In a few short weeks my new book, Renegade Leadership, will be out. The book is about creating innovative schools for today’s students. The process of writing a book still fascinates me. The manuscript for this book was no exception, and I wanted to share a few surprises that emerged along the way.
- As I was writing Renegade Leadership, many stories from my childhood, college, and early years in education surfaced. I can be somewhat guarded at times, so I’m surprised at how natural it felt to share some of those stories. Earlier versions of the manuscript featured stories from renegade artists, engineers, athletes, and business people. However, the final manuscript includes so much more. It is injected with personal passions, renegade examples from other sectors, and the voices of dozens of highly respected educational leaders.
- I’m not sure how it happened, but when all was said and done over 30 amazing educators lent their voice and vision to the book. Their stories inspired me more than I anticipated, and I find myself reading (and rereading) the book just to take-in the incredible insights they offer.
- Feedback from preliminary reviewers surprised me. I think I underestimated the impact that sharing some of my “epic failures” might have had on readers. It seems like people really appreciated reading about the “real stuff” in education (including my many mistakes made along the way). There is a vulnerability in the book that makes me a tad bit nervous to offer it up to others.
- One of the last things I added to the book’s companion website turned out to be one of my FAVORITE memories from writing Renegade Leadership. This may sound like a shameless plug at first blush, but I assure you it is not. If you go to the companion website HERE you will find something I refer to as “Audio Outtakes” for each chapter. The Audio Outtakes include short audio clips of text from the book followed by a brief conversation between me and my 3rd grade daughter. I’ve already been told she has a future in broadcasting…but I think her secret is a genuine passion for life!
Obviously, I’m very excited to cross the “finish line” and have the book move to publication. At the same time, I hope this is just the beginning of our conversations. Our students have too much at stake for us to ignore the possibilities that meaningful change could provoke.
Have you ever returned from a conference and been asked to name a “take-away” or something you learned?
I recently had the chance to collaborate on a special podcasting project with Theresa Stager (co-host of the PrincipalPLN podcast). We were both at the NAESP national conference in Maryland and presented a session on podcasting together in the Innovation Lab. Click HERE to view the live NAESP podcast.
During the session and live-podcast, we asked school leaders their “one” takeaway. In addition to hearing what conference attendees were learning, we also wanted to model just how easy starting a podcast can be. (Clearly, we needed to spend a tad more time setting up the green-screen lights, but getting over the need for perfection is a big step to actually starting a podcast!)
I’ve always maintained that one of the best ways for principals to provide relevant instructional leadership is to model using relevant communication platforms like face-to-face conversation, social media, and podcasting. A podcast is also a great way to shine the light on the incredible work students and staff do on a daily basis, so there are many reasons to start.
We hope you enjoyed hearing from the inspiring (and brave) school leaders as they shared their “one” conference takeaway. We also hope that you consider trying podcasting as a school or classroom communication tool.
I’d love to hear what your “one” was from NAESP16 in the comments section below, as well as other reasons you’ve used podcasting in your classroom or school.
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