Catholic School Matters

September 10, 2017

Let's Talk About Leadership

On Monday, September 11th, I kick off a few weeks of preview podcasts with presenters from the NCEA’s Catholic Leadership Summit (CLS) in Tempe October 22-25. One of the keynotes will be delivered by Harry Kraemer, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Listen to our podcast tomorrow as we explore leadership. Here’s a link to Kraemer’s TEDx talk. These podcasts will drop every day this week.


Kraemer discusses four values which comprise successful leadership: self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility. Inspired by Kraemer, I have included links to leadership articles I came across this summer as well as some favorites I’ve previously published.


In the past week I’ve come across a few articles that have direct relevance. What Teachers Want You to Know: A Note to School Administrators by Jennifer Gonzalez (the “Cult of Pedagogy” blog) is a great read. She argues that school administrators need to treat teacher time as a precious commodity, differentiate their leadership, give specific feedback, check their egos, and fight for teachers. It’s a great way to start the school year. Relationships Matter More Than Rules by Rebecca Alber on the Edutopia site is a great reflection about how change happens in schools. Farnam Street’s “The Wrong Side of Right” is a great reflection on how we all need to give up being right at all costs. Finally, David Brooks’ column “In Praise of Finding Life’s Balance” is a great study of how to break down walls of victimization. It almost seems like everyone—even the most powerful political leader in the world (!)—carries his- or herself as victims. Brooks argues we need to understand each person’s perspective and fight the victim mentality.


Here are some great articles on leadership from the past few months:

· Leaders Need to Slow Down to Speed Up (by S+B Blogs) gives great advice on decision making

· How Decision Fatigue Ruins Your Day (and How to Beat It) (by Gerard Dawson) is full of practical advice on how to structure your day so that you don’t wear out.

· 7 Principals Best Practices You Need to Know to Be More Effective (by Suzanne Tingley) has great practical advice on what principals need to every day.

· How Filter Bubbles Distort Reality: Everything You Need to Know (by Farnam Street Blog) explores how we all need to step out of our comfort zones and hear what others are saying.

· Building Staff Culture: The Importance of TRUST (by Chris Wejr) underscores the importance of trust and—more importantly—offers suggestions on how to build trust.

· 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader (by Entrepreneur) is a list and description of all the qualities needed to be effective as a leader.

Here is some of my favorite leadership articles that I’ve previously published:

· How to Be a Strategic Leader (by Nina Kruschwitz in MIT Sloan Management Review) explores how the skills to be a strategic leader can be learned.

· What the Best Transformational Leaders Do (by Harvard Business Review) is a great list of transformational businesses and the demands on the leaders. If you substitute “Catholic schools” instead of “transformational businesses” the article has tremendous value

· Pope Francis’s TED talk on transformational leadership was a remarkable call for all leaders to use their power to care for others.

· Making Disruptive Leadership Work: 5 Habits of Disruptive Leadership (by Ron Diorio) explores the meaning of disruption and how certain leaders can transcend disruption

· Mindsets Matter! (By Shane Cragun & Kate Sweetman) explores the blindfolds that leaders can put on which obscure their ability to lead.

· Four Habits for Effective School Leadership (by Justin Baeder) has four very practical suggestions for school leaders.

· 9 Qualities the Most Admired School Leaders Share by (WeAreTeachers)

· Bob Regan of Carney Sandoe blogs about “Fundraiser vs. Institution Builder” and captures one of the tensions of Catholic school leadership—should I be spending more time raising money or raising quality?

· Don’t Wait to be Excellent…Start. Right. Now is a great blog post by David Geurin exploring how important leadership is to a school’s success.


We can’t assume that we all have all the information and skills we’ll need to be successful now and in the future. We need to assume that we need to keep sharpening our leadership skills. Let’s learn together.


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Dr. Tim Uhl

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What I'm Up To

After two weeks when I released 10 podcasts, tomorrow marks the kickoff of the Catholic Leadership Summit (CLS) previews. For the next two weeks, I'll be interviewing CLS presenters in order to preview the conference. Every day (Monday-Friday) a new CLS preview podcast will drop. If you are a superintendent or central office member, have you made plans to attend? It's not too late to RSVP.


Tomorrow's podcast (Episode # 66) is an interview with Harry Kraemer (see above). On the days following, Dr. Patty Weitzel-O'Neill, Dr. Ron Valenti, Dr. Lorraine Ozar, and Dr. Matthew Vereecke will be interviewed. Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes. Here are videos showing you how to download and subscribe to a podcast on iTunes and how to download and subscribe a podcast on Android.


I'm continuing to develop a "Church Documents" podcast study series. The series will kick off October 30th and will trace Church documents on Catholic education from Vatican II until today. I recommend you order At The Heart of the Church so that you can read along.


Here's what I'm working on this week:


  • Monday: Office (Helena); CLS Preview Podcast Episode #66: Harry Kraemer.
  • Tuesday: St. Paul Board meeting (virtual); record future podcasts with Dr. Barbara Edmondson of the NCEA. CLS Preview Podcast Episode #67: Dr. Patty Weitzel-O'Neill.
  • Wednesday: Visit Butte Catholic Schools; From the blog: Wed book blog Charism & Culture by Dr. Tim Cook of Creighton. CLS Preview Podcast Episode #68: Dr. Ron Valenti.
  • Thursday: Visit the three Great Falls Catholic Schools. CLS Preview Podcast Episode #69: Dr. Lorraine Ozar.
  • Friday: Office (Helena); begin production of Church Documents podcast series. CLS Preview Podcast Episode #70: Dr. Matthew Vereecke.


Miles this week: 358 road miles

Miles travelled in 2017-18: 5,910 road miles; 4,866 air miles

Leadership Links

Previously Published (favorite) Leadership Links

Why the only future worth building includes everyone | Pope Francis

Catholic Schools Opening, Closing, & Consolidating

  1. Peoria Catholic elementary school closed in August.
  2. Great article on the new St. Ignatius Catholic school in Idaho.
  3. Light of Christ Schools in Bismarck, ND raise $36 million to build a new high school.

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

August 27, 2017 "American Catholic News"

August 20, 2017 Back to School Issue

What I'm Reading

  1. Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow's Schools, Today by Eric Sheninger
  2. The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis (finshed)
  3. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (finished)
  4. Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright (finished)
  5. Originals by Adam Grant (finished)


Click this link for a full list of my professional reading along with links to Wed Book Blogs

For Montana Administrators & Teachers

  • Here is the flyer advertising the Catholic Teacher Days October 19th & 20th in Butte, America
  • Here is the flyer for the Sophia professional development for religion teachers on October 19th in Butte, America
  • Here is the slideshow from the Sep 5th Admin Virtual meeting. Included are all the links to the documents & reports we discussed. Next meeting scheduled for Oct 3rd!