Complacency Kills

I just finished reading one of the best books ever. The Operator by Robert O’Neill is the story of the Navy SEAL who dedicated a good chunk of his life fighting for American freedoms. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it should; he’s the SEAL who fired three rounds into Osama Bin Laden.

The boy from Butte, Montana, gave his all for all of us for over 16 years. He didn’t stay 20 years (20 years gives a pension and benefits); he left after 16. He left for a myriad of reasons, but the biggest factor was how he was becoming complacent when he was going on missions. He shared about one specific mission where he was so lax that he was smoking cigars a few minutes before a planned ambush of terrorists. After the ambush, he was hanging out with guys who were tossing around damaged RPG heads as if they were nerf balls. O’Neill said flat out that if he kept up his complacent ways, it would literally kill him, which had me thinking.

What about those in education who become complacent? The teacher who is waiting until 25 years? The principal who won’t do anything that would “rock the boat”? The superintendent who is just trying to keep everyone happy? All of these complacent actions are killing the creativity of both staff and students and dashing the hopes of some, keeping them from being the best they can really be.

We’ve all seen these so-called educators in our schools. We’ve either subjected to them as a student, worked with them as coworkers, or even supervised them. If you think that none of them are where you work, you’re being foolish. They are everywhere. Some are placed in positions that have the least student contact, some have positions created for them (or a position is created to keep them occupied and out of everyone’s hair), some become lapdogs for administrators, and some even brainwash an entire community into thinking that they are so important that whatever they do is equally important. What these people project versus what these people do is just flat out sad. Their complacent attitudes end up just wasting space and tax-payer dollars.

I once worked with one who was the master of complacency. The stars aligned–a volunteer on multiple district committees to feel and look important, overseeing a program that was created because the individual was awful on other positions (tenured, of course), and didn’t even have a schedule. The teacher literally did whatever, whenever and was the laughing stock of the district by both teachers and administrators. Don’t be fooled, though.  The person was seen as a savior in the community, because when you have nothing else to do but brainwash, why wouldn’t you? I couldn’t tell you how many times, when something was needed or the name was brought up, it was followed by either laughter or, “That person does nothing! How do I get that job?” All I could ask myself is how could the complacency of a do-nothing person be tolerated by peers and supervisors alike?

To an extent, I don’t blame the person. I really blame the immediate administrator who coddled for so long and the central administrator who continuously looked the other way when this person was championing everything BUT educating students. It was petty and pathetic.

In no way am I trying to compare the valor and bravery of SEAL O’Neill to what we do in schools. However, his point about getting out before becoming ineffective or complacent really hit home.  As school leaders (from superintendents to supervisors to aides), we need to step up when we see others becoming complacent. The complacency is killing creativity and positivity, deterring others from being the best they can be, and promoting a culture of letting kids only partially succeed because it’s not what the complacent person wants to do or isn’t aligned with a fundraiser or field trip.

@EitnerEDU Launches a New Podcast…from the Hot Tub!

Eitner Education debuts in its’ new podcast called “The Tub”! Each episode will feature a trend in schools, a trending book in education, and something to turnkey into your educational lifestyle. This podcast is for all leaders, teachers, and everyone in between.

My first podcast features Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter, co-authors of “Escaping the School Leaders Dunk Tank”, which is available on amazon, Barnes & Noble, and classy bookstores everywhere!

I hope you enjoy this; thanks for coming on the journey with me!

About The Authors

Dr.  Rick Jetter  is an Educational Consultant, Speaker & Trainer, and Multi-Genre Author. He was a solid “D+” student in 7th grade and he has a cool dog, named George Jetter. Dr. J. also types faster (with two index fingers) than he talks. Dr. J. is interested in all types of topics–especially the ones that no one wants to truly take on (even though they say they do while their fingers are crossed behind their backs).

For more information about the book, Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank: How to Prevail When Others Want to See You Drown, visit

Dr. J. has also successfully worked with other authors on their ideas and creative concepts by offering book concept and writing strategies through his own unique coaching process.

He is the founder of and lead consultant at RJ Consultants.

Rebecca Coda is the founder of the Digital Native Network. She currently serves as a STEM Coach, weekly contributing columnist for School Leader’s Now, and article contributor on LinkedIn. She has over 18 years’ experience in education as a teacher, ELA curriculum and assessment writer, and technology program leader. Rebecca is a National Board Certified Teacher & Arizona K12 Center Master Teacher. She is a Christian and lives each day by faith, hope, and love.

Interested in hopping into the tub? Join me on my podcasting journey!


Thanks for the ride.


Never did I ever think I would be apart of something like this.  Thank you, PLN.  Thank you, colleagues. Thank you, Internet.  Thank you, parents.  Thank you, teachers.  Thank you, Administrators.  Most importantly, THANK YOU STUDENTS.  All of you have made a contribution to who I am today and how I lead.  I look forward to growing, learning, and sharing thanks to all of your passion for education and your input as educators. I’ll always stand by these two words: STUDENTS FIRST. Y’all rock!

Latin Jazz Band

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!

It’s #BammyAwards nominating season — BREAK THE SILENCE!

Help Us Find Them & Break the Silence >>>>

What If Everyone Really Knew?

How would education change if everybody really knew what teachers, principals, all school staff and students are doing daily? Much of the great work being done in our schools every day by teachers, administrators, school staff, parents and students is unknown to the general public. The exceptional commitment, extraordinary contributions and innovative collaborations among educators around the nation are generally hidden and unrecognized. This largely persists because a culture of humility has created a climate of silence.

Today, changing conditions, a new culture of transparency and the need to share best practices and inspire others is breaking the historical silence among educators.

Your Stories Matter

  • “Because we believe that our story is worth telling, we are actively seeking out forums through which to tell it. And while the national media continues to blather on about the education crisis… we are changing the story, bit by bit. We are being the change we wish to see. You can, too.” – Shawna Coppola, Literacy specialist
  •  “But until we take control of the story, others will write it for us. Teachers need to be sharing the good news of education.” – Craig Williams, a 22-year teaching veteran
  • “We also need to add our voices to places that offer inspiring ideas and uplifting stories from those that best exemplify what it means to be a teacher.” – Brian Sztabni, High school teacher
  •  “A critical mass of media-savvy educators shouting their positive results from the proverbial rooftops can echo far and wide. So let’s elevate teacher voices!” – Flora Lerenman, Elementary school teacher

Movers and Shakers

This year a passionate network of educators and education organizations are working together to encourage educators in every sector of the community to share the stories of the great things happening in their schools.
Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3 | Example 4 | Example 5

We all know amazing teachers, principals, superintendents, school nurses, engaged parents, school librarians, school custodians and caring school staff. Taking a moment to nominate any educator is validating to the entire education community, creates enormous good will and helps tell the stories of the great things happening in our schools.  Use the button to make a nomination and grab the code below to place the “Break the Code” video on your web site. Your stories matter!