From the Principal's Pen

“I didn’t take this job to give up on you!”

From the Principal's Pen

How often have I said this? And often vehemently. Yet, this week I had to reflect on whether or not I meant this unconditionally. As an elementary principal in an urban school, I have a fire in my belly about the work I do, fueled by a sense of optimism that keeps me afloat and helps me bounce back when things get tough as they are apt to do.

Lessons Learned From the Melting Pot

From the Principal's Pen

Last week, after over two decades of living, working and paying taxes in the United States on Student Visas, with Work Permits and then Green Cards (Permanent Resident cards which are actually pink), my husband and I became citizens.

Trending Sources

Focus on Excellence to Level the Playing Field

From the Principal's Pen

Inspired by 'Castle and Sun' by Paul Klee. Last week, the stage leveled the playing field for a diverse group of students.

“Are You Indispensable?” Hint, Hint… Please Say, “No!”

From the Principal's Pen

“Hope you’re feeling better! Things here are going well today.”. That was in an e-mail from one of my teachers this afternoon – I was ill today and had stayed at home. So it takes my being ill for things to go well, huh?” was the first thing I thought, grinning at my own joke!

Be a Compass… Be an Anchor…

From the Principal's Pen

Eight years ago, I picked up the phone to hear a superintendent offer me my first job as a principal. I was absolutely elated! This was what I’d been waiting for. Within minutes after I put the phone down, I was hit with the realization of the responsibility that came with the job.

Get Ready… Get Set… Recharge Your Batteries!

From the Principal's Pen

It happens to everyone at some point… what I call ‘the gerbil in the wheel syndrome’ You run and run, you spin and spin, and despite feeling you’ve traveled far, you’re right back where you started! That’s how I would define the last few days. A lot has happened, I’ve accomplished many things (yes, that task list is smaller), and yet, it feels like I’m back where I started and have miles to go.

Lead with Joy and Humor!

From the Principal's Pen

Last week, after a year and a half, I saw my parents on a visit to India. Minutes after my dad showed up, he was ready to share his latest joke — or Kadi as those who speak Tamil call it. I’m not quite sure how to describe a Kadi but I’ll take a shot at it (with apologies to those who may disagree).

“Whenever You Fall, Pick Something Up.” – Oswald Avery

From the Principal's Pen

I’ve learned over time that the one thing I can be sure of is that challenges are right around the corner from good times. We face little and big challenges every day in our work. As a leader do you sometimes feel like you’re standing in front of a baseball pitching machine? You hit one ball and have to immediately get ready to face the next one flying your way. On some days do you feel like you’re inside that screen saver with the stars coming at you?

A Big Reminder From A Little Kid!

From the Principal's Pen

I was drawn to write again today and couldn’t help but reflect that it’s been a month since I added a new post to my blog. And what kept this workaholic away from the blog? Take a guess! Have you noticed how we go through phases of feeling ‘stressed out’ by all that we have to do in our professional and personal lives? How often have I heard people say they are just waiting for things to slow down!

Do What It Takes!

From the Principal's Pen

In my mind, leadership and collaboration are inseparable, so it seems natural for me to shy away from giving importance only to leaders with titles. I see leadership as something that everyone has responsibility for within an organization. Sure, the buck has to stop somewhere and that is where people with titles come in, however, a different kind of power comes into play when multiple individuals step up to play a leadership role when the situation calls for it.

Do You See What I See?

From the Principal's Pen

It’s fun to be around kids. They entertain us with their curiosity and irrepressible comments. They are so engaged in the world and their experiences. It would be difficult as an educator to avoid picturing them as adults.

Here’s to New Beginnings!

From the Principal's Pen

This is my favorite time of the year as an educator – a time to start anew. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve said this to dozens of people who asked if I was ready for the new school year, and it seemed to be the perfect topic to reflect on and end the vacation when I started this blog (I can’t believe it… yes, it’s been two months since I started this blog)! Summer vacation is coming to an end.

A Dollar on Behalf of Truckers…

From the Principal's Pen

I just returned from a seven hour road trip yesterday. During the drive, I noticed something I’ve seen for a couple of years now, but this time, I said, “Ah! I should add this to my blog!&# And the topic? Courtesy. For all the road rage and other annoyances we complain about, there are moments of courtesy on the highway. Some things bug me! I’d love to have a sign in the back of my car that lights up the words “Back-off!&#

STEP What?

From the Principal's Pen

One for my memoirs… We were minutes away from the school bell ringing when a substitute teacher called and said she was running a few minutes late. Rather than pull someone else in for that brief period, I decided to welcome the students and stay in the kindergarten classroom until the substitute arrived. As the kids walked in, some of them seemed surprised to see the principal in their classroom but responded to my greeting with big smiles.


“And when we think we lead, we are most led.” —Lord Byron

From the Principal's Pen

One of the hardest questions to answer is, “What is the most important aspect of my role?&# It doesn’t matter what our professions might be – it is easier to create a list of things we believe our roles entail, rather than define what our most important charge is. A leadership role is complicated.

It’s Hiring Time!

From the Principal's Pen

It’s summer time and principals are getting ready to fulfill one of their most important tasks – hiring teachers for their teams. There is something exciting about this process. It is as much a time to reflect on who we are, what we stand for and what we want to accomplish as it is about adding a new team member.

For an Organization… With People…

From the Principal's Pen

When people mention anything about working ‘for’ me, I quickly correct them saying they work ‘with’ me. This is not just some politically correct line in my book – it holds deeper meaning for me. People who know me, recognize that I hold strong opinions on different issues. I tend to speak my mind, and I’ve always been conscious about doing it respectfully and honestly, choosing my words carefully, and not making things personal.

Being in Sync with One’s Life

From the Principal's Pen

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.&# — Thomas Merton. This must be one of those BIG lessons I have to learn. Some time ago, seeing me surrounded by piles of work on a weekend, my husband asked, “When are you planning to catch up?&# Great question! I’ve never given it a right or definite answer because it seems like I’ve been playing catch up for a long time.


From the Principal's Pen

‘Change’ is an interesting concept. We discuss it a lot in terms of our work as school leaders, and experience it in many forms. People have different reactions to change – some embrace it, some are indifferent to it, and others may dislike it quite strongly. Schools experience change in so many ways – changes in leadership, instructional practices, initiatives – first order or second order change.

“It’s not a better way, it’s a different way.” – Dr. Raymond Terrell

From the Principal's Pen

I remember standing outside Churchgate Station in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, waiting to meet a friend. It was 1986. I had just graduated from college and was beginning my training in special education. I was new to Bombay – a BIG city teeming with life. Perhaps being on my own for the first time made the city seem bigger, but maybe not! I stood opposite Churchgate, facing it and watching a sea of human beings cross the road.

Unbound from here on…

From the Principal's Pen

It is quite possible that the title of this post may mean more to me than some might understand but I truly feel free! As a child growing up in India, I remember copying quotes from the Reader’s Digest into a small diary. Now I type them into a document and pull them out to use in my work and reflections. They cheer me up and inspire me. I use quotes a lot in my weekly communication to my team, in newsletters, etc. and I always have fun finding just the right one that fits.

Shared Leadership – a worthy road to travel!

From the Principal's Pen

About a decade ago, I decided to switch gears from being a special education teacher to becoming a school principal. I looked for programs within travelling distance from my home and learned about the Educational Leadership program at Miami University. It was interesting because they were not ready to let me take a few courses and get a license. They emphasized getting a Master’s Degree in this field and then taking several more credits to get a principal’s license.

What’s written in stone… setting the tone!

From the Principal's Pen

Several years ago, as I sat in one of my first courses in Ed. Leadership at Miami University, a graduate of the program who had just got his first leadership job came to our class to speak to our cohort. This young principal said many things, but one comment caught my attention, and has stayed with me since then. He talked about bringing a positive attitude to work everyday. He said that whenever anyone asked him how his day was, he always said it was great!

3 R’s +

From the Principal's Pen

In 2003 when I started my first job as an elementary principal I shared my 3 R’s – Relationships, Respect and Responsibility – with my school community. I’ve always believed that strong schools are built on a foundation of respectful relationships, where individuals take responsibility for their actions. Focusing on these three R’s consistently has been a key theme of my work. Over time, interestingly enough, others have started noticing and acknowledging them.

Dear Amber,

From the Principal's Pen

My career has been wonderful, with much to be joyful about. Yet, as with all things, sometimes it feels like a bumpy bus ride on a highway pock-marked with pot-holes. If you’ve experienced the recent icy winter we’ve just left behind, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You think things are going well, and then… WHAM!

4 Characteristics of Great Teams

Leading Blog

T HE AMERICA'S CUP is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy, first contested in 1851 when the schooner America crossed the Atlantic and beat 15 British yachts. The trophy became known as the America’s Cup for the winning yacht in 1851.

Team 136

9 Things Positive Leaders Do

Leading Blog

J ON GORDON is a prolific writer. He has written at least a dozen books on leadership that I am aware of. The Power of Positive Leadership summarizes much of his thinking and provides a great introduction to all of his other work. As a result, it is full of good practices and thinking.

One Thing People Want From Their Leaders

Kevin Eikenberry

Ask leaders what they want from their team members, and you will get a fairly consistent list: They want people to: Work hard Be productive Be safe at work Listen Be trustworthy. Fill in your blanks. Fundamentally, on top of all of that, they want their people to follow them. So, if […].

How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Exhausted

Let's Grow Leaders

Humility is the New Smart: Are You Ready?

Leading Blog

S MART used to be a quantity game. “I I know more than you. I get more things right.” But Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig say that in the new Smart Machine Age, that’s losing game. The new smart is about quality.

Six ways of being an approachable leader


Never underestimate how important being approachable is to the work that needs to be done in your organization. When you are approachable, people can connect and relate to you. They understand what is needed for success and are willing to roll up their sleeves to get the work done.

10 Signs Your Leadership Strategy Doesn’t Work

Lead Change Blog

In any professional environment, management is composed of a leader and a group of colleagues working collaboratively. Together, they work towards their team’s goals. Ideally, the team should meet their targets and perform well under an effective management.

What Sets Apart the Greatest Teams of All-Time?

Leading Blog

S AM WALKER revisits the popular idea of leadership. In The Captain Class , Walker describes what makes an elite captain by analyzing the leadership of sixteen of the most dominate teams in history.

Team 116

The Bridge to Growth

Leading Blog

W HAT’S MORE IMPORTANT, strategy or execution? I believe both are critical. But what if something else is just as important? There is a third ingredient to business success, one that many companies undervalue: servant leadership.

Why Leaders Give Feedback

Lead Change Blog

An important task you have as a leader is giving feedback. Not only in terms of task performance (so that the other knows how he or she is doing), but also in terms of social behavior.

How to Avoid Your Leadership Gap

Leading Blog

T HE GAP IN OUR LEADERSHIP arises as a result of the disconnect between how we think people are experiencing our leadership and how they are actually experiencing our leadership. And where we find that disconnect we limit or even derail our leadership potential.

How To 124

Leading with Trust

Great Leadership By Dan

Guest post by Paul J. Zak, PhD : One-third of business leaders surveyed in 2015 said that retaining colleagues is their number one concern. Everyone knows that people are mobile. About one-quarter of employees say that they will look for a new job in the next year.

Stretching past your fear


Very few leaders will claim that they are fearful of anything. Other words might be used because the word fear in itself is frightful. They might say that they “avoid” something, “mistrust” someone, or have “anxiety” – perhaps more acceptable terms to use.

CEO 88

What is Your Emotional Intelligence Level? Take the Infographic Quiz

Women on Business

We've Moved! Update your Reader Now. This feed has moved to: [link] If you haven't already done so, update your reader now with this changed subscription address to get your latest updates from us. link]. Infographics Personal Development Career Development emotional intelligence infographic

If We’re Not Human at Work, What are We?

Lead Change Blog

I’ve been receiving a series of emails lately from a highly regarded organization with the subject line “How to Be More Human at Work.”. Funny. Aren’t we being human all the time? Now, for most of us it’s not that we’re being inhuman at work, but I understand the point.