The Principal as Politician

One of the things I discovered quickly was the need for a school principal in Chicago to learn the political game – and quickly. Realizing that you’re only as good as yesterday’s accomplishments and that you are one misinterpreted comment from crisis, tends to keep you on your toes. Larry Cuban’s blog post entitled: Principals as Political Actors is worth a read. It discusses both the reason why we hate politics; and the need for us to recognize that it is a large part of what we do. But when you think of it, politics was originally invented by civilized society as an alternative to war. It might be worth learning.

GROW – Coaching Discussion Technique

Just had a great PD on coaching. The presenter, Carolyn Laughlin, introduced me to Alan Fineman’s You Already Know How to be Great. There are a few useful take-aways from the book:

  • First, true greatness is within each of us.
  • Second, the successful coach is able to help those being coached bring out three essential elements for success: Faith, Fire and Focus.
  • Third, and most practical, you can use the acronym G.R.O.W. to help guide discussions on reflective development.

The Grow Technique

G- Goals, through pointed questioning the coach can help focus and refine true goals. R- Reality, the coach acknowledges obstacles (interference) in reaching our goals. O- Opportunities – this is the problem solving section of the coaching dialogue. W- Way forward, what immediate actions need to be taken to start the goal achieving process. I would say that the most useful section for instructional leaders is to help the learner refine their goals for maximum impact and progress. Thank you to Carolyn Laughlin for presenting a practical and meaningful PD.


Principal Power Development

Hi fellow principals! As an active principal in Chicago, I know the challenges and opportunities that you face first hand.  The job of a school principal is probably the best and most challenging thing you’ve ever done professionally. I know that often you have felt overwhelmed by your responsibilities and underwhelmed by your own abilities. Most of the time it’s the calling that keeps you going and that calling is probably what lead you to a site like this one.  If you have been looking for practical advice to help you develop as a school leader you have found the right place.  On this site, you will find the power to:

  • Improve your school
  • Innovate your instructional practices
  • and Inspire the teachers, parents, and students that you lead every day!

Together we’ll focus on the tools you need to effectively lead and transform your schools. Along the way, we will get advice from some of the best principals in the country. I look forward to working with you as we help lead the schools that will create the future. Thank you for visiting.

Check our David Leonhardt’s article about the power of principals to “fix” our nation’s schools.

Also check out William Ouchi’s Making Schools Work; where he argues that the principal is the most important part of any school’s transformation.