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.