Welcome to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast.  This is a weekly show for ruckus makers — What is a ruckus maker?  A leader who has found freedom from the status quo. A leader looking to escape the old routine. A leader who never, ever gives up.

What is Courage? How can you lead with Courage?

Today we are honored to have Amanda Valenzuela on the show. Amanda will tell us what it takes to lead with Courage. According to our guest, Courage is asking that pesky question that you don’t want to ask at the end of the admin meeting because you know, it needs to be asked. How often do you hold back on something just because you think it doesn’t matter, but deep inside, you know you need to ask?

Amanda takes us through how she leads with Courage.

We hope you enjoy the podcast. All the highlights, resources, and next steps can be found below. Listen to the full episode here and learn more at betterleadersbetterschools.com

Key Talking Points 

  • Amanda’s introduction
  • Courage
  • Leading with Courage
  • How to find a voice

Key Milestones of the Episodes

[01:22]  Amanda’s introduction

[09:14]  What is Courage?

[10:57]  Leading with Courage

[19:09]  Finding your voice

[28:51]  Amanda’s top 3 priorities

Key Quotes

  1. “When you’re on your path, the universe will conspire to help you.”
  2. “If you are going to find your voice and you’re going to be willing to share your voice, you have to like yourself, and you have to believe that other people like you and or that what you have to say matters or no one’s going to listen to you.”
  3. “As a woman, there’s no reason I can’t do anything that anyone else does.”
  4. “You just can’t be worried about being popular all the time.”
  5. “If you’re going to hold back, then there’s no way that your team can trust you.”
  6. “Courage is asking that pesky question that you don’t want to ask at the end of the admin meeting because you know, it needs to be asked.”


Key Resources 

  1. Dare to Lead– Brenae Brown’s
  2. The Conrad Challenge

About Our Guest

Amanda Valenzuela, native of Southern California, is the Upper School Coordinator and the Languages Department Head. She completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Fullerton in Spanish Linguistics and Literature, and her graduate studies at UCLA, where she earned a Masters in Spanish and Ph.D. Candidacy in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. As a school leader, she credits the NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) for building her capacity to support equitable and inclusive educational practices at ESLA. During the 2019-2020 school year, Amanda is teaching Global Citizenship Through the Lens of Recent Spanish Cinema and AP Spanish Language and Culture. Amanda is also a 2019-2020 Leadership and Design Fellow (L+D) and a contributor to California World Language Project (CWLP) & the California Global Education Project. Amanda loves surfing, hiking, motorcycles, and storytelling.



Tip of the Week

Build a team:  As you develop relationships within the organization take note of everyone’s strengths.  Build your team on complimentary pieces. In fact, build the team to bolster your weaknesses as a leader.  Do you have a school improvement team, a leadership team, or a data team? Effective school leaders build teams that can support their efforts.



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  • Focuses on improving executive functioning and noncognitive skills
  • Is in direct alignment with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework
  • Is an integral component for ensuring Least Restrictive Environments (LRE)

You can learn more and improve your student’s success at https://organizedbinder.com/

The Conrad Challenge

The Conrad Challenge unleashes the potential of students to solve the world’s most difficult problems.

Register until November 1, 2019 at The Conrad Challenge

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