Episode 02 with Dr. Cheryl Logan
Drs. Shavonna Holman and Scott Sturgeon interview Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools. Their discussion included what leaders need in a crisis, going from good to great, advice for those who are "firsts" in their role, and more.
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[00:00:01.510]You are listening to the Lead Big Red podcast
[00:00:03.970]from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:00:06.010]educational administration department
[00:00:08.000]with your hosts Dr. Shavonna Holman and Dr. Scott sturgeon.
[00:00:12.380]Welcome to the Lead Big Red podcast.
[00:00:14.620]I'm Scott sturgeon, Associate Professor of Practice
[00:00:17.370]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:00:19.350]along with me as my cohost.
[00:00:21.370]Shavonna Holman, Assistant Professor of Practice
[00:00:23.840]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:00:25.770]And with us today,
[00:00:26.950]we have our guests Dr. Cheryl Logan,
[00:00:29.220]who is the superintendent of the Omaha Public School System,
[00:00:32.190]which is the largest school system in the State of Nebraska.
[00:00:36.170]And so with that, we're gonna jump right on in,
[00:00:38.500]welcome Dr. Logan, thank you so much for being here with us.
[00:00:41.360]Thanks for having me.
We gonna jump right in.
[00:00:42.830]Yes, absolutely, absolutely.
[00:00:44.600]Well, before we get started though,
[00:00:46.170]is there any information you wanna share with our guests
[00:00:48.290]who are listening
[00:00:49.550]that you think is important for them to know about you?
[00:00:53.490]I love my work.
[00:00:55.340]I loved it more before the pandemic,
[00:00:57.270]I'm not gonna lie, but I do.
[00:00:59.960]And I've met some wonderful people here in Nebraska
[00:01:02.870]that I know I will continue to connect with
[00:01:06.830]throughout my career.
[00:01:07.840]And so I really am enjoying my role here
[00:01:11.730]and I'm looking forward to the podcast today.
[00:01:13.920]And thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.
[00:01:16.290]Fantastic, all right.
[00:01:17.410]So I'll hop in with question number one.
[00:01:19.750]So there are some general thoughts, ideas
[00:01:21.840]and definitions of what leadership is
[00:01:24.740]and as it relates to education.
[00:01:27.540]Share with us what your definition is
[00:01:29.940]and some things you live by as a leader in education.
[00:01:36.590]We were asked to make a lot of decisions in education
[00:01:39.360]and I think the,
[00:01:40.193]one of the things that people expect us to say a lot of
[00:01:43.730]is yes and actually I think leadership is about saying no
[00:01:48.400]because you can't say yes to everything.
[00:01:50.310]You can't do everything
[00:01:52.360]and the opportunity to explain sometimes
[00:01:56.610]why something is more important than something else,
[00:01:59.670]I think is really elusive of
[00:02:03.730]what real leadership looks like.
[00:02:05.980]It's about making connections with folks.
[00:02:09.180]It's about understanding what motivates people
[00:02:12.740]to participate fully in their work.
[00:02:17.010]It's about understanding what are community values
[00:02:20.120]and how a community wants to move forward.
[00:02:23.860]I think all of those things
[00:02:24.940]really are the intersection of leadership and education.
[00:02:28.640]A lot more listening than talking, which is hard
[00:02:33.390]because people are wanting to hear what you have to say.
[00:02:35.810]And I know often I'm like,
[00:02:37.160]well, I really wanna hear what you have to say
[00:02:39.490]and people never believe you.
[00:02:41.380]And so I think all of those things
[00:02:43.190]are the intersection of leadership,
[00:02:45.420]but I think being able to carefully understand
[00:02:48.200]when one should say yes
[00:02:49.880]and when one should say maybe not right now,
[00:02:53.140]as you think about your grandmother said,
[00:02:54.600]you might wanna say not,
[00:02:55.740]you know, maybe not no but not right now.
[00:02:58.360]I think that all those things
[00:03:00.492]are a part of leading and leading well.
[00:03:05.540]Great, thank you.
[00:03:06.373]And I think that a lot of times we don't think
[00:03:10.350]to say not right now.
[00:03:12.940]I think we jump to say, I can't, no
[00:03:16.370]but never really not right now
[00:03:18.010]so that's a great aspect, thank you.
[00:03:21.660]Yeah, so this kinda leads into the next,
[00:03:25.090]to my question which is,
[00:03:26.890]what are some of the early days' failures
[00:03:31.320]that you see with new principals?
[00:03:33.870]And maybe it is that whole idea of,
[00:03:36.228]what they're saying yes or no to
[00:03:38.730]but what do you wish that new principals would understand
[00:03:43.090]and anticipate when they're thinking about
[00:03:46.690]those first days on the job?
[00:03:49.720]Well Scott, I think you and I
[00:03:51.250]are probably a thousand percent aligned in this
[00:03:54.320]'cause I believe we've had a discussion about this before.
[00:03:56.960]And I think it's understanding
[00:03:58.220]the difference between power, influence
[00:04:01.630]and positional authority, right?
[00:04:04.010]So you go into your school, you've got the briefcase,
[00:04:08.510]you've got the laptop,
[00:04:10.060]you've got the new name plate that your family got for you
[00:04:13.420]'cause they're so excited that you became principal
[00:04:16.480]but you may not have any power formal
[00:04:19.480]or you may have some sort of formal positional authority
[00:04:22.940]but not real power.
[00:04:24.520]For me power is really about influence
[00:04:29.360]and it's not really about making people do stuff.
[00:04:34.160]Although you do have to use
[00:04:35.230]your positional authority sometimes
[00:04:37.370]but it's trying to make the case
[00:04:38.850]for why something should be done.
[00:04:40.530]And I think that you have principals that will,
[00:04:44.200]when I say that principals that have the most struggle with,
[00:04:47.600]especially with staff early on
[00:04:49.990]is they haven't taken the time to understand
[00:04:52.460]who's got they informal power.
[00:04:54.500]I mean, we all learn it in graduate school, right?
[00:04:57.040]I know you all are teaching it like informal power.
[00:05:00.380]And I have gone to, visited schools where the custodian
[00:05:04.040]is clearly the most powerful person in the building.
[00:05:07.720]And they have a very important job in the building too
[00:05:11.630]so it's not, it certainly is nothing to do with their job,
[00:05:16.960]it's because of their influence that they have,
[00:05:19.690]the net influence can be positive or not so positive.
[00:05:22.890]And I think that those are the things that people,
[00:05:26.020]or paying attention not to substance
[00:05:29.960]but to things that aren't that important.
[00:05:32.970]So I will give you an example of a principal I had
[00:05:36.050]who went in
[00:05:36.883]and was so concerned about the bulletin boards, right?
[00:05:40.607]So I mean, that's all they wanted to see,
[00:05:43.590]they literally said,
[00:05:44.423]I want pretty bulletin boards everywhere.
[00:05:47.470]And the staff was like,
[00:05:50.120]this is a pretty high performing school.
[00:05:52.510]And she really did have some points,
[00:05:54.670]like things were not up to date and those kinds of things.
[00:05:57.870]That's a whole 'nother,
[00:05:59.700]but understanding what the school valued,
[00:06:02.650]the things they had that were going well
[00:06:05.500]before making assumptions.
[00:06:07.820]And then again, in that particular school building,
[00:06:11.400]it was really understanding who had,
[00:06:14.710]how she could win friends and influence people.
[00:06:19.430]Yeah, the Dale Carnegie, the Man.
[00:06:25.800]Our questions are definitely flowing
[00:06:27.100]right into one another so thinking about that,
[00:06:30.350]in your opinion and from your experience,
[00:06:33.520]what is one thing that separates a great leader
[00:06:36.510]from an average or good leader?
[00:06:38.980]Wow, I think a great leader models the best,
[00:06:45.040]they are always aware that they are modeling.
[00:06:49.587]A great leader accepts responsibility for the,
[00:06:59.470]and make sure that other people are responsible
[00:07:01.740]because one person can't lead.
[00:07:05.270]A great leader gives all the credit to the people doing,
[00:07:10.110]closest to doing all the work.
[00:07:12.800]A great leader is encouraging
[00:07:17.490]and in tuned to when people need to have a break
[00:07:21.700]or when people are at their, may need more pouring into.
[00:07:28.540]So I use the example, the current example of the last year,
[00:07:31.930]where we've just been pouring out.
[00:07:33.500]I mean just, and you have to, right?
[00:07:35.650]You have to pour out, you have to be resourceful.
[00:07:38.670]You have to think of new ways to get things done.
[00:07:42.460]And in a typical year we have some opportunity
[00:07:46.040]to be poured into,
[00:07:47.130]we get to go to professional development
[00:07:49.440]or we get to be with our colleagues or in some other ways
[00:07:54.030]and I would say that those are some of the ways.
[00:08:02.430]So a lot of people are talking and writing right now about
[00:08:06.430]changes that can or may or should come about
[00:08:09.420]coming out of the pandemic.
[00:08:12.220]But I wanna kinda ask you what you think about,
[00:08:15.880]people have been leading at a collective crisis.
[00:08:18.380]Many times if a school is in crisis,
[00:08:20.920]it's alone in that crisis
[00:08:22.380]in the sense that their neighboring schools
[00:08:24.310]aren't experiencing that same thing
[00:08:27.020]but that was not the case in this pandemic.
[00:08:31.840]So when you think about that collective crisis leadership,
[00:08:36.710]when you think about this whole concept of
[00:08:39.270]what should or may, will change coming out of this,
[00:08:43.050]what's kind of a leadership disposition
[00:08:45.160]or process that you think the crisis has exposed as,
[00:08:52.610]if you don't have this then everything else
[00:08:55.330]is gonna be way harder than it should be
[00:08:57.047]and or you might fail.
[00:09:00.550]First of all, thank you for that question.
[00:09:02.310]I've got, hopefully this will answer it.
[00:09:08.320]I think it's the willingness to accept
[00:09:12.970]that the facts may change.
[00:09:16.560]Now facts have always changed through out the time, right?
[00:09:21.660]And you know, but usually they change
[00:09:24.100]at a much slower pace or conditions change.
[00:09:29.180]But in this crisis,
[00:09:30.930]you may get information in the morning,
[00:09:33.750]you may have to make a pretty significant decision
[00:09:37.750]and then two hours later,
[00:09:39.900]you get some other new set of information.
[00:09:43.370]And I would say the,
[00:09:45.120]and I've been using the word binary
[00:09:46.870]because you simply you know it's yes
[00:09:48.630]or it's no or it's green or it's red.
[00:09:51.070]And I would say the ability to take in information
[00:09:58.650]and set the expectation of an organization
[00:10:02.130]that we may have to change.
[00:10:03.770]We call it pivot.
[00:10:05.000]I'm so sick of the word pivot, I don't even know what to do.
[00:10:07.570]I don't even wanna say words that have P in them,
[00:10:09.950]that's how much I hate the word pivot.
[00:10:11.850]But I think that those are the things that I see that were,
[00:10:16.590]and when I think about,
[00:10:17.700]'cause many people on the receiving ends of decision
[00:10:20.120]that we may make centrally
[00:10:24.380]and they too have to, they're also leading people.
[00:10:29.990]So they also have to have those skills.
[00:10:32.000]And I think building those in,
[00:10:34.480]within some people you know this, you've led principals.
[00:10:40.570]It's not necessarily an easy thing
[00:10:42.370]'cause they're like,
[00:10:43.203]we got this information and we're making this
[00:10:45.250]and this is the way we're going.
[00:10:46.780]And then after the afternoon, we got this information
[00:10:50.730]and I don't know what's going on.
[00:10:52.510]And I think that's what we, those are some skills we really,
[00:10:55.800]I will tell you were challenging for me personally
[00:11:01.530]and for my team.
[00:11:02.710]And actually I was not thinking about my colleagues
[00:11:04.840]around the country
[00:11:06.180]that also very difficult to change our stance from being,
[00:11:13.576]we always say in education, we have to be flexible,
[00:11:15.170]we have to be flexible.
[00:11:16.370]But flexibility was like, oh, lunch is at 11
[00:11:19.380]and now it's 11:45,
[00:11:22.740]it's not lunch, is now gonna be served in the parking lot.
[00:11:27.260]You know, Monday through Fridays (indistinct)
[00:11:30.020]the school is that, oh,
[00:11:31.570]and I think that those are some things
[00:11:33.926]that I think are some of the,
[00:11:38.320]have come out of that in terms of leadership,
[00:11:40.870]how people adjust to rapid change.
[00:11:47.400]If you don't have the McKinsey Report,
[00:11:49.050]I know I did send it to I think to Dr. Holman
[00:11:50.970]at some point.
[00:11:52.000]The McKinsey Report,
[00:11:53.780]they reported in the beginning of the pandemic,
[00:11:56.590]they created this amazing report
[00:11:59.060]and everything that they have on there has come true.
[00:12:03.370]And even talks about one recovery will happen.
[00:12:06.380]And I try not to say what your recovery is gonna happen
[00:12:09.360]because it makes people depressed, like, ooh, not till then.
[00:12:13.980]But it did help the people I lead
[00:12:18.590]'cause I shared it with them,
[00:12:20.120]understand that this is a long haul.
[00:12:24.186]And I would say that those are things that
[00:12:28.290]I think leaders have to continue to do
[00:12:32.110]and continue to evolve in your leadership.
[00:12:34.340]And I think that is, we never a finished product,
[00:12:38.780]we don't know everything.
[00:12:40.560]There are people that,
[00:12:46.930]I rather talk to colonels and generals
[00:12:49.730]'cause they're closer to the work.
[00:12:52.170]And I think having a meeting on Monday
[00:12:54.630]and I invited some folks to the meeting
[00:12:56.372]and I had one of my generals asked to be invited
[00:12:59.060]and I'm like, well, this is really for the colonels, right?
[00:13:01.780]I need the people that are doing the work
[00:13:04.840]and I think like not having that,
[00:13:07.080]being comfortable in an organization
[00:13:11.870]that is by nature hierarchical.
[00:13:15.080]But your hierarchy in an organization does not necessarily
[00:13:21.400]equivocate to your value to the organization.
[00:13:24.960]And I think that that's really important work,
[00:13:30.160]especially when you're disconnected,
[00:13:32.570]like when you can, that lack of being in-person,
[00:13:39.120]that lack of connection.
[00:13:41.530]Because the connection
[00:13:42.430]is as good as whatever the computer connection is
[00:13:46.040]and is strained by,
[00:13:49.360]you can't watch a person's body language really.
[00:13:51.990]You can't watch the social pews
[00:13:54.700]that are going on in the room.
[00:13:55.820]Those kinds of things that,
[00:13:57.630]I mean, I guess if people can text or that kind of thing,
[00:14:00.120]but you can't watch that in a room.
[00:14:02.210]And I'm gonna say those are also things that,
[00:14:05.070]when I think about what's, as we move forward
[00:14:08.270]and what leadership skills people really need to develop,
[00:14:14.290]I think that those are the ones
[00:14:15.620]that are probably the most salient at this time.
[00:14:25.450]Okay, so being a superintendent in any state, any city
[00:14:31.660]comes with its own set of challenges.
[00:14:34.650]Along with that being the first of anything
[00:14:40.110]can add an additional layer of stress,
[00:14:42.130]struggle or opportunity depending upon how one views it.
[00:14:45.920]So you being not only the first woman
[00:14:52.690]in the largest school district in the State of Nebraska
[00:14:56.440]as a superintendent,
[00:14:57.610]but also the first person of color as the superintendent
[00:15:01.640]in the largest school district in the State of Nebraska.
[00:15:03.810]And in thinking about that wall,
[00:15:06.560]everybody knows the wall that I'm talking about
[00:15:09.530]at the TAC building with all those pictures,
[00:15:11.670]what is about, 30 pictures or so,
[00:15:13.250]with older white men all the way down
[00:15:17.050]and then your face is gonna be at the end,
[00:15:21.070]And how wonderful that's gonna be once it's up there,
[00:15:25.300]but thinking about all these things,
[00:15:26.730]what advice would you share to those who are considering
[00:15:30.570]an administrative leadership opportunity
[00:15:32.810]where they are hesitant
[00:15:33.950]because they would potentially be the first.
[00:15:38.290]You know, what I would say is
[00:15:41.560]you have to know who you are.
[00:15:43.740]That's the most important thing, know who you are,
[00:15:51.683]be, act and model humility,
[00:15:56.320]understand the gravity of the position that being a first.
[00:16:01.730]So Maynard Jackson,
[00:16:03.110]who was the first African-American mayor of Atlanta
[00:16:06.700]said, I don't know, was 40 years ago, whenever that was,
[00:16:10.787]"He doesn't wish being a first on anyone."
[00:16:16.340]And I will tell you Dr. Holman Shavonna
[00:16:20.840]that I have had a couple of those days here and there,
[00:16:26.080]you know scrutiny is different,
[00:16:28.440]you know the way people are gonna react to you.
[00:16:31.270]And again, it's so great
[00:16:33.210]that the three of us know each other
[00:16:35.290]outside of this podcast
[00:16:37.140]because I had talked when I came on,
[00:16:39.250]when I onboarded, Scott can maybe share with you.
[00:16:41.900]I shared with my team,
[00:16:43.660]people are gonna react to me different
[00:16:45.550]and you all are gonna be baffled like,
[00:16:47.880]well, all she did was asked that.
[00:16:50.500]Because it's not just for me as an individual
[00:16:55.990]but because I am the head of the organization,
[00:16:58.900]it does impact the whole organization.
[00:17:01.430]So if someone says, I will ask, you know you can't,
[00:17:09.280]my mom had this saying, it's a little off-color,
[00:17:11.400]so I have to figure out a way to say it
[00:17:12.790]so it's not so off-color.
[00:17:14.400]But she had a way of saying, you can't do this to me
[00:17:19.130]and say it's raining, right?
[00:17:24.316]And I feel that way.
[00:17:25.560]Like I feel I have, certainly have earned the position,
[00:17:29.860]I have the credentials, I have a plethora of experience.
[00:17:36.960]I think I'm here, I know I'm here for the right reason
[00:17:39.210]you know other people that understand that.
[00:17:44.080]And so I don't feel like I have to, if I go to a meeting
[00:17:49.450]I don't feel like I have to wait
[00:17:50.610]until I'm here for a certain number of years
[00:17:52.710]or days or whatever, or months.
[00:17:54.960]I feel like if I have a question, I deserve a fair answer.
[00:17:58.540]I also am wildly
[00:18:01.200]mother bear protective of the Omaha public schools.
[00:18:04.340]And when people make a comment
[00:18:07.230]or when people make assumptions,
[00:18:09.920]I kind of react like a mama bear, right?
[00:18:13.850]And I think that, and I have to temper that,
[00:18:16.330]that's part of that as emotional intelligence, right?
[00:18:18.540]Understanding when you can do that.
[00:18:20.880]But I would say that it is daunting, I can't lie.
[00:18:24.360]It has been harder during a pandemic
[00:18:26.440]because we're in such a politically charged time
[00:18:29.020]and some of the politics are racially charged.
[00:18:33.200]So that certainly has been a dynamic for me as a leader.
[00:18:38.610]And I think that knowing who you are,
[00:18:41.290]knowing why you're here,
[00:18:43.540]I talk about John and Shirley, those are my parents,
[00:18:46.550]all the time, I wish they were here to see this day
[00:18:50.712]but they're not, at least in the flesh.
[00:18:53.500]And I think that having a small set of,
[00:19:01.130]a small circle of people that I can depend on here locally
[00:19:05.840]and then obviously my family, my husband and daughter
[00:19:09.410]and my siblings as well has been really, really helpful
[00:19:14.310]in terms of when I have a bad day
[00:19:16.040]or when I am experiencing something that is unpleasant,
[00:19:22.050]that I have that circle of support but also deep belief
[00:19:27.540]and I'm happy in my own skin, I'm happy.
[00:19:31.865]And I walked past those in, I've said this many times,
[00:19:36.010]there's not one time that when,
[00:19:37.810]and I mean, I go out of here every day,
[00:19:40.310]that I don't notice those faces
[00:19:42.150]and know the next face up there is gonna be different.
[00:19:47.030]And what that means to the young people
[00:19:52.600]and the city that we serve here.
[00:19:59.120]I mean, it makes me sad to think about the day
[00:20:01.190]when your picture goes up there
[00:20:02.270]'cause that means that you're not here on the, right?
[00:20:04.510]But I'm still excited to actually see your photo up there
[00:20:08.900]because it stands for so much more than just a picture.
[00:20:13.220]It's not just a picture, it means,
[00:20:15.130]I mean, there's a tremendous meaning
[00:20:16.490]behind the actual photo, so thank you for sharing that.
[00:20:19.360]And thank you for saying that.
[00:20:21.050]Yeah, you mentioned humility in your answer just then.
[00:20:25.660]And I've been reading outside of education books a lot,
[00:20:28.930]leadership books, but outside of education
[00:20:31.330]and these two Navy SEALs wrote a book together
[00:20:34.620]and what one of the questions they addressed is,
[00:20:37.860]they're always asked,
[00:20:38.770]what is the most important trait any leader must have?
[00:20:42.497]And their first answer is humility,
[00:20:44.480]which is not necessarily something
[00:20:46.120]that people think about military folks
[00:20:48.620]as what they would need first.
[00:20:49.870]But in their experience
[00:20:53.040]that's exactly what they need first,
[00:20:54.760]that the ego is the problem.
[00:20:56.670]So when you think about traits and leadership
[00:20:59.600]in terms of maybe a hierarchical structure,
[00:21:03.070]where does humility fall
[00:21:06.199]and what else might you have at the top?
[00:21:11.810]You know Scott, I was just thinking about this answer
[00:21:14.520]in connection to Dr. Holman's last question.
[00:21:21.490]And I wonder if there are some gender differences
[00:21:25.230]because strength is a quality that is admired in a leader
[00:21:33.380]and is not necessarily a strength that people,
[00:21:37.570]is the first strength people associate with female leaders.
[00:21:42.290]So I'm just, that's just circling in my head right now.
[00:21:47.450]I certainly think humility,
[00:21:49.620]if you're not humble, this job will make you humble.
[00:21:54.000]And so I certainly would put humility
[00:21:58.140]in probably my top three
[00:21:59.930]and depending on the day,
[00:22:01.790]humility would be one, strength might be another,
[00:22:04.750]you know it depends on the day.
[00:22:07.200]But certainly humility, being able to,
[00:22:11.490]I think we call it
[00:22:12.360]different things at different times, right?
[00:22:15.805]Because I think you can't be strong
[00:22:18.580]unless you're humble, right?
[00:22:19.940]Because you have to be able to admit when you're wrong,
[00:22:23.320]you have to be able to ask for help.
[00:22:26.970]I have texted like seven superintendents this morning
[00:22:30.000]about asserts, right?
[00:22:31.560]I'm like, ooh, I need some help.
[00:22:33.160]Like a matter of fact, right when we started
[00:22:36.520]Barbara Jenkins from Orlando called and she was fussing
[00:22:41.900]because I was supposed to talk to her the other night
[00:22:43.600]but I fell asleep.
[00:22:44.878]And she's somebody I call on, I'm like, what, I need help.
[00:22:48.620]And she's, it's funny 'cause she'll be like,
[00:22:50.320]ooh, I forgot to call you, I need help.
[00:22:52.400]And I think being comfortable with asking for help
[00:22:59.100]is a huge thing.
[00:23:01.190]And I'm not even sure what the name of that is,
[00:23:03.600]but I think that that's, to me that's part of strength.
[00:23:06.090]So strength represents a lot of different things.
[00:23:09.950]It's strength represents content knowledge to be honest
[00:23:12.520]'cause you've got to,
[00:23:14.780]what you don't know, you've gotta make sure you learn.
[00:23:18.880]Because you're not gonna to know everything
[00:23:21.050]and you wanna be able to acquire knowledge.
[00:23:23.870]And I think strength is also too
[00:23:25.530]being smart enough to know you have to lean on others
[00:23:28.240]to get the work done, right?
[00:23:30.120]So probably I might say strength
[00:23:32.709]and all those things to me have tentacles
[00:23:35.380]are all part of strength.
[00:23:37.080]Yeah and I kinda wondered if you would go with something,
[00:23:40.620]because the start of your answer about being the first
[00:23:43.720]was knowing yourself.
[00:23:45.473]And how I first thought about that was
[00:23:49.770]the emotional intelligence of that, right?
[00:23:52.510]I mean, knowing yourself
[00:23:54.050]is both the being comfortable with who you are
[00:23:56.690]but also knowing your strengths and weaknesses
[00:23:58.460]in your relationships with others,
[00:24:01.490]which leads to both strength and humility
[00:24:03.497]and all those kinds of things.
[00:24:04.590]So I wondered where that is,
[00:24:06.937]and the way you define strength
[00:24:08.940]includes all of those things too
[00:24:10.860]so I think, yeah it's--
[00:24:13.490]Emotional intelligence is I think
[00:24:15.870]what separates leaders who are successful
[00:24:20.470]and who aren't, right?
[00:24:21.650]I think of all the, if given two leaders of equal ability,
[00:24:29.930]the one who's stronger in an emotional intelligence
[00:24:33.280]or one who stands out in that area
[00:24:35.410]is likely going to do well.
[00:24:39.690]And I've had, there's a there's a leader here in the state
[00:24:44.320]and they work in another district
[00:24:46.090]and this is a school-based leader in another district.
[00:24:48.930]And this individual, I don't know, we got connected somehow
[00:24:53.280]and they text me from time to time.
[00:24:55.670]And I'm like look person,
[00:24:58.480]I don't wanna indicate their gender.
[00:25:00.260]The look person.
[00:25:01.180]Look person, so yeah, (indistinct) that, look person.
[00:25:06.320]Cajoling is not emotional intelligence,
[00:25:08.800]that's not emotional intelligence.
[00:25:10.440]And so having a clear definition of what that is
[00:25:13.353]and what that isn't to (indistinct) is really important too.
[00:25:18.260]Like it is better if people do like you, right?
[00:25:26.350]It's better if they hate you,
[00:25:27.720]I mean, that's really probably not a good place.
[00:25:31.331]But understanding how you win that and I've had,
[00:25:35.420]and I know during the pandemic you make some friends
[00:25:38.940]and you lose friends and then they come back and all that.
[00:25:42.060]And I've had many people say, "Man, I respect her."
[00:25:45.820]You know what I mean?
[00:25:46.653]And I'm like, I'll take it, I'll take it,
[00:25:50.490]that that's about as good as it's gonna get right now.
[00:25:54.560]Because we know respect is important,
[00:25:59.390]the respect for the work, respect for the methodology
[00:26:03.080]that people are going about doing their work.
[00:26:04.810]And that they aren't making decisions just,
[00:26:06.880]ooh, I think this is a good idea, I'll just do this,
[00:26:09.520]and not be thinking about the consequences,
[00:26:11.250]I think is also,
[00:26:13.360]it's something that's come out of this as a major,
[00:26:17.350]back to your question earlier,
[00:26:19.590]a major important thing is methodology of decision-making.
[00:26:25.561]Has been something I think that's been really highlighted
[00:26:29.640]because you're making such large scale decisions
[00:26:32.650]that impact hundreds of thousands of people
[00:26:36.600]in a large school district.
[00:26:38.650]What's funny about that is I was going to,
[00:26:40.550]I took it off my list,
[00:26:41.550]but I was gonna ask you about
[00:26:43.970]the concept of performing a pre-mortem on decisions,
[00:26:47.440]specifically around the idea of
[00:26:50.060]let's think about the things that might go wrong
[00:26:51.840]so that we can plan in and avoid them as best as possible.
[00:26:55.200]You know I love a pre-mortem,
[00:27:00.220]You should left it Scott.
[00:27:02.900]I love a pre-mortem like looking at that
[00:27:05.630]and going yew, this is not gonna end well.
[00:27:09.890]And I will tell you in normal times
[00:27:12.930]when you're making a decision
[00:27:14.150]that's maybe gonna have 18 months out.
[00:27:16.110]You can maybe do,
[00:27:17.430]that we haven't been able to do that as much.
[00:27:20.343]And as we are able to do a little bit more longer range
[00:27:27.120]than what's gonna happen next week of planning
[00:27:30.130]or next month, we're able to get back to some of that.
[00:27:36.020]As a matter of fact--
Why don't you go ahead
[00:27:36.960]and just share a little bit about it?
[00:27:38.410]Well, so what I'm working on right now,
[00:27:40.390]so we are working on, we have been working
[00:27:45.900]to look at reforming our high school programming, right?
[00:27:52.030]And when I look at why that didn't go
[00:27:55.610]the way that it should have gone,
[00:27:57.310]there's a lot of things but on my board right now,
[00:28:00.960]because sometimes you decide to, I got some strengths.
[00:28:05.140]I probably need to lead this.
[00:28:07.570]You know where you do, so on my board right now
[00:28:10.340]we have a meeting on Monday and I've got the why.
[00:28:14.440]Number two, debunking myths, identify and debunk.
[00:28:17.960]Number three, questions out there of personnel impact.
[00:28:21.520]Number four, elevator speeches
[00:28:23.210]for academies pathways block scheduling, et cetera.
[00:28:26.150]And that is how I always approach the work, right?
[00:28:32.220]And as much as you feel like
[00:28:35.740]you have set those expectations,
[00:28:38.900]something may happen and you realize,
[00:28:40.650]ooh, I've got an issue.
[00:28:45.520]And I think that, as I've talked with my team,
[00:28:49.300]we always talk about children
[00:28:50.640]and ooh, productive struggle is so good for you,
[00:28:54.490]you learn so much.
[00:28:55.460]But when we have to go through,
[00:28:58.340]we are like pointing at other people, blaming them,
[00:29:01.350]you know figuring out whatever.
[00:29:04.190]And I really hope that our community
[00:29:10.820]thinks I've made a wise decision to saying, hey, hold it.
[00:29:14.470]Okay, it's all right.
[00:29:16.430]I'm humble enough to say this didn't meet our expectations
[00:29:19.790]for how we go about decision-making
[00:29:22.360]and this is mission critical work.
[00:29:27.020]We've got to do this work right now
[00:29:29.520]because we've got these set of circumstances
[00:29:32.090]but we do have some time to move forward with that.
[00:29:35.210]And I felt like a thousand, I felt great about it
[00:29:38.910]but I also realized that some folks on my team
[00:29:41.890]may have felt like they did not meet expectations.
[00:29:46.420]And how do you help them understand that,
[00:29:51.890]you know I'm still standing shoulder to shoulder with you,
[00:29:54.470]I believe in this work and then help them
[00:29:57.650]and then be okay with failure.
[00:29:59.530]Like, I mean, sometimes you fail.
[00:30:03.590]This whole notion
[00:30:05.180]that you're gonna hit a home run every time is not true.
[00:30:09.290]And it's not,
[00:30:11.190]I'm not saying it's fun or I wanna do it again tomorrow,
[00:30:13.300]but it's still a part of learning.
[00:30:15.930]I feel like I have learned and grown so much
[00:30:18.890]in the last month as a leader
[00:30:22.920]because many things really have come,
[00:30:26.030]I don't want to say easy for me
[00:30:27.250]but have been not as difficult.
[00:30:30.320]And this is a way
[00:30:34.050]that is directly related to our normal work
[00:30:37.770]that I've been able to grow as a leader.
[00:30:40.120]Now the pandemic made you grow in a whole 'nother way.
[00:30:43.690]And you talk a little bit about the crisis,
[00:30:46.680]I forgot what phraseology you used but it--
[00:30:48.743]I used collective crisis.
[00:30:50.140]We were leading together in a crisis.
[00:30:52.020]Yeah, so what's interesting
[00:30:54.100]and I saw this the other day and I'll send it to you.
[00:30:57.170]'Cause I sent it to two of my colleagues
[00:31:00.055]here in Nebraska, Dr. Joel and Dr. Grover.
[00:31:03.150]And it talked about, it's a little quote that says,
[00:31:06.540]you know we all came into this pandemic together.
[00:31:09.290]We all went in, like we all entered the pool together
[00:31:12.530]but we've gotta come out of it alone,
[00:31:15.280]individually as districts and that.
[00:31:19.980]And I think about the whole thing of leading when,
[00:31:25.900]all of us have been school leaders, right?
[00:31:27.420]And so we've all led in schools.
[00:31:29.960]And when you have a crisis that happened at Fontanelle,
[00:31:34.290]for example, at Dr. Holman,
[00:31:37.810]you were on the outside of it, you were dealing with it
[00:31:41.007]and this such a situation, you're also going home to it.
[00:31:46.310]You never can then leave.
[00:31:48.370]The perpetual present has made us so tired, right?
[00:31:53.960]And I think that leading in a crisis
[00:31:58.800]and being in a crisis has really tested our leadership.
[00:32:04.770]I will tell you so much so that when this, when the,
[00:32:07.960]about, I wanna say it was like May, early May.
[00:32:10.590]I was watching some movie about an earthquake,
[00:32:12.830]maybe called Earthquake.
[00:32:14.050]I was on Netflix like everyone else,
[00:32:16.886]I was watching a movie after work.
[00:32:19.930]And the movie, you know the earthquake was happening
[00:32:24.000]and there were some people,
[00:32:25.440]the people were trying to figure out
[00:32:26.820]how they're gonna go to be safe.
[00:32:28.660]I literally was watching it
[00:32:30.680]thinking, okay, as a superintendent
[00:32:32.870]what would I be doing right now?
[00:32:34.880]Where would my kids be?
[00:32:36.500]Some of my kid, and they had a school bus in it
[00:32:38.320]and it did not have good end on the school bus
[00:32:40.270]on the movies.
[00:32:41.941]And I'm thinking, okay, now what would I do there?
[00:32:45.290]And I'm just like, oh my God, I have now,
[00:32:48.460]I'm watching a movie living in the crisis.
[00:32:50.830]And I think that's been really hard for us, right?
[00:32:53.430]'Cause there's no escape for you.
[00:32:55.620]It's not like you go and you do your,
[00:32:58.040]when we were three, two, you do your three, two model
[00:33:00.360]and then you go home and everything's fine.
[00:33:02.590]You're doing your three, two model
[00:33:04.100]and you're still wearing a mask wherever you go
[00:33:06.750]and you can't go certain places and so on and so forth.
[00:33:12.200]Man, it's a lot.
[00:33:13.899]It's a lot, it's a lot.
It's a lot.
[00:33:18.940]But much of what you're talking about
[00:33:20.250]goes back to everything
[00:33:21.370]that you'd been stating with humility and strength
[00:33:25.260]and your comfort level and accepting mistakes
[00:33:30.640]that you potentially might make or have made
[00:33:33.550]and how you push forward regardless.
[00:33:36.839]I'll say I have had two times though,
[00:33:39.870]two times where I got to my car and I didn't go in my house
[00:33:45.380]and I just sat in my car and sobbed.
[00:33:48.000]I was just overwhelmed, over, one was early on,
[00:33:53.250]it was probably right around
[00:33:54.460]the time of the earthquake movie.
[00:33:55.480]So maybe that earthquake movie triggered something,
[00:33:59.460]while you were involved in a disaster,
[00:34:01.070]you should not watch a--
[00:34:02.153]After a disaster movie?
[00:34:06.052]But I sat in my car and I sobbed.
[00:34:09.380]I mean, I'm talking about
[00:34:12.270]where you're gonna have like the puffy eyes after.
[00:34:16.220]And I call my husband and I'm telling him the thing
[00:34:20.290]and he's listening and feeling bad
[00:34:22.580]'cause he's on the other side of the world or the country.
[00:34:27.030]And got through it
[00:34:28.860]and yeah, of course, you get yourself going.
[00:34:33.220]And then I'm trying to think the last time,
[00:34:37.040]probably was fall, maybe mid-fall, mid or early fall,
[00:34:42.830]and I just had another moment
[00:34:45.070]and I've forgotten what it was but,
[00:34:47.480]and I just sat there and sobbed.
[00:34:50.400]I felt sorry for myself, you know all those things
[00:34:53.337]and got myself together and called my husband
[00:34:57.540]and I call my sister, my oldest sister,
[00:34:59.220]she's like so good at talking things through.
[00:35:01.680]And you know got through it.
[00:35:03.810]But I think giving yourself those times to,
[00:35:06.040]where you can just may have a low moment
[00:35:08.410]and then work through your low moment,
[00:35:12.350]acknowledge your low moment
[00:35:14.880]and not beat yourself up for your low moment
[00:35:18.330]but be willing to press forward.
[00:35:20.710]People are counting on all of us to lead
[00:35:23.960]and that's what we're doing.
[00:35:26.340]But I think the most important thing is that
[00:35:28.350]as leaders we have to remember that
[00:35:30.560]we're still human, right?
[00:35:32.960]We're not super human and the pandemic affecting us all
[00:35:39.880]in the same way.
[00:35:42.100]But the only difference is that
[00:35:44.110]as the leader of a school district
[00:35:45.670]or the leader of a school building
[00:35:48.230]is that you are responsible for everybody else's children
[00:35:52.690]and what's gonna happen in the school buildings.
[00:35:54.500]And what's gonna happen
[00:35:55.420]and how are you gonna keep all these kiddos
[00:35:56.790]and teachers and staff members safe
[00:35:58.590]and so it's an additional layer of stress and pressure
[00:36:02.220]because you're responsible for so many people,
[00:36:06.900]and little people and your own self
[00:36:10.450]and you forget about yourself in the midst of it all.
[00:36:14.140]You become not as important.
[00:36:16.460]So yeah, definitely understand that, thanks for sharing.
[00:36:21.950]So what can you say is the greatest lesson
[00:36:25.510]that you have ever learned from someone,
[00:36:27.720]a mentor, a family member, colleague
[00:36:30.700]and how do you apply that to your responsibilities
[00:36:33.510]as the leader of a school district?
[00:36:37.660]Always ask for help, you need help, ask for help.
[00:36:45.700]That's the biggest lesson that I would say for any leader,
[00:36:51.600]when you need help, ask for help.
[00:36:55.360]And make it a part of the culture of your school
[00:36:58.980]that you are leading that people ask for help
[00:37:01.770]when they are, make it a part of your,
[00:37:04.290]what you model is asking for help.
[00:37:06.560]And I think that that would be, that's the,
[00:37:09.810]'cause with that you can get better.
[00:37:13.480]Other people can help you be strong
[00:37:16.680]and it certainly, certainly models humidity,
[00:37:21.970]asking for help.
[00:37:23.100]Just ask for help, don't wait to ask for help,
[00:37:27.540]just like I'm struggling, I need some help.
[00:37:29.880]So one of my colleagues in another city,
[00:37:32.550]I've checked on them the other day
[00:37:34.490]and this individual said
[00:37:36.270]that they were struggling, they needed help
[00:37:38.610]and I was right there for that individual.
[00:37:44.610]And I think that that's the biggest thing, ask for help.
[00:37:52.330]What advice do you have
[00:37:53.440]for teachers who are thinking about
[00:37:55.700]working towards formal leadership roles?
[00:37:58.400]Run, I know, I was joking, was joking, was joking.
[00:38:05.660]I would say like understand why they wanna do it,
[00:38:10.110]like to really get underneath why they wanna do it.
[00:38:14.110]You're not gonna get a tiara.
[00:38:18.220]This is a roll up your sleeves kinda job at every level
[00:38:24.140]and I would say that to really understand their why.
[00:38:27.130]There is a teacher here who just reached out to me
[00:38:32.380]and just asked could she talk to me from time to time?
[00:38:34.710]And I do talk to her from time to time
[00:38:37.510]and it was helping her
[00:38:38.920]'cause I said, you know, what's your why?
[00:38:40.360]And she was like, she was kind of figuring out her why
[00:38:43.430]and her why, this tricker person,
[00:38:45.690]was all had to do with her.
[00:38:47.100]And I'm like, well, that's not a reason (indistinct).
[00:38:51.260]Oh, that's a reason to put on tiara.
[00:38:53.440]So, and this is a wonderful,
[00:38:57.070]wonderful, wonderful individual.
[00:38:59.870]And I would say that the,
[00:39:06.150]to really understand your why,
[00:39:07.680]like to understand why you wanna do it
[00:39:12.665]and I think that that's the most important,
[00:39:14.750]and to understand that you're gonna have to give
[00:39:16.390]more of yourself than sometimes you may be comfortable with,
[00:39:20.130]to understand what the sacrifice is
[00:39:22.030]'cause leadership comes with great sacrifice.
[00:39:25.270]I think to understand where your life stance is, right?
[00:39:28.950]And where you want to be in terms of your,
[00:39:32.470]'cause your job is not the most important thing, right?
[00:39:35.380]It's like where do you wanna be as a human,
[00:39:41.510]I think that that really is important.
[00:39:43.260]And it may seem like where you're discouraging somebody
[00:39:47.380]from doing something of the sort and that's not
[00:39:49.440]the intent is, it's just to really understand
[00:39:53.100]that with accepting more responsibility
[00:39:57.240]or more leadership responsibility that there's,
[00:40:02.210]the day is finite, it's 24 hours, right?
[00:40:05.090]And you may have to, everything comes with trade-offs
[00:40:10.080]and you have to decide before you get into the position
[00:40:16.230]or into the circumstance that that's a trade-off
[00:40:20.030]that is going to make you to live happy.
[00:40:23.780]'Cause I think we should all be striving towards contentment
[00:40:31.100]and happiness as just a part of our human existence
[00:40:35.570]on the planet.
[00:40:36.403]Yeah, it's a very, I know it wasn't intentional
[00:40:39.570]'cause you didn't know what we were gonna ask you
[00:40:40.930]but it's very linear from knowing why you want to do it
[00:40:45.190]to you have to know yourself and who you are.
[00:40:48.810]That there's a great connection there
[00:40:52.200]between some very different questions
[00:40:56.020]but all around the same person,
[00:40:58.000]just maybe at different life points.
[00:41:00.310]This is a softball question.
[00:41:02.760]What book do you gift or recommend the most to others?
[00:41:13.190]Hmm, I don't know, recently it's been the Alchemist
[00:41:16.660]because I had never read it and I read it
[00:41:19.240]and it's just a fable, but it kinda is talking about life.
[00:41:22.370]So I'm like all into the Alchemist right now,
[00:41:24.920]I'm late to the party,
[00:41:25.930]I know it's like a hundred years old book
[00:41:27.650]but I finally read it.
[00:41:31.540]Let me just, I don't know, I'm trying to think.
[00:41:36.380]I'm trying to think of something more universal.
[00:41:40.370]I love the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell,
[00:41:43.460]I love that book.
[00:41:47.200]I did a book study on that like in 2006,
[00:41:50.810]when it first came out.
[00:41:53.440]Trying to think, what else I would recommend?
[00:41:57.290]I don't know,
[00:41:58.123]currently would probably be the Alchemist probably.
[00:42:02.910]I love Tuesdays with Morrie.
[00:42:04.572]Like it's a book about dying and you know what life is.
[00:42:07.940]I love Tuesdays with Morrie,
[00:42:09.110]my mother made us read it when she found out she was sick
[00:42:11.470]so I was, it's a little bit,
[00:42:12.853]it's a little dark but
Is it heavy?
[00:42:15.371]It's a little heavy but that was her way of telling us
[00:42:20.330]that she was sick.
[00:42:21.350]And so, yeah, I think,
[00:42:25.790]yeah, I'll go with that for right now.
[00:42:27.770]I just, like I said, I just recently read it.
[00:42:30.330]It just really helped me,
[00:42:32.290]I think I pulled a quote out of that.
[00:42:33.920]I used it at the last board meeting
[00:42:35.250]to kinda talk about how you regroup, right?
[00:42:38.880]And so I would say that right,
[00:42:40.790]for right now that's what I recommend.
[00:42:43.710]Well, I asked that question to you specifically.
[00:42:46.030]I stole the question,
[00:42:46.863]there's another podcast for Tim Ferris has asked
[00:42:49.380]something like that every time.
[00:42:50.860]But I asked that from you
[00:42:51.750]because the first day I met you,
[00:42:54.240]as I chaperoned you around the city from your interviews,
[00:42:57.700]I think I got three book recommendations in the car
[00:43:00.560]from you that day.
[00:43:02.000]And I have all three books and I read them all so, yeah.
[00:43:05.550]I was supposed to read four over the spring break
[00:43:09.580]and I read six.
[00:43:12.380]I really, I do, I love to read
[00:43:15.730]and I don't get to do it as much as I should probably.
[00:43:21.010]I do try to read on weekends
[00:43:22.300]but I am all about the binge watch weekend.
[00:43:27.210]Today's Friday, isn't it?
[00:43:29.643]It's Friday and I just sound like it's Friday, it's Friday
[00:43:33.330]and I will binge watch something this evening.
[00:43:36.180]And so if you have a recommendation, please send it to me.
[00:43:40.569]Whenever you see this podcast,
[00:43:42.120]send it to Dr. Sturgeon and Dr. Holman and I'll be--
[00:43:49.390]Okay, well this leads us to our red round.
[00:43:54.250]And yes, I'm gonna get my--
[00:43:57.669]I'm put my glasses on for the red round.
[00:43:59.680]I'm gonna timer set for 60 seconds.
[00:44:05.230]Yes and I don't have my glasses on
[00:44:11.470]so just bear with me here.
[00:44:17.330]All right, so we will, I will ask a set of questions,
[00:44:33.040]really easy questions at a rapid pace just to see
[00:44:38.820]and give the viewers an idea to your life
[00:44:40.970]and things that you like, dislike.
[00:44:43.969]I'm pretty boring.
[00:44:47.580]Hallmark Channel, (indistinct).
[00:44:50.905]You know what, I kinda have dumped the Hallmark Channel.
[00:44:54.852]Oh, have you now?
[00:44:55.685]It's part of persona
[00:44:57.260]but I have dumped the Hallmark Channel, I am so sorry.
[00:45:02.153]'Cause I was actually gonna ask the question about Hallmark
[00:45:04.500]but then I was like,
[00:45:05.333]no, she just loves the Hallmark so much.
[00:45:08.580]I have dumped the Hallmark Channel, I have dumped them.
[00:45:11.620]Ooh, my goodness.
Yeah, I'm sorry.
[00:45:13.940]Okay, then I might just kinda throw something on Fly then
Okay, whatever you like,
[00:45:20.470]it won't be anything that hurts my feelings,
[00:45:22.170]whatever it is (indistinct).
[00:45:24.260]All right, I'm gonna go ahead
[00:45:25.450]and start my timer now, alrighty.
[00:45:27.640]Beach or mountains?
[00:45:30.920]Or mountains, okay, you're the beach, okay.
[00:45:33.680]Heels or flats?
[00:45:36.160]Ooh, I think I like a nice heel, I think heels.
[00:45:40.540]Okay, sleeping in or naps?
[00:45:45.950]Vacation or staycation?
[00:45:52.840]Favorite dog bread?
[00:46:02.450]Driver or passenger?
[00:46:07.014]I'll go with driver.
[00:46:09.730]Water or coffee?
[00:46:12.870]There's such a thing as water, no, yes, coffee.
[00:46:17.090]Marvel or DC?
[00:46:21.840]Flying or driving?
[00:46:24.190]Flying, every time.
[00:46:27.570]And that's time, that is it.
[00:46:33.042]It has never been easy.
[00:46:34.870]I kinda had to (indistinct) on the comics one
[00:46:37.610]'cause I don't really know the comics so well.
[00:46:40.910]I know my brother likes to DC, so I went with that.
[00:46:43.760]Okay, DCs are your Batman, Superwoman.
[00:46:48.410]Yeah, those are the ones
[00:46:49.273]that I felt I was gonna probably know,
[00:46:51.100]I don't really know the Marvel people as well.
[00:46:54.070]Those are the new fangled superheroes.
[00:46:59.670]Well, this was--
Dr. Logan thank you so much.
[00:47:02.870]This was terrific, it was great to see you again
[00:47:05.180]and great to talk to you.
Good to you too.
[00:47:06.880]Yeah, I hope that whatever kernels of kernels that I shared,
[00:47:11.920]it would be helpful to someone else.
[00:47:13.520]And I wish everyone well in their leadership journey,
[00:47:16.240]wherever that takes them.
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