Tag: Leadership


“Life is not always what one wants it to be. A turn right instead of the left can make a difference on the path you choose. It is when you decide to make the best of it, as it is, even when the choices are not what you want to hear. Instead, you take each day as a gift to unwrap and to make it happy as you share with others.”

The pictures tell a story in your mind right away. You have a vision without any words of red lights, blue lights, sirens sounding, voices yelling orders, people gathering, and silence in the ears of a man who comes to the site looking for his family he just left ten minutes ago.

Have you had to accept a decision, a change or an individual as a leader? The scene from our car crash can be the same kind of sounds and feelings inside you when faced with trying to accept change. Emotions drive our reactions.

It is emotional when you have to face acceptance of decisions you have no control over. It is our choice to have the mindset of learning acceptance. Change happens often! Things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to accept whatever comes and embrace it truly. If we can begin now, it will help us as we continue to grow. Change can often impact our lives in ways to help us as we affect the lives of others.

My accident closed one door I did not want to close but opened others I enjoy as I explore. What change are you resistant to? If it is a change that questions your values, patriotism, beliefs, or morals, then this is not a change you need to accept. Acceptance is a big word to discuss as many changes are happening each day.

I have accepted my changes from the accident. Although, I will admit I have good days and days when I am angry that I am not the person I was. We are not perfect. I can think of many incidents in my life when I was asked to accept something I did not want to at all. Change comes with many lessons we can learn. What change do you face?

Helping others focus on solutions

Be the solution daily isn’t something I decided one day sounded good; it is a daily practice I have used professionally and personally for decades. It is my hope to help and guide others into this practice for success.

Where we place, our focus is crucial for our success. It seems we are quick to point out a problem, mistake and place blame. Have you had a finger pointed at you?

When our focus is on the problem, anger shadows the thinking. Your mind can only give it’s full attention to one thing at a time. Negative thoughts overtake you when your focus is the problem.

Solution-focused turns back control to help you positively resolve troubles. By looking for solutions in every situation, problems will disappear and happiness returns.

Now this sounds a little like one of what my granddaughter calls, “cheesy stuff.” However, when following the guidelines it really is how it works.

Helping others focus on solutions begins with mindsets. Focusing on solutions creates a very different climate and culture. The thinking, actions, and behaviors will change.

Let’s begin with these steps:

  • Problems we face are usually self-inflicted. Would you please take a deep breath and tell yourself it is my responsibility? Then you may have issues directly impacting you, and maybe you did not have anything to do with the decision-making process. *This is when you need to begin to do some examples of problem vs. solution games. (I can help provide examples)
  • What is the desired outcome? Your vision to resolve the problem? When we begin to focus in solutions, it leaves little time for negative thinking. The only thing that matters is resolving the problem.
  • Once you know the outcome-begin the planning of getting from here to there.

Solution Mindset

We begin to think of solutions first once we are aware we cannot control the actions of others, the complex data, or the current issue before us. However, the only things we control are our actions and reactions by clarification of what we face with a focus on the importance of the solution, the negative thinking about the problem stop.

Are you interested in a Two Rule School? It changes the climate, culture and focuses on student leadership. There is so much more to this concept that leads to positive results.

Back to school resources ALREADY?

Time goes by fast! I always like to be prepared and organized! We have to start thinking about school clothing, schedules, shoes, and those school supply lists! I found an advertisement for a product to use online to keep back-to-school lists efficiently managed, shared with retailers and parents. I do not know about the product, not getting any reimbursement from them to promote it; I think if it can help great! Check it out to see if it would help your district.

TeacherLists is the free, ADA compliant, easy-to-use online solution that helps thousands of districts and schools efficiently manage and share back-to-school supply lists with parents. With direct links to national online retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, and more, TeacherLists makes shopping for supplies contact-free and easier than ever. https://www.teacherlists.com

One of my quotes is: “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” During my career, I have felt strongly about this approach and in helping to build student leadership. A label or title does not define leadership. Leadership is stepping in and up to make a change, difference or offer support. This program is an opportunity to provide students in grades 6-12 with a platform to work on leadership skills. https://www.lead4change.org Check it out to see if it is a good fit for what you would like to do in your school or district. We need leaders, communities working together for positive changes and connections, places where youth know they are making a difference and are heard.

Lots of planning goes on before schools are back in session. Would you please share any tips, ideas, or approaches you are utilizing this year? Leaders have so much on their plates. If they can see some resources to help them out, it would be great! Thank you for being the solution daily!

Time for Vision

We planned a family vacation, and I prepared for it in advance. We just returned from the ten-day vacation. I worked to complete writing prior to the vacation so my daily blog post could continue in my absence. I wanted to be present for both, so I “managed time” by planning.

Our family decision was to drive in two vehicles, so I thought it would be perfect to take along books and my writing materials to continue to move forward “saving time.”

Reflecting and reviewing this vision as we began our journey to spend “family time,” I quickly realized my vision of saving was not the right choice.

Our visions of “practical” does not match “meaningful.” What are the choices we are making that will be sustainable and impactful? How do we want our world, education, families, communities and even ourselves look, act and be?

I spent my time having meaningful conversations, taking in the beautiful scenery, enjoying music, laughter continuously and endless stories. So many moments of memories made for our children!

We find ourselves trapped in a cycle of trying to work as fast as we can, gain as much as we can to achieve more, but the cost of this price tag is extreme. Our values, beliefs, and motivations influence the effectiveness of our leadership.

Just for a moment, I caught myself falling back into a “routine” of stealing time from segments of life to feed another part. The reality of this message is: Time can not be changed. You can not gain more in the day. Everyone receives the same amount each day. Spend the time wisely, but do not think you can gain time. I am thankful for my writing ahead and realizing the need to be present for the time with family.

Education is constantly changing. We see how quickly our world can change. There are many issues, ideas, problems, and suggestions for solutions. As you begin to think about what you would like to “see” in your vision, reflect on the impact the choices you make have on all of the elements involved.

Becoming a leader- LeadChangeGroup April

The following article was published with Leadership Carnival in April. I have the link below. I wanted to share it again as a reminder, reflection, and renewed charge in the importance of growing leaders.

As we look at shortages in professional areas like teaching, it is a reminder of the importance of growing our own. If we do not step up and take the essential role of building our foundations, we will crumble. Seek out supports to begin to build up to secure a brighter future.

Published in Leadership Carnival April: https://leadchangegroup.com/author/brendayoho/

Did you know you would be a leader? I never pictured myself as a leader growing up, and I am sure most didn’t see me that way either. How did you become a leader?

I was a shy, backward kind of kid, not a standout girl. So when did the change happen? I can think of a few key people and moments in my life, and I am sure you can too!

How can we support leadership today? I believe in the same way it happened for you and me, through individuals providing the support at the right time, modeling, encouraging, and allowing leading.

As an elementary principal, I was new to the position and district. I found myself facing many issues, but I worked through them. I had a student who would cry, throw a fit and fight with his parents to not come to school every day. We were working on everything we could do to get him to school. I could see the grief, fear, and worry in his parent’s eyes every day. I would say leave him, and I will take care of him. He would cry and scream, but they trusted and went.

We established plans, worked out tutoring, built relationships, and before you knew it, he was coming to school without crying and screaming.

I selected him to be the principal for the day, and we went to meet my boss. He was coming out of his shyness and started showing us all he had to offer. I, along with others, provided positives, encouragement, and opportunities to model success.

I was transferred the following year as the principal of the middle school. Ryan, the young man I had to help carry into school, would be joining me at this middle school soon. We had three more years to spend together, and I could see him grow!

As he became a high school student, he never missed a chance to visit or connect. He invited me to his honors night to thank an educator. After he graduated from high school, he became the youngest person elected to the city council where he resides. He has lead and organized significant events in efforts to raise funds for cancer. Ryan is known as a community leader. Who thought he would be a leader? Well, I did, and his parents hoped he would. I saw myself in Ryan.  Others had helped nurture me, and providing him with a good plan helped him bloom. I am very proud of Ryan and so many others!

To help develop leaders, try doing some of these things:

  • Create principal for the day (students earn points to buy this as a reward in a program like PBIS or a similar idea)
  • Provide leadership opportunities by having team leaders- (Staff, students, parents)
  • Every week or month, feature a community leader. ( invite them in to speak about what they do, a highlight in your newsletter and announcements about them, and connect home, school and community.)
  • These are just a few; maybe you have ideas you want to share!

Look around. You have leaders to support! Isn’t that part of being a leader? Thank you for being part of the solution daily! The future is counting on us!

Capturing your leadership philosophy

“Gretchen Oltman, J.D., Ph.D. has spent over a decade in education, including many years as a high school English teacher. She is a licensed attorney in the state of Nebraska and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Nebraska.” What is Your Leadership Story? A School Leader’s Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are. Oltman will be presenting at ASCD’s Annual Conference, happening this week, June 23-25, 2021. 

The following link captures a question and answers session with Gretchen Oltman to provide more depth to your leadership by guiding you in reflecting and identifying why you lead the way you do.

You can be more than your title! Tell your authentic leadership story and develop your personal leadership philosophy. Great read and book to consider!

When you can authentically tell your story, your school community will know you, what you value, and why you make decisions the way you do. You will rediscover a sense of purpose, renewal, and inspiration that may have slipped away amid the chaos of life—and you can build a stronger connection with those you lead and work beside.


In your absence….

What happens when the leader is gone? Do you lead so that it does not matter if you are present or not, the work is completed? My sister told me a story about how the staff was happy when their boss left for a few weeks on medical leave. The feel of the building changed, everyone was more content, and the work was done better.

What kind of environment, culture, and procedures are in place? Is it possible to work with leaders who help to make others better?

Collective student efficacy

In my previous post, I spoke about efficacy. I believe this is an essential part of the development of beliefs. Understanding collaboration with others supports learning from each other and building on strengths. Supporting the growth of efficacy in these manners helps to stimulate learning growth by all. The new book:

Collective Student Efficacy Developing Independent and Inter-Dependent Learners

Arm students with the confidence they need to pursue ambitious goals—together.

Collective student efficacy— students’ beliefs that by working with other people, they will learn more—can be a powerful accelerator of student learning and a precursor to future employment success.

Harnessing twenty-five years of VISIBLE LEARNING® research, Collective Student Efficacy: Developing Independent and Inter-Dependent Learners illuminates the power of collective efficacy and identifies the many ways teachers can activate collective efficacy with their students. More than cooperative and collaborative learning, collective efficacy requires the refinement of both individual and collective tasks that build on each other over time. This innovative book details how knowledge, skills, and dispositions entangle to create collective and individual beliefs, and leads educators to mobilize collective efficacy in the classroom. It includes:

The vital components and evidence-based success criteria necessary for students’ collective efficacy. The “I” and “We” skills that need to be developed to ensure students have the skills and confidence to contribute to group success. The nature of learning design, lesson planning, and classroom structures that ensure opportunities for all students to engage in collective efficacy. The necessity for constructive alignment between learning intentions, tasks, success criteria, and assessments”Learning from a Distance” actions to facilitate building skills in remote learning environments
The time is now to prepare students to meet the demands of the future. Through collective student efficacy, students will learn to become actionable agents of learning and change.

This information comes from the Corwin website, where you can purchase the book to learn more. Building efficacy is essential at all levels.

Consider your goals and needs of your organization to plan appropriately.


Leaders work hard to encourage others. Who encourages the leaders? Seeking and investing in ways to help keep our leaders strong and inspired supports the entire organization.

What do you need to hear to be encouraged? Who helps you? Let’s share to help keep each other encouraged. I can share one thing that keeps me encouraged, seeing things that I had a small part in starting many years ago still being done. An example is a bumper sticker to honor a student in a school. It makes you smile thinking about all of the kids who have shared this little but memorable message.

Continue being the solution daily and noticing those little things that make a big difference to others. Seek out ways to find encouragement because you need it just like everyone else.

Internships, Partnerships and Experiences

The world changes daily, as we know from experience. It can catch us unprepared for the unexpected or resilient in the face of despair. In our life journey, we have many occasions to help us grow or to push us down. It is the opportunities we embrace that can move us forward to gain success.

During your life, have you had others who have guided or helped you? Most likely, if you are like most of us, the answer is yes! Many individuals cross our paths in life at just the right time to decide to take a chance, pass it up, or investigate more by asking questions.

In my career, I have been blessed with lots of guidance and support. I still seek and receive it! However, I have also been able to provide it, create opportunities for others to experience internships, and work with communities to create more opportunities for others.

The article I have included is about how high school and college can work together to reach students who did not recognize all of the choices they had to match the skills they could enhance.

Speaking with a former boss, we talked about pushing students into curriculum content they were not ready to receive, causing them to feel even more frustration and failure. It is time to stretch our thinking with decisive meaning into meeting children where they are, build a solid foundation and place emphasis on student needs. It is great to write it, say it, but let’s do it every day for the rest of the child’s academic year each year!

Can you build some internships, partnerships or connect with the community projects? Experience helps children learn about other careers, jobs, trades, and businesses they may want to create. Technology is a massive industry. A great way to keep relevance in the classroom is by utilizing technology. We experienced this need during the global pandemic.

Looking at ways we can continue to be the solution daily, helping children build a strong foundation as they grow. The article below provides a look at a way to support students from school, college, careers and community.