The Assistant Principal Podcast

Today’s episode of Five for Friday recaps the strategic leadership emails for the week of August 15-19, 202. We also celebrate out 50th episode by listening to five of our favorite outtakes from the pod.

Show Notes

Today’s episode of Five for Friday recaps the strategic leadership emails for the week of August 15-19, 202. Today’s episode of Five for Friday recaps the strategic leadership emails for the week of August 15-19, 202. We also celebrate out 50th episode by listening to five of our favorite outtakes from the pod.
If you already get my daily leadership emails, then I hope you’ll find some added value here and if you don’t already subscribe you can find a link on my home page at Many readers like to begin their mornings by reading the email and setting a leadership intention for the day, but please don’t feel any pressure to subscribe. You are already doing more to grow yourself than many others out there, simply by listening to the podcast.
E20 Change Starts from Within w. Dr. Gabby Grant
MVP: Want to change your organization? Change yourself first.
Dr. Grant is an authority on implementing restorative practices. When we asked her what the first step was in implementing restorative practices in a school, this was her answer:
“The first step in understanding and implementing restorative practices is understanding how you handle conflict yourself… It isn’t authentic if the transformation doesn’t start from within and then spread out, it isn’t going to be sustainable…Change starts from within”
This is a universal truth. The first step to changing our organization is to change ourselves. Implementation and application will always lag behind and remain inconsistent until we have made the change from within ourselves. Until we change, organizational changes will be surface and incomplete.
E 21 Meeting the needs of new teachers with Mara Buskey, Leah Dowling and Kemberly Merritt
MVP: Be more direct in giving feedback and helping people grow their skills.
We asked first year teachers Leah Dowling and Kemberly Merritt about what kind of support they needed from their assistant principals:
“The assistant principal, he held my hand and walked me step-by-step, this is how you do this… he cheered me on... and held my hand to make sure I got it. If teachers that came in could have that kind of support of someone that is going to give them that step-by-step guidance, it would give them a more secure feeling.” (Kemberly)
“When they see us struggling in an area, they need to say, ‘here’s some resources, here’s some strategies’… there were times this school year that I didn’t realize I could have been doing better until February or March, wishing that I had known that earlier.” (Leah)
We often get confused and think that directive coaching is only for low performers, but that isn’t the case. People want feedback! They want critical feedback! More importantly, they want that feedback to be followed up with robust and detailed support and training. Directive coaching is good coaching. Being directive can be reassuring, especially when everything is new.
E26 Courage with Dr. Mary Hemphill
MVP: Know your ethical line in the sand before ethical situations arise, not during.
Dr. Hemphill is the Chief Academic Officer for the North Carolina Department of Education. We talked about being courageous as a leader and acting on your values.
“When you are an Assistant Principal, and particularly when you become a Principal, you have to decide before you sign your contract, you have to decide before you interview, what hill you do you want to die on, what do you want to fight for, because when you are in a moment with a parent, or a board member, or a superintendent, that is not the time to make those decisions.”
We think about critical ethical decisions being made in the face of a challenging situation, but Mary rightly reminds us that we usually make our ethical choices before the actual events ever unfold. I council people to be themselves in interviews and to put their values on display. Being authentic in an interview makes it much easier to be authentic in the job. On the other hand, if you are willing to bury your values in the interview, you will most certainly bury them in the job.
E38 Just put the key in the door with Dr. Maddie Jurek
MVP: To overcome leadership fears, just take the first step into the space.
Dr. Jurek is an assistant middle school principal in South Carolina. We were talking about
the challenges of observing teachers who have more experience or teach in a discipline that you don’t understand when Maddie said:
“The hardest part for me whenever I went in to observe those lessons, truly, was putting the key in the door and turning the knob to walk into the room. After I walked into the room I realized, I don’t have to focus on content here... I am here to focus on instruction, and there is a difference between instruction and content.” 
There are two great lessons here. The first step to leadership is often overcoming our own fears. We can spend too much time thinking about the negatives and how we aren’t qualified or don’t know enough but shutting down that negative thinking begins with stepping into the situation.
It is highly likely that we will at times be leading people who know more than we do about many things. We don’t need to be experts in everything to help our people grow. When we focus on leveraging what we know (assets) not what we don’t know (deficits), then we can support people.
E53 Who are you with Craig Martin
MVP: Every day we have opportunities to help people… every single day!
Craig Martin is the Executive Director of the Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury (Boston) Massachusetts. He is also an incredible inspirational speaker. At the end of our interview, I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say. Thankfully, his answer was yes…
“Stay connected to what it is that’s your calling, your passion, your zeal. Do it in ways that are graceful and exciting and inspiring for you as well as those around you and enjoy the journey, the highs and the lows, cause all of this is a gift, every day, every interaction, every moment is gift, regardless of whether or not we can recognize it like that.”
Oh, this says so much! It is especially applicable to the times we live in, times that can feel overwhelming and dark. Craig offers us the way out and the path to staying joyous. Every day, regardless of how we feel, we have opportunities:
·      We can embrace our passions.
·      We can be a light house for others
·      We can bring value to people’s lives
We have that opportunity every day, good days and bad days.
Sharing our gifts is a choice we make every day. The danger is in not making the choice intentionally!
Every moment is about the story we tell ourselves, about the values we hold – now what we say we hold, but what we really hold. And share. 
This wraps up this week’s Five for Friday rendition of The Assistant Principal Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s show, please subscribe and rate this podcast. Rating the podcast really does help other people to find it.
I’m always trying to improve the show, so if you have feedback please email me at If you’d like to find out more about what I’m doing to support assistant principals, you can head over to my website at
I’m Frederick Buskey and I hope you’ll join me next time for the Assistant Principal Podcast. 

What is The Assistant Principal Podcast?

A bi-weekly podcast to improve the quality of life and leadership for assistant principals.