Meet Ben Jones, arguably the University of Georgia’s #1 football fan (Go Dawgs!), Mexican food connoisseur, and proud principal of Shiloh Point elementary.
Now prior to joining The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™, Ben’s leadership experience was a common one.
It was isolated and lonely.
And it only got more isolating when he moved from AP to principal.
And it wasn’t like Ben wasn’t connected. Ben had participated in other leadership development programs like Learn Forward and enjoyed the experience.
“I love those people and still talk to them, but it wasn’t regular and leadership felt very lonely.”
He also was assigned a mentor as an AP, someone he still talks to on a weekly basis. As well as another mentor from the county he’d meet with monthly.
Even with that support Ben felt, “I was the only one doing the work. I felt like I really couldn’t talk to anybody and that was really hard.”
So Ben wanted to change that.
“I heard you talk about The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ on the podcast. It sounded like you were talking right to me. And then you would be talking to me because you’d reach out every once in a while and call or text me. Your persistence was admirable.
You would even say, ‘In a mastermind you’re not lonely … You have this small group who are working on the same things together.’ I’m so appreciative for you inviting me into the group. Thank you.”
One thing that irritates me about Play-It-Safe-Principals is that stopped being learners. They love to call themselves “Lead Learners” but in reality they are anything but that.
Not Ben however. He is a lead learner. He’s a Ruckus Maker.
“I’d get frustrated talking to administrative peers, sharing exciting stuff I was reading. They’d say, ‘I haven’t read a book in three years.’
I’m like, ‘You haven’t read a book in three years! What are you talking about? I read three books in the last three weeks!”
So a big draw to The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ for Ben was the emphasis we put on reading.
Yes we read different leadership books throughout the year.
But the real learning is from the discussions about leadership and education throughout a mastermind meeting.
In Ben’s words:
“We’ve got people from all over the world who come together. That’s an advantage over the system where you serve, where you’ve heard a lot of the same things. In The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ you branch out and learn from people from all over the world who have different experiences, perspectives, and thoughts about school leadership.”
And then there’s the hot seat – a time when a leader briefly shares the context of a current challenge they face and the mastermind helps them solve the challenge.
You’d think the real value is getting your challenge solved when you sit on the hot seat. And that is valuable.
But the real learning happens when you help your peer and get an inside look in how other leaders think about and approach challenges.
“The hot seat was the cherry on top. I was like, ‘Oh, that was really kind of cool.’ I found myself helping other people. I was learning from everybody else talking to the person on the hot seat, it was probably an issue I was dealing with. So that was so cool.”
Sitting on the hot seat, Ben has solved some thorny problems.
“I was struggling to connect with my office staff, and the mastermind gave me ideas on how to solve that issue. I implemented what was shared in our mastermind and in a month things were so much better. It was awesome.”
“Another time I heard Lizzie (one of Ben’s mastermind colleagues) mention an idea called teaching sprints. I invited her to come talk to our instructional coaches and she was so willing to come do that (Danny’s note: kind of amazing since Ben is in GA and at the time Lizzie was in Nepal) And it’s something we’ve implemented at the school. It’s really changing our practice and impacting literally thousands of kids now and hundreds of staff members from one little conversation in one Mastermind meeting.”
But Ben wasn’t always confident that The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ would work for him. With eleven cohorts serving leaders around the world, many cohorts have been together for a long time.
So Ben wondered, “What are the group norms? What’s sure, no. Are we super serious? Can we be funny? Like, what’s going on?”
And an even deeper question: “Will I be accepted by the group?”
Those fears quickly subsided because as Ben shared, “Everyone is so welcoming. Everyone was great and kind. Looking back I see those fears were unrealistic.”
So how has life changed for Ben after joining the mastermind and becoming a successful principal?
“When something happens or I have this question or concern, I know where I can take it. Do you know what I mean? And before Mastermind, I didn’t have a place I could take it. So now if there’s a problem, there’s an issue … If I got this complex challenge and I’ve heard everybody else’s views at my school about it … I have somewhere else to take it. That’s powerful, the only word I can think of is relief. Where I felt so lonely before. Now I feel relieved.”
School Leadership will never be easy, but it can be easier.
All you need is a group of caring, thoughtful, and wise leaders to connect with.
You’ll get that and so much more when you join The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™.
Fill out your application today and the BLBS team will follow up within 48-hours to let you know if you’ve been accepted: