Anyone But Me

I know the Bammys have been the talk of the town lately, but it’s exciting. Why? So many of my colleagues, friends, and Twitter rock stars get the recognition they deserve.

While I’m still scratching my head over winning the “people’s choice” award, I woke  up to a bunch of tweets congratulating me as a final nominee for the category of Superintendent of the year.  

 
If you’re a connected educator, can you please take a look at this list? Seriously, read it again. How am I on this list?!?

  

Joe Sanfelippo is a legend. He took branding and all things positive to a whole new level. He has placed a hashtag on almost everything and everyone from coast to coast knows what #gocrickets means if you have a wireless device. Besides branding, he’s smart, delves into any conversation, and on a personal note, the man brought me cheese from Wisconsin when we were at EdCamp Leader last year (in exchange for a Taylor ham, egg & cheese on a real NJ bagel).  Oh yea, he’s hosting the Bammys with Tony Sinanis this year. Need I say more?  

   Mike Lubefeld is another rockstar I look up to as a Superintendent. Mike and I met virtually a few months ago and we’ve been connecting daily since. Always willing to lend a hand (and give me pizza advice in Chicago), Mike has headed up a number of initiatives, including the monthly #suptchat and is a staple on the Voxer group for Superintendents.  It was an honor to meet Mike in person a few months ago at an event at The White House.  Need I say more?

  Scott Rocco is…well… Scott Rocco! Scott was one of my instructors in the NJEXCEL certification program, and to be quite honest, I wouldn’t be who I am today without his help, guidance, and feedback. Scott walks the walk and talks the talk. Scott also loves 3D printers, so be sure to ask about them when you see him. Oh yea, he’s one of the founders of #satchat – you know – that weekly chat where hundreds of educators assemble to talk education. Need I say more?

 Patrick Larkin is another Dynamo. When I first caught on to the Twitterverse and how much one can get on here, Patrick was one of the first people I followed. Patrick and I met at NASSP in Tampa back in 2012 and had a great chat at the ‘tweet up’ (prior to Twitter being cool). He’s defined and demonstrated how to be a leader time and time again. Need I say more?

So, back to the post title, anyone but me. I am no where near the other four nominees. While I am honored that I’m in this group, anyone in this group but me. I’m a speck of sand on the beach of life here. I am, however, looking forward to a night of merrymaking with the four above and everyone in attendance in DC. 

That, and I hope to get a front row seat so I can make faces at Sanfelippo & Sinanis for the evening.

Onward to DC!

The Last Bubble Bath With My Son

For every door that closes, another opens. Good read.

Jon Harper

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Photo taken by Len dela Cruz

Today, my four-year old son and I took a bubble bath. It was so much fun. We always have a blast and we even get clean in the process. He always has to fill the tub with a various assortment of toys and that’s fine by me because it only adds to the experience.

Not long after the bath he took a much-needed nap. This gave me time to read and reflect and maybe even write a little bit. And as I began to reflect I realized that I may have just taken my last bubble bath with my son. I doubt it. But it’s possible.

I took my last bubble bath with my nine-year old daughter several years ago. She is growing up now and slowly nearing her teenage years. We still spend a lot of time together, but it is different. I…

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Digital Leadership for #FutureReady Schools – the “Going Digital” Show

We had a great time this evening speaking about digital leadership and how Superintendents are growing, learning, and moving forward… together.  A wonderful conversation and good to watch or play in the background while you’re working.  The show featured Greg Goins, Joe Sanfellippo, Mike Lubelfeld, Jeff Zoul, and myself.  It’s an interesting dynamic to see all of us together and conversing about today’s school.

You can check out the Dr. Greg Goins show on www.teachcow.com.

7 tips for new and seasoned Administrators for the 2015-16 school year

While my colleagues in the Northeast and midAtlantic are in the middle of enjoying our summer recess, some in the South are already gearing up for the start of the school year. As a Superintendent, I often get questions about what to do and what not to do. Here are seven tips that I share with those about to start their administrative career and those that are seasoned. The pics hopefully speak for themselves. All were designed using the app WordSwag.

Onward.

The past couple months have been times change.  Not with all of the education stuff, but with me.  In the interest of my two little ladies, I wish to be closer to home.  Currently, I drive 67 miles each way to work.  Starting next month, I will be driving 12.

This may seem selfish to some, but my family was, is, and always will come first to me.  Some don’t care for that, and, to shoot straight, I’m not interested in working for you if you feel that way.

That all being said, I am excited to announce the next chapter of my life by becoming the next Superintendent of Schools of the Waterford Township School District.

Image Credit: Darin Amme / @DarinAmme
Image Credit: Darin Amme / @DarinAmme
Departing LAC (AKA “the Crick”) is not an easy move.  I have watched staff and students move educational mountains in two years.  They are now the beacon of example for Salem County, New Jersey.  As a “BC district” (A being dirt poor, K being hideously loaded), we did things that  the JK districts can’t even wrap their heads around yet. It’s nice to be riding the wave of the future instead of trying to swim towards it.

My departure letter to the stakeholders can be found here.  It was really, really hard to write.

Waterford Township is located in Camden county, New Jersey.  They have outstanding schools, enjoy quiet country living, but also have the modern amenities that many are used to,  Waterford Township one of the oldest in New Jersey; settlements trace back to 1694. From my interactions so far, they are a community of friendly outgoing people who enjoy the  small town setting and clearly care about building a future which promotes all they have to offer.

I am looking forward to starting this next chapter.  We will grow, we will learn, and we will move… wait for it…

Onward.

The power of WD-40

They say that duct tape can fix practically anything and everything. Calendars have been made to honor it, there are websites dedicated to it, and I’m sure there are even fake Twitter names dedicated to it. I find another household item to be the cure-all: WD-40.

image credit: http://www.wd40.com

Yes, I know it’s not AS versatile as duct tape, but it sure does fix a whole lot.  Squeaky anything?  WD-40. Something not opening up?  WD-40. Something is just not working right and you need to spray it with something?  WD-40.

It’s my go-to tool because it works in a variety of ways.  Kind of like Edcamps.

Edcamp Leadership is today, and it will work in a variety of ways.  It’s not just for one thing.  It’s for a variety of things, just like WD-40.

Edcamps are exploding.  Do you still not know what an edcamp is or why it’s so popular?  Check out the excerpt from the edcamp foundation below:

Edcamp is a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs.

What makes Edcamp an unconference? Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference, Edcamp has an agenda that’s created by the participants at the start of the event. Instead of one person standing in front of the room talking for an hour, people are encouraged to have discussions and hands-on sessions. Sponsors don’t have their own special sessions or tables, all of the space and time are reserved for the things the people there want to talk about. People could pay hundreds of dollars to attend another conference, or they could go to Edcamp for free.

Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions. Teachers who attend Edcamp can choose to lead sessions on those things that matter, with an expectation that the people in the room will work together to build understanding by sharing their own knowledge and questions.

Edcamps are:

  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the Edcamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

I’m excited for a great day of learning here at the EdcampSNJ location today, and all of the lcoations for that matter.  You can see what everyone is doing today through the hastags:

#edcampldr

#notatedcampldr

#perisciopeedu

Onward!

My Interview At ISTE2015

Jeff Bradbury is a great friend and has helped me in a myriad of ways over the years.  This year at the national ISTE conference in Philadelphia, it was a privilege to sit down with him and Dr. Greg Goins to discuss what it’s like to be a connected superintendent.  Below is Jeff’s excerpt:

Published on Jul 5, 2015

As a first year teacher, it was a daunting thought to find yourself in the principals office. It was even more of a nasty thought to be found in the Superintendents office. Throughout the years, those ideas and thoughts have become a thing of the past thanks to a simple concept know today as the Connected Educator.

The ability to reach out and have at your finger tips educational experts who have not only been in your shoes, but are willing to help you at any moment of the day is simply outstanding. Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of getting to know several educational leaders and know them well enough that I was able to confide in them not only the great stuff happening in my classroom, but the horrible, no good, very bad stuff happening in my classroom.

Why Interview Superintendents?
When I was setting up my interviews from ISTE 2015, it was a goal to have not only teachers, but educational leaders from the highest desks and finest offices across the country. Jason Eitner and Dr. Greg Goins are two outstanding Superintendents from the great states of New Jersey and Illinois. They have been not only supporters of TeacherCast, but of my professional career and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without their mentorship.

In this interview, I break down the wall between teacher and administrator and prove to the world that even a superintendent can take a practical joke.

For more information
Jason Eitner: @iSuperEit
Greg Goins: @WfSuper
TeacherCast Appearances by Greg and Jay
Do You Have What It Takes To Be A CUE Rock Star?
TechEducator Podcast

#ISTE2015 — my brain STILL hurts, but in a good way.

my bade got its’ fair share of wear and tear!

 

This is so hard. I have been trying for days on how to lay out my takeaways from ISTE this year.  In two words:  AMAZING & OVERLOAD.

Let’s start with the amazing:

I started on Sunday morning at 8:30 with TeachMeet ISTE. In the first presentation alone, Chris Alvies blew my mind.  I literally had 19 windows open, and I went into overload.  I had to get up and take a walk outside.  Not kidding.  His presentation was off the charts.  You can see his presentation by clicking here.

Finally meeting Jerry Blumengarten face to face!

 

I then got to catch up at lunch with several friends from Twitter; it’s so great to meet people from around the world that you’ve been chatting with face to face.  Yes, I’m a geek, but I don’t care 🙂  Twitter has made me an outstanding educator, and those I follow and follow me are to thank for it.  Anytime I can thank them, I can.

Everyone loves meeting BrainPop!

I next headed to the BrainPop seminar on becoming a certified BrainPop Educator.  Before you go and say it’s just a site with videos, a robot, and assessment, there’s been WAY more added.  Check it out yourself.  

OnCourse Systems rented out the entire Constitution Center for an eveing event. It was amazing!

After that – EdCamp Global.  A great meet-up with all sorts of great people doing great things.

Following that – the keynote with Soledad O’Brien. The biggest takeaway; Soledad said that education in our country is the next civil rights movement, and I couldn’t agree more.

John LaRose and I pledged together in a fraternity over 15 years ago. He lives in Hong Kong these days; only at ISTE can you get reconnected!

It was 8:00 PM, and while many were heading out to get their party on, I needed to go home and pass out (I live 14 miles away). I was exhausted.


The next three days were just as intense. I was trying to explain to some non-education friends that this is not just going out and partying — this is WORK!  The workshops, the convention floor (the convention floor took me TWO DAYS to cover!  TWO DAYS!!!), the conversations, the meetups, the collaboration, and yes, the intense learning.

Some of the takeaways that are worth sharing (in my opinion):

If and when I can recover, I’ll be happy to share more.  Until then, when in doubt, seek out Gandolf & Curious George.


Onward!

Congratulations to all of the 2015 Bammy Educators’ Voice Award Honorees!

The following announcement was posted on The Bammy Awards website today:

Congratulations to the Educators’ Voice Award honorees for 2015! Listed by category below are the names of the honorees who received the most community votes in their category.* All honorees are recognized here and automatically become members of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Council of Peers. Honorees were also entered for consideration as candidates for a Bammy Award, to be presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences in Washington D.C. on September 26, 2015.

NOTE:The Educators’ Voice Award is *not* the Bammy Award. The Educators’ Voice honorees are determined by popular vote (similar to the People’s Choice Awards). The Bammy Award honorees are selected by the Academy Board of Governors. Bammy Award honorees are publicly announced at the Bammy Awards event in September.

College Professor

         High School Principal

honoree
       Twitter Chat Community

honoree

Early Childhood Director

honoree

High School Teacher

honoree

School Librarian

honoree

Early Childhood Staff

honoree
Innovator of the Year

honoree
          School Board Member

honoree
     Ed Commentator/Blogger

honoree
        Middle School Principal

honoree
                School Nurse

honoree
           Education Policy

honoree

Middle School Teacher

honoree

Special Needs Staff

honoree

Education Support Staff

honoree

Parent Group Leader

honoree

Superintendent

honoree

Elementary Teacher

dearybury

Education Talk Show Host

honoree

School Technologist

honoree

Elementary Principal             

honoree

Resonant Student Voice

honoree

School Business Official

honoree

Head Start Staff

honoree