Central Staff and Students Choosing Excellence During the Week 1 #SAVMP

Although my job changed from teacher/coach to elementary principal, my responsibility to motivate others to reach excellence remained the same.  Our first staff meeting  started with some of my favorite educational quotes, and Rita Pierson’s powerful message, “that every kid deserves a champion.” I wanted my staff to realize that building relationships will be critical to our success as a school.  Every day we will strive to connect with our students through our positive interactions,  meaningful curriculum, and parent communication.  

After the motivational video, we, then, had a discussion on what it means to be a professional. We discussed the role our professional dress plays in creating an environment that displays excellence.  As the principal of Central Intermediate, I believe everything we do, and everything we model is important. For this reason, I asked my teachers to model excellence in their attire.  After a discussion, the staff agreed to raise their level of dress and thus far have done a wonderful job.  

We ended the meeting watching, Dalton’s Sherman’s, keynote speech, on the importance of believing in every student.  His speech reminded all of us that if we ever want students to reach their potential, we must believe in them.  At Central we will take pride in having a growth mindset, a mindset that truly believes that every student can succeed.  Dalton’s Sherman brought tears to our eyes as he encouraged us never to give  up on the students because sometimes teachers are all they have. “You are the ones who feed us, who wipe our tears, who hold our hand, who hug us, and love us when it feels like no one else does” (Sherman 2008).  At one time in our teaching career, we have witnessed what Dalton says.  To show our students we believe in them, we will raise the bar for all our students, and do whatever it takes to help them reach success.  

The tone had been set for the 2013-2014 school year, and the teachers were ready to inspire our students to Choose Excellence.  On the first day of student attendance, the students rotated through stations to learn behavior expectations of PBIS.  Students were engaged and modeled the appropriate behavior all week.  We went through the student handbook using multimedia and an interactive discussion.  Students were encouraged to reach excellence through a positive attitude, a strong commitment, and a great effort.  So far the students of Central are showing they are making the choice to CHOOSE EXCELLENCE EVERY DAY!  


Central Students at Morning Assembly

If the first week is an indicator of how the year goes, we are going to have an outstanding year!   


My Vision for Education #SAVMP

ImageIf we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” ~John Dewey

As a first year principal, I anticipate a job of challenges, possibilities, and results.  In order to overcome the challenges, make things possible, and achieve results, a vision must be created.  During my leadership experiences, I recognize the power of working together to reach a common goal.  When all members are invested, their enthusiasm, energy,  and drive are enhanced making the school environment positive and resilient.  I want to develop a shared vision with my staff that demonstrates an unparalleled commitment to excellence.  We will not only model excellence in our building, but we will inspire our students to pursue excellence. As a staff we will model excellence, and encourage our students to choose excellence every day!

“If we don’t stand for excellence, who will? We are the keepers of the educational beacon of light!” ~Diana Williams

Our school environment will foster the type of learning that will prepare students for the future-a future that requires different abilities, different skills,  and different habits of mind. We are the architects for our school, and we must build a school that inspires learning and frees the innovative spirit. To accomplish this I must create opportunities for professional growth.  I will show how I am invested in teaching and learning in my conversations with teachers, classroom visits, student interactions, and home connections. Every interaction serves as an opportunity to demonstrate the vision.

Often, we hear educators complaining about the lack of motivation students have today.  Yet, who is motivated by control, worksheets, fill in the bubble tests, and other paper and pencil activities?  How do these activities foster creativity, curiosity, individuality, and self-motivation?  What would happen if students were allowed the freedom to unleash their creativity, to use equipment that promotes their digital minds, and to become passionate learners that change the world?  Which one sounds more motivating for not only students, but also teachers?  I want our building to be recognized for its laughter, passion, chaos, enthusiasm, inquiry, and values. Our curriculum must be one of integration, based on relevant issues, and meaning for our students. Most importantly, passionate teachers must teach this curriculum in ways that inspires our students.  Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess reminded me how important passion is for student learning.

As a principal, my vision will be to create an environment that is conducive to learning, has high expectations for all, demonstrates commitment to student achievement, and creates strong community and parent partnerships.  Our school will make decisions based on what is best for students.

Shared leadership… is less like a an orchestra, where the conductor is always in charge, and more like a jazz band, where leadership is passed around … depending on what the music demands at the moment and who feels most moved by the spirit to express the music.’ Schlechy 2001

By “Choosing Excellence Every Day, we will challenge ALL students to reach high levels of success.

Quotes to inspire.


“Before we can demand excellence from our students, we must first demand it of ourselves.” ~Diana Williams


“Everybody kid needs a champion” Rita Pierson


“We’re educators. We were born to make a difference” Rita Pierson


If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.  John Dewey



Why I Lead #SAVMP

Through your blog, I can feel your passion and your drive to do what is best for students. What a great dedication to your son, Seely!

Principal Powers' Principles

Why do I Lead?

1. I Lead for our future. Our students need us now more than ever. The world is much different then when we were students. They need us to guide them to greatness, push them to greatness, and to Believe there is greatness  in ALL of OUR students!

2. I Lead for the present. What we do today makes a difference in the future. We all have choices and options. Make each day the greatest it can be. Live life to the fullest and always bring our best each and every day. Be Positive and treat all with respect and dignity. Believe all can be great. Choose to be Great for our students everyday.

3. I Lead for Seely. I lead for my son – Seely Thomas Walker Powers. Since he was born 4 1/2 years ago my world has been turned upside down. Those of you…

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Why I Lead #SAVMP

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” (Anthony Robbins)  

Sometimes moments happen in our life that we don’t expect.  July 9th was one of those moments as I was appointed the new principal at Central Intermediate in Monmouth-Roseville. Although I was excited about this opportunity, I feared the many unknowns of this profession.  Fortunately, another great opportunity presented itself to me to help alleviate  my fears-the creation of #SAVMP, a virtual mentoring program.  George Couros @gcouros has organized more than three hundred passionate mentors and mentees across the globe to connect through blogs and Twitter, so that this profession does not become a “lonely job”, but rather one of continuous connections and improvement.

For the first blog, we are to reflect on “why we lead”. What perfect timing to reflect on this powerful question as I begin my journey as a first year principal.   When I first read the question, “why I lead”,  many different thoughts came to mind.  As I examined those thoughts more closely, three factors emerged that I consider the reasons why I pursued a degree in educational leadership.

My passion to coach others to become their best is why I lead. For ten years, I had the opportunity to coach athletes of various abilities to work towards a common goal.   Through this experience, I learned that with a shared vision, high expectations, and a belief in each other, great things can be accomplished.  With the current shifts in education, coaching teachers is an integral part of educational systems.  I want to take the knowledge I gained from coaching and apply it to an academic setting.

Another reason I lead is to implement my educational vision. As a teacher, I could only directly impact what took place in my classroom.  As an educational leader, my vision will empower staff and students; thus, extending my impact.  With this educational vision, I can truly advocate for children of all abilities so that each can reach his or her fullest potential.

 Rita Pierson once said, “every kid needs a champion”.  This is another reason I lead. I want to become a leader who does what it takes for students to succeed. In order to accomplish this, I must create a nurturing environment where relationships matter.  We are blessed to be educators because every day we can inspire and empower children to reach their dreams.  As a leader, I will help create an environment that fosters relationships between administrators, teachers, support staff,  students, parents, and community. Through these relationships, it will be my hope to find a champion for each student.

Thank you, George Couros for giving me an opportunity to reflect on such a meaningful question, “WHY I LEAD”!