The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT - Serve People

Love people. Honor people. Serve people. Pursue excellence in everything I do.

I shared my personal mission statement a couple of weeks ago. I have since then shared my thoughts on loving people and honoring people. This week, I am going to move on to the next segment of my mission:

Serve people.

When developing my personal mission statement, serve was word that was easiest for me to identify. For years, when introducing myself at school events, I have said: “Hello, my name is Brian Knight, and I serve as the principal at Southport Middle.” I believe that great leaders are very intentional with their actions and words, and this statement is an example of that intentionality. I serve as the principal. I am not the position, nor is the postion me. The principal position is an opportunity to serve, an opportunity to give, and an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. I do not believe there is anything more important than the idea of leader servitude.

As a leader (and we are all leaders in our own unique ways) our focus needs to be on serving others for their own good, never for our own personal gain. This comes from putting others best interest above our own. Serving, is about sacrificing and giving what you can to help others in ways dealing with them both personally and professionally. My goal as a leader is to be concerned with the success of all, making decisions that are in “our” best interest, not “my” best interest.

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Service is about the giving of ourselves (time, energy, talents…) and the investment we make in other people. Service will lead us to where we need to be, when we need to be there, even when we are not expecting it. This is why, I believe, it is such an important part of my mission statement. I believe once I give up control of outcomes and invest in the process of helping others, my life will move in a positive direction. This direction may not be where I wanted to go, or where I believed I should go, but I know if I trust the process, I will end up exactly where I am suppose to be. If I focus on servant leadership and focus on the giving of myself, only then will I truly find myself and the place where my contributions are needed.

I believe the biggest impact of our lives is how much of an impact we have on each other. Answering the questions of: What will I leave to this world? What did I do to make my community a better place? Was my life spent bettering the world and others, or did I spend my life gathering possessions or positions? What is my legacy and how will that continue on in my absence?

Think about the questions above. What are your answers? Do your answers align with where you are currently investing your time?

Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog


  • Congratulations to Danielle Bentley who welcomed Graham Alexander Bentley to the world on Monday!!
  • Thank you to everyone who came down to support the book fair this week. It was a great success for our PTA. The profits they made from this book fair will come directly back into our school.


Week 23 Grateful Friday Challenge:

Give a personal gratitude list to someone at SMS. Take 5 minutes and make a list of 5, 10, or 50 things you love about them or things they have done for you that you appreciate.


  • Interesting Blog Post: A Conversation About Creativity by Rich Czyz. This post was made on Rich's 4 O'Clock Faculty Blog which usually has thought provoking, but practical posts. It is a good one to follow and read regularly.

  • Great Video: Dan Brown - An Open Letter to Educators

An Open Letter to Educators


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.

Amy Gaisser

Ms. Gaisser’s 5th period students are working on debating. Today students generated ideas for both pro and con for the question, “Is it okay to lie?” Students will participate in the debate about lying by presenting evidence for their team’s perspective and arguing against the opposing team’s perspective. Tomorrow students will participate in the actual debate.

Angie Johnson

After completing an wrap-up assessment today, Mrs. Johnson's 7th grade language arts students focused on reading goals. Students completed reading and computer rotations. Students record reading logs and take quizzes on different books they read. The Read 180 software also allows students to keep track of how many words each student has read this school year. Many students are working their way to their goal of reading 1 million words during the year in Mrs. Johnson's class.

Michael Tygrett

Mr. Tygrett's 7th grade Social Studies students are studying fundamental structures of Buddhism. Today, students examined Budda's ultimate question -- to live is to suffer. Students discussed whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement. Mr. Tygrett then led the students through stations where they examined the four Noble Truths of Buddhism. After analyzing those truths, students came back to the idea of "to live is to suffer" and re-framed their initial thoughts about this statement.

Jason Lackey

It's tournament time in Mr. Lackey's 7th grade Physical Education class. Before students go back to the Health classroom, they are taking part in a round robin basketball tournament. Today, students divided into six teams and played their first game. These games follow a few days of skill development class periods. Over the next few days, students will put those skills to the test to see which team has be best record in the tournament.

Ashley Koontz

Mrs. Koontz 8th grade geometry students worked today to draw a two-dimensional action figure of themselves. They first started by generating a list of all the measurements they would need from their own body (arms, legs, neck, shoulders, etc.). Students then had to create a scale factor that could be used with these measurements to draw their two-dimensional action that was no bigger than 12 inches tall. Using this scale factor, students then drew a proportional action figure using their own body measurements.


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