In a new year – the 3 most important letters

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The new year is upon us and provides everyone with lots of opportunities.  What type of opportunities depends upon the person. For some, it will be a chance to set new expectations, possibly start over in some facets of their life or even think about the bigger picture and their impact.  As I reflected over break, for me the new year brings a refocus and opportunity to ensure I am grounded on trying to be my best so I can help my staff and students to be their best. Sometimes people may refer to this type of thinking as “what is your one word” but I rather see it as a focus area for the upcoming year.  I choose three simple letters that I hope will allow me to meet my core values and help others within the context of my day.  Those three letters are JOY.

Leaders must always find the right balance within their work and their life. This is ever more important as we get ready to start 2nd semester as it allows continued growth of my work and our school. More importantly it provides a “focus” to my day and role.  The right work may differ to some extent within a school/district and it may vary to some extent for a person based upon their level of experience.  From my perspective, if I can find JOY within my work and interactions with others it will allow me to contribute to the following:

  • Build Culture – Culture is the most significant factor influencing the success of a school.  Culture drives expectations and beliefs and that leads to the behavior of the staff.  As leaders, we help decide that culture by our modeling, our passion, optimism and purposeful tasks. As Simon Sinek shared, “Leadership isn’t about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”  If I can lead from a place of joy then that will allow me to best  support, encourage and develop the staff so the culture becomes the positive driving force behind school change.
  • Set the vision  – Leaders must continually set the vision for our growth as well as the school community and the staff we support. If our vision involves bringing a positive and growth mindset that we model in our interactions with others, then that allows others to also take risks in the classroom that propels growth that best supports students. If we operate from a lens of finding joy within our work, then we can best learn, engage others within the work, adapt, delegate to others as there is trust, empower others, reflect together upon our work and serve the professional needs of others. 

How I intend to find JOY within my work role includes the following:

  • Stay positive and build connections
  • Be honest with my limitations – involve others (teamwork)
  • Be organized and look ahead for upcoming tasks to limit stress
  • Lean on others and stay connected with colleagues
  • Keep kids/staff as the center of our decisions
  • Be Patience-Calm-flexibile

Leaders recognize that their efforts and work are important to a school. But to create the biggest gains, the leaders must understand how we can be our best and continually improve. Now is the time to put intentional practices in place.  This takes an investment of time, energy and effort and pouring into others.  Educators must remember that nothing is easy. In fact, if you want to create a difference then you must be willing to not only lead yourself but learn how to best support your people. This creates the greatest gift a leader can provide to an organization.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand your role so you can leave your legacy. Comment below or reach out to me at








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A Husband, Father and Principal with a focus on learning, leading and connecting with others.

An educator for 25 years with 14 of those being a building administrator. I have found that the more I learn form others and their experiences it helps me grow and learn as well. I hope you join our journey as we create learning environments for students and staff that create future success.

2 thoughts on “In a new year – the 3 most important letters”

  1. Chris, thanks for consistently inspiring me to be a better leader! We’re surrounded by daily moments of joy with students, staff, and our school communities. Your words here will have me looking closely for these tomorrow on through 2023!

    Happy New Year!


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