Tag Archives: #NAESP14

Leaders & introverts: Supporting our team members (#NAESP14 Day 2)

This post was originally published on Ed Web, NAESP’s Principals’ Office Blog, and on the Conference News site for #NAESP14 where I served as an official conference blogger.

logo1_highresToday I learned about staff morale and planning with our best people in mind from Todd Whitaker and the power of introverted people from Susan Cain (You can also view her TED Talk here.) Both messages are critical, I believe to our work as principals got me thinking about how these two in particular intersect.

I think back to a conversation I had with a great teacher in my building. We talked about the wonderful things happening in her classroom and how she was furthering her own learning to better support her students.  I shared that I would love to see her pursue more leadership opportunities in our school. Knowing her, she is not one to seek attention or impose her opinion on others. Looking back, I would expect her to identify herself as an introvert.

So what did I mean by ‘leader’? I really mean that I want her to share. I want others to know and see what’s happening that could ultimately serve their own students better. Thinking of our best people means thinking of what they need, though, not just what we need from them or what we think ‘good for them’ looks like. As Cain wondered aloud, how can we consider the individual learning styles of students and not do the same for our teachers? We can be leaders in different ways, and we have the power to spread that message.

In some ways, I think it goes back to Whitaker’s message about sharing expectations versus correcting behaviors. Instead of telling her I want to see her as a leader near the year’s end, I can use what I’ve learned about introverts v. extroverts and share what teacher leadership can look like and empower my teachers at that first, important faculty meeting. How do you define leadership in your school community? How do you honor your best people in doing so? In what other situations do you need to rethink the power of introverts as a school leader? I’d love to learn more!

You (Yes, you!) have something to share (#NAESP14 Day 1)

This post was originally published on Ed Web, NAESP’s Principals’ Office Blog, and on the Conference News site for #NAESP14 where I served as an official conference blogger.

logo1_highresOver the course of the first day of #NAESP14, the critical nature of choosing to share was evident. During the Keynote, Robert Fulghum shared stories of snowflakes, mermaids, and a dancing pig in Cinderella that highlighted the uniqueness of children. As principals and school leaders, we must embrace and encourage that, and we must also advocate for others to do the same. Fulghum’s words also got me thinking about children’s ‘can-do anything’ spirit, from singing to dancing to art, and how that diminishes over time. As adults, we must recognize that we, too, often have more to offer than we think.

Conferences such as this often bring us wonderful new ideas to try. Often, too, moments of pride about things that are happening in our schools creep in and we can (and should) feel good about those. In the Social Media Lounge, I appreciated that session attendees were willing to share what worked for them. As much as I enjoyed teaching mini-sessions, I can’t wait to try some of the ideas I learned. For example, prior to Using Facebook to Connect and Celebrate, @MelindaMiller asked for principals to share their school’s Facebook page. Melinda and I chatted about the great examples people shared. And as people shared, we learned. After the session, a principal shared with me how he takes pictures of parts of his building, like a corner of a mural, and posts them for parents and students to guess what they are. Great idea for making a school Facebook page more engaging! This was part of his routine, yet it will impact how I use my school’s page.

After leaving the Social Media Lounge, I was fortunate to catch Dan Butler’s session, “CPR: Providing a Lifeline for Principals through 21st Century Communication and Public Relations”. You can also check out Dan’s blog here. He shared several practical ways to connect with our parents and promote our schools, including Google Forms and Remind. He reminded us that, “Everyone has great things going on in your building; it is time to tell the world about it.” Again, it is time for us to share. As I listened to Dan, I also had the opportunity to share my school newsletter with Sandy Trach in an informal conversation. I was glad to share with her, and to do so I had to remember that sharing isn’t bragging and that I had something to offer. You do, too!

In recent years, Patrick Larkin shared a great video via Twitter called “Obvious to You. Amazing to Others.” Check it out here. Take time to reflect. What do you have to share? What do others have to share? I challenge you to take these steps before we part ways tomorrow:

  • Share a story one of your successes or promising practices with someone here at #NAESP14.

  • View “Obvious to You. Amazing to Others.” Send the link to a colleague to remind them what they have to offer!

  • Ask someone their story or their school’s story; Learn about a different state, a different school type, or a new approach to a common concern.

Connection for action (#NAESP14 Introductory Post)

This post was originally published on Ed Web, NAESP’s Principals’ Office Blog, and on the Conference News site for #NAESP14 where I served as an official conference blogger.

logo1_highresGreetings! My name is Kathy Melton, and I’m excited to be an official conference blogger for NAESP 2014. I am the proud principal of Lowell Elementary School in Community Unit School District 200 based in the Chicago suburbs of Wheaton and Warrenville. I look forward to connecting in the days ahead through blog posts, on Twitter (@kathyamelton), and in person at the Social Media Lounge as part of the Social Media Ambassador team. This is my first NAESP conference, so I can relate to those of you avidly reading the program book or devouring the conference app to make tentative plans. I do both with a flexible mind, though, knowing that my learning may take me in directions I haven’t planned both within and beyond the next few days.

In talking about our travel plans, for example, my friend and fellow principal, Heidi, asked me if I knew anyone else that was going. My response was an emphatic yes, despite the fact that I hadn’t met many of them face to face. This group includes friends and colleagues that I’ve met through being a connected leader. Twitter,  blogging, and co-founding and moderating #iledchat have allowed me to connect with more principals both locally and across the country. Even my learning and contributing in my local affiliate, the Illinois Principal Association, has been enhanced by the ongoing, real-time connectivity that comes with social media and a spirit of sharing. From parent engagement to authentic student writing through blogging to video chats with other countries to learning about Standards Based Grading, there is tangible evidence of these connections in my school. It is these relationships that allow you to maximize your time in Nashville, ensure the learning continues beyond the conference and help you as a leader bring the very best to your students, staff, and families. It is these relationships that amplify what we as school principals can accomplish together.

SMLsignBe sure to visit the Social Media Lounge in the Expo Center right next to NAESP Central. If you’re new to social media, we’re passionate about helping you get connected. Have some experience? We’d love to chat and learn from you, too. Click here to check out the most current schedule of sessions and connect with the rest of the Social Media Ambassador team. This is a fluid document that will be updated over the course of the week, so be sure to check back! Plan to join us at the Tweet Up at the Opening Reception on Thursday, July 10th at 8 p.m. See you in Nashville, everyone!