar company.

When he’s not recording podcasts or writing books, he tries to help leaders be more effective. Some of the ways that he does that is through Leadership Circles, 1:1 advising, and teaching in The Learning Leader Academy (the online school that he created). Ryan has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches on leadership and performance excellence all over the world.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Ryan Hawk

Ryan mentions tremendous leaders and their ability to change their mind. Don’t miss what he says about being hard on values but soft on beliefs. 

Check out what Ryan says when Joe talks about humility versus confidence. 

Ryan has interviewed tremendous individuals on his Learning Leader Podcast, listen to his Jim Collins reference from Episode 216.

Thoughtful Intentions: find out what kitchen cabinets have to do with leadership and who you surround yourself with.

Ryan says to pick your mentors based on someone who did something that you admire and that they did it in a way that you admire. Don’t miss what he says about specificity.  

Ryan talked about his parents and upbringing. Listen to how they were influential in terms of their work ethic. 

Listen to what Ryan says about showing up and doing the work without balance to achieve success early and in the long run. 

You want to hear how Ryan thinks about seasons, both in life and the year. 

You don’t want to miss why Ryan wants to be home at 3:00PM each day and what he’ll do to make that happen.

How he picks his guests for his podcasts is very intriguing and speaks to how he thinks and learns as a leader. 

We loved what he says about living at the edge of your current zone of competency. Stretching yourself is critical as a leader. Ask this: Am I going to learn from this? 

Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to many mental giants. You’ll want to tune into the simplicity in his answer about imposter syndrome. 

Ryan has evolved his thoughts about leadership styles and the meaning of being a leader. 

Books We Recommend Based on this Podcast with Ryan Hawk 

The Pursuit of Excellence by Ryan Hawk 

Welcome to Management by Ryan Hawk

Good to Great by Jim Collins 

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 And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

An Innovative Look at Restorative Practices in Schools with Nathan Maynard #OneThingSeries

An Innovative Look at Restorative Practices in Schools with Nathan Maynard #OneThingSeries

When we start a new initiative in schools, we have to take into account the rich tapestry of things that are already in place. ~ Nathan Maynard

About Nathan Maynard

Nathan Maynard is a youth advocate, educational leader, and change maker. He is the co-author of the Washington Post bestselling and award-winning book, Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice

Nathan also is the co-founder of BehaviorFlip, the first restorative behavior management software. Nathan studied Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue University and has been facilitating restorative practices for over 15 years. He was awarded “Youth Worker of the Year” through dedicating his time with helping underserved and underprivileged youth involved with the juvenile justice system in Indiana. He was on the founding administration team that opened Purdue University’s first high school in 2017, Purdue Polytechnic High School, serving youth in inner city Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to his four years as a school administrator, he was a youth worker and program director in a youth residential treatment care center.

He is passionate about addressing the school-to-prison pipeline crisis and closing the achievement gap through implementing trauma-informed behavioral practices. Nathan has expertise in Dialectical Behavioral Coaching, Motivational Interviewing, Positive Youth Development, Restorative Justice, and Trauma-Informed building practices to assist with creating positive school climates. He now runs a team of people who do restorative implementation work, called the Restorative Group. Check them out at

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Nathan Maynard

Nathan starts the podcast with a strong stance on how systems and structures are necessary for innovation to last, particularly those on restorative practices.  

Nathan gives us a quick history lesson on how restorative practices are tied to indigenous roots. 

One pillar of innovation is listening. Nathan talked about using qualitative data in addition to quantitative data, particularly within micro-communities. 

Nathan mentions Dr. Luke Roberts from Cambridge and his powerful work within systems. 

Don’t miss what Nathan says about internalizing change and attacking fixed disposition. He truly appreciates The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  

Nathan’s insight about the ripple effect of innovation and restorative justice is transformative.

Nathan talks about what makes a good leader great. He refers back to Dr. Luke Roberts a second time. The story that Nathan tells about how Dr. Roberts changed his mind regarding restorative practices is great. Very impressive.

He recommends being more self-aware and being conscious of your self-talk. His personal strategies are great tools for every leader. You need a bowl with water and ice…listen why.

Nathan talked about getting better at collecting “street data.” Check out Street Data by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan 

He learns by listening, interviews, being involved in groups, and honoring others’ ideas. This part is inspiring. 

“Success doesn’t have to be tangible.” Nathan used to think that it was all about the external data. He switches that point-of-view to an internal notion of success. Listen to what he says about making success intangible. 

As always, let us know what you think of this with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCloud. 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. We hope you’ll tell a friend or book us to join your team for professional learning.


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


Joe & T.J.