Show 05 with Susan Cassata
We had a great conversation with the award winning principal, Susan Cassata. We talked about her non-negotiables as a school leader, how she includes teacher voice, supporting students who have had little to know experience with a "normal" high school year due to the pandemic, and so much more!
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[00:00:01.500]You are listening to the Lead Big Red podcast
[00:00:03.960]from the University of Nebraska Lincoln
[00:00:05.970]Educational Administration Department,
[00:00:07.980]with your host, Dr. Shavonna Holman and Dr. Scott Sturgeon.
[00:00:11.640]Welcome to the Lead Big Red Podcast.
[00:00:13.320]My name is Scott Sturgeon,
[00:00:14.370]I am an associate professor of practice
[00:00:16.050]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:00:18.000]And with me today is?
[00:00:19.440]Good morning, everyone, my name is Shavonna Holman,
[00:00:21.570]I am an assistant professor of practice
[00:00:23.820]also at the University of Nebraska Lincoln
[00:00:25.740]in the Educational Administration Department.
[00:00:28.410]And this morning we have with us, Ms. Sue Cassata.
[00:00:31.470]She will share a little bit about herself,
[00:00:33.360]and introduce herself to us, welcome.
[00:00:35.250]Well, thank you, Sue Cassata,
[00:00:37.260]principal of Lincoln East High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.
[00:00:40.200]Well, welcome, welcome, welcome, Sue.
[00:00:41.700]Thank you so much for taking the time
[00:00:42.960]to join our podcast this morning.
[00:00:45.480]We are very excited to have you,
[00:00:46.950]and we're just gonna hop on right in
[00:00:48.240]if you're okay with that.
[00:00:50.880]Sounds good, sounds good.
[00:00:52.260]So our very first question, age old question,
[00:00:55.470]why did you decide to become a school building principal?
[00:01:00.990]It's been so long now, it's kind of hard to remember.
[00:01:05.460]I like having the same influence on adults as I did on kids.
[00:01:11.880]And what I mean by that is when you're in the classroom
[00:01:14.460]and you got an opportunity to whisper into the kids' ears,
[00:01:16.897]"Have you thought about doing this
[00:01:18.480]or have you thought about becoming or pursuing this?"
[00:01:22.890]I see the role as building principle is much the same way
[00:01:27.390]of having that same influence
[00:01:28.890]and opportunity to whisper into the ears of adults.
[00:01:31.867]"Hey, when you do this, it's really powerful.
[00:01:35.760]Have you thought about leading a professional learning?
[00:01:38.760]Have you had the opportunity to do this type of reading?
[00:01:42.090]'cause I know it connects with what you're doing
[00:01:43.830]in the classroom."
[00:01:45.000]And so I see the role as building principle
[00:01:48.810]as being that same type of whisperer
[00:01:51.210]to a certain extent to the adults
[00:01:52.830]that I get the privilege of working with
[00:01:54.780]so that they see themselves having multiple possibilities
[00:01:58.950]and multiple opportunities to have significant influence
[00:02:03.240]in the lives of young people.
[00:02:06.510]That's the reason I started it.
[00:02:09.030]And by the way,
[00:02:09.863]can you tell us how long you've actually been a principal?
[00:02:11.550]Sure, I'm starting my 14th year
[00:02:14.070]and then I was just recently named
[00:02:17.340]or asked to lead the newest high school in Lincoln,
[00:02:20.310]Standing Bear High School.
[00:02:21.143]So I will leave East this year
[00:02:22.830]and then become the principal at Standing Bear High School
[00:02:26.820]for the next year.
[00:02:27.900]Well, super congratulations to you.
[00:02:30.203]What are your non-negotiables as a principal?
[00:02:32.190]This is something that is undoubtedly gonna come up
[00:02:34.410]as you introduce yourself to a new school community
[00:02:38.310]and a new staff.
[00:02:39.300]So what are some of those non-negotiables for you?
[00:02:41.760]The non-negotiables for me is that our responsibility
[00:02:46.200]in education is to prepare students for life outside.
[00:02:52.350]So a non-negotiable for me is that kids and students
[00:02:57.750]need to have the skills to make them citizens of the world
[00:03:02.070]beyond Lincoln, Nebraska.
[00:03:04.863]So they need to have a skillset of working with others,
[00:03:11.790]collaboration, problem solving,
[00:03:15.480]being able to listen, and for understanding,
[00:03:20.880]they need to be able to agree and disagree respectfully.
[00:03:28.230]And then the non-negotiables for adults
[00:03:30.870]are that we're facilitating those conversations in a fashion
[00:03:35.700]that allows kids to develop those skills.
[00:03:38.580]So we are creating an environment
[00:03:41.010]where kids may not have some of those skills
[00:03:44.010]and may struggle to develop those,
[00:03:46.380]but we take them where they are
[00:03:47.820]and then we work them through those pieces.
[00:03:50.490]That's a non-negotiable.
[00:03:51.750]A non-negotiable for me is students are first.
[00:03:55.230]They are the reason for the work that we do.
[00:03:57.630]If they weren't here, we wouldn't need to be here.
[00:04:01.322]And that's true of teachers, custodians,
[00:04:04.650]nutrition staff, counselors, everyone,
[00:04:08.790]the kids are the reason that we're here.
[00:04:10.290]And so all of what we do is to serve students well.
[00:04:15.990]Another non-negotiable for me is that we ask questions
[00:04:22.500]and that questioning is a way in which
[00:04:26.640]to develop a deeper understanding of decisions that we make,
[00:04:31.110]actions that we're engaged in, community discord
[00:04:37.200]in terms of those pieces of where does East High School
[00:04:39.390]or where does any of the schools that we serve fit
[00:04:41.940]into the kind of the community narrative?
[00:04:44.880]And so we ask questions of those pieces.
[00:04:47.010]And then I think the last non-negotiable for me,
[00:04:51.810]and this is true for high school students specifically,
[00:04:54.060]is you have to have a sense of humor,
[00:04:56.670]you can't take yourself too seriously,
[00:04:59.019]you can't take the kids too seriously
[00:05:01.915]in terms of their choices or their actions,
[00:05:06.180]because they're young adults
[00:05:07.830]whose frontal lobe isn't always connected.
[00:05:11.275]And so therefore they're not always gonna make
[00:05:13.020]the best choices that they can and you've gotta love them
[00:05:16.920]through those choices so that when they're on the other side
[00:05:20.160]of that, they're gonna make better
[00:05:22.260]or make different choices as a result of that.
[00:05:24.450]So those are my non-negotiables.
[00:05:26.160]Great, thank you so much.
[00:05:28.500]What would you say are the top three things you love most
[00:05:33.360]about being in school leadership?
[00:05:36.491]I love the fact that every day is different.
[00:05:39.750]The only thing that's consistent in my day is lunch duty,
[00:05:44.430]and even that looks different every day.
[00:05:47.280]So I love the fact that every day is different.
[00:05:50.070]I love the fact that I get
[00:05:55.020]to help people solve problems.
[00:05:57.660]And so whether it'd be a budgetary problem,
[00:06:02.940]needing to figure out how we're gonna pay for X, Y, and Z,
[00:06:06.240]whether it'd be an instructional decision,
[00:06:08.730]a staff member's making with regard
[00:06:10.500]to they have a class in a classroom
[00:06:12.600]that's just not going very well and coming in
[00:06:14.580]and helping them kind of fine tune what needs to occur,
[00:06:19.560]helping a person, a parent who is struggling
[00:06:25.110]because their child is struggling,
[00:06:26.700]and so finding them the resources that they need
[00:06:31.800]to help their child be successful
[00:06:35.280]are three of the things that I love about being a principal.
[00:06:39.540]I love the collaboration that I get to have
[00:06:42.330]with other building level leaders.
[00:06:44.190]LPS is large enough that there are currently six,
[00:06:48.360]there'll be seven high school principals next year
[00:06:51.030]with Northwest opening and then eight
[00:06:52.830]after Standing Bear opens.
[00:06:54.360]And I love the collaboration with other building leaders.
[00:06:58.560]I like the listening to the things that they do
[00:07:02.730]to serve their community and then thinking about,
[00:07:05.160]well, what would that look like if we did that at East,
[00:07:08.340]what would that look like if we did that someplace else?
[00:07:10.410]And so I love that ability to collaborate and problem solve.
[00:07:14.640]I also really enjoy adolescence.
[00:07:18.648]I worked at Don College for a number of years
[00:07:21.330]and I enjoyed working at Don,
[00:07:24.510]but what I realized is my life makes more sense
[00:07:27.570]when it's surrounded by kids and the rhythm that kids bring.
[00:07:31.560]So my life makes sense in the sense
[00:07:33.990]of five minute passing periods,
[00:07:36.120]in 50 minutes of calm, and homecoming game,
[00:07:39.428]and dances, and that sort of situation.
[00:07:41.370]So I love the rhythm of high school
[00:07:44.652]and seeing kind of every year being unique
[00:07:49.770]from the lens of being a 16 year old
[00:07:51.900]when I start and still being a 16 when I end.
[00:07:54.867]This next one, it's gonna seem
[00:07:56.610]like I'm only asking you questions
[00:07:57.750]because of your recent appointment as a new principal,
[00:08:00.840]but I wrote these without knowing that at the time,
[00:08:04.620]but it's something I'm always curious about
[00:08:06.480]with regards to principal,
[00:08:07.440]which is how do you share your leadership
[00:08:09.960]amongst your leadership team,
[00:08:12.090]however big or small it might be,
[00:08:13.924]your teachers, the students,
[00:08:17.700]how do you think about that process
[00:08:19.830]of getting everybody involved in leading the school
[00:08:23.910]and creating the environment that you want to have,
[00:08:27.510]but that also allows you
[00:08:28.440]to protect yourself a little bit too?
[00:08:31.740]One of the things that I think is really critical
[00:08:33.480]is the shared leadership idea in the sense of the matter
[00:08:36.600]is that there are some choices that are singular in a sense.
[00:08:41.670]So there are some decisions that as the building principal,
[00:08:44.250]I have to be most responsible for and to.
[00:08:48.030]Most of them are HR decisions,
[00:08:49.860]most of them are personnel decisions,
[00:08:51.930]but every other decision involved in schools
[00:08:54.750]is really a collaboration between
[00:08:58.050]whether it be the department chairs and decisions
[00:09:00.540]that we make with regard to our master schedule
[00:09:03.720]and the staffing, whether it be the student equity group
[00:09:06.990]and the work that we do with regard to raising awareness
[00:09:10.800]and a cultural competency amongst our students.
[00:09:14.640]What I try to do is empower others to have influence in
[00:09:19.020]and support their influence by listening,
[00:09:22.950]giving them the resources, asking questions,
[00:09:24.913]and that sort of situation.
[00:09:28.320]I think most people at East High School would tell you
[00:09:30.420]that there are very few times
[00:09:32.940]where it's just Susan making certain choices
[00:09:36.330]that everyone is part of that process.
[00:09:40.200]So I'm lucky enough to work
[00:09:41.820]with a pretty large leadership team who we meet weekly
[00:09:45.270]and we make decisions about what happens in the school,
[00:09:47.940]whether it be how we organize readiness days,
[00:09:50.430]to what our lunch configuration's gonna look like,
[00:09:53.520]to what our school improvement goal is,
[00:09:55.830]to what and how we focus our MTSS processes on.
[00:10:01.110]So it's really a collaboration and conversation.
[00:10:04.020]And then as a result, then actions that come
[00:10:06.090]about as a result of it.
[00:10:07.980]That's always been modeled for me.
[00:10:09.540]So I don't know what it's like to work
[00:10:13.830]in a smaller environment where there are fewer people
[00:10:16.950]to talk with about those pieces.
[00:10:19.680]So I don't have that lived concept.
[00:10:21.780]So I only know how to collaborate
[00:10:25.770]for the betterment of an environment
[00:10:27.300]and then empower others to take those pieces.
[00:10:29.520]So having people come to me and say, Susan,
[00:10:31.687]"I'm wondering about," and thinking those,
[00:10:34.710]so my questions then become,
[00:10:35.970]so how does that support our school mission and vision?
[00:10:39.360]And then how does it lend itself
[00:10:40.890]to an increased opportunities for student engagement
[00:10:44.760]and building relationships,
[00:10:45.969]which is our two school improvement goals,
[00:10:48.540]and then the third question is that
[00:10:49.893]then how do I support you to do that?
[00:10:52.110]So as I think about supporting others
[00:10:54.230]in their leadership development,
[00:10:56.100]it's understanding that what they wanna do has to fit
[00:11:00.120]within a certain construct, which is our mission and vision,
[00:11:03.090]but also our school improvement goals,
[00:11:05.730]but then supporting them in doing those pieces
[00:11:07.860]and then really just getting out of their way.
[00:11:10.279]And so asking them, how can I support?
[00:11:13.110]Checking in with them to see how they're doing,
[00:11:15.330]but really empowering them to do that great work,
[00:11:17.700]and then giving them the credit and the opportunity
[00:11:20.220]to celebrate those pieces with the whole staff.
[00:11:23.940]That's kind of how I do it.
[00:11:25.200]I'm glad you touched on that, Sue,
[00:11:26.340]because you talked about conversations, collaborations,
[00:11:29.136]and then action moving forward.
[00:11:31.350]And what's interesting
[00:11:32.430]is I was actually had a question posed
[00:11:34.727]about hearing teachers and their thoughts
[00:11:41.550]about decision in the building.
[00:11:44.190]I would say, when the last three to five years,
[00:11:47.730]I feel that this has become more of an issue
[00:11:52.950]that a lot of teachers waste their concerns about,
[00:11:56.040]about not being heard
[00:11:57.030]and not being a part of the decision making.
[00:11:59.970]And I read a very long, I mean,
[00:12:02.100]it's like 200 comments on Twitter,
[00:12:04.170]a teacher posed the question
[00:12:05.640]about why can't principals let us be more, you know,
[00:12:10.800]have our voice heard more about the decisions
[00:12:12.660]that are being made in our schools,
[00:12:14.076]because most of the decisions impact us.
[00:12:17.100]And it was really interesting hearing
[00:12:19.380]the different perspectives from some administrators,
[00:12:23.970]also from some teachers who I thought most teachers
[00:12:27.330]were gonna say, "I agree with you, 100%,"
[00:12:31.200]but there was a young man who posted his response.
[00:12:36.900]And it said, "Teacher: why can't we have more voice
[00:12:40.940]in the decisions that are being made in our school?"
[00:12:44.010]And then it said, "Principal:
[00:12:46.770]You know, I would love to hear your thoughts.
[00:12:48.090]How about we meet today after school for a brief meeting
[00:12:51.000]so I can hear you out and we can discuss things."
[00:12:52.707]And then it said, "Teacher: Are you kidding me?
[00:12:55.140]Do you want me to come and meet you after school
[00:12:57.000]during my free time to come and talk to you
[00:12:58.800]about some school stuff?"
[00:13:00.570]And so it's just interesting to see and to hear the back
[00:13:03.330]and forth and how people actually view what they feel
[00:13:06.450]is appropriate collaborative efforts in the decision making
[00:13:11.220]within the schools or how much teachers actually understand
[00:13:16.834]well, there are some decisions that have to come
[00:13:20.250]from the principal, right?
[00:13:22.498]There can't be, yes, we appreciate your voice
[00:13:25.710]and your voice is important and meaningful,
[00:13:29.160]but there are some decisions that, as the building leader,
[00:13:33.000]you have to make because you are in that position
[00:13:35.670]to make those critical decisions.
[00:13:38.580]And so thank you so much for sharing about that.
[00:13:42.570]Well, you make me wonder about, and I think staff has,
[00:13:46.920]I think some staff has always wondered
[00:13:49.140]about that decision making process,
[00:13:51.480]but I think some of what they feel now
[00:13:54.570]is the decisions that were taken were presumed
[00:13:57.450]to be taken away had mostly to do with how we operate
[00:14:01.733]And there is a different sense of organization
[00:14:04.350]and there is a different sense of kind of how we do business
[00:14:06.780]and what's the ebb and flow of what school looks like.
[00:14:10.650]What I think is really interesting about that
[00:14:13.500]is we've tried to give voice to the things
[00:14:19.442]that we've heard from staff is most important.
[00:14:21.900]So for example, I'm gonna do staffing.
[00:14:25.530]The way LPS does staffing is there's an allotment of money,
[00:14:31.320]for lack of a better phrase,
[00:14:32.160]or points that are given to us as a building
[00:14:34.440]that we then take to chairs for them to discuss
[00:14:37.230]about how do we spend that?
[00:14:38.940]How do we allocate it given these constraints?
[00:14:41.040]So here's what we need to make sure that we have.
[00:14:43.560]So allowing their voice to be as part of the process
[00:14:46.410]to when I go to make my proposal
[00:14:48.627]as to how we staff East High School,
[00:14:50.550]it's a collaborative voice in that sort of situation.
[00:14:55.770]We have a hard time as a building coming to consensus.
[00:14:59.220]And that's the problem, for example.
[00:15:02.010]So let's do cell phone policies.
[00:15:07.146]Cell phones, most teachers would tell you
[00:15:09.630]that cell phones are the bane of the existence,
[00:15:11.520]but in coming up with a universal policy
[00:15:14.217]that all people can enforce and be okay with,
[00:15:17.820]well, I use cell phones in my classroom in this fashion,
[00:15:20.250]and I use 'em in this fashion,
[00:15:21.450]but I don't wanna have to give up my right
[00:15:22.800]to do that to create this piece.
[00:15:25.080]And so I think building principles are trying to figure out,
[00:15:27.180]okay, where is that happy balance?
[00:15:29.070]What is it that staff want input on?
[00:15:32.250]And then how do we leverage that input
[00:15:33.990]then to make substantive changes
[00:15:36.450]and/or policy or practices in the building?
[00:15:38.820]And then what is it that staff would like voice in,
[00:15:41.550]but it's not as necessary?
[00:15:44.610]And so it's knowing kind of how to flush that out,
[00:15:48.090]to figure out how to give advocacy to staff
[00:15:52.046]in a way that is gonna be meaningful,
[00:15:54.810]knowing that there are some times
[00:15:56.400]where I can't ask your opinion.
[00:15:58.260]A: the turnaround time is too fast.
[00:16:00.420]B: it's a decision that ultimately I'm gonna tell you
[00:16:04.530]isn't worth our time investing our discussion in
[00:16:07.530]because it's not gonna make a difference
[00:16:09.330]in terms of what the greater district may or may not do,
[00:16:12.570]our voice in this is gonna be minimal.
[00:16:14.340]So we're gonna not choose that mountain or mole hill
[00:16:17.880]at that point in time,
[00:16:18.713]but we're gonna choose a different one
[00:16:20.160]that's gonna have a greater impact.
[00:16:21.690]So it's how to leverage those pieces
[00:16:24.690]and show staff that the advocacy that they're experiencing
[00:16:29.070]at that point in time is having an impact
[00:16:31.080]because here's the impact that it's having,
[00:16:34.050]here's the direct decision that's come about
[00:16:35.700]as a result of it,
[00:16:36.533]and then here's how it's impacting your classroom.
[00:16:39.000]So it's just knowing where that happy medium is.
[00:16:42.570]So what is something that you wish
[00:16:45.330]you'd been more prepared for before becoming a principal?
[00:16:50.820]If there is anything.
[00:16:52.890]One of my responsibilities is to work with staff
[00:16:59.520]who think they wanna become principals or wanna become,
[00:17:01.950]and it's not even principals,
[00:17:02.880]but formal school leaders
[00:17:03.900]'cause they have informal and informal school leaders.
[00:17:05.820]And so when they see themselves at this point
[00:17:08.190]in which they see they wanna transition
[00:17:09.930]to the formality of the role,
[00:17:13.581]I don't think I understood what it would take
[00:17:19.080]to mediate adults.
[00:17:24.630]'Cause we go into schools,
[00:17:26.010]we go into teaching because we like kids, okay?
[00:17:30.360]We like adolescence.
[00:17:31.710]We like the age group of 14 to 16.
[00:17:34.950]Or if you're,
[00:17:37.200]god love you if you're a middle school teacher,
[00:17:38.730]because you're even better than I am,
[00:17:40.170]but we go into teaching because we like kids
[00:17:43.530]and we like a subject.
[00:17:45.600]And sometimes we like the kids more than the subject,
[00:17:47.607]and sometimes we like the subject more than the kids.
[00:17:49.560]And so when I made the transition
[00:17:51.330]to step out of the classroom,
[00:17:53.280]I didn't realize how much of my role would be with adults.
[00:17:58.590]And I've had to learn to be as patient with adults,
[00:18:04.650]which is sometimes really hard 'cause they're adults
[00:18:08.130]and they should know better, but sometimes they don't.
[00:18:12.600]And so I don't know that I understood,
[00:18:16.743]I don't know that I understood the amount of time,
[00:18:18.602]and this is specific to the role as principal,
[00:18:21.600]as opposed to assistant principal,
[00:18:23.750]at at least how we do it at East.
[00:18:26.160]I spend a great deal of my time
[00:18:28.230]mediating adult relationships so that we're able
[00:18:31.200]to then continue the good things that we do.
[00:18:33.267]And that was something I was ill prepared for mostly
[00:18:39.000]because, again, I just didn't have that mindset.
[00:18:41.727]So I think I wish I would've known that.
[00:18:44.580]Although I don't think it would've changed my decision
[00:18:46.590]or my opportunities, but it might have changed
[00:18:50.880]how I prepared for it differently.
[00:18:55.133]And I think a lot of us don't think about that, right?
[00:18:57.750]'Cause you're managing a building,
[00:19:00.090]you're gonna be doing lunch duty,
[00:19:01.170]you're gonna be doing paperwork,
[00:19:02.640]but you have no idea of the amount of time
[00:19:05.460]that you actually spend in your office closed door
[00:19:08.670]with the adults and the issues that happen
[00:19:13.230]within the building,
[00:19:14.340]the personal issues that happen at home,
[00:19:17.040]and just trying to navigate, maneuver through all of that
[00:19:20.850]and help that person to still be the best version
[00:19:24.870]of themself working in the school
[00:19:27.540]on behalf of the children and with their counterparts.
[00:19:30.060]So yes, thank you so much for sharing that,
[00:19:33.180]because that is something that most do not think about
[00:19:36.150]at all consider going to school leadership
[00:19:39.600]as a building principal.
[00:19:43.140]And as I'm listening, I'm sitting there thinking, okay,
[00:19:46.350]how many times have I asked students in my courses
[00:19:48.900]that I'm teaching to deal with the problem of the content
[00:19:51.770]as it relates to adults that don't see eye-to-eye
[00:19:54.720]in their building because of that, right?
[00:19:56.970]I know I can think of a couple of examples,
[00:19:58.740]but I can't think of enough to make you feel good
[00:20:01.020]about I'm helping that part out.
[00:20:03.000]So thank you for influencing me in that regard,
[00:20:07.590]'cause I remember quite a bit of the shock.
[00:20:10.920]You know, one of the things that the whole transition
[00:20:13.740]to administration is that whole perspective, you know?
[00:20:16.440]You back up and you see a totally larger world, right?
[00:20:19.650]It's just different.
[00:20:22.612]And that in of itself is a shock.
[00:20:24.990]And then there's that shock of,
[00:20:26.370]oh, so many people don't do anything the way I did
[00:20:30.180]as a teacher, or you know, or whatever.
[00:20:32.940]And it takes you a little bit of time to go,
[00:20:35.730]all right, they're different and that's totally fine,
[00:20:38.130]'cause look how it's working for them.
[00:20:39.540]And that whole process,
[00:20:41.159]but that interplay of when it doesn't work
[00:20:44.010]between two of them absolutely
[00:20:46.080]is a challenge you're not necessarily ready for
[00:20:48.210]if you haven't spent a lot of time thinking
[00:20:50.010]or had someone model it.
[00:20:52.230]Well, and especially if you think about the fact
[00:20:54.090]that for the most part, people who go into,
[00:20:57.420]I get along with adults, I partnered well with them,
[00:21:02.310]we collaborated efficiently,
[00:21:04.980]I partnered with parents well,
[00:21:08.370]so I didn't know what that was like
[00:21:11.160]in terms of struggling in that, not struggling,
[00:21:15.120]but just even just being, I'm gonna say stuck,
[00:21:21.192]and that stuck's really not the right word,
[00:21:22.093]just being kind of in this immovable space,
[00:21:24.784]not wanting to move because my opinion, my thought,
[00:21:30.720]my idea at this point in time is right or correct, or.
[00:21:34.950]And so it spends a lot of time just helping people navigate
[00:21:40.890]that adult interaction in a way that doesn't allow them
[00:21:45.180]to get in the way of really being their best selves.
[00:21:51.863]And so, yeah, so I was very unprepared for that.
[00:21:54.786]Oh, and being a parent, right?
[00:21:55.860]Of a growing teenager is gonna.
[00:21:59.453]But even then, I mean, I'll be honest with you,
[00:22:01.290]I struggle with, I mean, our son is 11,
[00:22:03.330]and I'm struggling with helping my husband navigate
[00:22:06.570]that relationship and not, you know.
[00:22:08.790]It's like, dude, seriously, he's 11, let it go.
[00:22:12.000]I mean, there are gonna be greater amount.
[00:22:13.830]But yeah, there is really just that navigating
[00:22:17.790]that adult piece is just, it's hard,
[00:22:22.290]'cause that's not where people wanna spend their time,
[00:22:24.540]they wanna spend their time with kids and I get it.
[00:22:27.450]So I was in a meeting with educators
[00:22:31.080]that do tons of different jobs all over,
[00:22:34.260]public ed, and state department level,
[00:22:36.953]and consultants, and all that kind of stuff,
[00:22:39.150]and we're solving the world's problems kind of conversation.
[00:22:42.870]And the whole idea of right now people
[00:22:46.110]are too tired to do X, Y, Z.
[00:22:48.060]Like we can't ask this of teachers, of principals,
[00:22:52.590]or whatever at this point in time,
[00:22:53.531]because they're too worn out from the pandemic,
[00:22:55.950]they're too tired,
[00:22:57.510]they've been covering too many classrooms,
[00:22:58.805]they can't handle that.
[00:23:01.361]And it brought me to talk about or to make a connection
[00:23:05.790]to when you are turning a school around,
[00:23:09.760]when you're facing really massive challenges in a building,
[00:23:15.480]but it hasn't turned yet,
[00:23:17.130]if you ask anybody any given day
[00:23:18.810]if they can handle anymore, they're gonna say no,
[00:23:21.120]because right now they're putting it all in.
[00:23:23.790]But at some point in time, if you're doing it the right way,
[00:23:27.180]you're gonna come out
[00:23:28.410]and you're going to have different needs
[00:23:31.230]and you're gonna have to put energy into different places
[00:23:33.030]because you no longer are fighting culture problems
[00:23:37.470]or academic problems or whatever.
[00:23:38.940]It's gonna be a different fight.
[00:23:41.160]And my connection to that was, well,
[00:23:43.830]when we come out of the pandemic,
[00:23:46.230]are we gonna be ready for life without the pandemic again?
[00:23:48.780]Because so much of our time, energy,
[00:23:50.640]and focus has been on mitigation of any number of effects
[00:23:57.150]that the pandemic has brought to our school.
[00:23:59.460]So my question for you, and that's how I thought about it
[00:24:03.063]when I formulated the question,
[00:24:04.980]you can answer it contextually however you think about it,
[00:24:07.920]but how are you setting up your school
[00:24:11.370]for life after the pandemic?
[00:24:13.020]Or how are you thinking about life after the pandemic?
[00:24:16.530]Because in many cases, and I'm not saying it's yours,
[00:24:19.470]but in many cases, people paused things
[00:24:21.990]that they previously believed were important.
[00:24:24.780]People brought things forward faster,
[00:24:26.820]technology was one that everybody
[00:24:28.680]in some way brought forward way faster
[00:24:30.990]that they might have been very conservative
[00:24:33.420]or hesitant on in the past,
[00:24:35.459]but we've got this kind of new arrangement
[00:24:38.829]of this thing got put on the shelf,
[00:24:41.550]this thing I kept going as much as I could,
[00:24:43.200]this thing, I don't even think about anymore,
[00:24:45.600]so how are you thinking about post-pandemic?
[00:24:48.303]What does your school need to be doing?
[00:24:51.660]Prior to the pandemic, when LPS passed the bond issue,
[00:24:58.260]I began preparing East High School
[00:25:00.360]for when the new schools opened
[00:25:02.880]because we would become smaller,
[00:25:05.940]we would become, you know, we're at 2,300 kids,
[00:25:11.788]which is not the largest high school in the state,
[00:25:15.150]but a larger one.
It's up there.
[00:25:16.951]It's up there, it's a large institution.
[00:25:20.130]You know, 155 certificated staff
[00:25:23.603]and a support staff of nutrition and custodians,
[00:25:28.710]you're over 3,000 on any given day at a certain time.
[00:25:33.360]So preparing people for what that would look like
[00:25:35.820]and recognizing the fact that what we're trying to build
[00:25:38.550]is a really strong cultural piece,
[00:25:41.010]knowing that people are going to leave
[00:25:42.870]and they're gonna choose to leave,
[00:25:43.980]and some are gonna be asked to leave
[00:25:45.090]because we don't have the same need for staff as we used to,
[00:25:48.570]but building a really strong foundation within them
[00:25:51.120]of what does collaboration look like?
[00:25:52.800]What does strong instructional practices look like?
[00:25:55.440]What does family partnership look like?
[00:25:58.200]And having a really strong foundation of those pieces.
[00:26:00.750]So when they then go somewhere else,
[00:26:03.930]they're taking some of that with them
[00:26:05.790]and then establishing in the space
[00:26:07.355]that they'll land some of those kind of behaviors.
[00:26:10.558]And so we began some of that pre-pandemic
[00:26:16.440]and then the pandemic hit,
[00:26:18.270]and then we had to renegotiate some of those ideas
[00:26:22.214]of what does quality instruction look like.
[00:26:24.810]And there were some good pieces that came about
[00:26:26.670]as a of the pandemic.
[00:26:27.810]I do think we're better utilizing technology
[00:26:32.357]as an instructional tool.
[00:26:35.130]I think what we need to get back to
[00:26:36.810]is then some of what do those innate other tools look like?
[00:26:42.090]So what does paper and pencil now serve?
[00:26:43.920]How do I use paper and pencil now in a means
[00:26:46.560]by which to think of brainstorming or collaboration
[00:26:48.930]or whatever it is we're doing and stuff.
[00:26:50.597]And so we've learned
[00:26:52.050]and had to learn some really strong skill sets
[00:26:54.570]in terms of technology.
[00:26:58.740]I think we have become better at creating assessments
[00:27:05.670]that coincide with what it is the activity that we're doing,
[00:27:09.990]and then we need to become better
[00:27:11.370]about the grading practices.
[00:27:12.600]So I think we've let go of a few things
[00:27:14.003]with regard to grading,
[00:27:17.580]and I don't know that we've let go of them,
[00:27:19.500]I don't know that we ever really had them,
[00:27:20.880]so it's not like all of a sudden our grading practice
[00:27:22.590]has simply become poor,
[00:27:24.000]but I do think that we need to go back
[00:27:25.860]to some of those fundamental pieces of knowing
[00:27:28.140]if these are my outcomes I'm measuring
[00:27:29.730]and then this is how I'm going to assess it,
[00:27:31.540]what's the best means by which to provide feedback
[00:27:34.860]in that loop of learning?
[00:27:37.170]Is something we we've gotta go back to.
[00:27:39.990]I think we have become disconnected
[00:27:43.890]with the importance of face-to-face interactions.
[00:27:48.870]So for example, we got really used
[00:27:51.060]to having our staff meetings on Zoom.
[00:27:53.250]So when we came back to having staff meetings in person
[00:27:56.160]and building that community of staff
[00:27:58.320]has really been a critical piece.
[00:28:00.930]So we spend time doing our own restorative circles
[00:28:05.310]and building that sense of culture amongst ourselves,
[00:28:07.770]because for a year and a half,
[00:28:09.540]we became really insulated and isolated in the department
[00:28:13.050]and in the area, and if I didn't have to interact
[00:28:15.540]with a member in science who's upstairs on second floor
[00:28:19.260]and I'm downstairs in the basement,
[00:28:20.640]then I don't need to know them.
[00:28:22.890]So I think we have to go back to kind of building a culture
[00:28:25.710]and building a community because we've let go
[00:28:27.570]of some of those pieces because I wasn't required
[00:28:31.980]to invest in others like I had been before.
[00:28:34.980]So I think that's an important piece.
[00:28:36.540]I think the other thing that we've set aside
[00:28:40.244]because of the pandemic is we've kind of set aside
[00:28:45.390]some support mechanisms by helping kids.
[00:28:51.300]Kids don't know what it's like to be a high school kid.
[00:28:54.930]You know, our seniors are really the only ones
[00:28:58.170]that have had a year that was uninterrupted by the pandemic.
[00:29:01.350]And so we have an opportunity at this point to really think
[00:29:04.800]about what does it mean to be a high school student?
[00:29:07.560]How do we teach that?
[00:29:09.060]Because we have to teach it now more intentionally
[00:29:11.160]than we ever had before.
[00:29:12.840]And it's as simple as, for example,
[00:29:18.480]our out of class movement forms right now
[00:29:21.390]show us that kids are having struggling
[00:29:23.010]with following simple directions,
[00:29:25.590]because we've not defined what a simple direction is.
[00:29:28.800]What is a simple instruction in your classroom?
[00:29:31.350]What does that look like?
[00:29:32.183]What does it sound like?
[00:29:33.016]What do you expect students to be able to do?
[00:29:36.120]'Cause previously, I could have told them
[00:29:38.130]to take a seat or come prepared.
[00:29:40.980]Well, that means something different now.
[00:29:45.000]And so I think coming out of the pandemic,
[00:29:46.530]we have to go back to some of those,
[00:29:48.450]what we consider basics, about being a high school student.
[00:29:51.077]And we need to really intentionally teach it
[00:29:54.150]because the reality of it is is that our students
[00:29:57.267]and our young people's lives have looked so different
[00:29:59.790]in terms of school that if those are the important pieces
[00:30:02.970]and whatever those important pieces are,
[00:30:04.800]we've gotta say, okay, as an institution,
[00:30:06.780]here's how we're gonna approach it,
[00:30:08.190]here's what we're gonna teach kids,
[00:30:09.780]here's how we're gonna support
[00:30:10.800]their acquisition of that skill,
[00:30:13.860]here's how we're gonna reteach it
[00:30:15.030]when they don't acquire it,
[00:30:16.710]'cause they're not going to
[00:30:17.847]for the first time or the second time,
[00:30:19.830]and then how do we then continue to support
[00:30:21.870]in that sort of situation.
[00:30:22.783]So I think really going back to the basics of,
[00:30:26.430]'cause prior to it, we could just say,
[00:30:28.050]this is what a high school student is.
[00:30:29.190]I don't think we have that definition anymore
[00:30:31.680]and we've gotta redefine that.
[00:30:34.943]Hopefully that answers your question.
[00:30:35.776]Yeah, no, it does because you're, you know,
[00:30:38.280]I think about it from my perspective,
[00:30:39.900]which is totally different than yours
[00:30:42.407]in your current situation at a high school
[00:30:45.330]and what that's looked like.
[00:30:46.680]And just that idea of student experience
[00:30:51.240]is not even remotely the same.
[00:30:54.510]They got to know people in a different way.
[00:30:58.413]They can probably read people's eyes way better
[00:31:00.570]than I could at that age,
[00:31:02.530]but they don't have the rest, right?
[00:31:05.040]I mean, there's just so many things.
[00:31:06.540]So I think that's a great point that you make
[00:31:08.880]that your seniors are the only ones
[00:31:10.980]that know high school normalcy as it used to be known.
[00:31:14.220]And now you're, in a sense, rebuilding it
[00:31:16.200]with people that maybe lost most of middle school
[00:31:21.600]or all of middle school
[00:31:23.070]and now we're in this new space and they're like,
[00:31:24.810]well, what is it supposed to look like here?
[00:31:26.130]'Cause I don't know.
[00:31:27.450]And like you said with the adult relationship piece,
[00:31:32.250]that changes it too, because that whole idea of,
[00:31:36.300]well, I know you're in Dr. Holman's class.
[00:31:41.340]Well, that might not happen anymore
[00:31:42.840]because they don't have incidental conversations
[00:31:45.090]about students that they're both trying to help.
[00:31:47.820]I mean, so that's, you know,
[00:31:50.130]there's some really interesting pieces
[00:31:51.660]and some good stuff there.
[00:31:52.560]I appreciate that.
[00:31:55.950]So staying along this topic of the pandemic
[00:32:00.000]and thinking about someone who was interested
[00:32:03.300]and potentially becoming an administrator at a school,
[00:32:08.403]what would be your recommendations to anybody
[00:32:11.340]that's thinking about becoming a school leader
[00:32:14.730]in an administrative role?
[00:32:16.290]And would you say that your recommendations
[00:32:22.560]right now as they stand are different
[00:32:26.070]than they were possibly pre-pandemic?
[00:32:29.628]That's a great question, and no.
[00:32:31.710]I mean, any person that I think
[00:32:33.720]who wants to become a high school principal I can support,
[00:32:37.200]but pre-pandemic, post-pandemic,
[00:32:39.540]you gotta love the lifestyle.
[00:32:41.610]So being a high school,
[00:32:43.890]and I've never been anything
[00:32:44.850]but a high school administrator,
[00:32:46.590]so I can't speak to middle level or elementary,
[00:32:48.540]although I would assume,
[00:32:50.760]I think there are some similarities, there's a lifestyle,
[00:32:53.310]you gotta love the lifestyle.
[00:32:54.990]So when I taught high school, I love the lifestyle.
[00:32:58.650]I loved going to the events,
[00:33:00.120]I loved going to support students,
[00:33:04.500]I liked going to the graduation celebrations,
[00:33:06.990]I liked going to a store and having a parent come up
[00:33:12.840]and talk to me in that sort of situation.
[00:33:14.430]You have to love the lifestyle.
[00:33:18.363]And you have to love that.
[00:33:20.940]So if a person wants to go into service in this fashion,
[00:33:27.000]I think they have to love the lifestyle.
[00:33:29.150]If you don't love the lifestyle as a teacher,
[00:33:32.070]you're certainly not gonna love the lifestyle
[00:33:33.840]as an administrator
[00:33:34.673]because you have additional responsibilities
[00:33:36.540]to that lifestyle in ways that as a classroom teacher,
[00:33:39.876]I could not go, you know?
[00:33:42.870]So like as a building principal,
[00:33:45.150]if we don't have supervision at an event,
[00:33:49.170]that's my responsibility to do.
[00:33:52.140]If we have a student who, for whatever reason,
[00:33:58.620]is unable to go home at that point in time
[00:34:01.271]and we're working to try to find safe and secure housing
[00:34:05.310]for them and other people have left,
[00:34:07.680]then that's my responsibility to stay and help figure out.
[00:34:10.770]So you have to love the lifestyle.
[00:34:12.210]So I don't think my recommendation has changed at all
[00:34:15.743]because the people that, and Scott can even attest to this,
[00:34:18.600]when I was working at Don,
[00:34:20.460]people that were thinking that they wanted to do it,
[00:34:22.320]they had to be ready to let go of certain things.
[00:34:24.840]So like, if you were still coaching,
[00:34:26.910]if you loved coaching, okay?
[00:34:29.370]And you weren't ready necessarily to give that up,
[00:34:31.819]then my recommendation to you at this point in time
[00:34:34.191]is that transition to becoming a building level leader
[00:34:37.770]needed to be delayed a little bit,
[00:34:39.120]'cause you had to have given everything you wanted
[00:34:41.730]to that environment of coaching
[00:34:43.380]so that you're able to then do other things in that realm
[00:34:46.800]is a piece of advice that I've given
[00:34:48.510]for almost 30 years now or 20 years now.
[00:34:51.960]So you have to love the lifestyle.
[00:34:53.520]The other thing is you have to be okay
[00:34:55.170]with not having closure to things.
[00:35:00.510]So there are very few days where I leave
[00:35:04.351]and I have my to-do list and my tasks done.
[00:35:09.480]There are very few days where I feel like,
[00:35:14.790]man, I accomplished a lot.
[00:35:17.580]'Cause I'm often not able to remember what I did that day
[00:35:20.473]to say that I accomplished anything
[00:35:22.452]and still be okay with those pieces.
[00:35:26.580]I think some of my colleagues that had their first couple
[00:35:33.390]of years as principals in the pandemic
[00:35:38.130]have had to experience certain things
[00:35:39.750]that had they had a different foundation
[00:35:43.050]of a couple of years of whatever normal was,
[00:35:46.455]that what we've experienced the last two
[00:35:49.440]or three years wouldn't have been as trying for them.
[00:35:53.310]But I also think that we are at a point
[00:35:55.410]where we have to then evaluate what's that normal piece?
[00:35:59.730]Cheryl Turner, who does some trauma informed care,
[00:36:03.270]did a presentation that I was attending earlier this summer.
[00:36:06.900]And she talked about the fact that everyone's talking about,
[00:36:08.500]well, we can't wait to get back to normal,
[00:36:10.470]but we need to recognize is normals change.
[00:36:13.370]And I'm not the same person I was three years ago
[00:36:17.160]when this started.
[00:36:18.600]And as a result of being a new person,
[00:36:21.060]the normal that I create after this is gonna be different,
[00:36:23.580]and look different, and feel different.
[00:36:24.780]And that's all, okay.
[00:36:28.080]So as I crave what I perceive was normal,
[00:36:31.380]I'm not even sure I know what that was
[00:36:32.940]prior to the pandemic,
[00:36:35.580]'cause people will say, well, this is hard.
[00:36:37.950]Well, I hate to tell you this,
[00:36:39.120]school has always been hard.
[00:36:41.370]I mean, there's never, you know,
[00:36:44.111]doing this for 26 years, it's never been easy.
[00:36:46.710]There's always been hardness to it.
[00:36:50.010]And so I don't know what we think will be easier
[00:36:53.582]when we're not dealing with some of the pandemic decisions
[00:36:57.593]that we have to make.
[00:36:58.740]So my advice is no different, you gotta love the lifestyle.
[00:37:03.230]If you love the lifestyle
[00:37:04.650]and you love the kids that you serve,
[00:37:06.060]then you'll be fine regardless
[00:37:07.791]of whether or not we're in masks or not, so.
[00:37:10.911]So interesting that you call it a lifestyle.
[00:37:12.540]'Cause I've never, I'm elementary, Scott,
[00:37:15.900]and so thinking about your work as a lifestyle,
[00:37:19.050]but it is for high school,
[00:37:20.820]Because when you think about all the events,
[00:37:23.040]and your clubs, and just the set up,
[00:37:25.680]and the structure of everything, it truly is a lifestyle.
[00:37:29.310]And like you said, some things are very similar, right?
[00:37:31.860]Elementary, middle, and high school,
[00:37:34.650]because those are same issues that we just deal with
[00:37:38.537]and work with, but yes, high school certainly
[00:37:41.730]is a lifestyle.
[00:37:44.460]But I think even if you think
[00:37:45.420]about your elementary experience
[00:37:46.890]was still a lifestyle as well.
[00:37:48.186]You know, you had fun night.
[00:37:50.040]I mean, there was, I mean, there was a different rhythm.
[00:37:53.439]It's just different, yeah.
Just different, yeah.
[00:37:56.155]But it is a lifestyle and you gotta love the lifestyle.
[00:37:58.320]If you go to into elementary,
I love that.
[00:37:59.970]if you go into education-
[00:38:00.989]I'll use that if you don't mind.
[00:38:02.183]Oh please do.
[00:38:04.800]I'll give you credit though.
[00:38:05.640]No, you don't have to, but I mean, yeah,
[00:38:07.350]you gotta live closer.
I'll take credit
[00:38:08.183]for managing the syllabus.
[00:38:10.027]But yeah, you have to love the lifestyle.
[00:38:13.070]If you don't love the lifestyle as a teacher,
[00:38:15.360]you're certainly not gonna love the lifestyle
[00:38:16.740]when you make a decision to become responsible
[00:38:20.067]for more things that you're not in control of.
[00:38:22.830]All right, Ms. Cassata.
[00:38:24.270]I'm quoting you from here on out.
[00:38:25.770]That works, thank you.
[00:38:28.948]For my last question,
[00:38:31.500]I was gonna ask about how you protect your priorities.
[00:38:35.250]And you can answer that one if you want,
[00:38:37.200]but also your discussion of lifestyle
[00:38:39.666]and because you've kind of talked a little bit about
[00:38:42.390]with your non-negotiable answers and the way
[00:38:44.640]in which you share leadership with staff
[00:38:46.740]and how you ask them questions,
[00:38:48.060]some of that allows you to filter out,
[00:38:50.130]which is another way of protecting your priorities.
[00:38:52.980]So maybe I'll ask you,
[00:38:54.450]and this is something I've done with students in courses,
[00:38:57.930]which is thinking about how do they protect themselves
[00:39:04.830]from the energy draining aspects of the work,
[00:39:08.040]or how do they, in maybe in a more positive,
[00:39:10.800]how do they build themselves up on a regular basis,
[00:39:13.800]positive habits, whatever those may be,
[00:39:16.980]make sure that they don't let go of those bucket fillers
[00:39:19.530]in their own lives so that they can give
[00:39:21.810]what they need to give to work,
[00:39:22.920]but also give what they need to give when they get home,
[00:39:24.930]whenever that happens to be.
[00:39:27.090]That's a great question.
[00:39:29.070]And it it's something that I have struggled with.
[00:39:36.660]So my story is a little...
[00:39:40.290]So when I first got into administration, I was single,
[00:39:45.810]I wasn't married, and I didn't have children.
[00:39:48.630]And so I didn't have to...
[00:39:51.720]The protection of my time looked different
[00:39:53.820]or the protection of kind of my bucket fillers
[00:39:57.660]And so when I got to East, I found myself married,
[00:40:04.620]I found myself pregnant at the age of 40 with our son,
[00:40:10.170]and I had to relearn a few things
[00:40:12.870]because I liked control,
[00:40:17.460]I was soon about to learn how to not be in control.
[00:40:22.200]I also think there's a different expectation,
[00:40:27.270]and I'm not trying to be controversial with this,
[00:40:29.760]but I do think there's a different expectation of women
[00:40:32.640]in roles of leadership, especially high school principals,
[00:40:36.960]than there is of men.
[00:40:37.890]And then you add on the responsibility of being a mom
[00:40:40.800]on top of that, there were years
[00:40:44.640]in my early career in this role
[00:40:47.070]where I didn't feel good about any of it.
[00:40:52.500]I didn't feel...
[00:40:54.180]And I've never been one to have a,
[00:40:56.910]whatever that work life balance thing is,
[00:40:58.507]I don't know what the hell that is.
[00:41:00.480]And I've never known it.
[00:41:01.313]I've never known it.
[00:41:03.089]I don't know what that looks like,
[00:41:04.892]I don't know what it feels like, I've never known it,
[00:41:08.430]but I've had to learn to be okay in the moment knowing
[00:41:13.500]that I'm doing the best that I can being a mom,
[00:41:16.980]being a principal, being a wife, being a sister,
[00:41:21.240]being a daughter, being a friend.
[00:41:23.880]And depending upon what's happening in those roles,
[00:41:29.100]something's gonna get a greater priority of mine
[00:41:33.090]So for example, my father is in his '80s,
[00:41:36.450]I'm now working on parenting an aging adult,
[00:41:42.270]so doing some things like that,
[00:41:45.210]what I've learned to do is give myself forgiveness.
[00:41:50.340]I've learned to be okay with things
[00:41:53.580]not being completely done,
[00:41:57.810]whether it be the dishes at home, or my laundry,
[00:42:02.700]or maybe a report that I have to do,
[00:42:09.000]maybe I haven't fine tuned all of my appraisals
[00:42:11.880]like I should have at this point
[00:42:12.969]in third quarter for probationary staff,
[00:42:15.660]not that I'm admitting anything to all of you,
[00:42:17.490]but maybe I fell behind there.
[00:42:21.270]So there's just certain things that I know I won't get back.
[00:42:23.760]So it's going on the band trip
[00:42:26.760]and taking my husband and my son with me.
[00:42:29.340]And then, so I'm still going on the band trip,
[00:42:31.410]I'm still supporting kids,
[00:42:32.490]but I'm also bringing along the two most important people,
[00:42:35.280]so they get to experience something
[00:42:36.960]that I'm passionate about, which is music education
[00:42:38.815]and opportunities for kids.
[00:42:40.830]So I've learned how to negotiate those pieces.
[00:42:46.476]I've never been an Uber exerciser.
[00:42:49.980]I mean, like people that get up at like 4:30 in the morning
[00:42:53.670]to exercise, I don't even know what that's like.
[00:42:55.440]You know, if I'm gonna get up at 4:30,
[00:42:57.117]I'm gonna drink coffee and read a book.
[00:43:00.930]But I figured out how to kind of do some of that
[00:43:04.588]to bring me kind of some peace and some solace.
[00:43:10.830]So during the school year,
[00:43:14.460]I don't read as much educational work as I do
[00:43:17.430]during the summer when I have more time.
[00:43:19.890]So during the school year, I read more for leisure,
[00:43:24.150]I take walks, I go outside and play basketball with Tate,
[00:43:30.600]when the nice weather's outside, we play more board games,
[00:43:34.950]we do some of those pieces,
[00:43:37.440]so that what I can say to my husband on Sunday
[00:43:40.620]when we're going through the whole schedule for the week,
[00:43:42.330]well it's basketball district, so I have basketball tonight,
[00:43:45.090]I have basketball on Tuesday,
[00:43:46.620]I have basketball on Wednesday,
[00:43:47.640]we have parent teacher conferences on Thursday,
[00:43:49.410]so Friday is when I've got nothing going on.
[00:43:52.287]And so we can approach that week saying,
[00:43:54.270]okay, so this is what we did on the weekend
[00:43:55.710]to spend some time as a family.
[00:43:58.320]But I think some folks who really strive
[00:44:03.090]for that work life balance need to recognize the fact
[00:44:05.190]that it doesn't exist and that's okay.
[00:44:07.943]I mean, that's not a criticism.
[00:44:09.432]There are times where it's really balanced
[00:44:11.832]and times when it's not.
[00:44:13.650]I take great vacations.
[00:44:16.590]I go on three strictly reading vacations
[00:44:20.340]where I go to a beach and do nothing but read for four days.
[00:44:27.270]I don't take my husband with me,
[00:44:28.770]I don't take my son with me.
[00:44:32.460]And I'm sorry that the Pledge of Allegiance
[00:44:33.810]is going on right now and I'm not standing, but it's okay.
[00:44:38.462]So there's just certain things like that.
[00:44:40.380]And then I try to be intentional
[00:44:42.150]and take vacations with them, so it's just all about them.
[00:44:46.710]So to answer your questions, Scott,
[00:44:48.360]I think you've gotta figure out where your priorities are
[00:44:51.627]and my priorities are being a good principal,
[00:44:55.290]being a good wife and spouse,
[00:44:57.780]being a good daughter and sister and family,
[00:45:01.920]and then everything else just kind of flows.
[00:45:03.570]And there are moments where I think some of those decisions
[00:45:07.040]are more important than others
[00:45:08.307]and so the nice piece about the team
[00:45:10.170]that I work with is they recognize that.
[00:45:11.790]So they'll be there to pick up some of those pieces
[00:45:14.070]if I have to take my dad to the doctor,
[00:45:16.890]in that sort of situation.
[00:45:18.027]And that's the blessing of my life.
[00:45:21.060]Sort of recognizing those blessings and being good with how,
[00:45:23.940]and then helping others find those blessings as well.
[00:45:26.477]It was a little longer answer than I intended.
[00:45:29.250]No, that's terrific.
[00:45:30.083]And that is along the lines of what I was trying
[00:45:32.496]to help them understand.
[00:45:34.620]So I can refer them to this answer,
[00:45:39.540]so they can hear somebody else talk about it.
[00:45:42.267]And that's that one idea of let go of the idea
[00:45:44.475]that you're gonna ever feel balanced, because you're not.
[00:45:48.750]And all it takes is some sort of family emergency
[00:45:54.480]to really find out that you can't focus on work
[00:45:56.670]if there's a family emergency,
[00:45:58.170]and then you'll realize that balance doesn't exist
[00:46:00.000]and that you will give more time and energy
[00:46:02.383]to one or the other.
[00:46:03.930]And what we just talked about
[00:46:04.980]is be in this space you're at, right?
[00:46:07.020]So if I'm here, then that's where my focus is.
[00:46:11.070]And I'm not giving as to much something else.
[00:46:13.350]And if I'm not here, then I'm not guilty about that
[00:46:16.343]because we have that.
[00:46:18.210]But I think one of the things that you said,
[00:46:20.040]which I think more people in these roles would benefit from
[00:46:26.430]was literally the communication about what my week
[00:46:30.570]appears to look like right now.
[00:46:32.430]It's not even gonna be that,
[00:46:33.870]but this is what I think it's gonna be,
[00:46:36.090]this is where you're not gonna have me,
[00:46:38.192]or I'm not gonna be there in the same way
[00:46:40.260]that you might want me, or it's gonna be harder because of,
[00:46:43.200]and I think even just that,
[00:46:44.730]that level setting of expectations for yourself
[00:46:48.090]and for the people that are going to count on you,
[00:46:51.750]can alleviate some of the stress of not being there
[00:46:56.040]and also can help people understand what that lifestyle is
[00:47:01.740]when they are with a school administrator,
[00:47:04.800]'cause it's a different thing, you know?
[00:47:07.437]If you're a college coach's spouse,
[00:47:13.170]they're gonna be gone a lot.
[00:47:14.340]I mean, there's things that come with the territory.
[00:47:17.220]We don't always know that when we engage with somebody
[00:47:19.770]that they're gonna go on to this role
[00:47:21.464]that's gonna chew up a lot of life,
[00:47:23.666]but it's that the communication of how things have evolved
[00:47:26.783]or how things have changed or what I need to be successful
[00:47:30.240]at my job and what do you need
[00:47:31.830]for me to be successful at this?
[00:47:33.720]So I think that was a great, great way to look at it.
[00:47:38.250]Before we move on too, I just wanna point out,
[00:47:40.500]I'm so glad that you spoke about that
[00:47:41.820]because it's important for,
[00:47:45.330]and no disrespect to the hard work that fathers also do,
[00:47:49.320]but it is a little bit different for mothers, right?
[00:47:52.076]And I think from all of that, what I heard you say was like,
[00:47:55.770]you have to give yourself grace.
[00:47:58.913]Because you have the best intent on doing everything,
[00:48:01.800]like what your calendar says, right?
[00:48:04.230]Everything that needs to be done and that should be done
[00:48:06.330]or what the perception of what should be done,
[00:48:07.980]but it's okay if you just don't get the dishes done.
[00:48:10.440]And that drives me crazy at home, like I'm so tired
[00:48:15.780]and all I have to do is just to get 'em
[00:48:16.980]and put 'em in the dishwasher, you know what I mean?
[00:48:18.630]But it's just kind of like, I don't feel like it.
[00:48:22.280]But then it keeps me up, right?
[00:48:24.030]'Cause I'm like, it's such an easy task,
[00:48:27.030]but it's just so hard to give yourself grace.
[00:48:29.250]And it is a skill that you have to learn
[00:48:32.070]and you to be able to be intentional about being okay
[00:48:35.910]when you don't or when you aren't able to do
[00:48:39.000]every single thing that you feel or that the perception
[00:48:42.720]is that you must do, especially as a woman in leadership,
[00:48:46.290]especially as a mother in leadership,
[00:48:48.300]especially when you feel like you already have
[00:48:49.980]to work 1,000 times harder,
[00:48:52.466]'cause you are a woman in leadership.
[00:48:55.611]And so thank you so much for sharing that
[00:48:57.533]because it was a great lesson for me to just remember.
[00:49:00.450]It's nice to just hear that every once and a while
[00:49:03.750]to fall back into.
[00:49:05.020]Yeah, I think it's just something that, you know,
[00:49:07.080]and again, I mean, it's the reality of and I embrace it
[00:49:11.393]and again, like Scott said, it's the communication
[00:49:13.553]within the family structure
[00:49:15.480]and within the community structure of these are the things,
[00:49:18.210]you know, so for example,
[00:49:19.230]I didn't cover basketball on Saturday night
[00:49:21.570]because Tate was singing the national anthem
[00:49:23.310]at an event and stuff.
[00:49:25.320]So just knowing where I can give
[00:49:28.290]and where those priorities are,
[00:49:29.760]and then just saying, this is at this point a non-negotiable
[00:49:32.520]because I missed these other events because of these things.
[00:49:35.490]It's just really, for me, an important piece, so.
[00:49:38.866]The thing that that's a great example of,
[00:49:41.790]what I would see too often with some of my principles,
[00:49:46.110]which was they were all about family for their staff
[00:49:50.250]and not nearly enough about family for themselves.
[00:49:53.728]And that that shared leadership piece is exactly that.
[00:49:57.420]Like, oh, by the way, I'm gonna model
[00:49:59.940]that we go home for our family sometimes
[00:50:02.280]with nothing accomplished today that was on our list.
[00:50:06.180]Yep, so, yeah.
[00:50:08.633]All right, the last thing we do is a red round,
[00:50:10.860]which is 60 seconds of high intensity,
[00:50:13.413]controversial, and challenging questions that Holman asks.
[00:50:19.500]Just some fun ways to end our conversation.
[00:50:22.170]So thank you.
[00:50:23.053]First thing that just comes to your mind
[00:50:24.120]when I ask the question.
[00:50:25.080]Usually like or questions.
[00:50:28.140]All right, you're ready?
[00:50:30.503]Okay, Scott, you got the timer?
[00:50:32.040]I got the timer,
[00:50:35.823]Insects or animals?
[00:50:39.120]Winter or summer?
[00:50:42.870]Plane, train, bus, or car?
[00:50:47.010]Relaxing or on the go?
[00:50:52.380]Spicy or mild?
[00:50:55.440]Caffeine or natural energy?
[00:50:57.330]Oh my god, caffeine.
[00:51:00.090]Horror, drama, or comedy?
[00:51:04.080]Lunch duty or staff meeting?
[00:51:06.870]Oh, lunch duty, way easier.
[00:51:13.650]Is that about a minute, 'cause that's all I got.
[00:51:15.060]I can come up with some more.
[00:51:16.183]Oh no, that's great.
[00:51:17.730]That was great, oh my goodness.
[00:51:20.830]Love it, love it, love it.
[00:51:23.040]Well, it was so good to see you here.
[00:51:24.625]It was so good to see you, Scott.
[00:51:25.710]So thank you guys very much for everything.
[00:51:27.510]Yes, it was a pleasure meeting you.
[00:51:28.590]Very nice meeting you as well.
[00:51:29.423]I'm gonna meet you person sometime.
[00:51:31.284]I would like to do that.
[00:51:32.117]I would love to do that, so.
[00:51:33.900]Well, you guys enjoy the rest of your day
[00:51:35.940]and thank you for asking me to be part of this.
[00:51:37.410]I was really honored.
[00:51:38.243]Absolutely, it was a pleasure having you.
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