Principal EL & the Schoolhouse302
Dr. Salome Thomas-EL has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE since 1987. He is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Public Charter School in Wilmington, DE. Thomas-EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Principal EL was a regular contributor on The Dr. Oz Show and the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay and The Immortality of Influence (Foreword by Will Smith). The Walt Disney Company optioned the movie rights to I Choose to Stay. Thomas-EL speaks to groups across the country and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR Radio. He has received the Marcus A. Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Reader’s Digest Magazine recognized Principal EL as an “Inspiring American Icon” and he has appeared on Oprah Radio! And, with Joseph Jones and T.J. Vari, he co-authored Passionate Leadership: Creating a Culture of Success in Every School, Building a Winning Team: The Power of a Magnetic Reputation and the Need to Recruit Top Talent in Every School, and Retention for a Change: Motivate, Inspire, and Energize Your School Culture. Read More >
This past year has undoubtedly been the most challenging time in education for teachers and school leaders everywhere. As we look to the future, schools will need to transform their practices and build cultures of strong relationships in response to the pandemic. The Passionate Leadership training is designed to guide the thinking, planning and actions of educators. In this thought-provoking and motivating training session, Dr. EL, Dr. Jones and Dr. Vari, authors of the book Passionate Leadership, will discuss creating and fostering a culture to support educators who are more equity-focused, innovative, trauma-informed, and passionate about their work. Passionate leaders support teachers to create engaging, rigorous and joyful classrooms. The presenters will help attendees reflect on current practices and challenge them to innovate and grow for the future of our children.
The need for talented teachers in our schools is of critical importance for student learning and a positive school culture. Highly effective leaders and teachers influence student learning outcomes. Talented teachers make a significant difference for students in both their learning in the classroom and their desire to attend school. Great schools are able to attract good teachers, and teachers who have a desire to become great. School district leaders and human resources departments need to be very intentional when it comes to building a winning team for their students and families. In this session inspired by their book, Building a Winning Team, the authors will share with school and district administrators that hiring is an ongoing process that requires some key strategies. They must develop magnetic reputations that convey the story of their school, actively recruit talented teachers using new and innovative HR strategies and retain their most effective teachers with a motivational and inspirational school culture that supports all staff members. Dr. Vari, Dr. Jones and Dr. EL will help school leaders learn how they directly impact the success of their schools. Great leaders are always building, creating a winning mentality and treating every staff member as valued member of the team.
In Retention for a Change, the authors, Dr. Vari, Dr. Jones and Dr. EL. address the need for a major change in school cultures. They speak to school and district leaders, board members, HR directors, teacher-leaders, and public officials around the nation, to help them see the need for stronger retention practices in schools, so that we are no longer losing our best people. Retention is the change we need in schools. In this session, the speakers drive home that focusing on teacher and principal retention will require a strong cultural shift, and when we do make the shift to intentionally support our staff, they stay in our schools and in the profession. Attendees will learn about the three key retention accelerators, motivation, inspiration and energy. They address specifically how we can support new teachers and leaders as well. Dr. Jones, Dr. EL, and Dr. Vari teach us how to cultivate a family mentality in our schools. The most successful teams feel like a family when they work together. When they feel like family, they are motivated, energized and inspired to stay in the lives of our students. This mentality and passion allow us to sustain great teaching and leadership in our districts and in our communities.
This is the signature talk in the Passionate Leadership Institute series. There are six key areas that drive a positive school culture and passionate leaders know and live all six of them daily. They are purpose, trust, accountability, support, growth and innovation. In this session, leaders will learn from Dr. EL, Dr. Jones and Dr. Vari that the purpose of the work must be clear and connected to their everyday efforts. The culture of the school must be one where the people trust and respect one another and the leaders. The core values of the school and clear and measurable goals should be set early and communicated for accountability. Attendees will learn that effective teaching and leadership are very important, so candid and compassionate feedback must be at the core of your school culture. A system to celebrate and recognize staff on an ongoing basis will be needed, along with a feeling of overall support and empowerment. The message must be clear that it is our responsibility to continue to learn and grow as teachers and leaders. Every member of the school community, what the presenters call the school family, should have the psychological safety to share ideas and experience the impact of the promotion of equity, inclusion and diversity. Innovative leaders sustain their leadership by taking care of themselves, encouraging others, and supporting every member of their staff. The Six Pillars require leaders to choose “Impact” over compliance!
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