Ben is married to a special education teacher, and he has three daughters, all in junior high or high school, so his life is pretty hectic. Before teaching, Ben gave bull riding a try, which he describes as a life-changing experience. And he spent years teaching English while coaching football, which is about as unusual as being a former bull rider. (2:20)
Both his parents were professors of psychology, so Ben had a natural interest in education. He combined that with his love of football when he decided on a vocation, choosing teaching (and then school administration) instead of going to law school. He talks about his interesting career path since that decision. (6:50)
The parallels between coaching and leading a school inspired Ben to pursue becoming a school administrator (17:17)
There are special challenges when moving from a high school career to leading an elementary school (20:20)
One of the hardest things for anyone to do is say, “Hey, I made a mistake.” (24:20)
Organizational psychology, small problems having huge effects, tipping points, and educational leadership (27:45)
Some valuable school leadership lessons Ben learned coaching high school football (35:35)
Go slow – low and slow, like a crock pot. If you overcook something, there’s no fixing it, but if you cook it slow and it’s not done, you can always cook it a bit longer (38:10)
School leaders must never forget what it’s like to be a kid in a classroom (43:50)
Why every teacher and school leader should read Calvin and Hobbes regularly (45:30)
Some great advice for admins working with teachers with instructional coaching and strengths based leadership (52:54)
If Ben had a time machine, here’s the advice he would go back and give his younger self when he was just starting out in administration (1:01:00)
Books mentioned in this episode
Connect with Ben Bruni
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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