Strengthening School & District Communities with Laurie Barron
This is Season 4, Episode 11 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Laurie Barron. It was originally recorded live for a virtual audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Laurie says about strengthening school and district communities as a teacher and leader…and so much more.
Laurie Barron Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners
Dr. Laurie Barron is in her twenty-seventh year in education, serving as a high school English teacher, a middle school assistant principal, and nine years as a middle school principal.
Since 2013, she has served as the superintendent of the Evergreen School District in Kalispell, Montana. Barron holds a bachelors in English Education from the University of Georgia, a master’s in Supervision and Administration from the University of West Georgia, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota.
The following are just some of her accolades:
- National Superintendent Certification through AASA
- National Board Certified Teacher
- Teacher of the Year
- STAR Teacher
- Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year
- National Middle School Principal of the Year
- School Administrators of Montana G.V. Erickson Award
- Empowered Superintendent of the Year by the Montana Educational Technologists Association
- Montana Superintendent of the Year
She has co-authored 3 books:
- We Belong: 50 Strategies to Create Community and Revolutionize Classroom Management (ASCD, 2021)
- Middle School: A Place to Belong and Become (AMLE, 2018)
- What Parents Need to Know about Common Core and Other College- and Career-Ready Standards (World Book, 2015)
Dr. Barron is a national speaker, consultant, and leadership coach, and she says she’s living the dream in northwest Montana with her husband Daniel, where together they enjoy spending time with family watching Georgia Bulldogs football, snow skiing, camping, rafting, hiking, and watching their daughter Emma play college soccer.
FocusED Show Notes with Laurie Barron
Laurie started out the conversation with the fact that the concept of instructional leadership may have confused us during NCLB into forgetting about the whole child. Her book brings that back to the center of the conversation with a sense of belonging.
Joe asks Laurie to get granular about strategies for helping students understand and feel that they matter in school. Her response: Trusting relationships are the biggest key.
Laurie breaks down a timeline for engagement:
- Every classroom door, every morning.
- Every classroom was visited every week.
- Feedback to every teacher every month.
- Twice a year check-ins with every direct report.
Dr. Barron talked about earning the credibility to give teachers ideas that they’ll use. Part of it comes from visibility; the other part comes from our ability to have tough conversations.
Laurie talked about the level of accountability that comes from having crucial conversations. Timing is everything.
Laurie talked about the myth that holding high standards will push people out. She says that we might need to “love harder” and “explain more.”
The best advice that Laurie has for leaders is to develop a network. Wisdom from her mentor: Keep one foot in your job and one foot in your profession.
Laurie recommends What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
Laurie Barron Quotes from FocusED
It’s really hard to engage and participate if you feel like you don’t matter. ~ Laurie Barron
Honesty is kind. We need to give very clear feedback to teachers. ~ Laurie Barron
How we work with people and our honesty with them are critical. ~ Laurie Barron
More School Culture Resources from TheSchoolHouse302
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