Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. – Margaret Fuller

Throughout history our greatest leaders were avid readers. Our founding fathers were diligent readers; in many cases they were self-taught about the very ideals on which our government is built. They read, debated, and comprised.

We talk about students today following their passion and developing critical thinking skills. Reading provides the very foundation on which to explore passion. Reading provides the ideas to consider when solving problems. Before we can think critically we must have foundational knowledge and ideas on which to reflect.

For our leaders of tomorrow, reading today is a requirement. Understanding the past, expanding understanding, and processing details make each of us better leaders in the future.

One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by. 

One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.  – Jeanette Walls


The benefit of reading during the summer months is immeasurable.  Young people have an opportunity to both find literature that interests them and to continue the development of essential skills.  The love of literature . . . the opportunity to get lost in a great book . . . will not only keep student’s brains engage in essential skills development, but also expand dreams and goals for the future. Reading is the key to academic success . . . reading gives students a jump on the next academic year.

My hope is that each student finds balance during the summer months.  When a student finds balance between rest and engagement, between play and work, and between physical  and mindful activities, then students fully enjoy the summer months.  As adults, we create opportunities for use of technology and interaction with friends. We guide students to read and grow as learners.

We are blessed in Hilliard with the opening of a new, beautiful library this June.  I am hopeful each parent will visit the new library and model for their children a love of reading.

Feedback is among the most powerful influences on achievement.

Feedback is among the most powerful influences on achievement.  – John Hattie


We all require feedback to grow, to develop, and to improve.  Having a growth mindset, a commitment to pursue excellence, demands that we seek the input of others on our journey.

As educators, we provide constant feedback to our students.  We give assessments, guide in the creation of products, and strive to cultivate the skill of working in teams to reach common goals.

As the educators, we must seek opportunities for students, parents, and community members to engage in conversations about how we can improve and do better.  We are living in a work of constant, rapid change.  Our students of today are the workforce of tomorrow.  We must model a growth mindset as adults if we expect our students to live that same mindset in the future.

Withholding constructive criticism does not help children’s confidence; it harms their future.

Withholding constructive criticism does not help children’s confidence; it harms their future.  – Carol Dweck

As we enter the final couple days of the school year many of our students will be taking exams, completing portfolios, and finished projects.  One of our goals over the past several years is to employ multiple options as students demonstrate learning and mastery.

While a cumulative examination has been the traditional school option for measuring progress, we know there are a myriad of ways for students to prove that they’ve learned specific information.  Our goal isn’t to diminish accountability or discipline.  To the contrary, our goal is to increase opportunities for constructive criticism and feedback.

We must hold children accountability for learning.  We must make certain students have both the foundational knowledge required for future success and ability to apply the knowledge to solve problems.  We can’t withhold criticism or escape accountability . . . the real world hold us accountable each and every day.

Innovation begins and ends with empathy.

Innovation begins and ends with empathy.  -George Couros

Why do we innovate?  Do we innovate just to do something differently?  Is different always better?

Do we innovate to use technology?  Does innovation require technology as a component?

Do we innovate to cure boredom?  Kids today can’t learn “the old way” so we do something new?

I would contend that we innovate to make life better.  We make changes, we live our growth mindset, because we see opportunities for improvement.  We innovate with the understanding of how it makes others feels . . . we innovate to improve the lives of those we serve.

We need to make the positive so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.

We need to make the positive so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.  – George Couros

Society today requires public educators to have a positive growth mindset.  We have an increasingly challenging role in our communities, but we embrace the challenge with the belief we are making a positive difference.  We are changing lives . . . we are shaping the future.

It is imperative that we tell our story, that we share our narrative.  We can’t continue to permit negative forces to create the narrative of public education.  We control our message, our brand, and our communications.  Be intentional and embrace the Power of the Team to proudly share the good news.

Celebrating the positive doesn’t mean we ignore areas for improvement; living a growth mindset also means constant reflection and improvement.  We listen to concerns and we analyze our performance.  We live our value to Pursue Excellence; we embrace the productive discomfort of change.  We share the positives, reflect on areas of improvement, and commit to our purpose as we prepare every student to be Ready for Tomorrow.

A teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.

A teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.  – Henry Adams

As Teacher Appreciation Week draws to a conclusion, I would be remiss to pass on the opportunity to celebrate the effect of our amazing, talented teachers.

Think for a moment about your favorite, most influential teachers.  Reflect on the way these professionals motivated you to be more, on the way these teachers fueled your passion to be the best version of you.

Teachers push us to our edge . . . then show us we can achieve more.  Teachers inspire us to dream . . . then provide the skills to make each dream a reality.  Teachers build our confidence and model a growth mindset.  Teacher demonstrate that failure isn’t the end, but merely an opportunity to learn and grow.

Take time today to thank a teacher.  Google that individual who made a difference and surprise them with an email.  We live in a digital era, but computers will never replace the talented, dedicated teachers that create the future . . . one student at a time.