One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.

One person can make a difference, and everyone should try. – John F. Kennedy

We live in challenging times. The negativity and vitriolic tenor of today’s political and social media climate are enough to discourage even the most optimistic among us. It is easy to evaluate any public situation and shy away from individual contribution. It is safe to keep to ourselves and avoid conflict.

The only way we are going to improve this climate for the children we serve is by each of us, as individuals, stepping up and making a difference. It starts with me . . . it starts with you. Yes, you have the responsibility to make a difference. If each of us takes ownership, if we stand up and own our behavior and our expectations, we can make a difference. One person is a voice in the choir . . . a voice for a more caring, civil, and loving approach to how we live our lives.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it. – Unknown

Progress requires us to change. We live our growth mindset by embracing the productive discomfort of change. We create visions of the future; we plan for success. We put in the time to be intentional and purposeful in our actions.

With all of our time and planning, we know that we will make mistakes. With our purpose and skill, we know that we will fail at times. Don’t be stubborn; be reflective. Don’t stay with a plan just because it is the plan. We adapt and adjust. We are assessing each situation and measure success. When we are heading in the wrong direction, we can’t cling to the process.

Create strong teams; monitor progress and be humble in assessing success.

It’s not the load that breaks you down; It’s the way you carry it

It’s not the load that breaks you down; It’s the way you carry it.  – Lena Horne


We all have stress in our lives.  No one is immune from challenges.  It is part of both our personal and professional lives.


The how we respond to the stress, how we carry our load, is entirely up to us.  Research is unarguable – when we own our issues and purposefully seek real solutions we are happier.  When we approach life with optimism and hope we are more successful.  


Don’t let your load break you down.  Don’t blame others, complain about the circumstances, or defend status quo behavior.  Take control and take action.  Step up and make a difference for yourself and for others.  

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.  – Plato


I was recently reading to a group of first grade students.  The conversation turned to when to be afraid and when to have courage.  We talked about good fear – the fear that has us “press pause” when we cross the street or want to climb a tall tree.  We also talked about fear that stops us from trying new things – the fear that holds us back from progress.


Ultimately, just like with sixyearolds, we all need to count on those around us to either overcome or justify our fears.  We all have the Power of the Team in our lives.  When we are fearful, we must engage our team to determine is this a “stop fear” or a “go fear.”  We must listen to the little voice inside each of us when we feel fear.  We must also have the courage to be intentional and discipline in our next steps.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.  – Epictetus


Our district is committed to the Social Emotional needs of our students.  Our Ready for Tomorrow initiative is predicated on the development of three equal developmental areas – Academics, Mindset, and Interests.  We know that a balanced approach to education is required to prepare students for success after graduation.


Part of a balanced education is instilling in this generation of young people a growth mindset that paves the way for future happiness.  As educators we know that today’s “instant gratification” and “me-focused” culture is counterproductive.  We work each day to model the joy of learning, of service, and of growth.  We work to balance the social pressures students feel to gain recognition with the emotional needs required for true happiness.  There’s no easy playbook or manual . . . it demands that each of us engage in the conversations and do the work.

Success doesn’t bring us happiness; happiness brings us success. – Marci Shimoff

Success doesn’t bring us happiness; happiness brings us success. – Marci Shimoff

We all know people who are seemingly successful, but ultimately unhappy. These people have financial resources, professional status, and property wealth. From an outsider’s perspective, they have it all yet they aren’t satisfied.

We also know people who are grateful for each blessing in their life. These people define success differently. Success isn’t about possessions or titles, it’s relationships and service. For those who define success from a “me” perspective the chase is never ending. For those who define success by engaging others, success is around every corner.

I always make sure I hire people smarter than me.



I always make sure I hire people smarter than me.  – Aliko Dangote

The Hilliard City School District has hired exceptionally well.  We are a destination district for teachers, administrators, and support staff.  We aim to hire and keep the best people.  With this said, there is always room for improvement.  We live our growth mindset each and every day.


This October we launched a new approach to hiring teachers in our district.  After engaging partners such as Apple Computer and The Ohio State University, we have flipped our interview process.  After a paper screening of each candidate, we are hosting a group interview to gauge how candidates work and function in groups.  Teaching isn’t simply about knowing how to teach; it’s about building relationships, having an empathetic and caring approach, and living with a service minded purpose.


Our goal is to hire the best next generation of educators to continue the traditions established in this district and to continue to push us to be innovative, creative, and accountable.