Connected Principals Posts

In the post, “The Most Surprising Thing that Came from NOT Achieving My Dreams” via Marc and Angel, they share this idea of an “Unbucket List.” I had never heard…

Read More The “Un-Bucket List”

In the post, “The Most Surprising Thing that Came from NOT Achieving My Dreams” via Marc and Angel, they share this idea of an “Unbucket List.” I had never heard of that until now, and it was an interesting exercise focused not on the future, but appreciating the past. The author shares the following: As … [Read more…]

Read More The “Un-Bucket List”

When I was in junior high school, everyone on my basketball team wore Converse high-tops. Yes, that means I’m officially from the 70’s! I’ll never forget mine: They were the color of golden-rod, and I was so proud of them that I never wore them outside the gym because I didn’t want to scuff them up. […]

Read More PMP:Encore090 Branding Your School with Marlena Gross-Taylor

In the article, “Think You’re Wise in Your Own Eyes? 4 Steps to Develop Leadership Humility,” they discuss the importance of humility in leadership.  The article starts with these thoughts: Leaders who are wise in their own eyes seem to be the ones who get the most attention in our world. They’re the outspoken, big … [Read more…]

Read More On Humility and Confidence

In the article, “Think You’re Wise in Your Own Eyes? 4 Steps to Develop Leadership Humility,” they discuss the importance of humility in leadership.  The article starts with these thoughts:…

Read More On Humility and Confidence



How important are bus drivers? Our kids’ safety is in their hands. They are the first point of contact in the morning and help set the tone for the day. Bus drivers make a difference. And so do cooks. And custodians. And everyone else who gives so much to the life of a school.



I was speaking last week at the Cypress-Fairbanks Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships Leadership conference in Houston. It was a great event, and I enjoyed making some wonderful connections with educators there.


One of the people I met shared some valuable wisdom with me. The conference provided a shuttle to and from the hotel, and my driver’s name was Tammy.


She drives a school bus for the district, but she’s not just a regular school bus driver. She substitutes for all the bus routes in the Cy-Fair district (one of the largest in Texas) wherever she’s needed.


I can’t imagine how difficult that must be to drive a different group of kids every day, on a different school bus, in city traffic, with your back turned to them. That takes a special skill set!


Tammy is amazing! I was inspired by her commitment and her kindness. I asked her how she handles working with so many different kids while navigating unfamiliar routes.


I’m paraphrasing what Tammy said…and then adding a few of my thoughts too. She shared great advice and encouragement!


1. “They can tell I enjoy them and love them. And that makes all the difference.”


When kids know you care about them and accept them, you’ll bring out the best in them. The quickest way to change another person’s behavior is to change your behavior towards them. Every kid wants to feel like they are easy to love.


2. “When I ask them to do something, I address them as sir or m’am. And when they follow through, I say thank you.”


Kids are going to make mistakes. But if you make it a point to enjoy being with them, and treat them with great respect and care, there is almost no mistake you can’t correct. They’ll be far more open to your feedback when they feel that you have the highest respect for them.


3. “When those middle school students realize they can’t get under my skin, I have them right where I want them.”


The kids are going to test you and see how you respond. If it’s with anger or frustration, the situation is likely to escalate. If you are firm, polite, and also calm and caring, you’ll get a much better result. Let them know you’re in their corner even when you’re correcting them.


4. “I keep doing this because they need me.”


Tammy explained she had thought about retiring, but I could tell she also felt great satisfaction and purpose in what she’s doing. She sees purpose and contribution in what she does. She’s making things better with each interaction she has.


5. “I can tell you put your heart and soul into what you do.”


She said that to me. I was so honored and humbled. She gave me a big hug when she dropped me off at the airport. And I’m not even that much of a hugger. She encouraged me and affirmed me and added value to me.


Who makes the difference in your school?


Every person who works in a school makes a difference. Every person contributes to the culture of the school. 


What if everyone in your school gave as generously as Tammy to love and support the kids and the adults in the school? What if we all showed a little more care and appreciation for every person in every interaction? That’s how you build a strong school culture.


Who is someone who inspires you? How are you giving generously to others? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.

Read More What You Do Matters

Notice the title of the post…”The Importance of Classroom Observations.” When you hear the term, do you think of observing and evaluating teachers or of the logistics of the space? To me, the term means something different, and it is more of an evaluation of administration than it is of teachers. Let me explain… When … [Read more…]

Read More The Importance of Classroom Observations

So roughly seven years ago my big brother Tim had a full blown brain hemorrhage and stroke, and his road to recovery has been not only challenging for him and his family, but…

Read More Bursts of Inspiration

Here is a scenario: The year is 2030, and you are having a conversation at a dinner party.  Eventually, people start talking about a significant historical event, and you have…

Read More Memorization is Not a Bad Thing

Here is a scenario: The year is 2030, and you are having a conversation at a dinner party.  Eventually, people start talking about a significant historical event, and you have never heard about it before. You quickly check out of the conversation and go to your mobile device (it is totally going to be called … [Read more…]

Read More Memorization is Not a Bad Thing

Here is a scenario: The year is 2030, and you are having a conversation at a dinner party.  Eventually, people start talking about a significant historical event, and you have never heard about it before. You quickly check out of the conversation and go to your mobile device (it is totally going to be called … [Read more…]

Read More Memorization is Not a Bad Thing

A few years ago, we had a lockdown drill at the high school where I was principal. Local police had called to say they were aware of a potential threat against our school on social media. They were locating the person of interest in a location outside the school community but wanted us to lockdown […]

Read More PMP155: Parenting as Principals – Do’s and Don’ts, Part 2

I have been re-reading the book “Empower” by AJ Juliani and John Spencer, and I loved this portion from John: Here’s a quick confession: I (John) used to hate the word “innovative.” See those quotation marks right there around the word? Those are actually air quotes that I would use whenever I used the term. … [Read more…]

Read More What does “better” mean to you and your students?