In this episode we’re talking with Elementary Principal Mr. Jonathon Wennstrom. Mr. Wennstrom has been in the educational arena as a principal for 15 years. He is an educational blogger and is a part of a committed group of educational leaders who believe that blogging is part of the reflection process. We’ll chat with him about the genesis for the blog in a bit but before we do so let’s get into his origin story
Summary of Educational Journey
Like many in the field Jonathon was inspired by many great teachers and coaches which made him want to inspire others. In particular a 5th grade teacher, Mr. Reed, took a young Jonathon into his home while Jonathon’s family dealt with the severe illness of his father.
Wennstrom also discusses the internal challenges of misaligning one’s passion for educating children and that of increased social status. He also get’s into the struggles of transferring one skill set to another setting and taking them for granted.
He goes on to describe his introduction to blogging how he was inspired to begin it and how he joined a group of like minded principals. He discusses the themes of the blogs and how it is used to improve his professional practice.
In addition Jonathon wants to break that misconception that educators don’t have anything important to say. He sees fantastic things happening everyday. People like hearing ideas.
“Relationships aren’t transferrable.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“What we do is pretty special.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“We’re changing lives and that’s pretty important.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“If you’re working in education you have a pretty special calling.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“People [educators] want to support and encourage each other.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Everybody has something we can learn from.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Don’t be afraid to say the words I don’t know.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“I want to grow the leaders in my school.” Jonathon Wennstrom
“Leadership is a skill, a set of skills that people can learn.” Jonathon Wennstrom
Words of Wisdom
Once relationships are in place then you can start working together as a team.
It’s important that before you step through those doors on day one, before the teachers return, that we have an opportunity for people to get together socially to just talk and get to know one another.
We need to build each other up and tell our stories of the great things that are happening.
There’s a pressure to feel as if you have all the answers, and that you have to fix every problem. It’s ok to say I don’t know, or I’m going to get back with you, or let me think on that.
Good principals will grow the leadership. If staff is feeling safe in that school environment and empowered, then that helps everyone.
Advice for Principals
Step one Always build relationships
Find out about your team find out
Sequence to follow:
Send out email
Share your philosophy on education
Give list of question including
Make sure to have some social time before school starts.
Don’t be afraid to say the words I don’t know.
Lean on the experience around you.
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Mindset:The New Psychology of Success By Carol Dweck
The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros
If you found this entertaining, educational, or cause for reflection please share with your friends.
For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......