Jon Campopiano is in his fifth year as the Executive Director of Secondary Education for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. In his duties as Executive Director, Jon supervises all SRVUSD Middle and High Schools, leads the district Local Control Accountability Plan and strives to institutionalize equity for all students, staff and community members. Prior to his district leadership, Jon was the Principal of Stone Valley Middle School.

Show Highlights

Coach your school leaders like you would coach your baseball team.

Leadership practice tips that are guaranteed to inspire, empower and motivate.

Create alignment to internal vision and values.
You lose collaboration when you get lost in compliance and the emergencies of the day.
Be a “people leader” to ensure every student has a support system.
Put on your “Oxygen mask” to be able to do what matters most.
Understand the biggest change with our leaders.
Don’t rubber stamp learning opportunities for your staff and students.
“We become addicted to compliance, it’s this cover. It’s a political thing or it’s whatever you want to say. I see it time and time again, but the best leaders cannot thrive because they have compliance in the way. My job is trying to figure out how to remove some of those compliance blocks, to go in and change lives.”
- Jon Compopiano

Dr Chris Jones

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Month-to-Month Principal Checklist

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Ruckus Maker Mindset Tool™

The “secret” to peak performance is ot complicated.  It’s a plan on how to optimize the five fundamentals found in The Ruckus Maker Mindset Tool™.



The Positive Spotlight Tool™

Energy flows to where attention goes!

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Read the Transcript here.
Leading At Your Best Daniel (00:02): I really enjoyed this conversation, and I would say, listen to it once, and then go back and replay the whole thing, and listen to it again. There are so many nuggets of wisdom and things that you really should consider for your leadership practice that are guaranteed. They’re just gonna make you better if you take action. I love to say ideas are great, but not the greatest. What’s better than an idea? Doing something with it. Taking action. So today I talk with a really awesome leader, Jon Campopiano, and he’s an executive director in San Mountain Valley Unified School District. We’ll hear more of his story, but some of the stuff that we’re gonna talk about, like big concepts, big ideas. Authentic leadership, how to lead in a way that you’re aligned to your values and operating as the best version of yourself. He’s gonna talk about the importance of knowing what you stand for. So make sure you listen again and dig in and do the work. If you don’t have those values already established, make sure you do that. Another big concept that we really hit home quite a bit is the importance of taking care of yourself. John calls it the oxygen mask, and I like to think about it as rest and recovery. So, here’s the thing. For you to operate at your best, you need to take care of yourself. Maybe you need to hear this from me. You have permission to recover, permission to rest. You can’t always be grinding, hustling. I’m not about that life, I am about results. So don’t get me wrong, we all work hard, but if you wanna work at your best, you actually have to prioritize recovery. Daniel (01:52): We’re gonna talk about what it means to be a people leader and we’re gonna talk about what some campuses are doing that are very student centered and student empowered, and lead to some pretty cool things on campus. And I think you’d like to do those things as well. Hey, I am Danny, Chief Ruckus Maker at Better Leaders, Better Schools, and a principal development and retention expert. And this show is for you, a Ruckus Maker, which means you invest in your growth consistently, you challenge the status quo, and you design the future of school. Now, we’ll be right back after a few messages from our show sponsors. I’m sure you’ve heard that energy flows to where attention goes. If you wanna get more of what you want when you want it, as a school leader, I’ve got a tool for you. The secret is to celebrate the positive things happening on campus and to go multiple levels deeper to tap into why it even matters. When you do that, anything is possible on your campus, and I mean anything. And you start to get more of what you want, when you want it. If you’d like to spread more positivity and create more value for all stakeholders on your campus, go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/positive and download your free tool today. How would you like to increase student talk by an average of 40% more student ownership, more student discourse? Check it out for yourself by trying out Teach Fx. Go to teachfx.com/betterleaders to pilot their program today. If executive functioning skills are integral to student success, then why aren’t they taught explicitly and consistently in classrooms? I have no idea. I have no idea why that doesn’t happen. But what I do know is that our friends over at Organized Binder have created a new course that will teach your teachers how to set up students for success via executive functioning skills. Learn [email protected]/go. Daniel (04:05): Well, hey, Ruckus Maker. We are here today with Jon Campopiano, who is in his fifth year as the Executive Director of secondary education for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. In his duties as executive director John supervises all the middle and high schools. The district local control accountability plan, and strives to institutionalize equity for all students, staff, and community members. Prior to his district leadership, John was the principal of Stone Valley Middle School. Jon, welcome to the show. Jon (04:41):Thank you. Looking forward to it. Daniel (04:44): A little bird, and this little bird’s name is Demetrius, by the way. He told me that your brother was or is a principal, and you are a principal. So I just want to have some fun here at the beginning. I hope you enjoy this question. But who’s your family’s favorite principal? I have to ask. Jon (05:07): Well, he is my youngest brother, and I’m the oldest of three, and he’s the baby. And so it’s gonna be Ben. He’s the principal of Ani High School, and he always was given more freedom than me as the oldest. And we come from a family of educators. My mom was a long time kindergarten teacher. My uncle was a junior college professor. My aunt was a teacher. I knew from age 15 I was gonna be in education, which blew me away. And my brother Ben, he’s a Ruckus Maker and we gotta get him connected. He’s moving and shaking at school. Daniel (05:38): Tell me that story. So at 15, you knew you wanted to be an educator. Why? Jon (05:43): I don’t hear that as much anymore. I remember I was sitting in Ms Spark’s class and it was a Spanish class, and I remember how she was making people feel, and it wasn’t the right kind of feeling. She was creating fear and confusion. Then the next period I walked to Ms. Johnson’s class and it was safe, and people were moving and alive and thriving. And I was instantly like, I want to do this. Two weeks later, my baseball coach quit in the middle of the game, walked out. There’s no coach, gone. And it’s me, 15 years old. And I said, let’s go. And I got to help move people and share and get that. And he didn’t come back the next game. And somehow these parents let me coach the team seriously. And then I started volunteering and doing career and teaching classes in high school. Some of my family in education were a little like, “Hey, you should explore other things.” My mom and dad, right from the beginning were like, you have a passion for this. And I knew it and I love it to this day. Daniel (06:47): You jumped right in too.There was a huge void of leadership there, the coach disappearing. And here you are all coaches and the parents are letting you. Can you tell me anything? What’s it about you that allowed you to do that? Jon (07:02): Well, it’s funny ’cause I was a very shy student and a shy person. I feel that I am putting someone in a position to be successful, I have my voice. And I have my confidence. I feel like I know people and I’ve always known and understood what makes people tick. And I don’t like saying that to sound egotistical or different things, but I really love and care for people and try to find the good in them. And sometimes that’ll out in our leadership later on. And basically, I saw an opening where leadership wasn’t occurring. One in that Spanish class and then in the other, and I just tried to do what Ms. Johnson did was make a person feel good, make the student feel good, make the player go, you got this, you did this. And then the coach came back, I won’t say his last name, Mike C And it was a very different deal because he was able to see, we as players, as students, do know what a positive culture is. Daniel (07:57): It’s fascinating. I think we’re similar in that way too because I believe when you get better, everybody wins. And so if you create these environments where people are feeling good about themselves you’re increasing their confidence, they’re seen and heard, they feel like what they’re doing matters and all those other things that you really care about achieving, they seem to just happen as a result, like a natural consequence. I’m excited to dig into those concepts with you today. One more thing, and I just wanna honor you at this time too. Demetrius also said he experiences you as somebody grounded and down to earth. And what a wonderful way, right. To be described. And my follow-up question there from that description is just what helps you show up that way? Jon (08:47): I appreciate Demetrius, and he is a change maker, as you all know. And hopefully he’s inspired me for a long time from the work he does, the leadership, I think we’re all doing our best. Daniel, for me, when I meet with someone, I try to put myself in their shoes. I believe in servant leadership. I believe that I am no different, no better. I believe in flat leadership, and I learn from Demetrius and other principals I work with more than they learn from me. And I go into that with that mindset. Actually, every time I’m with Demetrius and will use his name rather, I learn, I get better. And if I go into it with that approach, I really just want to help them and support them. I appreciate him saying that because what I’m seeing a lot in education, Daniel, and you’re seeing this with your listeners and there’s a lot of excitement. Oftentimes not in a positive manner, whether it’s a board meeting, whether it’s other things. And I believe we have to stay calm, cool, and collected in order to make wise decisions. Daniel (09:51): Your passion for baseball didn’t stop there. And you were telling me in the pre talk that you coach baseball as well later on. And I’m just curious, what are the correlations you see between coaching baseball and coaching school leaders? Jon (10:10): It’s unbelievable. I was talking to one of my varsity players last night on the phone. He called me. He turned 38 last night. He’s struggling with a seven year old. And I was a varsity baseball coach for 10 years. Through ups and downs, different ideas. And the correlations for me are absolutely, can carry over into the classroom, can carry over and into leadership position as one. You have to be you. If I try to beat some other coach or teach principles other than my authentic self, it does not come across right. I have to be authentic one, two, I have to put people over myself and my program and my plans, meaning I can’t just be in my classroom and say, oh, I taught this, and then no one understands it. Jon (10:49): If a kid throws a baseball and it’s 10 feet high, you wouldn’t wait for a week to correct it. You would say, what happened? How can we work on it? And I believe if you have this inquiry mindset as a principal, as a leader, that will help people solve their own problems. My goal from day one as a coach, it evolves as a leader. My goal as a coach was we will out hustle, outwork, and out care everybody. As a principal, my vision was we’re going to motivate, inspire and empower students and staff to be their best. And as a district leader, my number one job is how can I remove blocks? Or how can I help build up my leaders to be their best? And that all started when I was a kid. I’m the oldest of three brothers. I want boys. Jon (11:32): I wanted to help them be their best. That is it. And if we can as a teacher, coach, principal, not make it about us, make it about others, I believe they’ll follow us. And that’s the greatest thing for me, when these guys come back and see me, they never really talk about the wins and losses. They say, thank you for helping us hustle. I have a police officer that’s in our local community that I didn’t remember as a teacher. And she came up to me and she had three or four police officers with her. And she said, the greatest thing you did is you taught me how to look in the eyes and shake hands every single day when I was a teacher, I would shake hands if I felt I had a, or they did, I would fist bump every single day. Jon (12:14): And so that was something that built that connection. And then to have a law enforcement officer and her, whatever age she is, come and say that and share that stuck with her. That’s how I believe we do. And the last thing is, I’ll add as that leader, as you said, the connection, I would never as a principal say, Hey, where is everybody? Or why’d you come in late? We celebrate what we have. Great job being on our time. I love the way you committed to this. Go after people know when they mess up. I don’t need to tell a baseball player. I don’t need to tell a teacher you came in late, celebrate and elevate the people that are doing it the way that matches my vision. I really think it is one and the same. And if you aren’t doing that in all three areas, why would people follow you? They might be afraid of you, but that isn’t true. They might be compliant to you, but those things don’t lead to lasting change and bringing out the best in people. Daniel (13:11):You brought up a nasty C word compliance, and that can get in the way. I think of schools being truly effective and certainly school leaders and getting in the way of collaboration and those kinds of things. Can you riff on that? Like what’s the trap? Like why are systems so pulled towards the compliance piece versus doing what we know would help them thrive? Jon (13:36): And it’s paralyzing our leaders, and this compliance piece never gets the learning that we want. I will give you an example. I’m overseeing this local control accountability plan. It’s all compliance, our strategic direction. Does it create change in me as a leader and create change in the students? What I’m seeing happen is compliance Daniel is easier to complete, to check off. We did it. People aren’t checking marks. You can’t say all of a sudden, oh, I’m the leader I want to be, or I’m that. And so compliance gives us this sense that we’re accomplishing something. It also creates this covering up of, then we’re not doing something we shouldn’t be doing. And it gives us how many years, Daniel, have we looked at low mass scores for certain high needs students. Jon (14:32): Just by doing that compliance measurement isn’t helping our leaders move our staff. A leader leaves the staff meeting and they go, oh my gosh, we drop six points. We move this six points. What are you gonna do, principal? And if you don’t. I worked at a school that was taken over by the state as an assistant principal, which is very good from my experience, very different from the current community. I’m 97% free and reduced lunch. Some of the best leaders I’ve ever seen. And they would get beat up because they would see improvement. But the compliance measures, guess what they said? You’re failing. And what do to the meters and the people, they were making difference. I could see it in my eyes, I could hear it in the stories. Yet when the report came out, blank school drops again. And that compliance is there. Jon (15:13):The last piece I’d like to say on compliance is what’s happening, I believe, is we take someone that’s skilled and gifted in relationships like Demetrius that is gifted in equity at connecting people at building trust and motivating staff. Why would I take those incredible attributes and have that leader do that 20% of the time, and then 80% do compliance-based work that’s not maximizing his talent. And we have to change that. As a district person, I need to help be part of that solution. And Demetrius will not be his best self. If he’s spending time, he can do it. Everyone in our roles, Daniel can do the compliance piece. We’re smart, we’re responsible, we’ll do it. But as that changes students and staff’s lives and we become addicted to compliance, it’s this cover. It’s a political thing or it’s whatever you want to say, but why I see it time and time again, best leaders cannot thrive because they have compliance in the way. So my job is trying to figure out how to remove some of those compliance blocks, so go in and change lives. Daniel (16:24): Got it. I’ve heard you mention a number of times already just short the short amount of time we’re already into the podcast about being that authentic leader. Being aligned to your values and vision. I know you were talking to me about when you are basically the best version of yourself. That’s when you could make that change. You contrasted the two teachers too at the beginning of our show and created that safety and that kind of stuff. I know environment impacts that a bit too, but I’m just wondering, with all your vast experience, do you have some practical things for the Ruckus Maker listening that he or she can do so that they are the best version of themself, that they are aligned to who they say they are, right. And what do they care about? Jon (17:14): I love it. And hopefully every Ruckus Maker has read your book. And if you’re not a Ruckus Maker, you haven’t done it. You have to read the mastermind book. And I just wanna point to something on page 31, which I love. I’m gonna add a word to it, Daniel, so I’m adding Yes, sir. If districts or schools would stop obsessing over test scores and attendance data, and instead focus on relationships and leadership development, then I promised the student improvement, student performance will improve. In the mastermind, we don’t come up with an agenda of what to accomplish. This is the best line. The members are our agenda. Oh, in the students, our agenda, we meet them where they are and serve them. Funny thing about that approach, the results follow. So Daniel didn’t ask me to read that. That’s not a plug on. That is page 31 of the book. And I like the PR tips off of that because when I read that, what struck me is that, first you have to know who you are, please. So if you’re listening and you haven’t written down what matters most to you as a leader, please do what matters most. And to talk about as a teacher, there were certain things that mattered most to me as a teacher. I didn’t care if a kid chewed gum. I didn’t care if a kid wore a hat, but if a kid had their head on a desk and the kid looked at the clock, that was not okay with me because I wanted an engagement. As a principal, I had to write down the same thing. What mattered to me. And for me, it was that teachers were engaged with students. Jon (18:44): They were showing that support. They put the student before the content, whatever it is for you, okay? Please write down what you stand for because if you don’t, you’ll get lost in the compliance or the emergencies that we talk to. Then I do this every time, every leader, every 101. Now I have them articulate what their oxygen mask is. And so I know in your Ruckus Making time and you’re talking with others, you’re sharing, you’re collaborating. But what are you actually doing to put that mask on? And some of it you might not be comfortable sharing with your supervisor. You have to share it and write it down with someone, because if you are not healthy, Mr. Franklin was my first assistant principal. I was a sixth grade core teacher teaching five classes in a really challenging environment. And on a Friday afternoon, I walked, or I tried to walk out, I had a massive box in my hand walking out the door papers and all the stuff I was doing on the weekend. Jon (19:41): And he stopped. He took it, he put it in his office, and he said, John, you rest, you recharge. Come back eight, you’ll be a much better teacher. Fear. Our principals and leaders are not doing that. So the first is, what do you stand for? Actually write it down. What does your North Star please write down? What are you doing to take care of yourself? And I need an accountability partner. Maybe you don’t. I have an accountability partner that I speak with every Wednesday at 5:30, and that accountability partner is critical. And then practical tips right now are, are you spending time with the people that are most connected to your vision? I don’t think many of us woke up to do a report or most of us dreamt of leading students. And now as a leader, we’re doing that and staff. Jon (20:33): My question to you is to chart or to look or to how often, how many minutes a day are you with the people that mean the most to you? How often are you rubbing shoulders with students? Connecting with staff? I believe that the single most important thing to find who you really are and be an authentic leader is to let people see you and connect with you connect. Otherwise, you forget why you got into this. I’m a big proponent Daniel of ongoing learning, but I’m more about leadership development, learning meaning, how can I be my best self? And I see so many of us are servant leaders that we forget to take care of ourselves. Then the people that need us won’t have us because we’re not available. And so for me, it’s writing down what I stand for, who are the most important people? Jon (21:28): What am I doing to take care of myself? Put on the oxygen mask, and then spend the time with the people that mean the most. And I know you love, I know you love everyone on campus, but you’re there for students and staff. So are you with them most of the time? And try to do your other work when those people are not on campus, because that will build trust. And with trust comes confidence in your vision. And then that trust and confidence will allow you to move the staff and students in a way that no plan can do. Daniel (22:02): Yeah, that was powerful. So much wisdom in the last few minutes of our discussion here. I would even recommend listening to Ruckus Maker, rewind, listen to that masterclass on leadership again, and then continue the podcast. I really want you to do that, Jon. I’m yeah, for sure. And I mean just so many good things and a lot of it is, I can see it aligned. I don’t wanna make it about my work and stuff, but the motto of everything we do at BLBS is everybody wins when you get better. So that, that oxygen mass piece, the accountability piece being clear on your values, who you are, what you stand for. These are things we talk about deeply on a weekly basis. And can you imagine just the exponential growth that you would experience as a leader if you had that kind of support? Daniel (22:52): Let’s pause here really quick for a message from our sponsors. When we return, Jon, I’d love to ask you about supporting students. And you have the privilege of seeing all these campuses doing a bunch of cool stuff and would love to hear what are some of those interesting things you are seeing in post pandemic classrooms? Student talk is crucial. And when classrooms come alive with conversation teachers and students both Thrive, Teach FX helps teachers make it happen. The Teach FX instructional coaching app provides insights into student talk, effective questions and classroom conversation quality. Teach FX professional development compliments the app and empowers teachers with best practices for generating meaningful student discourse. Teachers using Teach FX increase their student talk by an average of 40%. Imagine that 40% more ownership over the class by students. Ruckus Makers can pilot and Teach FX with their teachers. Visit teachfx.com/betterleaders to learn how that’s teachfx.com/betterleaders. As students progress through their K 12 experience, schoolwork only gets harder and more complex. Yet at the same time, students are asked to be more independent in their learning. Young people struggling with executive functioning skills will fall further and further behind the pandemic. Let’s be real. It’s only made things worse. The remedy is found in equipping students with executive functioning skills. Our friends at Organized Binder have released a new self-paced course, and it teaches you how to teach these executive functioning skills and set up your students for success. Learn [email protected]/go and start setting up your students for success today. Again, that’s [email protected]/go. Daniel (24:58): We’re back with Jon Campopiano. And listen, this is an awesome, awesome conversation. And he’s the executive director over at San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Literally, this is a masterclass on leadership. I hope you are enjoying the conversation as much as me. And I was talking about supporting students before the break, and you have the privilege. As executive director visiting different schools and supporting leaders and students and the relationship piece that’s obviously important to you. That’s a part of your leadership thesis of what makes an effective leader. I’m just curious, what are some interesting things you’re seeing leaders do these days when it comes to connecting and supporting students? Jon (25:49): Thanks. I love the question, Daniel. I do have the great privilege of overseeing 17,000 students at 13 secondary schools. The credible leaders that don’t always have the title or the role, but incredible leaders. And the thing that has been inspiring me most yesterday is how one of our high schools is using student experience to move forward with equity work. We had a racial incident at one of our high schools that was horrific. And there was, and the thing I hear most about Daniel, is when adults don’t know how to respond, that makes the situation even worse. They expect us as adults to be able to connect with the victims to move forward. What I saw yesterday was one of the best things I’ve ever seen, I visited a site. There was ethnic studies club made up of 25 students that was working with four, three teacher leaders, two administrators to develop lesson plans on microaggressions. And so they collaborated together. And today they’re rolling out this lesson plan. And what they did is they did demo for any teacher that’s uncomfortable teaching the lesson, they did a training with them. They’re delivering the lesson to every single student on a campus of 2,500 students. Students are in with the educator helping facilitate the work, sharing their student voice, their experiences, how they’re not represented in the literature, how they might not even understand that this is a microaggression against them. Then we’re having feedback and journaling from students in staff afterwards, because just as the premise of your leadership, and I’m a hundred percent a better leader will create better situations, the teacher leader proving connecting, we’ll move that. So that’s one example where we’re really using students to move the work. And I think our leaders are comfortable listening to students, remember when we were teaching, sometimes it was scary to have a classroom discussion ’cause you did not know where it was gonna go. Jon (27:42): It was easier. That was my favorite, to be honest. And then once you realize that, you’re like, holy crap, I can stand on my desk and let people go. Right? And it’s amazing. And that’s what we’re starting to see in our district. The second piece I’m seeing that is really important is intentionally stopping the day. At one of our middle schools today, they have stopped the day for three hours of wellness. They have sessions on joy, meditation and stress relief. Those are the sessions that every student will go through and they ask students what you need help on. And then they put it together. But what they did in this highly academic world we’re in is they stopped and we prioritized self-care. So both of those examples were students helping us plan lessons that they needed help with. Two other pieces I’d like to share that I think our leaders are moving in an incredible direction, is we believe, I believe every kid by name, by need. Jon (28:39): We must know every kid and what they need. Daniel, you and I need different things to motivate, inspire, empower us. And oftentimes we get so wrapped up in the content and the pace and all the things that you and I know are secondary to relationships that students are not achieving. One of the things that our site is doing is identifying every high need student and then not just saying, oh, here’s Jon. He has high needs. What are my needs? And then having a plan to approach it. We just can’t hope that a student will improve. We need to have a plan for them to improve. I see our leaders moving this intervention period. All four of our high schools have gone from zero or one day of intervention for students to two to four days where every student can be identified by name, by need, get the extra time, extra support in a guaranteed way. Jon (29:31): We have leaders that deeply believe in it. They’re not just playing the game. I have leaders that when a racial act happens on campus, it gets them to their core. And they are trying to figure out how to help the victims, how to educate those that are possibly ignorant and move forward. So what I’ve really seen, Daniel, is that we have started to embrace the student voice. And for everyone listening, students make everything better. Even though there are challenges when I have a hostile parent group, if students are there, everything moves better when we write LCAP or our strategic directions, if we don’t ask the people that it matters most to, then we’re just a bunch of adults in the ivory tower just deciding. So I think that’s the biggest change I’ve seen with our leaders is they are leaning into students to not just rubber stamp something, say, we have no idea there’s been four swastikas on our walls. We can’t figure out who did it. What are we going to do? And the students organize an international day Holocaust Remembrance Day. The students did. And we brought in community members and our admin supported us. That to me is what a leader should do, is facilitate it. I call it air traffic control. You see something. But if everyone thinks the leadership is with you, the site principal, or the person with the role, the AP, then that’s not growing it. I feel like that principal should connect with the interfaith group, should connect with the facilities department and should get the kids’ passes outta class. And it was a beautiful event. So those are three quick examples with the work that I’m seeing happening that microaggressions the celebration, the wellness day, and really leaning into students. And my last piece, sorry for the long answer. Daniel (31:18):These are good. Jon (31:19): If we do not have a mindset that everybody can learn, then we’re not gonna be able to intervene the way we need to. Public education to me is the single greatest thing to increase equity, to provide hope. And we can’t just say we can’t get ’em, who else is gonna get ’em? This is the last stop on the block. It’s our job. So we have to create space and places for all students to learn. Daniel (31:46): I have friends that keep pushing me. They say leadership’s and I agree with that, and they’re like, you need to teach us in corporations and go to the business sector and all that. You’ll make so much more money and all this kind of stuff. But you know, to what you’re talking about, education the bedrock. It’s the foundation of society. I’m super comfortable and satisfied. Serving in this area. Some of the big ideas, I think you’re talking about sort of slowing down to go fast to have these social emotional and wellness opportunities for students. To me it’s like, well, I talk about this and I’ve shared this on the podcast before, but the way I wrote that book Mastermind, the first draft was terrible. Like every first draft is, and I had to walk away from writing and start spending more time in nature taking walks with my puppy and let my mind wander and process like the, the challenge of putting together the book in a way that would land for people. And I finally figured that out by actually stopping writing. So it’s not more hours. Just working harder. Sometimes you need those breaks to get the result you want. Jon (33:04): That’s why I connect so much with your work and I like that you are an educator speaking in the education world. You’re not taking a story from a Fortune 500 company. You could lead anywhere. You can lead anywhere. A leader can take those skills and lead any sector and those opportunities. But I think you hit the nail on the head. You had a way to put your oxygen mask on. It’s why is it so hard? And this is my question for the next ruckus meeting. Why is it so hard for site leaders to do that? Daniel (33:32):To prioritize yourself and put on the oxygen mask? Jon (33:34):Daniel, if we don’t do that and, and force that, just like this wellness day at this school, parents and students might not universally want it because they think they’re missing a math instruction or what have you. But those three plus hours are going to be profound in future learning. What I’m seeing, and it’s a crisis not to be dramatic. Our site leaders do not feel they have the space to do what you just did. It’s like there’s guilt. It’s like there’s an ongoing pressure. And if we don’t do that and figure out a way to create space for them to do that, they’re not gonna have the sustainability or the success that’s inside of them. I’m looking forward to partnering to figure out how we can do that, because they just feel they have so many obligations. You got 3000 students, you got a thousand students. Whatever. It’s, and if they don’t take care of themselves, they’re not at their best. Daniel (34:25): No, there’s no way. There’s no way. There’s a guy named Dr. Michael Gervay. He works with Olympians, he works with the Seattle Seahawks top performers and athletes too. Athletes. but he speaks on the world stage. Where people are performing at the highest level everybody’s working hard. So they don’t talk about working hard or the hours they’re putting in. He says that the interesting thing to discuss is recovery. ’cause That’s what helps you perform at your best. And that’s what, so that’s what Olympians and professional athletes talk about. Maybe it’s time that principals start thinking about that too. Jon (35:02): Let’s take that. I know we have to go to the next thing. Let’s assume that our principals are leaders. That’s it. I don’t know, one in my five years in my role, that hasn’t worked hard. Not one. They work harder. One thing I say when you talk about Demetrius and being grounded, I have no sense that I do work any harder than any leader. This site Leaders work harder than me. Have more pressure on them. But we never talk about recovery. I need to do it. There’s no doubt they work hard, but what are we doing to recover? It’s almost like we can’t give our permission, self permission. Daniel (35:39):Maybe a book title, permission to Recovery. I’ll Jon (35:42):Think, there we go. Daniel (35:43):I’ll think about it. I could do the foreword if I do that book. Perfect. Jon (35:48):Thank you. Daniel (35:48):I need to write that down so I don’t forget the promise. Jon (35:51): Write it down. Now that’s it. I’m telling you, educators, we don’t do that naturally. We have to be given permission to recover. And it’s similar to what our leader did over at the middle school today. And shout out to Ms. Ingram. It’s her last year and she’s still learning and she realized she has probably the highest scoring middle school second, and she realizes I need to focus on wellness. She’s been learning and this is so good for the kids. Daniel (36:21): I didn’t wanna lose the thread. So some of the other stuff you’re talking about before that wellness too is like letting students lead, empower them and they’re teaching these classes and teaching teachers about microaggressions and stuff like that. And it reminded me of the line you quoted from the book. But members are our agenda on the BLBS side with the leaders we support. But in schools. Students are the agenda and give up some control, allowing them to co-create with you. You’re gonna see things that you never thought were possible. And we’re seeing it on those campuses as you’ve been talking about. So Jon, I wanna move us to the last three questions. I ask all our guests and thanks for being so wonderful. So the first one is, if you could put a message on all school Marquis, around the world for a single day, what would your message be? Jon (37:12): A single day message around the world. Oh man, you are enough. And you know, I don’t know if I can, I’m trying to think of how the teachers and the leaders and the students are you. I know that might be Nike. I can’t do that. Or just do it as Nike. Daniel (37:29):You can do whatever you want. Jon (37:32):The core of that is you are enough. I see so many people scratching and clawing to get, and this is in Santa Maria where we are. People all want to be certain grades and certain stuff. You are enough. Daniel (37:43): And John, if you were building your dream school you had no constraints in terms of resources. Your only limitation was your ability to imagine building your dream school. What would be your three guiding principles? Jon (37:56): I love it. You already know my vision. The first one is that we would have a laboratory to co-create curriculum. And so we would have like an e-sign design school, like Stanford University. That would be at the core of it. Second, we would have a social emotional curriculum that’s embedded for all students, all staff. That includes what we’ve spoken about, wellness, mindfulness, yoga, self-care, eating, exercise. We’ll see results go through the roof. And, the third part would be to celebrate and elevate people’s strengths. So what I mean by that is I would allow people to teach and lead in ways that might not be traditional. And you would see incredible growth in lesson plans. So having that ability to co-create the lessons in a design type studio where, just like you said with your first book, the draft wasn’t the greatest. We designed a complete focus on the social emotional at the center, which will create the equitable outcomes that we need in the student learning. And the third is we’re gonna elevate people’s strengths. Our, we’re gonna be relentlessly optimistic and focused on elevating people’s strengths. And I believe that’s how you improve their areas of growth. Daniel (39:16): We covered a lot of ground in today’s conversation, Jon. So if everything we talked about, what’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember? Jon (39:24): Put yourself first. Take care of yourself. The second piece is you’re there. Just like you said, Daniel, you’re there. The agenda, the members are the agenda. I absolutely love that. As a leader on campus, who’s the agenda? The students and staff. So take care of yourself so that you can be there for those members, the students and staff that need you. Daniel (39:47): Thanks for listening to The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast, Ruckus Maker. How would you like to lead with confidence? Swap exhaustion for energy? Turn your critics into cheerleaders and so much more. The Ruckus Maker Mastermind is a world-class leadership program designed for growth-minded school leaders just like you. Go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/mastermind. Learn more about our program and fill out the application. We’ll be in touch within 48 hours to talk about how we can help you be even more effective. And by the way, we have cohorts that are diverse and mixed up. We also have cohorts just for women in leadership and a BIPOC only cohort as well. When you’re ready to level up, go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/mastermind and fill out the application. Thanks again for listening to the show. Bye for now and go make a ruckus.


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