Learning & Leading is an Adventure

With an Innovator's Mindset

What Would George Do?

On my day to day as a school principal, I have to make many decisions and accomplish several tasks. Weather the task is something as simple as organizing my agenda for the week or as crucial as developing relationships with my staff, I often think...hmmm "What Would George Do?" This short presentation will explain A FEW characteristics and examples of how I lead at my school with an innovator's mindset. I hope you will walk away with some resources you can use as you lead on your campus...and start asking yourself...What Would George Do?

It starts with an Innovator's Mindset...

  • The ability to innovate-to create something new and better-a skill that organizations worldwide are looking for today. #InnovatorMindset
  • The innovator's mindset can be defined as the belief that the abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed so that they lead to the creation of new and better ideas. (pg. 33)

The Characteristics of an Innovator's Mindset

  • Empathetic

  • Problem Finders/Solvers

  • Risk Taker

  • Networked

  • Observant

  • Creators

  • Resilient

  • Reflective

**Graphic made with https://www.easel.ly/ -SUPER COOL SITE TO MAKE GRAPHICS! I made this one in about 10 minutes.

The Characteristics of an Innovative Leader

  • Visionary

  • Empathetic

  • Models Learning

  • Open Risk Taker

  • Networked

  • Observant

  • Team Builder

  • Always Focused on Relationships


Would you want to be a staff member at your campus?

Put yourself in their shoes. You are the architect of what happens at your school.

My TOP two examples of how I lead with an innovator's mindset in this area.

1) Campus Culture Focus for the Year

2) "Thursday Brief" which morphed to SMORE (the program you are looking at)

"Thursday Brief" Example

This is an example of what a brief may include. This shows teachers you value their time and respect them as professionals to get their "stuff" done. I do have the paid version and you can add ANYTHING! It's AWESOME!

YEARLY FOCUS FOR SCHOOL CULTURE-Set the tone for a GREAT Year and somewhere people will want to come and work.



Risk is necessary to meet the need of all students and teachers.

An educator with an innovative mindset will find balance between drawing on experience while maintaining a willingness to try something new.

You cannot expect your teachers to be risk takers if you aren't. I am so proud of many of my teachers that have embraced this. Remember, as principal, you will model what is expected. However, in my case, I also had to do some "direct teaching" initially that specifically told them...PLEASE DO TAKE RISKS AND TRY NEW THINGS! I VALUE YOU AS THE PROFESSIONAL IN THE ROOM. Don't assume the person you replaced lead with the same mindset as you.


If you are not on TWITTER! Get on there today!

Here I am with someone I followed on Twitter long before I met him (Todd Whitaker). The world of learning is so open once you are on Twitter! Once you're on twitter, you can go to my "list of presenters" and just follow who I follow for a start. But really GET ON TWITTER! It's absolutely the best PD out there. Here are my list of favorites to follow for a various reasons. ***Disclaimer that I use Twitter for my own professional development and to share the things happening at my campus.*** There is SO MUCH MORE you can do with it, but this is how I use it. Listen to Jennifer Gonzales' Podcast or Rachel Maker's AMAZING TwitterEdu SMORE. They are linked for you below.

  • School Leaders Now-great short lists on different topics (and funny memes)
  • We Are Teachers-also great short lists to share with teachers (and funny memes)
  • SimpleK12-They have a ton of stuff short list, how to videos, you can find it all
  • Danny Steele-short inspirational tweets. I love them and always say...when I grow up I'm going to be Danny Steele. (Also, just bought his book co-authored with Todd Whitaker, more like short tenants of principalship and him and Todd are presenting at the Grow Conference!)
  • John Wink-He is a superintendent in Texas and amazing. I love everything he writes about and encourages. We did our first #LoveMySchool Day this year and it was just amazing and so much fun!
  • Alice Keeler-She is actually a math teacher somewhere (I think NM) but oh my gosh. I learn SO MUCH from her! If you utilize Google follow her.
  • And Of Course...George Couros! His (no offense to all others) are the best. He tweets everything from motivation, to articles, to his own blog posts, to how to videos. Seriously, if I don't read the tweet immediately I bookmark it for later.


Sometimes the most valuable thing you get from the network isn't an idea but the inspiration or courage to try something new.

"Inspiration is everywhere and often in unexpected places; you just have to keep your eyes open." -Author Unknown

When I think about "observant" I think about what Jaime Casap has to say about a variety of things. (He has a YouTube Channel Follow Him-It's fun to watch him as he travels and talks.) He will say instead of asking a child what they want to be when they grow up, ask them what problem do they want to solve? Then what skills do they need in order to solve that problem and what skills do they have/enjoy. He also emphasizes how individual perspective and experiences are advantages not disadvantages. I just have one of his many videos attached below.

As a principal, I'm always observing and turning my inspirations and learning into realities. My current observations turning to reality are The Positivity Project and Pediatric Cancer Awareness in September.

Also, being here at TEPSA Summer Conference is a great FIRST STEP! I hope you were inspired and observant to the ideas out there and how you can apply those to your work as a campus administrator. Have a great 2019-2020 school year and don't forget to ask yourself...hmmm...What would George do?

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