Jeff talks about his background, family and hobbies (he was the athletic trainer for the Odessa, Texas high school team when it was featured in Friday Night Lights) (2:00)
Jeff traces his career path from college until the present, starting out as a physical trainer and coach (4:00)
Making the decision to move from teaching to administration after a conversation with an administrator (7:50)
Going on a blind date, getting married, and starting a master’s program all within six months (10:00)
Important time management lessons learned by juggling teaching, coaching, family, and a master’s program (11:00)
Why time management is one of the most critical skills you’ll need to master in order to become a great administrator (14:55)
Why your first year as an administrator will probably be your most difficult (22:00)
Tips for overcoming the challenges you’ll face when you’re a new admin (25:50)
Jeff says you should never stop working on your professional development (29:45)
Two of Jeff’s best moments as a school administrator (23:25)
How Jeff’s impact changed after he left teaching to become an administrator (37:18)
“Every day you come to work is a job interview.” – the best leadership advice Jeff ever received (39:50)
Building relationships with students, teachers, and parents is one of your most important skills which you should always be working to improve (41:40)
Jeff recommends these books for Edu-leaders (42:45)
Jeff’s advice on choosing and using apps and tools (43:38)
Jeff’s favorite educational quote (45:20)
Enjoy your job as an administrator and have fun doing it, or find another job (46:10)
Never write any kid off (46:40)
Treat your teachers right and build good relationships with them because teachers can be your greatest assets or they can be your greatest liabilities (47:02)
If Jeff had a time machine and could go back to when he was just starting out as an administrator, what advice would he give himself? (51:38)
Books mentioned in this episode
Apps and tools mentioned in this episode
Connect with Jeff Gasaway
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Podcast Session #20
Never Write Off a Student | Each Child Deserves Your Best Attempt to Lead Them to a Brighter Future
Show Notes: http://www.educatorslead.com/jeffgasaway/
Jay: Hello Edu Leaders, Jay Willis here and Im excited to introduce our featured guest for today Jeff Gasaway. Jeff, are you ready to launch?
Jeff Gasaway: Yes! I am ready to launch.
Jay: Fantastic! Jeff Gasaway has been an administrator for 14 years serving as assistant principal, director of Human Resources, and has now been the principal at Midway High School for the past 5 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree from Texas A&M in Commerce, Texas. He is currently working on his doctorate from Baylor University. His wife, Kara, is a teacher and they have been married for 15 years and have two sons, Hunter and Haiden. Thats just a brief introduction Jeff, but tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Jeff: Well, I grew up in Odesa, Texas. I have a twin sister but grew up Odesa where football is kind the king out there so thats for me in highschool and one of my thing I was a part of the football team I was half way the trainer when the author came out and collected the information on Friday night live. So, I kind the say thats my thing so the speak but went to Texas Tech, my wife and I met when I was at a school district in Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex. Thats a whole different story but I can tell you from the time we met and married we were just in to three months and married for 15 years.
Jay: Wow! Congratulations, that was great.
Jay: So what kind the hobbies do you have? I know you stayed pretty busy but anything interesting about you that maybe other people wouldn’t know?
Jeff: Well, a few things one of my newest hobbies that I like to go hunting. One of my friends who is a principle at another campus he likes to go hunting and so for a past couple of years I’ve done bear hunting so thats new. I love to play tennis, my youngest son Haiden anytime I play anything with him sports related he love that and so one of the things I do is playing tennis with him and then the oldest loves to go to movies, infact his doing on school announcements. He does movie review so I’ve got see alot of movie this year which feads one of my other hobbies, i love to go to the movies.
Jay: Yeah, thats new. I have a 9 year old, a 4 year old and a 2 year old so I actually know alot about Disney movies.
Jeff: Oh! Man. I bet you and I can talk about several Disney.
Jeff: And lets the hot singers making Disney appearances.
Jay: Yeah and then Star Wars my 9 year old boy Benjamin, he loves Star Wars so thats kind the neat going through all those.
Jeff: Yeah, the first thing you saw in the holiday.
Jay: I did, he wan’t caught up so catch him up all the six, you know the first six episodes and we did go watch after he was caught up and then we eatch the newest one and had fun with that.
Jeff: The oldest have seen it three times already. So, he loves movies and that was one of his favorites of the year.
Jay: Yeah, well thats neat. So, tell us a little bit more about your career path from when you graduated from college.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. Well, my first step was the very small district right at Texas Tech located at Lubbock, Texas. I went for 1 year to very small three A district that grown kind the bit but gave me an opportunity. I was an athletic trainer in highschool, college and professionaly I was an athletic trainer in couple of years but also tought I was teaching health at first year. I had the opportunity as a kid who grew up in Odesa went to school at Lubbock to move to the Dallas Fourth Worth Metroplex took a position there where I was with the district for 14 years. Started as an athletic trainer and a teacher, had a chance to actually get out on training and go on to couchings for two years and I couch girls basketball, girls softball and then while I was doing that I was teaching world geography. My wife and I we met the fall when I entered couching and so we met and married 3 months later. One of the things that was important to her was she said that I need to get a masters degree and that was important and so I started working on a masters degree in education and administration in Texas A&M Commerce. The very summer that we met in fact she and I had a class together which it was fun, we met about an hour we drive to the campus where we go to school and we study in the car she’d help me. That is I drove and she read the notes back. So, I started working on my masters that summer had been marking for when I hired at the first campus. I have work for principal and moved to become she was an associate principal I became the principal at Clark Highschool. I went coach, tought with her for her about a year and a half and to teaching there and coaching and working on my masters degree. There was an opening in administration and just throw my name out there. I had a vision for how I could help Clark Highschool a better place and I was able to secure that position. I was an assistant principal for 3 years moved then to human resources where I really got an opportunity to kind the get a glimpse of the behind the scene what all happens in a district when your not in the campus and it was a very eye opening which learning experience. From there I moved back to the campus as an associate principal had a chance to become a principal and then for the past 5 years i’ve been a principal at Midway Highschool in Waco, Texas.
Jay: So, I know you mentioned your wife kind the encouraged you to go back and get your masters degree but in what point just like seeing the things that made you different there in Clark High School, I think thats what you mentioned but in what point di you make the decision to move in to school leadership?
Jeff: You know it was probably even before i’ve met my wife that I thought about it I work for it elementary principal her name is Louis Davis at Memorial Elementary. She was excelent and I remember having a conversation with her where she encouraged me to consider going in to administration and I really thought she was a strong leader learned alot from her and her leadership style. One of the things that i’ve enjoyed really getting to see a variety of different leaders, their leadership styles and trying to craft what I want to be as a leader and received some of the good and the bad and learned what did I want to do when I became my own leadership. I believed that first second year as a very young teacher I thought that I would have a chance one day to go in to administration. I dont think that I really envisioned the path that I would go, goinging so quickly into administration I only tought for 5 years when I was given an opportunity to become an assistant principal and thats probably the only thing that I look and thank that this is my accurate path moving so quickly. I have other classroom into administration I really didnt but I do think that when I was given the opportunity to Clark High School I was able to go in make an immediate impact and do some really good things there and what I did is built a good reputation for me that allow alot of doors to open up within my career.
Jay: So, tell us a little bit more about the journey to becoming the school administrator, sounds like you had, you mentioned you had your wife before you had your bachelors right?
Jeff: Yes sir.
Jay: And so you’re married when you started the masters program?
Jeff: I was, we were set up amazingly, we were set up on a blind date and a we married, we met on December, we married in March and I started working on my masters degree in June. So, its kine the six months of whirl wind and it was a great six months.
Jay: Yeah, I guess so thats neat. So, how did you find the time to juggle all that because I mean like between newly married and you are coaching during that time too right?
Jeff: Yes sir.
Jay: How did you find time I guess just talk a little bit of the the stuggles, the journey, the process of that? How did you juggle all of that effectively?
Jeff: It was probably the hardest years as far as the time commitment when while I was coaching I found that there where certain during the fall I could take classes but during the spring time I was not able to take classes just because I was coaching basketball, softball and there was just no back and take classes. So, all of my summers early on connected to where most teachers enjoy that freedom of last day of school stay that their back on contract. They have the down time to do what they want and some professional development it became my very in trance professional development especially that first summer I can six hours of classes but one of the biggest things I think the person has to have a strong system and I have no better support system that I could ever want with my wife, she helped me managed my time. When I started in the summer during the first year of coaching, I only coach 1 more year I was able to get through all of the classes so I was actually on an emergency service certification. All of the sudden there I am, Im working on getting the classes that I need and Im also glad in the middle of being a young assistant principal. And so, there where many times probably the most difficult years , there are many times we would be together on a Sunday afternoon and she would sit on my office read a book and I would be working on a just work from the week that im trying to stay up long be caught up do lessons for my classes and it just did. You have to make things the priority and really learn how to priorities your time well when you have alot irons on the fire and so it started for me it was really quit lesson on contribute as I moved up and became a HR Director and then a Principal. I felt like when I step into a role of principal, I had a good idea of time management, making sure you get things done well the first time you do them not procrastinating as best as possible. We can also procrastinate at time during the most projects we dont mind. I learned alot through that juggling process and you also had to learn at times you had to say no, I was ask to serve on some comittee I just had to say im not gonna be able to do that, that was all because of my classes or just the time commitment of wanting to spend time with my newly wed wife and just be able to say no to people occationaly. And thats a hard balance because there are times when you are young administrator you’re a teacher that is trying to get your name out there balancing trying to get your name out there, getting your reputation built, networking with people that still keep the most important things tou you your family, whatever your priorities are. Keep those in balance allowing some of those things to get it overwhelmed by your desire to move forward in your career.
Jay: Yeah. So, I have wondered this but i’ve haven’t asked this question yet with any of the quest that I have on. Would you say that you’re just the overwhelm the amount of activities the busyness, would you say that it was greater when you’re getting your masters degree in preparing the roles that your currently in or would you say that its greater now like the time you are greater now or is it about the same?
Jeff: I would say its so different, I almost say its some ways its the same especially if you’re taking two classes during the week, you’re setting in class for 3 hours a night and then you’re managing homework in the weekends. Well now, im working on my desertification but once thats completed I still can be busy 2 night a week, I still in todays digital world theres alot of networking, corespondence with parents, students and teachers. There are so many things that can keep me busy just a different kind the work. In a class you come to the end of the table and you can put it away depending on how quickly you had it done, you can be able to relax and let your hair down. At the end of the semester you get a break as an administrator there are times that when the classes end and for people in college are some of your busiest like december, you’re busy whin holiday concerts, theres May you’re busy with graduation and your celebrations and be at your concerts. Its a different sort of busy, I think that a I hope I answered your question well.
Jay: Oh, yeah. Know the reason I asked that question, I guess my expectation is that you figuring out how you managed your time effectively on the path to becoming a school administrator is probably great training for whe you are a school administrator, would that be fair to make the statement?
Jeff: Absolutely! The one thing that I will say is going through the masters courses is watching people around me there were some of my classmates who struggle to understand that time management, getting their things completed on a timely manner and on time. Those are the people that I stay connected with, their adminstrative experiences are different and some are waiting at the classroom waiting for the opportunity. If you learn in how to manage your time well, if you learn how to get through things and do then excelent, get them accomplished quickly. I think it really does help prepare you with what challenges your fate as a young administrator depending on what size of the school sometime you are the one and only administrator, sometimes you’re one of many but it doesnt diminished that you’re gonna have a lot of things, alot of responsibilities whatever side of the school you’re at whether its elementary, middle school or high school its gonna be different. But that time working with the master is definitely great training, I think I would have. I encouraged, let me put it this way I encourage young teachers or young college students that are finishing their college like a couple of years before you persue a masters degree. That way you sorted what you want and you also have some more greater understanding in what tools do you need in your tool belt. I think if I would have gone straight in college to persue a masters and not in so many students now a days will go without having a job so all their focus is still on their working on a masters degree.
Jeff: I think part in what I knew why I am today is the juggle, balance of having a job, working on a master, having a family may need better.
Jay: Yeah. Well, I think that really speaks to me because its like people are always looking forward to when things are easier. They kind of looking at the finish line thinking man once I get through this then I can just coast and its gonna be so much easier and my experience has been. The typically things gets more complicated and busier especially when you’re ambitious when you’re trying to do more than you’ve done before and you’re trying to grow as a person. The thing is its not that things get easier is that you get stronger and you get better and so in some ways, while I say that coz I know alot of people who are maybe persuing their masters degree right now in school leadership to hopefuly become a principal one day. Maybe looking at that finish line and thinking boy once I get that masters then its gonna be a piece of cake after that and I think that maybe be healthier to realized that this journey this process is actually preparing you for that role because its just gonna be busy in just different ways.
Jeff: Thats right. Im glad I didnt go into administration thinking that life would be easier as an administrator I find everyday im challenged, everydays different there are certain days that are complex that others but the journey that you take gives you the tools that you need to be succesful like I think about the challenges that I face in todays world that if I wouldn’t have the experience as a young assistant principal for 3 years. It gives me tools that I used till this day the time that I have in human resources, I have tools that other principals dont have because of those experiences and its made me a better leader but I know many principal, aspiring principals say they wanna grow quickly into that world of principal and I would just say enjoy that journey and grow in the journey because it will give you what you need in order for you to be successful.
Jay: Yeah, thats good. So, im sure that somewhere along the way you have from teacher administration im sure you had some ups and down can we kind the talk a little bit about some of the struggles. Can you think about a time when maybe one of your most difficult moments in that path to be coming a school administrator and if you could share that story with our audience.
Jeff: One of my difficult moments in becoming a school administrator would probably it would be really that first year, the first moment of becoming a school administrator I was young, I enjoyed what I was doing, I was teaching, I was coaching and I love it everyday. I loved being in the classroom, felt like I really did a good job knowing what I know today knowing I could have grown even better. I love being on a basketball court on the softball diamond and teaching the people in how to get better and working in to perfection each day. But one of the things that my principal told me as I was interviewing and really become one of the finalist, it was gonna be difficult because your interactions would be very different as the assistant principal where I enjoyed having a variety of different kids you’re working generaly as assistant principal with less smaller problem with the population of the students you wont have the chance to with all but many times you times gonna be taken up by a smaller number you’re gonna have significant needs, diciplinary needs, attendance needs, home challenges. So, coming to a realization that my interaction with the students would be in a different level, it was a challenge for me because I love where I was in felt like it was a good decision for me I felt like I can make a bigger impact within the school and I felt like when I walk away and went in to human resources I felt like I could look back on my time there and really felt like got made a big impact. One of the other things that I also said kind the same thing then is when I moved to human resources all of a sudden it was going interaction with a smaller group of kids at a high school to really interaction with no kids and now it was a culture shock for me, where the first day of school there was no promt and circumstance at the administration building as far as seeing kids the new clothes with new backpack the new lunchboxes it was you’re at work and so one of the things that I learn from that is how much I at that moment like were needed it back students and so I after 2 years of really learning from a great boss and growing professionaly I was able to move back up on a campus which is really for me the life of what I do and it also gave me an outlet that if I ever get a step in my career where I go back in to the administrative position like a superintendent assistant that there are certain things Im gonna do to ensure that I have contact with students and not loose that interaction.
Jay: Yeah. So, how did you overcome those challenges when you into becoming an assistant principal and just the challenges of maybe not able to interact as much how did you overcome those challenges?
Jeff: One of the things I did and I still do to this day is I started meeting with a group of students that teachers would help select that it was a variety of different students, variety of different backgrounds, great levels, gender, ethnecity just a variety of different young people that would just we would meet on a monthly basis and we would talk about many different things. We would talk about the lunch trim, the good and the bad of lunch food, ideas that they have that would make it better like having a potato bar, talking about technology as we over the last ten years have just seen a rocketing of technology and technology devices. It really has a, it helped keep me in the know it helped me build relationships with those group of students and then from there it also brach out where those students feel comfortable coming by the office saying hello and they bring their friends and that was a new creative relationships and what it allowed me to do is get to really work with kids on there wasn’t an agenda there wasn’t a problem or concern it was just coming to the table and sharing ideas. And that really help stay grounded and feel like I kept a foot with our student population.
Jay: Yeah! So sounds like the biggest thing that help you proactive about reaching out and trying to stay connected with the students instead of kind the balling up, it sounds like you actually went out seeking those connections instead of just accepting that it was going to be different, you tried to reengaged.
Jeff: Absolutely! And I will tell you it is every year that I work with students say they presented a new ideas, they come to me with some ideas that we may no were not gonna be able to do that and tell them why. I think for them they really buy in and come a key stake holder they may feel like that im because of that access, because for their understanding they feel like greater connection to the high school and feel like they can when theres an issue that comes up every now and then I meet with that group and may have help get the information out. Its been a really good resource for me but its also the biggest thing ever building those relationships, those proactive relationships.
Jay: Yeah, I could see how it help and still honorship on the students because you’re actually listening to them and then once they see you implement some of the ideas that they share im sure that they really feal the sense of honorship then.
Jeff: Absolutely! For certain.
Jay: Yeah! Instead of disengage students they felt like nobody cares right?
Jeff: Right! Yes sir.
Jay: Thats great! So, I know you kind the mentioned that in the journey one of the biggest things you learned is the effective timing management is there anything else you feel like that journey some of those struggles that you learned and you grew as a leader?
Jeff: One of the things taht I will say is that educational leaders need to be doing all the time is working to grow themselves personally. This really hit home when I had a conference I was listening to a speaker his name is Steve Guillen, hia a motivational speaker, does alot on leadership and he was talking about he had everybody in the room write down the last bit of leadership that you read. And the group that I was sitting around in there was some really head scratching to try to recall what was the last book on leadership that I read, how long ago was that. What am I doing to grow myself as a leader, grow myself as an instructional teacher and make sure that im staying on the cutting edge. And so although my assistant pricipal may not enjoy this I every year work on 3 to 5 books on leadership, on instructional leadership try to grow ourselves professionaly, try to be on the cutting edge, we’re going to professional differences but reading books has been one of the biggest lessons that I have learned having book discussions with other leaders to just bounce ideas, to challenge the status quo and look at how we can go as collins would say a going from good to great. We’ve got to continue to push ourselves or were gonna be stagnant and educational leaders many times you could get so caught up in whats the here and now whats the firing up the hottest that you need to give your attention to. Are you taking time to continue after you finished your masters degree, are you taking time to do something to grow yourself professionaly wether its reading a book, wether its everyday finding an educational article leadership article. Many in todays technology world professional learning networks, through twitter or excellent resources that educators can engage in. Just to stay out there and stay fresh.
Jay: Causing growth, I love that.
Jeff: Yes Sir.
Jay: Yeah! So, I am sure having been in the administration for 15 years now alright?
Jay: So, Im sure you have some amazing stories just to be the impact of having a chance of but what was you best moments as a school administrator?
Jeff: One of my best moments for me, if its ok im gonna tell two really quick stories about last year that really kind the home in if thats alright. Last year one of our students that I have been working with for 4 years he became a eagle scout and in his eagle scout ceremony he had the opportunity to invite somebody to talk about him, it could be anybody from what i learned prior people who become eagle scout were recognized by a grandparent by their scout master but he asked me to do it, it was a huge honor to get to talk about this young man the impact his had on my on life and the relationship that we built. Later last year I was recognized, we have in our school district in Midway our top 50 seniors every year get to have a special dinner we recognized then and it was called showcase the stars and they get to take one educator that made a huge impact in there life as I had a young lady who serve on the commitee talk about my principal councel as what ive called it of students just we met once a month and just share ideas and work with her there and built a relationship. For four years she has been on the top 50 in the class and she selected me and so for me those stories I could tell you we got test scores and we’re sitting strong we got tackleaids with TEA. I could tell you stories about being a USA news report one of their top silver schools those are need acculates but for me heaven know those personal stories with students you talk about building relationships, you talk about the impact you made and those two instances last year were just huge for me. Their were personaly rewarding to know that all the work I do, all the time and energy and effort I put in that I am building all those solid relationships with students that I am making difference in the lifes of our students each and everyday it was very gratifying to be recognized inthat manner, very humbling to be recognized in that manner.
Jay: I think there alot of leader you probably often its a thankless job, you pour into other peopls lifes and you just hope that your making it a significant impact and you kind the really spend time trying to aknowledge and appreciate other people but I woul imagine that role when you dont get a whole lot of appreciation back and you always just hope that your on the right course and your making a difference, your making an impact that actually have experiences like that people come back and they want you of all the people the could show choose to speak about them they choose you and just to be recognize on those two ways that you mentioned thats got to be pretty significant.
Jeff: It was a real neat spring in as an educator leader you should be getting in to it for personal to build your own life to put your skins on the wall but those were two very very personal stories that just were it was neat, it was such a neat year where I look back and those were a couple of big highlights in my career where I could if someone says what are some school highlights that you feel like saying I have and I could give you a list but those are to really for me are personaly highest among them, highest on the scale.
Jay: Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah coz at the end of your life its not really about the awards right but if you can make an impact in the lifes of others in the positive way that a really really whats gonna last and what your remembering. Well, thats great thank you for sharing those stories.
Jeff: You Bet. Thank you.
Jay: So, What would you say is the biggest difference that you have found between the impact that you when you are a teacher and the impact that you now have as a principal?
Jeff: As a principal school administrator that the biggest impact is just the scope and as a teacher I was able to build a realationship with 150 students each day i was able to challenge them with the time with my class but ultimately their going on to the next class and they’re with their next teacher. As a school principal I get to with so many decisions that have impact the students, impact the community from hiring decision like how we the curriculum, the decisions that we make that affect the students and all of the sudden it goes from this is my role as a teacher which is extremely important and is a necessity for the school to be a successful and all of the teachers and doing an excelent job, make a school great but this gives me a chance to really help craft the vision of the campus and make sure were going in the direction where its gonna get the school really have our graduates graduating and prepare to go to college and be successful and their college experience I enjoyed that I enjoy being able to take a 9th grader and watch them grow and all the way to their senior year as a teacher you get them for that 1 year and you hope they come back at your room, your door and you may or may not have that infuence like you will and thats really one of the keys to leadership, leadership has a bad influence and I get yto have a larger scope of influence as a principal and I would have and never have as a teacher.
Jay: Yeah. So, im gonna roll through some rapid fire questions if your ready for this. So, first of whats the best leadership advice you ever received?
Jeff: Everyday you come to work is a job interview. Just meaning that everyday that your going in to the job you’ll never know whos gonna be looking at you, you’ll never know somebody on you’ll gonna catch. Live everyday like your living on a job interview and so I try to do that everyday and if my superintendent might gonna need it that make take on the new role that have confidence on me because of the example that I live every single day.
Jay: Yeah. Is there anything you do, any habits that you have that help you get to that place each day. I mean especialy when some of the concerns of personal life or just whatever or kind the looming that get yourself to that place.
Jeff: You know for me part of it ive already mentioned a very supportive life, a supportive family that allow me to come a little bit early and for me I really appreciate the fact that my family work with me and i get in early to be prepared, to be successful each and everyday. So I get here about probably school starts 8:10 get here about 6:30, 6:45 and it gives me a chance to really get my desk cleared off, get my emails cleared out. Im ready to focus that if something comes up during the day I can address it and hopefuly im gotta spend my day with the student and just get working with teachers and kids in the classroom.
Jay: So, you just kind the spend the first part of the morning getting the thing centered and prepared.
Jeff: Thats right.
Jay: So what would you say is your biggest strength as a school administrator?
Jeff: Probably my biggest strength is im kind the great at building relationships.My second would be communication but really my ability to build relationships is with students, with teachers, with parents, the community members. I think in todays world you’ve gotta be great at building relationships, you got to be an effective communicator, there not so many hats your gonna wear but for me thats one of the strongest qualities that parents appreciate the interactions they have, they know im accessible. I know alot of principals they keep their door close, they keep parents lenght and thats just not my realtionship style. I want parents to know that if they have a concern all they have to do is give me a call I may point them towards back at the teacher and the assistant principal to help them with it. That im gonna listen to and make my self available.
Jay: Do you have a book or two that you recommend to school leaders that made an impact on you?
Jeff: I have a couple of books, one is I already mentioned Jim Collins good to great. Another book that I really enjoyed and theres so many book that if you read it to the lense of leadership I think they could be a really good lessons. Tony Dungie is the Quite String if you read it and look at it through the lens of leadership it was an outstanding book. I enjoyed reading it last year with our leadership team. Another book I enjoyed is John Maxwell his a great author on leadership and developing a leaders in you I thought it was a really excelent book.
Jay: Yeah very good. Is there do you have any technology tool like an app or software that you’d recommend to other school leaders?
Jeff: Goodness, an app or a software that I would recommend Im not sure that I would consider it an app or a tool what I wouldd tell leaders is really this it not neccesarily the app or the tool its about what you want to do with that. We are a district that have ipads every students has an ipad but what I constanlty tell the teachers is not about having an ipad its what your doing with it that is offering students an educational experience that if you didnt have it that they wouldnt get and so there are certain things that I enjoyed, that teachers enjoys creative work or you can do quizing with some students and get some informal feedback in what are teachers like the kids is imovies its fun but ultimately wether its an app, wether its a computer, wether its an ipad its how you use that to push students and to take them to higher level thinking thats gonna be what really about more than just giving them a tool or an app in their hand.
Jay: Yeah. Focus on your objective first and then the tool second right?
Jeff: Thats right.
Jay: Yeah, thats good. Whats your favorite educational quote?
Jeff: Well, the one that I love the best if the person would email me and i would say my signature line its from Ronald Reagan, alot of respect for him as a leader of our nation its kind the paraphrase but we must never loose that sense of adventure that thirst for knowlegde for the determination to explore our limits of our own abilities and so I hope that Im a leader of a school district that im still with the teachers and the students that sets in so adventure that thirst for knowledge.
Jay: Yeah. What advice would you have for administrators fro working at the students they serve?
Jeff: Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy. Have fun with what you do, make the most of the relationships you built as you work with students. Just always remember you never know where they’re coming from. What has happen in there life, there day and that a creative they are in that moment and very allow the kid off and i try to go to everyday that every kids is has kind the have different stories every one of them is somebody that were gonna make sure, we are gonna do our very best to make sure they walk across the stage and have a bright future because of the time that they spent here with us.
Jay: Yeah. What piece of advice you have for administrative working with the teacher in the building?
Jeff: Just like ive encourage building around relationships with the students and I spend alot of time to focus on that. I would just say to administrator here working with teachers it build relationships within because they are your best asset they need to know that you’re gonna be available to hear their concerns to listen, the challenges, to help them grow professionaly and they need to know that you got an open door for them and if you dont its gonna be a detrement to you and potentially your career because teachers are one of your best advocates but if dont kind the feed them with your time and energy they dont understand if you dont make the time for them because they have important concerns and issues that they want you to be invovled and they need to know that you’re gonna be there for them.
Jay: Its kind the like you’re saying and correct me if im not into this right but your teachers can be either can be your greatest asset or great liability and alot of it really does depend on how effectively you lead them and alot of that comes down on to how well you connect and built that relationship with them?
Jeff: Thats exactly right. I will tell you if you got a minute I will tell you a quick story. I was an assistant principal for one year here in Midway Highschool and the biggest group I felt almost bad for our superintendent because she have so many teachers I only work there for six months and work here for six months. Our superintendent has an outpoint teachers saying we want Gasaway the next principal at Midway highschool and it was humbling, overwhelming, it was not something I persued for sure coz thats his decision and I really respect that when a super intendent those tough decisions but I had in six months built strong relationships and its so easy to do taking time to stop by and saying good morning, remembering when they tell you a story and just following them, when they send some sort of dicipline issue to you set a reminder that couple of days later check on the kids with that teacher and just say how are they doing in your class. And it goes so much along way and they are one of your biggest assets they could be if you dont do your due deligence you can become a liability for you and your career because they do talk and all of a sudden you are interviewing for something new and if you live everyday like your living in a job interview your doing things right. They’re gonna be one of the best fabricates for you if your trying to get a job somewhere else a promotion anything like that.
Jay: What would be the best way for someone to connect with you after the show like twitter what would be the best way?
Jeff: well, I have them ready, one is definately twitter my hadle is wedraider1995. Facebook im on facebook and either way is a great way or you could just email me jeff.gasaway(at)midwayist.org. I try to get back really quickly to anyone I would love the opportunity to help anyone in there educational journey.
Jay: So, last question, if you could go back if you have a time machine and you can jump in it and go back in the point in time when you have just made the decision maybe it was right after you got your undergraduate degree and you were just maybe making a the move to go towards school leadership, if you could go back in time and give yourself advice what advice would you give to your younger self?
Jeff: i would give myself what i already mentioned this one is everyday is a job interview and you need to live your life everyday like somebodys gonna be watching and potentialy that may be the decision maker in why do they are you or not. The second is I would give myself a bit of advice of get your name out there, work ob building not only through your daily reputation but build your reputation through serving on commitees, networking get your name out there and that way im not sure i dont think when I graduated i had any thought that that gonna be something else persuing all the sudden it was and I could have done more thankfuly I din enough to put my self in to a really good position but many time young administrators they finish their masters they been focus on that and then they wanna make that next jump. Nobody knows who they are, nobody knows anything about them whether their somebody to make good educational decisions in and serving on comittees getting your name out ther building that reputation networking give you a great opportunity to be proactive and have people have already talk about you before your done with your masters degree.
Jay: Great advice coz actualy one of our listeners send in an email asking way that they could separate themselves from the past on the interview process then that really speaks to that so thank you for sharing that.
Jeff: You bet!
Jay: Jeff, thank you for sharing your story with us today.
Jeff: Thank you for having me on the show.
Educators Lead is a podcast created to help launch educators into the next level of leadership. This show is for you if you are interested in educational leadership as an assistant principal, principal, superintendent, teacher or someone who hopes to be a school leader one day. Educators Lead offers inspiration and practical advice to help you lead more effectively. Jay Willis interviews school leaders weekly to discuss why and when these educators made the decision to move into school leadership, challenges along the journey, and stories that made it all worthwhile. Educators Lead is a great resource for any educator looking to make a greater impact.
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