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How to Fully Enroll Your School in 2020!

enrollment Jun 20, 2020

In my home state of North Carolina, the home school population is over 150,000 students! This figure is 50,000 more than public charter schools and over twice the number of private school students.

Why does this home school enrollment matter?

The last ninety days of the 2019-2020 school year every family across the nation experience home and virtual schooling.

And as you might expect, this past week so many families worked to enroll their child(ren) into a home school situation the web site crashed!

As charter school principal in North Carolina, the first 20 days of school are critical to your funding for the year.

As a leader, not only do you need to ensure your teachers are fully prepared and equipped to teach, your teachers also need to understand that they are the main communicators and the sales force of your school. 

As a charter principal, I spent a full day every year going through our enrollment systems with our team and all staff to ensure no student chair would...

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Hold People Accountable Through Explicit Communication

communication Jun 15, 2020

On the 4th of July, not too long ago, my daughter and I ventured outside to watch the fireworks at a friends barbeque. We both hate loud noises (sparklers are more my speed), but did not want to miss the “people watching” opportunity. 

We sat in the back of my truck as this mix of adults and teens lit bottle rockets in the middle of the street. The adults modeled and taught the teens how to properly light the fuse at the bottom of the rocket and get out of the way. 

The crowd started to grow as a pick-up basketball game was started by the adults. Leaving the fireworks to a couple of teens. 

I happened to notice one teenager was attempting to light a Roman Candle. A Roman Candle, if you do not know, is a rocket that you hold in your hand as it shoots fireballs into the air. 

This teen, who learned how to light the bottle rocket safely from the bottom, was not aware that a Roman Candle lights at the top. But he had the rocket upside down. His face was...

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To Be First, You Have to Swing the Bat!!!

leadership risk Jun 07, 2020

Thirty-two years ago today, June 7, 1988, I was the first!

The first player in Newtown’s Little League’s history to hit a home run and the newly built Chandler Field off Trevor Tuminsky. I was twelve years old. It landed way out in the trees over the left field fence. I am grateful to my coach, Tom Davis, for tracking it down and giving it to me in this case. I am not sure if it is the actual ball, but it is mine.

Many other players hit multiple home runs that season after mine. Some probably much further. Many I am sure hundreds of players have since put one over the fence in thirty two years. But to me, the only one that matters, was the first one. The one that paved the way for the rest. 

Being first is a leadership model I have utilized my entire career, especially after I heard Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. In it, Pausch describes an award he gave, “The First Penguin”, to his graduate students for stepping out of their comfort zone and trying...

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Civil Rights Leader Clarence Henderson Speaks to Our School Leadership Community

leadership relationships Jun 05, 2020
 

Mr. Clarence Henderson, civil rights leader who was a member of the Greensboro Four who were arrested at Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro joined our Charter School Leader Community to discuss the current racial unrest, peaceful protest, and how school choice and charter schools, and educators in general can contribute to a better society. 

Mr. Henderson's bio

Here were some of Mr. Henderson's teaching point quotes:

“The new protest is the ballot box.”

“It’s not what’s behind you or in front of you that matters. It’s what’s IN you that matters.”

'We the people, not they the government."

"And so no matter what way a person other person sees me, that doesn't bother me, because I don't allow anybody to occupy the space in my mind because they have not paid in rent to be there."

"It doesn't matter your political party you can advocate for equality."

“Silence is consent.”

And so many more. 

We will be...

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I Did Not Know This Was My Responsibility

empathy growth leadership Jun 02, 2020

Hey everyone, I am Tom Miller and I wanted to share this quote with you. 

John Maxwell shared, "Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” 

If you knew me 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago, you would more than likely remember a person of lesser character, limited personal accountability, empathy, and awareness of how my actions impacted others. I have worked hard over the last 5 to make significant changes to be the father, spouse, and community leader. 

However, over the last week, watching the turmoil unfold, I have come to realize that I am not even close to the leader that I need to be. 

John Maxwell shares, “If you want to change and grow, then you must know yourself and accept who you are before you can start building.”

Last week, when George Floyd died I said, “Wow, this is terrible.” But it was just “another” incident. 

When the protesting began, I said, “I just hope it doesn’t get violent.” ...

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Why Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Crisis?

 

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schoolscreated a community and predictable platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Thursday at 1:00. 

This past Thursday Ed Reed, Social and Emotional Learning expert, school administrator and counselor in a Maryland school system, was our guest speaker and shared with us the "WHY" behind building an effective Social and Emotional Learning program and "HOW" to begin laying an effective foundation before students return to school this fall.

Ed has served in various leadership roles in private industry and secondary schools recognized among the top 100 schools in America. After spending over 20...

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How to Be an Effective Exceptional Children's Director (Expert Speaker, Breauna Wall)

 

Exceptional Children Teams's are not strong just because they have strong members. Exceptional Children's Team's are strong because they learn to to navigate through challenging times together.

During this COVID-19 interruption to the school calendar as most us have experienced it, our team at Leaders Building Leaders, in partnership with Rhonda Dillingham, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools has created a community and platform to INFORM, CONNECT, GUIDE and UNITE school leaders from across the globe in hopes of creating the best educational learning experience for all stakeholders. We meet every Wednesday at 3:00. 

This past week our special guest speaker today was Breauna Wall, Director of 13 virtual schools across the state of CaliforniaAs the Director of the Exceptional Children program, Breauna and her team oversee more than 2,000 students through a remote learning platform. Building effective...

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Make Big Things Out of Little Things

finances leadership vendors May 26, 2020

Third party vendors can be pebbles in your shoe or building blocks for your school. 

This is the time of the year when you should be taking significant inventory of WHO is on your team. This doesn’t just include employees; this includes Third Party Providers. Typically you hire a third party provider for one of two reasons:

  1. You don’t want to do it.
  2. You cannot do it (time, skill, etc).  

Having strong third party support to do the things you cannot or don’t want to do is critical to your success. It can also be the pebble in your shoe that takes you down. 

Six  years ago, I started my business, and there have been two particular areas in which these pebbles have nearly destroyed my shoes, my toes, almost everything. (If you know college basketball and Zion Williamson from Duke--that’s the kind of shoe blow out in the 2019 tournament I’m talking about.)

These pebbles are:

  • Website support
  • Bookkeeping/Accounting

I was so naive...

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What Matters Most to You?

family priorities May 25, 2020

Hey everyone,

Just a quick message here on a quote I recently read that I believe is critical for any leader to think on,

Things which matter most can never be at the mercy of things which matter least. 

Six years ago, Budd Dingwall, who has been an amazing friend and mentor to me said during a mastermind call. "You know Tom, as a principal the to do list will never be empty. You'll never feel caught up. The school will be there tomorrow. But you might not." 

He went on to share about how as a principal he missed precious family time to be the best principal he could be.

And he was!

How many principals do you know that have earned two Blue Ribbon School Rewards?

Each at a different school in a different state! Budd is an incredible servant leader although he doesn't spend his days walking the hallways, he is still leading by walking around in my mind. 

I knew what Budd was trying to convey to me; but I was just about to launch my new business and the "to-do" list...

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What’s on Your June Board Agenda?

organization planning May 22, 2020

As my year finishes as a board chair of a public charter school in North Carolina, I combed through my reflection journal from the last year. On July 27, 2017 I wrote, “You only have 12 meetings to make an impact, sustain the last chair’s work, or improve for the better.” When you think about it, 12 board meetings is a very short amount of time to create sustainable change without ruffling feathers. It has taken me this long to just begin to figure it out the Board Chair position, let alone how to improve our board. Unlike my predecessor, I was fortunate enough to be on the board one year prior to being elected Chair. He was elected Chair in his first meeting! Talk about walking into the fire. 

While preparing the agenda for the June meeting I drafted ten questions I would like the answer to:  

  1. If I read the last 11 months of board meeting minutes, would I be able to tell that the organization in a better place, healthier now than it was one year...
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