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Principal Rich Appel Finds Army Training in Iraq Informs Job at Home

When asked if his training in the Army Reserve influenced his initial years working in schools, Rich Appel answers without hesitation: “One hundred percent.” Appel, the 2014 Wisconsin Principal of the Year, has an unconventional leadership resume: In addition to nearly two decades working as a principal at the elementary and middle school level, he…

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Recess First: Dayle Hayes on the Simple Power of Scheduling Play Before Lunch

When students get proper nutrition, they are fueled and ready to learn. And educational leaders can play a pivotal role in ensuring that students get adequate nutrition in supportive surroundings. Feeding the nation’s students is no simple task. The National School Lunch Program served more than 5 billion lunches in 2015, according to the U.S. Department…

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From Entrepreneur to Educator: A Conversation with Second-Career Teacher Ben Coleman

Ben Coleman dropped out of college to start a computer business. “I was making so much money in computers that I didn’t see the point in college,” says Coleman, who abandoned his engineering studies to operate a series of computer stores.  His decision seemed to be a sound one — until the Internet transformed the industry….

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Coming to the Classroom Via Wall Street: A Conversation with Second-Career Teacher Dana Mohn

Teaching was not an obvious career path for Dana Mohn. In high school, she completed a banking-oriented trade program, and after graduation, began a career in finance. Also, by her own admission, she “doesn’t like kids.” “I was never a great babysitter. I’m not really super kid-friendly,” says Mohn. Yet Mohn discovered a hidden passion…

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Education Recruiter Trey Wright on Shifting Career Trends

The old saying that you’ll never work a day in your life if you do something you love fuels many education careers. But being passionate about education and getting excited about looking for a new job are distinct pursuits. Planning career pathways in educational leadership is shifting, according to Trey Wright, a national education recruiter…

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Beyond Bullying: Making Schools Safe for LGBTQ Students

In many ways, LGBTQ social acceptance has mainstreamed in American culture. But not all youth are free of bullying and discrimination. Here’s how educators can create safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.

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Building a School from Scratch: A Conversation with Matthew King

Epic Academy is built on the belief that every kid can succeed. The southeast Chicago charter school opened in 2009, with just one freshman class. It has added a class each year and now has approximately 450 students in grades 9 through 12. Students primarily come from the surrounding neighborhood; 96 percent qualify for free…

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How #IStandWithAhmed Reveals Need for Threat Assessment Training

When Ahmed Mohamed brought the clock he built to his Texas school, nothing went according to plan — quite possibly because his school had no plan for a teacher who believed that the device might have been a bomb. Soon the 14-year-old was arrested, and the story of a young boy in a NASA T-shirt…

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The Innovation Era in Education: A Conversation with Change Leader Tony Wagner

With so much emphasis on the importance of a good education to get ahead in life, it’s sobering to note that in 2014, eight out of 10 seniors graduating from college didn’t have a job. In the new book “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the New Innovation Era,” Tony Wagner and co-author…

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Service Sector Leaders Cannot Afford to Ignore Rise of Sharing-Economy Companies

The sharing economy has wreaked havoc on taxis and hotels, but tech industry analysts seem reluctant to predict the next industry to be disrupted because they believe the entire service sector is vulnerable. Whether you’re hoping to lead a startup in this burgeoning area or leading a traditional business fending off new competition, you will…

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On Charter Schools and Innovation in Education: A Conversation with Ruth Mesfun

At 8:00 on a recent Wednesday evening, educator Ruth Mesfun was sorting dominoes into plastic zip-top bags. A sixth-grade science teacher at Excellence Girls Middle Academy, an all-girls charter school in Brooklyn, New York, Mesfun was prepping for the next day’s lesson: a hands-on activity that will have her students working in groups to create…

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First-Time Principals: How to Start Right at Your School

Beginnings are important. The public conversation around the start of school usually focuses on students, and to a lesser extent, teachers and school staff. For first-time principals, the first day of school is a major milestone in a leadership career. No national data about the demographics of first-year principals exists. Robyn Conrad Hansen, president of…

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Leaders Can’t Ignore Ethics of Data-Driven Applications

Leaders hoping to catch the next tech wave will need to wrestle with privacy, support and security issues in new data-driven applications. Every new generation of technology brings unanticipated legal and ethical challenges. The latest issues are arising from three complementary trends for continuously capturing, presenting and analyzing data technologies: Big data. Huge amounts of…

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Turning Around a Troubled School: Lessons from a Principal

When Patricia Fry interviewed for the principal’s job at Plymouth High School a decade ago, she didn’t really know what she was getting into. She hadn’t even been actively looking for a new job, but she liked the idea of living in Cape Cod, and the historic town was in easy driving distance. But as…

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Teacher Shortage Areas

Inspirational teachers are always needed in classrooms around the country, but there simply aren’t enough educators to fill every need. Shortages are most acute for mathematics, science, special education and especially in rural areas. For each state, the U.S. Department of Education has determined certain subjects that are considered Teacher Shortage Areas (TSAs). If you…

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5 Books for Educational Leaders’ Reading List

A leadership mindset isn’t something that you switch on or off according to the calendar. Most educators maintain a robust summer schedule, but still manage to find a bit of extra time to catch up on reading—both for pleasure and for professional development. Libraries abound with summer reading programs designed to support literacy for students,…

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Crunching the Numbers: One School’s Solution to Digesting Student Data

Like most public schools across the country, Leasure Elementary School in Newark, Delaware, receives a lot of student achievement data. Numerous charts and graphs show various quantitative metrics, and compare Leasure students to others in the school district. And as at many of the other schools, the educators at Leasure didn’t know what to do…

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Learning How to Learn: Teaching Executive Function

Character traits such as grit, resilience and self-control are enjoying a renaissance in public and private schools as educators look at noncognitive skills that may help prepare students to become successful lifelong learners. Despite its clunky name, “executive function” (EF) is one of the hottest phrases among educators. “Executive function is about the how of…

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Coaching Educators to Enhance Leadership

Marceta Reilly, a leadership coach and co-author of “Coaching Conversations: Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time” wishes every educator could have a coach for their entire first year in a new role. She believes it could help curb the high attrition rate of new teachers. “I think we would lose fewer of them if…

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Lunch Power Hour: How the 2015 National Principal of the Year Jayne Ellspermann Transformed the Lunchtime Routine

Principal Jayne Ellspermann empowers her students to take responsibility for their own success – over their hourlong lunch, each school day. The aptly named Power Hour encourages West Port High School students to participate in a variety of creative activities on campus, with teachers and peers alike. Students at the Ocala, Florida, school achieve remarkable feats: impressive…

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