Friday, April 22, 2016

Board of Directors

At one of my recent sessions of the "Leadership Matters" cohort, a leadership class for principals across Michigan, I was introduced to the concept of a personal Board of Directors. The idea was conceived by Napoleon Hill nearly a century ago and still has relevance for leaders today. The idea is to surround yourself with people whom you admire, who are invested in you, and who stretch you to reach your fullest potential. The activity led by Derek Wheaton and Debbie McFalone focused on six positions needed on your personal Board of Directors. Here are the people that sit on my board:

The Cheerleader- One who motivates and spreads the positive: For me, my inspiration has always come from my daughters. They bring me joy, happiness, and inspire me to become the best dad, best principal, and best person that I can be.

The Truth Teller- One who I can count on to be honest at all times and keeps me grounded with accurate perspective: My truth teller has been featured in an earlier blog post and is my former colleague and peer, Jennifer. She is a phenomenal educator, and more importantly is one who will question me, argue with me, and above all be honest with me. Her honesty, blended with her desire to help me grow, makes her one who stretches my thinking and makes me a better principal. 

Jiminy Cricket- My conscience and keeps me grounded in what is right and wrong: This is definitely my wife. She has a strong moral compass, a heart for service, and inspires me with her willingness to help and serve others. 

Sacajawea- My guide and mentor: I've had many guides in my life and I think that's the key. Each stage or role in life may require a new mentor. As a parent, my mentors were my mother and father. Early in my career it was Paul Liabenow who hired and mentored me. I find mentors now through courses and conferences like Leadership Matters with Debbie and Derek. We need to seek out mentors if we want to continue to grow and learn.

Crowd in the Square - Small group who serves as my sounding board: My crowd would have to be my administrative team at Livonia Public Schools. They stretch my thinking, provide feedback and support, and remind me that I'm never alone.

Luke to your Yoda- Someone you are mentoring or teaching: If you would have asked me a week ago, I would say that I'm not sure if I'm mentoring anyone. Yes, I work with a new principal in the district, but she is so knowledgeable that I look at us more in a peer relationship than mentor. Then I received a note in the mail from Jodie Pierpoint. Jodie is a member of the educational blogging group I participate in (The Compelled Tribe) and she wrote "thank you for your encouragement through my new adventure". I thought, maybe I have been a mentor without realizing it. Perhaps you are a mentor to someone without even realizing it yourself!

Having a support group is not a new idea, but purposely planning out who you learn and share with can be a powerful leadership strategy. As educators, who would be on your board of directors? If you haven't done so, identify who your "go to" people are. Better yet, let them know they are serving on your board. They may be surprised and pleased to know that they are holding such an important position!

Source: Adapted from Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters, Porras, Emery, Thompson, 2007 
Derek Wheaton, Derek Wheaton consultin LLC
photo credit: Habitat for Humanity 


"You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus and the support." - Sabrina Bryan

"A man's pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance." - Bear Grylls

"Surround yourself with people who provide you with support and love and remember to give back as much as you can in return." - Karen Kain

True Leader: The Power of Teamwork (2 minutes)


Monday, April 25: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05-9:25 am
Tuesday, April 26: 2nd Grade Talking Zoo in the gym (all day)
Wednesday, April 27: IEP (Limberg/Berrelez) 2:30 pm
                                    Mother-Son Event at Zap Zone 6:00-9:00 pm
Thursday, April 28: No Students / Building Based Professional Development Day 8:00-3:30
Friday, April 29: ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) 3:00-3:15 pm

Monday, May 2: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05-9:25 am
                            Student of the Month Assembly 3:00 pm
Wednesday, May 4: Staff Appreciation Luncheon in Room 18 by PTA
                                 Arts,Beats,Eats&Books 6:00-8:00 pm
Thursday, May 5: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                              Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00 pm
                              PTA Meeting (Officer Elections) 6:30 pm

Friday, May 13: F&P Data Due
Monday, May 16: Final Data Dive Meeting
Tuesday, May 24: Volunteer Tea
Wednesday, June 1: Kindergarten Round Up
Friday, June 3: Spring Fling 6:00-8:00 pm
Friday, June 10: Field Day
Thursday, June 16: Last day for students (12:10 dismissal)


  1. You're mentoring more people than you realize. :) Know your impact! I'm learning from you every day!

  2. Jon, your post has added a task to my list reflect on these roles in my own life. I agree that you are mentoring more people than you realize. Thanks for leading our tribe.

  3. You ARE a great mentor and inspire me through your blogs and your encouragement of mine! Six months ago I didn't even know how to blog!!! I am positive that you inspire many people every day in a variety of ways!
    I am so glad to be part of this journey!
    Thank you for your leadership!!!