Before serving as an administrator, Dr. Zoul was a classroom teacher for 18 years in the State of Georgia, teaching elementary school, middle school, and high school English. Jeff has also served as an adjunct professor at North Georgia College and State University, teaching graduate level courses in research and assessment.
Jeff’s Books on Amazon:
Eduleaders can follow Dr. Zoul on Twitter: @jeff_zoul and via his blog at jeffzoul.blogspot.com. In addition to his passion for all things relating to teaching and learning, Zoul is an avid long distance runner and has completed several marathons.
Jeff started as a first grade teacher, and ended his teaching career by teaching 12th grade English. In his spare time he enjoys biking, golfing, and attending concerts. Plus, he once ran with the bulls of Pamplona for three days in a row (2:10)
A rebellious student bored with school when he was young, Jeff decided to go into education because he believed school should be a lot more interesting and even fun (05:28)
After twenty years of being a teacher, he decided to move from teaching into administration for the same sorts of reasons (06:40)
Jeff’s work mantra is: Work hard, have fun, be nice (07:49)
Most people have no idea how hard school administration is until they take their first job as a school leader. One of the biggest challenges is handling discipline fairly and effectively (08:54)
To stay sane and positive despite all the stress and drama of a school leader’s job, you need to get out and about in the hallways and classrooms (15:15)
There’s nothing you can do in the principal’s office during school hours that can improve the school – Todd Whitaker (16:30)
Having teachers from his school win County Teacher of the Year three years running is one of the achievements Jeff’s most proud of (18:50)
What inspired Jeff to write his first book, Improving Your School One Week at a Time, and how it came into existence, and how getting up one hour earlier every day can change your life (23:40)
Writing his second book was a much different experience (29:00)
Start Right Now is Jeff’s latest book (30:15)
Jeff discusses which two of his books he’d most highly recommend for school leaders (30:45)
A couple of daily and occasional habits Jeff uses to make sure he continues to grow (35:00)
Where Jeff finds inspiration for blog posts (36:45)
The best leadership advice Jeff ever received came from Todd Whitaker – it’s people; not programs. Programs are never the problem, and they’re never the solution. People are always the problem, and they’re always the solution. (38:10)
The crucial importance of active listening and being empathetic (38:52)
Some of Jeff’s top book recommendations (40:57)
Jeff’s advice for admins on working with their students (42:11)
Working with your teachers is all about rolling up your sleeves and getting involved (43:20)
If Jeff 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 (44:30)
Books mentioned in this episode
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Connect with Jeff Zoul
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 three days a week 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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