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Lesson #6:  Work Before Glory The best leaders are humble and don’t really care about the glory.  It’s all about the work you produce.  Your hard work will not go unnoticed.  Pride yourself in your work, rather than yourself.  Take pride in those who work with you.  Praise them before praising yourself.  I believe that if you have to constantly tell others how great you are, then you are probably the only one who thinks you are great.  NBA great, David Robinson, once said, “Players who seek their own glory at the sacrifice of the team’s glory drive the team away from success.  The goal is not our own glory.”  Don’t chase glory.  Don’t chase greatness.  Work ...
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Lesson #5:  Take Everything Given to You and Make Something Better Education is constantly changing.  We face changes and challenges each and every day.  Government officials change, the accountability system changes, new mandates are passed down, staff retire, students change.  None of these changes can cause us to lose our focus, and keep us from making our school or district better.  When challenges arise, we can choose to get better, rather than getting bitter.  We can look at our successes and realize that we have made our school/district better.  We have made our students better.  We have overcome challenges before and will overcome the next set of ...
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Lesson #4:  Don’t Break When Broken It is said that what goes up must come down.  However, educational leaders must make sure that their school/district does not go down after experiencing success.  We must make continual improvement our goal, both for ourselves and our employees.  The school year is a roller-coaster ride like none other.  At times, educators will feel broken inside and figure that it is time to give up.  DON’T!  Educators will get frustrated…with colleagues, with students, with the district, and with the system as a whole.  Don’t let it break you.  Lean on one another.  Encourage one another.  We must focus on our successes, no matter how ...
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Be Legendary:  Lessons Learned from Michael Jordan Lesson #3:  Have the Courage to Fail Effective leaders make the best decisions possible with the information and time given.  However, leaders do make mistakes and it is vital to admit these mistakes.  We need to understand that failure is a part of life, but having the courage to face it head on is what makes you stronger.  I love the quote by Henry Ford that says, “Those who never make mistakes work for those of us who do.”  We need to be willing to take risks and step out of our comfort zones to see the endless possibilities ahead of us.  We have all heard people say, “It’s okay to fail.”  However, there ...
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This school year we have set our sights on “Being Legendary.”  Over the next few months, I will be blogging about what it takes to “Be Legendary,” using lessons learned from an ad campaign of Nike starring Michael Jordan.  If you want to make a difference, if you truly want to be legendary, I hope that something shared over the next several months will be of benefit to you. Lesson #1:  It’s About Knowing Where You’re Going An effective leader has a clear vision and the ability to inspire others to believe in the vision.  If you have had the great opportunity to be a part of The Leadership Challenge , you have learned that one of the five practices of ...
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I am delighted to report that every member of Cohort 7 has met the July target of one entry into his/her Electronic Portfolio. Kudos to each of you during this very busy time in the superintendent's position. Our "winner" for July has entered 19 artifacts including the 30-60-90 Day Plan. My thanks to those of you who have forwarded draft copies of your PGP's and 30-60-90 Day Plans. I am looking forward to reviewing more of these wonderful planning documents. Just a reminder that you need to have uploaded a minimum of 7 artifacts (one for each Standard) by the end of August. Please do not hesitate to call if you want to discuss the process or need help. 502-249-2022. ...
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Summertime Opportunities

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Summertime is a great opportunity for educational leaders to relax and recharge our batteries for the new school year which is quickly approaching.  As educational leaders, we need to also use this time to focus on the successes that we experienced throughout the past school year.  This is an extremely valuable practice of which we should take advantage.  By focusing on our past successes, we are able to stay positive and use these past successes to excite us about the upcoming school year and the future successes we will experience.  We need to share these past successes with our staff as well, exciting them and keeping them looking forward to the new opportunities ...
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I never met anyone in my life any more loving, giving, and fun than my mother, Laura. She was a guiding light in my world and a wonderful influence on many others. She enjoyed watching songbirds through the window to her backyard and she collected ceramic birds that still are prized possessions in my family. Three weeks after she died in the fall of 1998, I was inspired to write this poem. I hope it tells you something about her and her influence on others, including me. I also hope it makes you think of someone who greatly influenced you and your life, maybe your own mother.   The Bluebird sang her song of joy, so beautiful and so sweet. She sang ...
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Over the past several months, I have shared strategies we have used with our staff, students, and community to improve our school culture.  This month, I will share a few other strategies that we have implemented to enhance our school culture.  My hope is that something I share will spark an idea that you can apply within your own school/district. Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Nights We host two events for each of our Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Nights each year, one Fall and one Spring event. The Father/Son nights have included various activities such as: building birdhouses, archery competitions, Tae Kwon Do self-defense classes, cornhole competitions, ...
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Last blog, I noted that Thu-Huon Ha, on Feb. 8, 2018, on the internet, published an article he wrote, saying that scholars long have accepted that Shakespeare’s plays often featured plots and characters “borrowed,” from others, but also elevated in quality via Shakespeare’s own writing. What apparently is new is previously undiscovered connections to both the similar language and matching context of some of Shakespeare’s “borrowing.” I then pointed out that Shakespeare wasn’t worried about copyrights or his legacy, neither of which existed at that time. Instead, he was concerned about getting the new play together on time for his company of actors. In contrast, ...
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new-insight-into-shakespeares-writing new-insight-into-shakespeares-writing (Historians believe William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, and died on the same day in 1616.) Alright, I’ll admit before I even start: it is intimidating to write about the writing of William Shakespeare, widely considered to be the greatest writer in the history of the world. I fully realize my headline places my humble scribblings leagues out of his league. By the way, a “league,” as an archaic unit of measurement, is three miles, the distance an average person can walk in an hour. “League” in its most common modern usage is a group of teams in an athletic conference, ...
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In 1908, New York Giants rookie Fred Merkle failed to run all the way to second base on what should’ve been a game-winning hit. Instead, the game ended in a force-out, a tie, and "the most controversial game in baseball history.” The opposing team won the make-up game, the pennant, and the World Series, but didn’t win the World Series again for more than a century. Which team won the 1908 World Series, partly as a result of “Merkle’s Boner”? On June 2, 1925, the Yankees’ starting first baseman took the day off, due to a headache. Lou Gehrig took his place for the next 2,130 consecutive games, a 56-year record. Which player joked that he took the two most ...
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So, I’m sitting off to the side, minding my own business, when this guy in a cowboy hat with the brim turned up like a Texas grin walks up to another man, sticks his hand out and loudly implores, “What about it?” I watched this interaction from the beginning, so I know for a fact that nothing preceded this question. The cowboy just hollered it out as a greeting! If he’d been talking to me, I’d probably say, exactly what about what are you talking about? The journalist in me (His name is Scoop!) would dig deeper with questions beyond what (about it?) to who (about it?), when (about it?), where (about it?), and why (about it?)! I don’t think even Scoop would ...
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Real, pure country music is honest, often downright gritty. The same could be said for Merle Haggard, one of a handful of the most talented and prolific singer-songwriters in the history of country music, or any popular music for that matter! When he died on his 79 th birthday April 6, 2016, there was no doubt that his contributions to the music of the common man are as significant as those of the greatest of his personal heroes and friends, ranging from Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, and Bob Wills to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. He was an enigmatic man who personified contradictions. As Leona Williams, one of his five wives, said, he had ...
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Over the past several months, I have shared strategies we have used with our staff and students to improve our school culture.  This month, I will share strategies that we have used with our community to enhance our school culture.  These strategies have improved our community relations, as well as improved our staff morale and community support.  We have also witnessed an increase in the positive view of our school within the community.  My hope is that something I share will spark an idea that you can apply within your own school/district. Great News/Successes Weekly Email Each Monday morning, I send out a “Great News/Successes” email to our staff, ...
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The Major League Baseball Carousel: Teams Moving from One City to Another   Milwaukee was home to a National League baseball team from 1953-65. From where did the team move to Milwaukee? To what city did the team move after leaving Milwaukee? The American League’s St. Louis Browns left that Missouri city after the 1953 season. Where did they move? Before the Royals arrived in Kansas City, it was home to the American League’s Athletics from 1955-67. From where did the A’s move to Kansas City ? To what city did the A’s move after leaving Kansas City? What city did the National ...
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As I write this on a Saturday afternoon, my heart is warmed and my eyes are misting because of some of my co-workers, students, and community supporters.  Coye Elliot is a young assistant principal at Graves County High School in charge of the Career and Technical Education students. Those students devised a very practical way to respond to the shooting tragedy at neighboring Marshall County High School. He then called on a few of our most loyal supporters in the Graves County agri-business community and along with teachers and students, they cooked 500 grilled chicken dinners, sold, and delivered them in one day to raise ultimately $5,600. “Pilgrim’s Pride ...
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kindness-tree-blooms-when-students-help-others “I’ve always been a big advocate of doing random acts of kindness and Debra Peters and I head up the ‘Kindness Rocks’ for Graves County,” said Tracy Hargrove, whose daughter, Skylar, was graduated from Graves County High School last May. Her daughter had attended Central Elementary as a child. Tracy Hargrove continued, “So, I wanted to do something. I started looking up ideas for elementary schools because we really need to teach kids about kindness when they’re young. “We took some pictures off the internet of ways to do that,” she continued. “Then, (Central Elementary principal) Tiffany Williams and (assistant ...
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Only 19 people ever have won more than one Academy Award for Best Director. Here are ten of them. Name the director, based on the list of his award winners and the years the movies were made.   It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), “You Can’t Take It with You (1938). The Awful Truth (1937) and Going My Way (1944). The Informer (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Quiet Man (1952). Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Ben-Hur (1959). The Lost Weekend (1945) and The Apartment (1960). Gentlemen’s Agreement (1948) and On the Waterfront (1955). ...
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In January, I began sharing strategies that we have used with our students to enhance our school culture.  This month, I will share the third set of activities we have implemented with our students.  My hope is that something I share will spark an idea that you can apply within your own school/district. Energy Bus Book Study with Students One of our 6 th grade teachers volunteered to lead our incoming 6 th graders through The Energy Bus book study. We focus on positive energy and the ideas introduced in The Energy Bus at M.S.M.S.  This is a great way for our incoming students to understand what we stand for and how we do things at M.S.M.S.  Several ...
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