Educating the mind without educating the heart is not education at all.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is not education at all. – Aristotle

Our mission as public educators is to ensure that every student is Ready for Tomorrow. We are preparing the next generation of America’s leaders. Our task is monumental and our purpose is at our core. Education today is changing; we must embrace what is required of us.

Education is no longer solely about static facts or acquisition of knowledge. We can no longer measure our effectiveness utilizing simple assessments. The complexity of today’s challenges, the diversity of student needs, demands multifaceted analysis and solutions.

Public schools are obligated to educate both hearts and minds. We are required to inspire commitment to continued learning for today’s students, tomorrow’s leaders, will be required to continually learn, grow, and change. We are all students of life; we continue to seek alignment of heart and mind. We are compelled to stir the love of learning in the hearts of children for a life of educating the mind.

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up. – Pablo Picasso

In our preschool and primary classrooms, all of our students are artists. They all color, draw, and express themselves free from fear of judgement. From the hand drawn depiction of vacation to the holiday drawing on the refrigerator, children are joyful creators.

As children grow and mature, those who develop their talent continue to live an artistic life. Those who fail to excel, who fail to be recognized for exceptional talent, seemingly abandon this form of creation and expression.

As educators, we must cultivate the inner artist in each student. The joy of creation, the process of expressing oneself with freedom and creativity, mustn’t be extinguished in any child. Educating the whole child, preparing students to be ready for a tomorrow of balance and happiness, requires us to sow a love of all the arts in our classrooms.

I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man.

I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man. – Alexander Hamilton

None of us is perfect . . . we should never expect perfection from anyone. When we expect perfection, either from people in public life or people with whom we have personal relationships, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment. We all make mistakes; if we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t trying new things.

What we can expect is honesty and values; we are compelled to expect alignment to a shared vision and purposed. Our district has been intentional, purposeful in aligning our values and behavior. We talk about, and more importantly strive to model, our focus and commitment to our culture. We all fall short from time to time, but our commitment to team inspires support and caring.

I never expect to see perfection because we are all imperfect. It’s easy for people to be critical – especially when they are hiding in anonymity behind their keyboards in the safety of their home. It’s easy to point out other people’s flaws. It takes work, it takes effort to learn from mistakes and live our Power of the Team. We accept our Stand Up and Own it approach to leading a district and learning in classrooms. We own our behavior, learn from failing-fast, and live our lives in humble imperfection.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony. – Thomas Merton

We all know people, perhaps it is how you live your own life, that seem to be on a constant rollercoaster. People who are either extremely happy, or the exact antithesis, exceedingly despondent. For these folks there never seems to be balance; these people seem to completely miss content. They are either the life of the party or in need of consolation.

Living a happy life isn’t about maximizing the high-points while minimizing the canyons. Life is about creating balance; it’s about intentionally keeping our life in rhythm and harmony. When we are true to our values – when we live our lives guided by principles – we keep our priorities in order.

Passionate people don’t wear their passion on their sleeves; they have it in their hearts.

Passionate people don’t wear their passion on their sleeves; they have it in their hearts. – Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

I know many people who talk about their passion; it is in their words, on posters in their office, and sticking on the window of their car. You know these people too . . . they talk the talk and are enthusiastic about the work.

I also know people who live their passion. It is more than words . . . it is action, dedication, and hard work. It is a commitment to the journey . . . it’s a desire for continued growth and improvement. The passion is a gift . . . it is fuel for life . . . it is at the core.

What is your passion? Is it in your heart or on your sleeve? When you wake-up in the morning, are you willing to work for it? To embrace the journey to elite?

Cultivate your passion. Plant the seed, do the work to grow your skills, and let others see it on your heart.

Negative leaders attack their team when there’s a problem. Positive leaders work with their team to attack the problem.

Negative leaders attack their team when there’s a problem. Positive leaders work with their team to attack the problem. – Jon Gordon

I am consistently befuddled at leaders who look to place blame. I’m surprised by those who’d rather point a finger at someone else rather than take the responsibility to find a solution.

We live in a world of distractions; we encounter detractors throughout our day. With our Stand Up and Own It value, we take responsibility for our response to others. As a leader, I can’t control what others do – all I can do is control me, my response, and my behavior.

Don’t let others suck you into the abyss of blaming and complaining. Don’t let the misbehavior of others take you below the line . . . take you to lower levels of effectiveness. Rise up . . . solve problems instead of placing blame. Tune out those who only seek to pull down the organization – trumpet teamwork and own the solution.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

As this holiday weekend comes to an end we prepare to return to work and school for a couple of weeks before our winter break. Over the next several weeks, don’t lose your Thanksgiving spirit. Take the time to thank those in your lives that make you a better person, recognize people who push you to be a better version of you, and recognize friends or colleagues that bring joy to your life.

Don’t let Thanksgiving be limited to a single day or a long weekend. We are more joyful when we give thanks every day. We are happier when we recognize those around us who make our lives better. We are more productive and successful when we live, work, and learn in environments of gratitude.

It is completely up to you . . . it can’t be left to other people. Take the initiative, step up, and give the gift of thanks every day during this holiday season.