The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT - Lessons from a Marathon

As most of you know, I just completed my first marathon this past weekend. And, for those of you who read my blog, you probably assumed I was going to write about my experience -- you were right. Running a marathon was an amazing experience. The physical demands of running 26.2 miles are hard to describe. You might be thinking that I am going to write about perseverance or mental toughness; maybe, you think I will discuss the dedication and sacrifice it took to train and run this race. While these ideas are interesting and possibly great topics for a future post, they are not the most important thing I learned during my 26.2 mile jaunt. The one thing that stands out from the marathon -- the one lesson I learned -- was a lesson of leadership.

So now you are probably thinking, how does running 26.2 miles teach you about leadership? Well, in all honesty, it had nothing to do with my race. My lesson on leadership came from my running partner. He has previously run two marathons. Against his wife’s best advice, I talked him into running another marathon with me. He and I have trained together over the past 4 months, running a vast majority of our long weekend runs together. He is a constant encourager, but that is only where his leadership begins. Our training made the first 16 to 17 miles of the marathon “fairly” easy (if running 16 miles is ever easy!). We had run these distances plenty of times together, and at this point we were well on our way to running much faster than the goal time we set for ourselves. But at about 18 miles, my knee, one of my nagging injuries started to flare up. I was really beginning to struggle. But, I continued running, keeping a pace close to our goal. Then came the last six miles. I had quite a few people tell me before the race that 20 miles is half way. No stories or descriptions from other marathoners can truly help you understand how tough these last six miles are going to be. Here is where my running partner's example of leadership was so evident. I was exhausted, my legs were on fire, my knee was really hurting, and my pace was slowing. He could have easily pulled away from me at this point, but he stayed with me. He kept encouraging; he kept our pace; he kept pushing me to do my best. He stayed with me the entire way. (He did ask at one point if he was being annoying. I assured him, that in fact, he was annoying. He said thank you, and we kept running.) My running partner, who had been training for four months or a third of a year, put more importance on staying with me, helping me, pushing me, and getting us to the finish together, than he did on his own personal time. I was slowing him down, but that did not matter to him. I mattered to him, more than his own personal time or pace. That is leadership!

Leadership is easy when things are going well, but when times get tough, that is when true leaders rise to the occasion. My running partner's mentality during the race is an outstanding example of true leadership. Leadership is about serving others. It is about sacrificing personal gain, so you can make others around you better. Leadership is never about you; it is always about those you serve. Great leaders are never focused on themselves, their own personal accolades, or recognition. The best leaders only desire to make those around them better. They want to leave every situation, every person, better than they found it because of their interactions. They lead by example and they sacrifice so others can achieve more.

As I have continued to think about this, I have realized how similar many educators are to the example my running partner set. The best educators set a similar example every day. Most educators spend more time with other people's children than they do with their own. They dedicate and sacrifice their time to make their students better. Asking little in return, educators serve others. They give; they lead; they inspire others around them to be better. I would guess that almost all of you reading this can think of that one teacher who inspired you. That person, was a leader. They hung with you when times were tough. They encouraged you when you might have wanted to quit. They knew you could give more, do more, and be more. Much like my running partner, educators are more concerned with others success, than they are with their own personal gain. This is leadership. This is why educators matter. This is why YOU matter!

I know we may not all run 26.2 miles, but as educators we run marathons every year. We stick with our kids; we hang by our colleagues when times are tough; and we stand up for the impact schools have on a community!

Never forget you are a leader and your example matters. You never know which one of your students might be ready to quit but continue to run because of your example!

Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing!

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog


  • Thank our music department for organizing the Veteran's Day program on Tuesday and thank you to the entire staff for adjusting your day so students we could pay our respects to our Veterans
  • Thank you to Warren Hultman for speaking at our Veteran's Day Program. Outstanding speech!
  • Thank you to Dan Bailey, Lori Farnworth, Kelly Harmon, Kristen Jordan, and Gerogina Mayorga for sharing your expertise with the staff on Thursday.


Week 14 Grateful Friday Challenge:

Write down two people you k now you will interact with today. The write down something they bring to the table or do well. Write out a simple sentence (NOT A PARAGRAPH) you can share with them that focuses on what they do well. Then share it with those two people!


  • Great Blog Post: The Economic Cost of Truancy -- I know attendance to school is important, but this article made me think about that in a whole new light.

  • Great Video: The race of education is not about a fall, it is about a rise -- really felt like I needed to see this video this week. We all fall, but what happens when we get back up?

Girl Takes a Terrible Fall During a Race - But Wait Til You See What Happens Next!


Each day we share a story of learning taking place at Southport Middle on our 180 Days of Learning Blog. Below are this week's stories of learning.

Boys Basketball

The Southport Middle School Boys Basketball Teams are hard at work getting ready for the upcoming season. Both teams have been practicing for just over a full week and are looking forward to getting the season started. The 8th grade team is preparing for the annual Southport Shoot-Out starting the evening of Thursday, November 12. The Shoot-Out will continue Saturday at 8:45 a.m. Come out and support our Cardinals!

Veteran's Day Program

Southport Middle celebrated our Veterans and active service members with a reception and honor program. The music department and their students spent the afternoon preparing Veteran’s Day Program. The students are excited to be part of honoring our Veterans. The student body then attended a program filled with musical tributes, student essays, and a candle lighting ceremony. We appreciate all the hard work from our students and staff to make this program happen. Thank you to our Veterans and active service members for their dedication to preserving our freedom!

8th Grade Social Studies

Today, our 8th graders were a part of a simulation in Social Studies class involving significant changes (laws) by the State of Indiana to pay major debt at our students' expense. The situation was NOT REAL. Students were informed at the end of the day that none of these changes were really going to happen. But it got our students fired up!

The lesson was to help students understand what the American colonists dealt with under King George III and how they felt. Students wrote about their feelings and are encouraged to come back to their social studies classes tomorrow ready to discuss their ideas.

Teacher Led Staff Meetings

Today after school, teachers participated in and ran our staff meeting. A team of teachers presented on various technology related topics such as: Pear Deck, Google Classroom, Google Forms, Kahoot!, and SMART board technologies. Staff members signed up and attended one of these sessions. Each staff member walked away with a better understanding of each topic and how it could be implemented to improve instruction in our classrooms. This is another example of how students success is a team effort at Southport Middle School! Thank you to Dan Bailey, Lori Farnworth, Kelly Harmon, Kristen Jordan, and Gerogina Mayorga for sharing your expertise with the staff.

Jason Boyd

Mr. Boyd's 8th grade pre-algebra students are working with writing functions from an X-Y chart. Students were given equations and number sets and were asked to chart those numbers. The students then create a graph representing the points. Students practiced with this concept throughout the period and took their usual daily assessment to check for mastery.


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