Tag: Wallace Foundation


As an individual, a leader, or organization seeking solutions to problems or gaining answers to questions is a daily task. Can you think of how many times daily you seek to find a solution? It is not always the big items, it is often the little things we deal with when we add them together equal big results.

If we fail to handle the little issues they begin to gather together into a major issue. We can look at current events to see this transition. Let’s take a few from the headlines to see the trend.

  • Fires, homelessness and a growing crisis– Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2021
  • The surge in border apprehension in 2021, visualized-Washington Post, June 10, 2021
  • The Heightened Crisis of Childhood Trauma-U.S. News, June 10, 2021

These are just a few of the headlines I pulled, but the media does not always cover all of the issues we are facing accurately. In our local communities, we may have issues we need to address to avoid becoming bigger problems. The importance of open and clear communication with all stakeholders will provide the trust needed moving forward.

I often refer to having a strategic plan, improvement plan and committees focused on areas of need. This is not something I just talk about, I have done this work. It is critical to the success of the individuals you serve to work to address the barriers preventing them from growing with purpose. If we continue to do what we have always done growing will not happen, solving problems will not occur and solutions seldom solved or issues improved.

There are many resources to help guide you through the process. I am here to help as well! I have nothing to sell only to provide solutions daily to you.

  • Step one review your data
  • Determine your three priorities
  • Who needs to be part of your team?
  • Who are your stakeholders?

Once you understand where you are, you then need to determine where you want to go. The work begins with discovering the tools, resources, strategies, and procedures to get you to your destination.

Seek out guidance as you begin the journey to solutions as you develop your plan. Please remember, no matter your position all members of the team are working for the same results. Collaboration, responsibility, sharing, generating ideas, failure, and success are all part of the learning process to reach the success desired.

Thursday Thoughts

I enjoy reading, learning, and always stretching myself to find solutions to share with others. Leadership is essential in supporting growth in every aspect of life. We want to grow in our personal life, faith, family, work, and community. I am sharing information from Bill Dodd and his insights. The resource for his post is below.

One of the important lessons I have gained in my journey is that of coaching. We need coaching! As individuals being open to coaching or “coachable” is critical for your growth. When you are the coach, you are still receiving coaching as you learn by doing. Having an open mind and heart will provide essential pieces to the puzzle of growth.

Chicago White Sox scout Kevin Burrell said, “Look for FAT people. Faithful – Available – Teachable.” He also added, “How one manages their ‘Time & Calendar’ will reflect the condition and priority of their heart.”-Bill Dodd, June 9,2021

When looking for coaches, players, teammates, or new employees with heart, look for SCRAPPY individuals.

SCRAPPY – Skill, Calling, Rejection, Attitude, Perseverance, Purposeful, Yearn to Learn.

  • Skill – The ability to perform with excellence. Even people with heart need to have talent. There was a reason Rudy never started a game for Notre Dame.
  • Calling – This is the thing inside you which proclaims, “This ONE thing I must do!!!” Mike Linch said, “It’s the core of me.” He also noted, “David conquered the giant of a disconnected heart.”
  • Rejection – Remember that time when someone said you weren’t good enough, that you didn’t measure up? Of course you do. This challenged your calling but you moved forward anyway. Rejection provided clarity. It stripped away all non-essentials. You worked even harder. It limited your choices and spurred work hard and creativity to find solutions.
  • Attitude – Attitude determines your altitude. A great attitude separates evenly matched people and closes the gap on those more talented than you. You have a great attitude because you can’t believe you get to do what you do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
  • Perseverance – Because your calling is so clear, you learn perseverance through difficult and trying times. You are willing to pay the price needed for your dream to become reality. You become mentally-strong and resilient.
  • Purposeful – Perseverance and resilience births a focused approach. Your life has meaning and direction. Because you have paid the price for success, there is a single-mindedness to it. As Coach Stroupe said, “Don’t compartmentalize. (Don’t say) I’m coaching now but will put my Christian hat on when I get off the field.”
  • Yearn To Learn – Scrappy people are continual learners. They are humble and seek out all the coaching, people, resources and information needed for success. You can’t stop them. They will always find a way. Continual learning helps ensure future success.

We all want people with “heart.” Here are the 7 things to look for when finding them.


It’s not easy being green, or leading!

Before you leap into anything, take a breath and understand a few things! There is a difference between a leader and a manager. Are you a reader and learner? Do you know the why, how and what about you are doing? Let’s discuss!

The chart provides a quick glance at the difference between leadership and management. Leadership is an individuals ability to influence, inspire, motivate, and enable others to believe in the vision. Leaders can energize the group to work together without power or control to accomplish the goal. Management is tasked-oriented with the day-to-day operations. They make sure everything is assigned, taken care of and completed to accomplish the goals.

I had the honor of working with the Wallace Foundation through the SAM’s Project (School Administrator Managers). As principal of a large middle school, we were able to hire a SAM to take care of the management responsibilities of my position in order for me to focus more time on instructional needs. I found it to be beneficial when the SAM was experienced. To find out more visit the Wallace Foundation website https://www.wallacefoundation.org/principal-story/pages/sam-project.aspx

Dr. Bill Sommers is an author, consultant, teacher, principal, leadership coach, learner and one of the individuals who has read more books than anyone! When my husband complains about all of the books I have, I am going to reference a few people like Dr. Sommers. The best advice I have heard him provide is read! If you think things are the same as they were ten years ago, they are not. Who knew we would have Covid-19 and life would be turned upside down.

His wisdom is priceless! I know our biggest excuse is we do not have time to read all of these books, check all of these emails, blog posts, or attend webinars. However, if we are not modeling growth in learning for staff and students, how do we expect them to achieve it? Block out just 15 minutes a day to professionally read. Do you have a commute? Listen to a podcast, webinar or audiobook on your drive. Then share one thought you gained with others!

Learn more about Dr. Summers at his website and also as he talks to Jim Knight. A great place to start your learning!https://youtu.be/7wK8aGaztlY https://learningomnivores.com/about-us/

I have often spoken about understanding why. Why is your purpose in life? Sometimes the why can be left in a fog when we let other things interfere. Each year I select one word to help drive my why. It helps me keep my focus. Simon Sinek is the author of Start with the Why and also Find Your Why. I have included his Tedtalk, which is relevant to everyone working in a public setting. I want to share just a few words from his book:

“I imagine a world in which the ability to inspire is practiced not just by a chosen few, but by the majority. Studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job.” “I hope to inspire others to do the things that inspire them so that together we may build the companies, the economy and a world in which trust and loyalty are the norm and not the exception.” Take action today!

Each day my goal is to help someone. I have told leaders and teachers I have coached/mentored you may never know the impact you have on others. Days can be difficult when you face many challenges, but you are doing all you can! Always know when you least expect it a little reminder of why you do comes to you!

Leadership comes at different stages and places in life. People can help inspire others without realizing they are impacting others. One word of encouragement placed at the right time authentically makes a big difference.

My daughter is a special education teacher with three children of her own. She also has a little mini farm of ducks, chickens, rescue dogs, a cat, and mice she rescued. She has a big heart! Days can be full for her and exhausting, and she had a hard day a few days ago. Then that evening, a parent sent her a message to thank her for doing the extra stuff she is doing with music in the classroom because her child is responding. He had a challenging year last year, but you are making a difference. Way to go, mom for helping to lift up a teacher!

My husband made a phone call to schedule an appointment for a visit to the doctor. The receptionist asked if he knew Brenda. “Yes, that is my wife.” “She had my boys in school and was a blessing.” More was discussed, but it was so many years ago that I had her children it touched our hearts.

Then as I turn on my computer, I see a picture of a former student taking on a new leadership position as he continues to grow. He set out to Washington, D.C. and has done a great job in accomplishing goals. I am very proud of Diante!

We are reminded of our why, and it reinforces our call to action. Please continue to do so; others will find what and how! It’s not easy being green, but let’s discover why!

Thank you for being the solution daily!