EPISODE 10: Jethro Jones on Driving Digital Innovation in the Classroom

October 02, 2017

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Today I’m talking with Jethro Jones, who has been the principal of Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska since August 2017 and hosted the Transformative Principal Podcast since 2013.  

To top it all off, Jethro was named the Digital Principal of the Year for his tremendous success bringing digital innovation into the classroom

In our chat, we’ll cover some of the most exciting technological innovations Jethro has introduced into his school, learn how schools can best use technology moving forward, and also hear how superintendents can empower their principals to innovate.

If you’re looking for some practical advice on digital innovation, then you are in the right place.

Topics covered:

  • (01:44) – Jethro’s background leading up to today.
      • (01:53) – Jethro discusses the inspirations that led him to a career in education.
      • (07:18) – The top priorities Jethro identified when he started as principal.
        • (07:33) – The importance of identify people’s strengths and leading them to get better.
          • (08:11) – Using DISC profiling and personality tests.
  • (03:45) –  Technology Innovations
      • (03:45) – The most exciting technological innovations Jethro has introduced in his school.
        • (04:47) – Creation of the student tracking app Pickr.
      • (12:31) – How Jethro came to host his podcast The Transformative Principal.
        • (12:47) – Using his podcast as a tool for his own professional development.
        • (14:23) – The biggest lesson Jethro has learned from all the leaders he has talked with in his podcast.
          • (14:45) – That culture is everything.
          • (14:45) – Culture trumps strategy every single day.  Policies don’t mean a thing if your culture is something different.  
        • (17:28) – How Jethro sees technology influencing education in the future.
          • (17:42) – The use of chat bots and artificial intelligence.
          • (19:48) – Discussing school security and the role of technology in this issue.
            • (20:35) – Moderation in all things.
            • (20:57) – Ensuring that the focus is on people first and technology second.
  • The Superintendent/Principal Relationship
      • (09:32) – Discussing Jethro’s opinions on what the dynamics between superintendents and principals should be.
        • (10:02) – Why superintendents need to allow their principals the room to make their school their own.
        • (10:27) – That principals must identify the strengths of weaknesses of his or her staff and students and meet the standards imposed by the superintendent.
        • (22:05) – Discussing autonomy versus compliance while leading teachers.
  • (26:13) –  Transformative Leadership Summit
      • (26:27) – How Jethro came up with the idea of the summit.
      • (27:26) – Jethro speaks on the subject of his mastermind group.
  • (30:00) – Going Paperless
    • (30:13) – What going paperless means to Jethro.

Rapid-fire Questions:

  • (31:42) – What do you currently spend too much time doing?
  • (32:03) – What do you not spend enough time doing?
  • (32:19) – What did you learn from the education space which you had not known before?
  • (32:32) – What emerging trends in education are you keeping an eye on?

Resources mentioned:

  • Transformative Principal Podcast:  Jethro’s podcast.  (00:49).
  • Transformative Leadership Summit: (00:49).
  • Pickr:  Tracking app Jethro had built that allows for ad hoc grouping of students.  (04:47).
  • Strengths Finder:  Resource Jethro uses to build the strengths of his staff and teachers.(08:11).
  • Myers Briggs:  Resource Jethro uses to build the strengths of his staff and teachers. (08:11).
  • Bill Daggett:  Podcast guest on The Transformative Principal who discusses how culture trumps strategy and policy.  (16:46).

Where to learn more:

If you would like to learn more about the work Jethro is doing, or to get in touch with him personally, visit his website TransformativePrincipal.org.  

And if you have been personally impacted by the interview, Jethro invites you to visit TransformativePrincipal.org/impact and help him reach his goal to impact over a hundred million students by the year 2027


Pat: 0:00:00.6 Hi everyone, today I’m talking with Jethro Jones, who has the principal of Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska since August 2017.

Jethro was named the digital principal of the year this year, and has brought tech right into the classroom.

He’s also a prolific podcaster himself and has been the host of Transformative Principle Podcast since 2013.

In our chat, we’ll cover some of the most exciting technological innovations Jethro has introduced into his school, learn how schools can best use technology moving forward, and also hear how superintendents can empower their principals to innovate.

0:00:37.8 If you’re looking for some practical advice on digital innovation, then you are in the right place. Welcome to the show Jethro.

Jethro: 0:00:46.7 Thank you, I am so excited to be here.

Pat: 0:00:49.7 Awesome. So before we get started, I want to let the listeners know that you are a principal in a middle school right now, you are also a podcaster of Transformative Principal Podcast, you’re also a blogger, app developer, author and also founder of the Transformative Leadership Summit. 0:01:12.1 I have one question for you Jethro. Where do you find the time?

Jethro: 0:01:16.5 Well that is the real challenge of our day. And it is a continual process where I try to get better at completing all the things that I need to do, but I rely on a lot of people to help me out. Both at work and at home and there’s no way I could do it without such a supportive wife and kids. 0:01:38.9 So, it’s a work in progress of finding the time to get everything done.

Pat: 0:01:44.1 Awesome. So what did the path to becoming the middle school principal look like for you. How did you choose this career, how are you here today?

Jethro: 0:01:53.3 Well, I knew from a young age that I loved helping people learn things. And for me, it’s really about impact. I believe that I have certain gifts and abilities that allow me to connect with people on a different level and to inspire and help them.

0:02:17.9 And I went into teaching mostly as a means to an end. I knew I wanted to be an administrator because I wanted to guide a vision of a school or a district or whatever, and I knew that it needed to be more than just me in the classroom with a certain number of kids.

0:02:36.4 I believe that is an important job, but it’s not one that my skill set is suited to. So, overseeing things, guiding vision, inspiring people, helping people get better even when they’re already good, those are all things in my wheelhouse. 0:02:52.0 So that’s what I wanted to do.

So, I was an assistant principal at an elementary school after I was a teacher. I worked at the – or before that I also worked at the district office over libraries for 42 school district. And then as a curriculum specialist in that district as well.

And then I became assistant principal at elementary, then I was principal of Kodiak Middle School in Kodiak, Alaska. And now I’m here in Fairbanks. 0:03:23.9 And every job has just given me more opportunity to have a greater impact on kids.

Pat: 0:03:33.2 Awesome, awesome. That is so heartwarming to hear. That you passionately believe in what you do, and you stay – you’re really living the dream for yourself. So, kudos to that.

Jethro: Thank you.

Pat: 0:03:45.5 So, you’ve spearheaded a number of exciting 0:03:49.0 [Inaudible] programs during your time as principal. So can you talk to us about what are the most exciting technological innovations to use in your school?

Jethro: 0:03:58.5 Well, you know I think the best thing that I was able to do – when I got to Kodiak, the superintendent said, “We really need an after school program” and I said, “You know, after school programs can be great, but kids don’t want to go to school all day and be told they’re dumb and then stay at school for an hour after school and be told they’re dumb again.

So we’ve got to find a way to make the changes happen within the school day and not wait until after school to give kids the support they need.”

0:04:31.0 And so what we did is we found a way to adjust our schedule so that we could have a 30 minute time period every single day, that kids could get extra help and intervention, or they could get extension or enrichment activities given to them.

0:04:47.7 So what was challenging about that is that we still need to keep track of kids. So what we did, is we created an app called Pickr, and you can actually download it right now, use it at your school. Called – it’s at Pickr.org and it’s an open source program that anyone can download. And it allows for ad hoc grouping of students.

0:05:12.5 So every two weeks, we would change where these kids would go during this one particular class. But we need to keep track of them, so we made this app to make sure that we could still keep track of them.

0:05:22.9 So what happens is, teachers would create the class they were going to teach for two weeks. So for example, a teacher was getting ready to teach the Pythagorean Theorem, and she saw that about 70% of her students were not prepared to learn about the Pythagorean Theorem.

0:05:42.0 So she created a bunch of different classes and had different teachers helping her out, and go those kids the pre work that they needed to be able to be successful at the Pythagorean Theorem over a two week period that she taught the Pythagorean Theorem.

0:05:54.5 So instead of having kids at all different levels that weren’t ready or prepared, she was able to target her instruction and focus on teaching those kids exactly what they needed to be prepared for instruction on the Pythagorean Theorem.

0:06:07.3 Then she taught it, and at the end she gave an assessment, and only seven kids out of her 150 that she was teaching, only the seven kids were not sufficient at the Pythagorean Theorem after that. 0:06:20.0 So that’s just one example of how powerful that can be to provide intervention and enrichment during the day and give kids exactly what they need when they need it.

Pat: 0:06:28.7 That is such a great piece of insight. So you’re using technology to increase engagement amongst students by getting them excited, getting them involved.

Jethro: 0:06:41.2 Yeah, and that’s a key part here Pat, because we didn’t end around the teachers, because teachers are always saying, “Don’t put something new on my plate, take things off my plate.” So we did exactly that with this program.

0:06:55.3 Teachers don’t need to be involved at all. It’s all the administration, and the students. And so we have our counsellor build all the classes, all we got from the teachers was, “What is it that you need or want to teach” and the students and the administration did the rest.

0:07:09.6 So the teachers didn’t have anything added to their plates. They were able to focus on just helping the kids that needed help.

Pat: 0:07:18.4 So other than this, what were your other top priorities when you started as principal? Of course, student achievement is top, but what other things in terms of relationships with your teachers, how to build your team and how to go about that. 0:07:31.9 If you can walk us through that process.

Jethro: 0:07:33.2 Well, the big priority for me is identifying people’s strengths and leading them to get better in their strengths. Nobody likes being bad at something, and nobody likes that to be the focus.

And so, with all my teachers and any other staff that work for me, I am constantly trying to find ways that we can identify what their strengths are and then give them tools and opportunities to get better in those areas.

0:08:00.9 So one of the things that I use is a DISC personality profile that you may have heard of. It doesn’t really matter which one.

Pat: 0:08:10.9 I loved it, I loved it.

Jethro: 0:08:11.5 It doesn’t really matter which one you use, what matters is that you have a way to talk about people’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ve also used Strengths Finder 0:08:20.3, that’s a good one, and Myers Briggs and a bunch of others that. 0:08:26.8

Yeah, it doesn’t matter what you use, you just need to be able to have a framework for talking about people’s strengths and then once you do, then you lead into those strengths and their weaknesses and you find ways to make sure you’re communicating with them about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and how they can get better.

Pat: 0:08:45.2 That is so powerful. And just so the listeners know, there are a lot of these tools available for free on the internet. If somebody just Googles ‘free DISC profiling’ they’ll be able to find those.

0:08:56.0 And I’m glad you actually went down to the specifics of – because people talk on the high level of, “Hey, you know, I look at strengths and I improve them” but how do you look at the strengths and how do you identify these. 0:09:07.1 And these are great tools what you talked about. Tests and Myers Briggs and you know, to understand the teachers and where they come from, you know, who’s a D personality, who’s an S, who’s a social bug there. And to actually accentuate that skill set takes a great leader to identify and accentuate that. And thanks for sharing that.

Jethro: 0:09:27.6 No problem.

Pat: 0:09:32.0 And, you know, most of our audience here is made up of superintendents and other administrators in our podcast, so keeping that in mind, I want to dig a little deeper.

What in your opinion, should they keep in mind? Why working with principals such as yourself – one, giving them the independence, and second, you know, getting them to comply with the district rules and regulations as well.

0:09:54.1 So, what do you think the dynamics should be? I know I kind of jumped off the school into the district level – I’d love to hear your take on that.

Jethro: 0:10:02.3 Yeah, for me the real thing to keep in mind is that the district standardizes and then the schools customize. If you can’t allow your principals to make the school their own, and still support your rules and regulations and policies and all that at the district level, it’s going to be really hard to inspire anybody to be great or excellent in that school.

0:10:27.3 So, what I believe principals need – and this is also working at the district level as well, so it’s not like I’m just saying, “Hey you guys up there, fix this.” Being able to recognize that a principal should know his teacher’s and student’s strengths and weaknesses and should know what they need, and should be able to communicate that clearly about what’s going on, that needs to happen.

0:10:53.0 But then your job as a superintendent is to say, “Here’s the standard and you as the principal need to meet this standard, but how you do it is not as important as why you do it.”

0:11:08.5 So keeping the focus on why our goals are what they are and then giving leaders the autonomy to be able to say, “This is how we’re going to make that happen and this is what we’re going to do to make that happen.”

It is not ok at all for a principal to say, “I don’t believe in the district vision, I’m going to do my own vision.” That’s not cool. But what is cool is saying, “Yes, I believe in that vision and here’s my strengths defining how I’m going to implement that in my school.”

And the superintendents that I’ve had, which have all been amazing and inspiring and allowed me to do that, it – really allowed me to flourish as a leader, rather than be stuck within a model or mode that I can’t be my best self.

Pat: 0:12:04.1 Sure, sure. Thanks. That is powerful insights right there. I’m sure a lot of superintendents listening here would be like, “Jeez, I wish I had all my principals like Jethro in my school.”

But unfortunately they come in a mixed bag, and managing them, you know, like you mentioned how you manage your teachers. They would need to look at the strengths and weaknesses of principals and play to their strengths and help them with their weaknesses and get them all on the same page.

0:12:31.3 Thank you for that. Seguing into – you know, I know you’ve been at a pod – you’ve been running a podcast for about four years now, can you talk to us as to how that came about and why was that such important to you?

Jethro: 0:12:47.3 Well, in light of the last question, that’s actually pretty funny. So I was – as an assistant principal, I was not getting the professional development that I was hoping for, and so I wanted more.

0:13:06.0 And I wanted actual examples of real principals who were doing amazing things. And I knew they were out there and so it really – it was just a matter of me connecting with them and finding out about what they were doing.

0:13:22.3 And so that’s what I started doing. I heard of a principal, and I was in Utah at the time, in northern Utah in Ogden, who took her school from like the very last in the state all the way up to the top ten.

0:13:32.1 And I was like, “That’s special. There’s got to be something that she’s doing that is helping out with that.” And so I asked her if she’d let me interview her and so that was my very first episode. And it’s awful. Like, I’ve listened to it a couple times and I just shake my head at how bad it is, but I leave it up there to show the growth and the progress that comes.

0:13:59.2 So what I found was that while my superintendent was on point and did a great job, the leadership between him and me wasn’t giving me what I needed in that district. 0:14:11.6 So I went out on my own and did my own thing to learn for myself.

Pat: 0:14:17.8 And you built a great around 0:14:23.3 and you built a great community around that and now I’m sure looking back on the last four years there’s a lot of things that you’ve learned.

And in the pre-call you did mention one biggest lesson you learned from all the leaders you’ve talked to in your podcast. And that really stood out and if you want to share that with us, I would like to dig a little deeper into that.

Jethro: 0:14:45.7 Well, you know, it’s possible to put it into just a couple words, but the reality is I’ve learned so much and the culture really is everything. Culture trumps strategy every single day. So culture is what we actually do, whether there are policies or not. And so policies don’t mean a thing if your culture is something different.

So, you know there’s so many ways to show how that happens, but I think one of the ways that is really fascinating to me is that if you have a policy in place that teachers have to put in for a sub, you know, 24 hours in advance or get permission, or do whatever, it doesn’t really matter if nobody follows that policy.

0:15:40.2 And so policies can exist, but it’s all about the culture and it’s what we actually do that is so powerful and impactful. And, it’s not just you know, a little, you know, “Because we wrote it down then that’s what it is.” It’s what people actually do, and it’s not always what the policy is.

Pat: 0:16:05.8 That is so true, and you really put it in three words, which is culture trumps strategy. In my other life, you know, I am a startup founder, we work with ed tech companies all across the country and we say that in our language, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast any day.”

16:35 You know, you can have policies in place all day long, but it means nothing if there is no culture of learning and improving yourself and educating and just innovating. 0:16:38.1 So, that is so well said, and you’ve really put it in a very succinct manner. Thanks for the insight. 0:16:44.3 [Edit out]

Jethro: Sorry Pat 0:16:46.0 – cross talk. That came from a – Bill Daggett, from one of my podcast episodes, so if you go to TransformativePrincipal.org and search for Bill Daggett, you’ll get more of his take on that. So that’s not an original thought by me by any means.

Pat: 0:17:05.1 No, no, that’s a slogan we all live by and it’s so profound when you think about it and how it affects us. Any amount of policies means nothing if the culture is not built around imbibing those policies and living it and seeing it to the next plain. If that makes sense.

Jethro: 0:17:25.3 Yeah, absolutely.

Pat: 0:17:28.1 So, what areas do you see technology best assisting schools in the future. Where – like if you had to 0:17:36.4 [inaudible] in, like what’s in store for us and where do you see technology taking us, and how is it going to change our schools in the future?

Jethro: 0:17:42.9 Yeah, you know, I think there’s some real powerful stuff out there on the horizon. Artificial intelligence and things like that. One of the things that we’re working on at my school right now, is developing chat bots for instruction with students. So, chat bots are very popular and they’re guided conversations, not artificial intelligence.

0:18:09.3 And there are so many things that we do in education that could, that could be taken care of by a chat bot that frees teachers up to do other things. And, you know, a lot of people talk about technology replacing teachers, and I do not see it that way at all.

0:18:31.0 As technology gets more pervasive and advanced, the need for teachers grows. But what also grows is their ability to impact more kids in a more profound way. And so, you know, if – the other thing I’ll say about technology is it doesn’t matter how good the technology is, it matters how good the teacher is.

0:18:51.3 Because technology makes a good teacher better, but technology has a force multiplying effect in the opposite direction as well. Technology makes a bad teacher even worse.

So for example, if you have good classroom management, you give technology to everybody, and the teacher’s power is amplified and they become great at classroom management because they already have the basics in place.

On the other hand, if somebody is bad at classroom management and you put technology, it is not good for those kids because that teacher doesn’t have the skills to do it right.

0:19:30.2 So, what you need to pay attention to is making sure that your teachers have the basic skills and then technology can enhance whatever their skill set is. And not enhance positively, but just make a bigger impact. So, if they’re bad it’s going to be worse, if they’re good it’s going to be better.

Pat: 0:19:48.2 Sure, sure. That’s so well said. Also, staying on the technology for a minute longer. I also want to get your thoughts on what are the security challenges? You know, going from learning to securing the schools. And today that’s a big thing going on.

So what are the security challenges at schools today and how does – how can technology help us make a difference, in your opinion?

Jethro: 0:20:11.9 [Edit out] As far as security you said?

Pat: Yeah. 0:20:15.8

Jethro: 0:20:17.7 So, 0:20:18 [Edit out]

Pat: Both digital, physical, cyber and how children are exposed to all kinds of, you know, threats today. So, how would technology actually make a difference and either make it better, or is there over reliance on technology, what’s your thoughts on that?

Jethro: 0:20:35.3 Yeah, you know I think one of my favourite thoughts is moderation in all things, and if we are only focused on the technology then that is putting too much emphasis on that. What it all needs to come back to is, is the individual people that are involved.

We can’t ever forget that we’re dealing with people and so it’s got to be people first. 0:20:57.9 And technology second.

And you know, if we – let’s say we want to increase, you know, security by putting you know, RFID tags on everybody who walks in the building.

0:21:09.2 So as soon as somebody that walks in that doesn’t have an RFID tag on, it sends an alert and then we know that there’s somebody unauthorized in the building. What are the effects of that, and how will that affect individual people?

What if a kid comes to school and doesn’t have their wallet or ID card, or whatever it is that has their RFID chip on it.

0:21:32.1 And then furthermore, you know, what if somebody comes in and how do we still keep parents welcome in our school? But then we have these policies that prevent them from actually making it into our school and participating in the education of their children.

0:21:50.7 So, you know, I don’t think that I have a really great answer, but what I would say is it’s going to get bad and it’s not going to help us if we don’t focus on the people first. We’ve got to recognize that people are still people.

Pat: 0:22:05.7 Absolutely. Absolutely. Well said. So now seguing into – you discussed upon giving principals the autonomy to drive innovation and change within their schools. Now breaking that down in a school level, what is your thoughts on autonomy versus compliance while leading with your teachers? Where do you draw the line?

Jethro: 0:22:30.7 Oh man, that is so funny. That is a great question, because I have very strong feelings about this. So, the – if it is about compliance, either with our students or our teachers, then we’ve totally missed the boat.

0:22:46.0 You know, for me it is – it’s never about compliance unless the compliance is a path to counsel someone out of a job, basically. 0:22:59.8 It is about each person identifying who they are, what they want to become and having the ability to grow into that.

And that sounds pretty fluffy and fraught with challenges if you’re not careful, but the reality is, like I said, we’re all people first and my teachers have to be given compassion and kindness and grace no matter where they’re at in their skill level.

0:23:26.1 And they need to have autonomy in their lives to be able to make their own choices. And you know, I believe that so powerfully that there are a lot of times where I get myself in a tough position because I believe that autonomy exists and so I can’t force kids or teachers to do certain things, and I have to build that relationship with them so that they trust me and want to walk with me through the process, rather than do what I say because I said it.

0:23:59.7 And you know, at times it would be a lot easier to just say, “Do you have to do this, and etc., etc.” But like I said, culture trumps strategy and so even if I say that, if their culture is to go against me, then they’re going to go against me and there’s not much that I can truly do about it.

0:24:19.3 Once our teachers and parents and students realize that we aren’t really the authority figures that they’re always believed, then, you know, that creates some scary situations for us who exist on that power and that control.

0:24:34.2 So, the reality is, we don’t have any control over them, and we need to recognize that and so everything we do has to be inviting them to be better with us.

Pat: 0:24:49.5 Influencing them and encouraging them.

Jethro: Yeah.

Pat: 0:24:53.8 Awesome. Yeah, that is good. So – and I’m sure, you know it goes both ways in the sense that when superintendents are dealing with principals in large districts, they could have a few hundred principals and the same rules apply here as well, right?

And if we can just superimpose what you talked about, the dynamic between principals and their teachers, the same thing should apply when you go up the chain between superintendents and his or her principals who actually run the schools. Right?

Jethro: 0:25:31.3 Exactly. And you know, I know that my superintendent can’t control me, but I believe in her vision and I want to do what she is talking about and so that’s why I’m here and that’s why I took this job. I can go get another job anywhere else. I’m not worried about that.

0:25:50.8 And anyone worth their weight can do that as well. So the good teachers, the good principals, the good leaders, they can go get a job any place and that doesn’t really matter. But what you want, is you want to find all those good people and get them to want to be with you because you empower and strengthen them. 0:26:11.1 That’s really what the goal needs to be.

Pat: 0:26:13.7 Very well said. So, seguing a little bit, how did you come up with this idea of Transformative Leadership Summit? And how has that really affected the way you deal your problems on a daily basis?

Jethro: 0:26:27.1 Well, you know, that – the whole purpose of that this year was to talk about the school experience and what different stake holders view that as. And so, people can still purchase, pay and that – go to TransformativeLeadership.com and really, it’s about getting different perspectives and being able to see from that point of view what life is like and what the school experience is like.

0:26:56.2 And we often don’t think about what the experience of our students and teachers and principals and parents is for our schools. 0:27:06.8 And we really need to take a look at that and make sure, like I said earlier, that it’s people first and that our culture is warm and inviting and inspires people to be their best.

Pat: 0:27:17.8 So on the same note, you also have a mastermind class that you run right?

Jethro: That is correct. Yep.

Pat: 0:27:26.2 What is it, and if you could give a little bit of overview to our listeners if it could be of help to somebody.

Jethro: 0:27:30.8 So, there’s real ability and inspiration that happens when you are gathered together and talking about a challenge or problem. So, it’s a group coaching thing where I get principals around a virtual table, and we talk about the things that we’re doing that are challenging and how we can overcome them.

0:27:54.8 We have accountability and we set goals each week. 0:27:56.9 We read books together and we really do all these things to make ourselves as good as we possibly can. So, it’s not like it’s a program and you come in and you go through this program and then you’re good, it is a continual process that goes on for as long as you’re willing to participate in it that identifies your weaknesses and your strengths and then helps guide you to be the best leader that you can.

0:28:23.8 And sometimes we have really challenging conversations. Sometimes there’s tears. And a lot of times, there’s celebrations about the awesome things that we’re doing. It just – you know, I’ll choose three or four people real quick just to spotlight.

0:28:39.5 One of them showed the most growth in their school, in the state. One of them recently got a promotion to be a district level leader. Another one, it inspired her to go out on her own and start her own consulting business.

And then another one got an award in her district for the best communicating school, and also for the most improved reading scores. And so, when you get focused, it inspires greatness and because of the dynamic that we have and the ability that we have to push each other and the accountability that we have in place, it’s an amazing thing. 0:29:24.6 And it’s a lot of fun.

Pat: 0:29:27.0 Absolutely. And anybody has an opportunity to get into these masterminds or some kind of 0:29:34.8 [inaudible] platform and just some platforms like the podcast like you run and what we’re trying to build. These are really positive resources that any leader in education today has access too, and they should, you know, use – whether their power is to actually benefit from these. Thank you for sharing that.

Jethro: No problem.

Pat: 0:30:00.9 So there’s another buzz word, which you know is thrown around loosely: going paperless. Right? How has going paperless made you an effective principal? And what does it mean for you in your school?

Jethro: 0:30:13.1 Yeah, you know for me, paperless is not really a – it’s not exactly paperless. So I still use paper. I recognize the value of it, but for me, it really is about recognizing that there are better ways to do things and if that better way exists, then you owe it to yourself and those you work with to do it in a more efficient and effective manner.

0:30:39.9 And so, you know, I wrote a book about that, and that helped me a lot. And I still use those same strategies and tools that I wrote about then.

0:30:52.8 But really, it’s about constantly improving and finding ways to get better at everything that you do. And that’s really what I believe overall and what you need to do.

And so, you know, I just think that there’s a lot of opportunity for us to get better that we just leave on the table because we’re not willing to look at ourselves in a challenging way and say, “How do I do this better?” 0:31:20.9 And for me that extends to every part of my life.

Pat: 0:31:24.3 Absolutely. And you’re living – you’re doing so much more than just being a principal. Kudos and hats off. 0:31:31.8 So before we wrap up, we like to ask all our guests a few rapid fire questions. 0:31:36.5 The questions will be quick, your answers do not have to be. Ready to go?

Jethro: I’m ready.

Pat: 0:31:42.5 Alright. So the first one is, what do you currently spend too much time doing?

Jethro: 0:31:50.1 I don’t – nothing right now. I don’t think I spend enough time doing most things. So maybe I spend too much time working. Yeah, that’s a good one.

Pat: 0:32:03.4 Working. Yeah. What do you spend not enough time doing that you wish you had time to do?

Jethro: 0:32:08.9 Sleeping.

Pat: 0:32:11.6 Good luck with that! 0:32:14.3 [edit] How do you learn — … sorry 0:32:19.6 [edit out]. What did you learn from the education space which you had not known before?

Jethro: 0:32:28.9 Compassion and empathy.

Pat: 0:32:32.5 Awesome. What emerging trends in education are you keeping an eye on?

Jethro: 0:32:38.2 Technology. Artificial intelligence. Personalized learning. Innovation. Things like that.

Pat: 0:32:49.8 That is great. And now, I know we’re running up on time. If listeners want to hear more from you, what is the best way to reach out to you?

Jethro: 0:32:59.1 Well, you know what I’ve actually appreciate is if this has – this interview has impacted you, I would love it if you would go to TransformativePrincipal.org/impact and I have a goal to impact over a hundred million students by the year 2027. And I’d love to keep track of that and have your help in doing that.

So if you can go there I would greatly appreciate it. TransformativePrincipal.org/impact. And then you can learn about the mastermind, the podcast, the leadership summit, my communication cards that we didn’t even get to talk about, all from there. And that’ll help you out.

Pat: 0:33:40.6 That was awesome. I mean we could have taken off in so many different ways. Jethro, you’re doing so much more, I don’t know how you eep up with all that and then be a principal in a school as well. And you have a family. So, there’s a lot going on there.

But Jethro, I just want to say thank you so much for your time today, it was great to be able to pick your brain. And I’m sure the listeners would have come out with so much more and of course they can reach out to you through all the channels which you have laid out. And again, thanks. This was great talking to you.

Jethro: Well thank you very much Pat.

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