Ending August on a High

My August tour ended in Riverside, close to Hemet, where it began. I spent a really fun day with students and staff at Riverside Poly High School on the day before their official school year began. That being said, I applaud the 60 or so leadership students who showed up for a 2 hour workshop with me on the last day of their vacation. I really loved this group as we outlined some leadership values and behaviors with which to embark on their year. We didn't finish, but their Activities Directors assured me that they will finish the task and create The Poly Way. This will guide their leadership work and help them get the campus to be all they want it to be. I followed that up with an hour

Learned a new place . . . Temescal Valley

It is sort of on the edge of Riverside and San Diego Counties, but Temescal Valley High School has a vibe all its own. The Titans sit on a hill in a beautiful facility with a pretty large population, in the 2000s. For the first week, they were pretty relaxed, even though a schedule mistake caused some facility drama when I arrived. I had the opportunity to share a bit of love with 2 student assemblies in my final talk of this busy week. Again, couldn't be prouder of how respectful the students were; it's tough to stay engaged for 45 minutes, but they were awesome. When I talk to kids, I use the phrase " AND THEN" to stress that bad things happen, but that isn't the end of the world. So m

La Habra . . . WOW!

The How Many Wins Tour pulled into the La Habra Community Center on August 17th to meet the entire district staff in a morning breakfast where they kicked - off their 2017-18 school year. What happened next is a blur but can be described as a total role reversal. For the couple hours I was there, THEY were the motivational folk, I was just along for the ride. The spirit in that room was off the chart, and the tone was set by their superintendent Dr. Joanne Culverhouse from the beginning. Dr. C would be the first to tell you, though, that we were recipients of good vibes, not the givers. I am extremely proud of the La Habra crew because they are on fire! They are well into their year and

Taking a Bite out of Vista Murrieta

I actually did double duty on Wednesday, August 16th and spent the afternoon with the staff of Vista Murrieta High School, just up the road from the morning's student assemblies. Pressure was on again as teachers had a strict time window and I would be speaking while they ate. Let me say that this group was the perfect class as they showed up on time, were a respectful audience, and didn't make a mess . . . a huge WIN for everyone. Two things impressed me about this event. First, that group had to make a concerted effort to drop everything and race down to my talk during their lunch hour. Not only were they cool about it, they were actively engaged, what I call a great audience. They ob

Shaking My Head in Murrieta

For the second time in two weeks, I was pleasantly surprised. To be honest, teenage students are a tough crowd and pretty unforgiving. I am an expert on this having spent twenty years in a high school setting. When I saw that I had a few August jobs of high school assemblies, I was nervous. First, as an administrator, I wouldn't have taken that risk on day one, so I was concerned with letting down the person who booked me. Second, asking 16 year olds to sit for 50 minutes and listen to a stranger is a huge risk, so the pressure was on to deliver something of substance that would keep their interest. Well, chalk up Wednesday, August 16th as a HUGE win for me at Murrieta Valley High Sc

Bakersfield . . . More Than Food

I am going to be completely honest; I have not spent enough time in Bakersfield.  Living in Fresno, Bake-town has been my stop for more highway meals than any city in my existence. Still, I have rarely hung out there and met the people.  Tuesday, August 15th was my second time doing business in this fine city, and once again, I could not have been treated more nicely.  Years ago, I spoke at the opening assembly for staff in the Panema - Buena District and had a ball.  This time, I got to talk with 3 school faculties in the Bakersfield City School District.  I am so grateful for my day there and I am giddy over the time I spent with their teams. Mira Monte and Liberty High Schools, and Bakers

Come To Kerman

I grew up in the 70's when Fresno television was inundated with a local car dealer inviting us to Come to Kerman! Little did I know how smart that guy was as, some 40 years later, I took the visit and was blown away by my new friends at Kerman Middle School. I learned first that they were a warm staff who had already embraced the How Many Wins concept for the year. My talk was warmly received and I'm confident they will have a winning culture. I am also confident in the contribution of their principal. Besides preaching the WINS message, she had filled the room with arts and crafts things that displayed my vocabulary . It reminded me how important the leader is in the message. She nail

Bringing Heat in the Desert

In the last three weeks I have been from Fresno to Scottsdale and down to Palm Springs area. I haven't seen a day in many weeks with a temperature lower than 105 degrees. So, I was a little conscious of the weather when I drove with my partner/son Jared to Hemet CA on August 3rd to talk to the staff at Acacia Middle School. It was the Friday before students reported back on Monday and i could feel a little tension when the staff walked into the room. I was going to have to really work to get their attention. A lot can happen in an hour and I did my best to bring out a variety of emotion. This faculty was quiet, pleasant, and very focused. They didn't give away a lot of laughter but they

Sacramento 2017

I must confess, my Sacramento leg of the fall tour held a lot of personal wins for me. First, got to visit with some really good friends from my high school days. Enjoyed having dinner with my friend Tracy who told me some high secrets I never knew. Awesome evening. Also spent time with a pretty special lady in my life who moved to Sac in the last weeks. It was fun to catch up. But hanging out with my buddy Mike and his wife was a real treat. A great athlete in his own right, he is recovering from a pretty serious injury so I was proud to see up close the fighter that he is. Great week for being tight with my personal team. But it was a work trip, and I spent a pretty positive mornin

Why Culture

To be clear, we are long-time educators. We have lead teams, classrooms, schools, districts, and other organizations for almost 30 years each. We have seen the challenges of poverty and the spoils of affluence as economics drives the very heart of our work. Regardless of where our work has been, we both have understood a fundamental truth about our responsibilities as leaders: we will only be effective if we shine our light on the need for cultural sustainability before we try to impress anyone with our strategic expertise or magical ability to pull an educational rabbit out of a hat. We are embarking on a journey to impact leaders to not only accept the challenge of building strong CUL