William D. Parker from the Principal Matters Podcast reveals his school leadership strategies, insights from other leaders, and practical tips so that you can have the tools to achieve your own goals. Rediscover healthy motivation, resolve conflicts and challenges, maximize your communication, grow your instructional abilities, and learn to streamline responsibilities—all while building positive communities among your team members, students, parents, and patrons. A former teacher of the year and Oklahoma assistant principal of the year, he is also an author, blogger, speaker and education consultant. The former Principal of Skiatook High School, near Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Founder of Principal Matters, LLC, he also serves as the Executive Director for OASSP/OMLEA - state associations proudly supporting secondary leaders and middle level educators. He and his wife Missy are the proud parents of four children: 3 girls and 1 boy. When he is not serving his members and family, he is a sought-after keynote speaker for principal conferences and leadership seminars. He has learned to leverage his lessons through growing in-person and online communities. Listen in for motivation to create incredible momentum in your school community.
PMP 313: Ideas for Teacher Recruitment and Retention with Kristi Kirschner and Danny Massey (Part 2)
Last episode, guests Danny Massey, Superintendent of Brazosport ISD and Kristi Krischner, Chief Human Resources Officer at Brazosport ISD shared ways their district is using innovative approaches for teacher recruitment. This week they share more ideas as well as ways they are working for retention of highly effective teachers.
As you look forward, what other ways (grants or additional partnerships) are you considering to attract educators?
* The apprenticeship program will keep our focus and attention as we are in the early stages of implementation; however our reach with state agencies will continue to expand as we work to build a shared understanding and language between workforce development and education. * As our learning continues to develop in the space of apprenticeship, we hope to identify opportunities to expand our thought partners to engage in areas focusing on quality, policy and access to increase opportunities for funding including public and private partnerships.* Pre-apprentice & youth apprenticeship opportunities* Pathway for para vacancies and difference in number of applicants (not sure where to add…)
Across the nation, teacher shortages have become a major crisis facing most schools. What lessons/practices have been helpful for you that may be applicable for leaders in other communities?
Not only is teacher recruitment an important factor to help combat the teacher shortage, but also teacher retention. We have to be able to address why teachers are leaving the profession. Campus culture and climate are vital. We believe this starts with campus leadership. Investing in highly trained and highly skilled campus leaders is paramount for an effective school climate. Teachers must feel supported, be a part of a team and not work in isolation, take on qualities of highly effective teams.
Some other programs that have served well for Brazosport in recruitment and retention of teachers are:
* Wellness initiatives * Local Perks – ways to show teachers that the community values public school educators. * Innovative Compensation:
-TEA Distinctions ($200 per)
-EOC Retester Bounty ($100 per student)
-Lanier Middle School- Master Level Teacher ($10K). This resulted in rating improved from IR (F) to 88 (B).
-Secondary Science and Math Stipends ($3,500)
-Student Teachers Paid & Discount Housing ($3,000 per month)
-Low cost tuition for staff full day PreK
-Perks That Work – Staff Discounts from local businesses
-Teacher Incentive Allotment
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Learn more about Brazosport programs:
Lanier Middle School 10K Stipend Recruiting Video
Being a BISD Employee video
Beutel Elementary video
Clinical/Internship page and video
Grow Our Own
PMP312: Ideas for Teacher Recruitment and Retention with Kristi Kirschner and Danny Massey
Schools across the U.S. continue to respond to teacher shortages. On September 1, the White House announced recruitment partnerships to addresses the challenges. Groups like the National Center for Grow have partnered with states including California, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming, to design apprenticeship programs to help shape policy and provide feedback to the Department of Labor.
In Brazosport Independent School District, south of Houston, Texas, education leaders have launched innovative programs addressing the need as well. This week I’m joined by Brazosport ISD Superintendent Danny Massey and Kristi Kirschner, Chief Human Resources Officer, to talk about ways their district is responding to teacher recruitment and retention.
Danny Massey has been in public education for 33 years. He has been an educator in the Brazosport Independent School District for 31 of those years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri Southern State College, holds a master’s in education from Texas Southern University and a superintendent certification from Region 4 Education Service Center and St. Thomas University in Houston. He served as a special education teacher and athletic coach, an Assistant Principal, Principal, Executive Director, Assistant Superintendent and beginning his 8th year in his current position of Superintendent of Schools.Danny has been recognized for numerous achievements including:
* 2020 Region 4 Education Service Center Superintendent of the Year;* 2020 Brazosport Area Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year; * 2020 Ambassador of the Year in by the non-profit Friends of Texas Public Schools
In 2016, the Brazosport LULAC Council selected Danny as their Educator of the Year for demonstrating nthe values and characteristics of leadership to improve the economic and educational opportunities for the Hispanic community. Danny is known for his transparency, visibility, and positivity throughout the district. He is most proud of the student academic improvements throughout the district, and the passing of two bond referendums which are transforming the district with new state of the art campuses and facilities.
Kristi Kirschner serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Brazosport ISD. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University, Kristi started her human resources career in the manufacturing and oil & gas industries, where she served in both client support and leadership roles. After 12 years in industry, she continued her human resources career in education, with the most valuable product of all: our youth. Kristi has a passion for connecting with people, finding innovative solutions and utilizing her knowledge in human resources to support the organization and human capital initiatives.
1. Can you summarize your district’s efforts in teacher recruitment and retention and how you have enhanced those efforts in light of teacher shortages?
Danny and Krist share innovative programs including:
* Ghost Organization Hiring – filling positions ahead of attrition* Grow Our Own – 2 Opportunities (Earned Associates degree and complete Bachelor’s or ACP)* Paid University Interns* Apprenticeship Program -> Residency Pathway
The partnership has developed a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) to address an employer driven need to grow and develop high-quality teachers in a profession that is high growth, high demand, high skill,
PMP311: Politics and Advocacy for School Leaders with Jen Schwanke
In this week’s episode, Will Parker and Jen Schwanke share some thoughts on how to remain focused on service to your school communities while also remaining aware of what is happening in politics and advocacy that may also be affecting your school.
Will references the following book as a resource for understanding the difference between old power structures and new power structures in the ways people are communicating and advocating: New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize, and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.
A survey by NASSP’s Survey of America’s School Leaders and High School Students details that “the majority of school leaders (70%) and students (51%) report they have personally been threatened or attacked, physically or verbally during the past year…3 out of 4 of school leaders (73%) and students (74%) report they needed help with their mental or emotional health last year.”
Ideas for tackling politics and advocacy while staying focused on students from Will & Jen:
* As a school leader you need to know where what matters and where you have influence intersects.* Do you have power and control over an issue? What actions are going to lead to the best outcomes?* Don’t create crises where they don’t exist and don’t respond to someone else’s crises.* When feeling overwhelmed by political and social issues, ask yourself what is it that you can do today that aligns with your goal as a teacher/leader?* Remember that historically, none of this is new. Whenever society is in unrest, the population turns to schools to push their issues. Don’t let the push for political change influence the way that you interact with students.* Draw boundaries when having conversations that are uncomfortable or rude.* How do we recognize the positives of old and new power structures within schools?* Advocate for schools with one hand and be the champion for your school with the other. Remind people why schools are such a great place.
Resources for school leaders mentioned by Will:
* Messaging Matters by William D. Parker* Live school
Now it’s Your Turn
Reflect on the suggestions Will and Jen made for school leaders in regard to staying involved in politics and advocacy, while still making students a priority. What would you add to the conversation?
PMP310: Questions from Listeners on Teacher Shortage and Staff Development with Jen Schwanke
This week Will Parker and Jen Schwanke are answering questions from listeners:
Q1: “Administrators doing double duty as teachers”:
“I was listening to your podcast this morning and cried a good part of my drive to school today. My director (principal) and I will very likely be in classrooms full day this year due to the fact that we are short multiple teachers and cloning hasn’t been invented yet. We are short 3 classroom positions, a specials position, and a special ed position. We are both overwhelmed and sad yet happy for the opportunity to create community and connect with kids. I thought I’d email and ask what you’d suggest we do about our ‘office with a window’ jobs, coaching teachers, discipline, attendance follow up, family and team meetings, and all the other things we aren’t going to be able to handle while we are with kids each day. I guess I am just looking for both encouragement and advice. What would you do? Who would you tap for what? How do we re-prioritize the things we do beyond “kids first”? Thanks for being willing to share your expertise…we appreciate it.”
-Teresa Brown, Director of Student Support, Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning, Colorado Springs, Colorado
* Jimmy Casas, a fellow ed leader and friend, likes to say the most important words a leader can ever communicate is: “I need your help.”* This goes for communicating with parents, community members, board members, students and anyone else who cares about the outcomes of your school. Asking directly for others to help keeps them aware of the need and can help create solutions in times of crisis.* Don’t be afraid to pull together a circle of staff whom you trust and brainstorm together what tasks you have in front of you. Sometimes just sharing out loud and making a shared list provides a sense of control when there are so many factors out of your control.
* Think outside the box. Are there any seismic changes that could be made to this listener’s day, school, or world? Could you adjust time for teachers and staff? Flex time, comp time, an adjusted day? Shut down one afternoon a day to have meetings? * Utilize your community. How are you recruiting the members of your community in the hiring process? Parent volunteers are one way to get through staff shortages.* Communicating with parents and staff in a positive way that the teacher shortage is affecting student instruction. * Understanding the problem and the current solution creates an easy path towards a new solution.
Q2: “Development in schools”:
“I heard your 2 podcast [episodes] for first year principals. That is me. You discussed reading Dr. Wong’s book yearly. I love that book and it is driving my school PD this year. Our school is in major need for setting procedures and better class management. Just curious about any other tips or advice you have about using Dr. Wong’s material. What were key procedures you established? Trying to develop a vision for our school, so any help with that could go a long way…”
-Alex Short, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, De Soto, Missouri
* If you are using Dr. Wong’s book for staff development, one suggestion would be dividing sections up among staff members and asking them to help summarize takeaways that would be helpful in their classrooms and for others. Allow time for feedback from experienced staff. * If you do not have teachers with that kind of experi...
PMP309: Leadership that Matters with Jordan Master
Jordan Master is Assistant Principal at Johnsburg High School located in Johnsburg, Illinois. JHS serves just under 600 students grades 9-12.
… . Jordan’s journey as an educator began after graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she double majored in Secondary Education and Writing Intensive English. In 2014, she accepted a part time position teaching at a small Catholic School in Johnsburg, Illinois. The next year she accepted a position at North Boone Middle School in Poplar Grove, IL, and in 2016 she applied to an opening at the high school in North Boone School district where she taught English until 2020.
Her interest in taking the Educational Leadership path actually began in 2015, where she worked in the summer as a Day Camp Coordinator for our local YMCA until 2019. This sparked an interest in Administration, as her role was very similar to that of an Assistant Principal. In 2018, she began a Masters program through Concordia University Chicago. In May 2020, during the pandemic’s beginning, she graduated with a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership with a Principal Endorsement before becoming Assistant Principal at Johnsburg High School.
She resides in McHenry, Illinois with her husband Bob and their new puppy Pongo. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, biking, going to farmers markets, reading, and chasing Pongo around.
As a long-time listener of Principal Matters, Jordan reached out to me this summer after reading a copy of my first book, Principal Matters: The Motivation, Action, Courage and Teamwork Needed for School Leaders.
Her feedback was so rich that I wanted to explore how the shared lessons may inform takeaways in your leadership journey. Here is some of Jordan’s feedback on managing requests:
* “I enjoyed the chapter about Better Managing Requests, as when I started my role as AP I definitely had the “savior complex” and tried to immediately respond with solutions when it came to staff and parents for non-emergency things (I am still working on it!). But the 24 hour rule and taking time to reflect before jumping into action is something that Kevin has taught me as a young administrator.”
Takeaway on setting timers for tasks:
* “I am going to use the tip of setting a timer for tasks that can consume too much time. While I cannot control high level discipline scenarios and when I am needed urgently, I can better manage my time to conduct more walk throughs and get into classrooms. I am always in such a good mood when I get to go visit classrooms- instructional leadership is really important to me and something that I need to dedicate more time to if I want to be an effective leader.”
A favorite application:
* “One of my favorite points was ‘remember that you are not always in complete control’ as this is something I have struggled with as a person. My husband has helped me balance that feeling of always needing to be productive and busy; I got to a point where I realized if I continued to go at that rate, it would not be healthy for me. Your story about writing your resignation letter is something that sticks with me. Taking time to balance your life (which I always feel like you emphasize) has been a challenge for me. But I feel more fulfilled and purposeful when I am able to do that.”
Listen-in to the entire conversation for more takeaways, including Jordan’s tips for new administrators:
Advice for new administrators…
* Take time to build positive relationships.
PMP308: Leading with a Humble Heart with Zac Bauermaster
Zac Bauermaster currently serves as principal at Kissel Hill Elementary School, located in the Warwick School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Zac has the tremendous opportunity to lead teachers, support staff, families, and most importantly, the next generation daily. His greatest joy in education is seeing adults leverage their God-given talents and abilities through inspiring kids to find and use their gifts.
Before becoming a principal, Zac served public education in various K-12 roles such as assistant principal, administrator of online learning, teacher, and coach. Zac received his undergraduate degree from Millersville University in secondary education and completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Pennsylvania State University. Zac returned to Penn State, where he earned his Principal Certification. Most recently, Zac earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from Drexel University. He is a lifelong learner, always looking to learn and grow. His family jokes that he went to school in Kindergarten and hasn’t ever stopped.
Zac continues to grow his leadership influence and share encouragement and positivity through various social media platforms, magazine publications, and speaking events. Most importantly, Zac is a husband to his wife Carly, and father to three young kids, Olivia, Eliot, and Isaac. Zac is a firm believer in leading his family first. The family resides in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
He is the author of the new book, Leading with a Humble Heart: A 40-Day Devotional for Leaders.
* Zac explains how scripture has been a foundation for his leadership and the lessons it provides for in service to others.
* He calls the book ‘Leading with Humble Heart’, and explains how the message of humble leadership different from the ways leaders are often perceived or expected to behave in positions of influence.
* He explains how the life of Jesus is one of humble confidence. He has some advice for education leaders who receive harsh, sometimes threatening behavior from community members who claim their criticism is based on biblical principles.
* The format of the book is designed for daily meditation and reflection. Zac illustrates how this helped him manage his own anxiety and depression with a favorite example from the book of what readers may expect.
* He explores how leaders must navigate the important role of serving others with authenticity without crossing legal and social boundaries that exist when serving communities of diverse backgrounds, including religious and non-religous beliefs.
* Finally, Zac shares encouragement he would you offer educators beginning another school year knowing they will be facing ongoing opportunities and challenges serving their communities. Zac talks about the difference between confirmation bias and impressive empathy as well as the wisdom of knowing when to just listen.
We also discussed a new survey from NASSP.
August 2022, NASSP shared a new survey of 1,000 principals who reported the following:
* Three-quarters of school leaders (73%) and students (74%) report they needed help with their mental or emotional health last year.* The majority of school leaders (70%) and students (51%) report they have personally been threatened or attacked, physically or verbally during the past year.* One out of two school leaders claim their stress level is so high they are considering a career change or retirement.
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Thank you listeners for the the ongoing learning we are doing together. Onward!
Principal Matters has been my go-to resource for a full year. Will and his guests support and encourage both the veteran and novice instructional leader. Topics are relevant to what we as principals face on the daily. Will leads with true servant leadership with a pure vision to lift up and help those who serve in the education field. Subscribe, don’t miss, and be inspired!
Amazing and Valuable!!
I’ve been listening to Will’s podcast for going on three years and he and his guests speak directly to school leaders in a way that is relevant and rejuvenating. He knows the job we have and provides materials and resources from the veterans perspective! Point blank listened to Principal Matters and acting on what you’ve heard will make you a better school building leader!!