Sunday, February 18, 2018

Episode 92: The Balanced Teacher Path with Justin Ashley

In this episode, we are joined by Justin Ashley, author of The Balanced Teacher Path. In addition to being a published author, Justin is a teacher, work-life balance coach, and motivational speaker from Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the only teacher to ever win 2 state titles--the North Carolina History Teacher of the Year and North Carolina Social Studies Teacher of the Year--in the same year.


We discovered Justin Ashley in this article: He was a classroom star. But CMS teacher’s success masked depression, addiction and just knew we had to have him join us on the podcast to help us learn from his journey and be able to support our teachers to prevent them from burnout.   If you’re ready to inject more joy into your personal life, get more meaning from your job, strengthen your body and mind, and break free financially then you will want to listen to him on the podcast and read his book!

Throughout the podcast, Justin shares many pearls of wisdom for our listeners. In order to live the balanced teacher life, Justin recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, something awesome in every class that students will talk about (purple cow!), and most importantly... family time.



Sunday, February 4, 2018

Episode 91: Personal Learning and Email Tips

In this episode, Spike talked about his big takeaways from attending the national SAMS conference, which you can read about here: 5 Takeaways from the National SAM Conference

One of the keynotes he talked about was Valerie Burton, author of Successful Women Think Differently.

We spent quite a bit of time talking about the email beast. Theresa shared email tips Boomerang and Astro, and Unroll to tame the subscription emails you receive. Theresa mentions the following studies to give a reason for why you need to be efficient with your email:

UC Irvine Study
Carnegie Mellon Study - A Focus on Distraction

In our discussion about engaging in conversations and being able to listen, Jessica mentioned this must-watch TED Talk: TED Talk: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

We are excited about future podcasts to come: We are scheduled to have Justin Ashley, author of The Balanced Teacher to join us. When we read about him in this article:, we just had to seek him out to join us. He went from Teacher of the year to Rehab. Please let us know if you have any questions you want us to ask him when he’s on the podcast.

We also have Jeff Zoul and Anthony McConnell scheduled to join us to talk about their new book, The Principled Principal. In addition, we will be having Ben Gilpin and Jethro Jones

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Episode 90: Getting Organized

In this episode, Theresa and Spike discuss how 2018 is going while Jessica is Ice Fishing! As the discussion unfolds, Theresa talked about how she has been using the app Todoist. She uses Todoist to organize all of the tasks that she has to do throughout the week. Todoist connects with her gmail and allows her to schedule time to get the important things accomplished. Theresa also talked about she continues to use Evernote. She takes all her notes, articles, tasks, and documents and scans them to Evernote.

Spike shared how he stays organized throughout the day by using the SAMs Time Tracker System. This system, developed by former Principal Mark Shellinger, creates a calendar for Principals to track their time and work on improving their time spent with instruction.

Please share any apps/tips/tricks you use for staying organized. We'll be tackling email next, so share those things, too via twitter, email, or commenting on the blog post.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Episode 89: Principal in Boots, Lindsy Stumpenhorst

In this episode, we chat with Lindsy Stumpenhorst, elementary principal in Illinois, also known as
“Principal in Boots.” Lindsy shares all about leading an amazing staff, living in the country, balance,
using social media, and her one word for 2018: Awe. Have you heard of Instagram? Spike and Lindsy
both work hard to convince Jessica to revitalize her Instagram account and connect where the action is.
Something interesting about Lindsy is her family was in Josh Turner’s music video for his song, Find
Me a Baby! Check it out here: Josh Turner (about 30 seconds in). Not only does Lindsy have horses, but
she also has dogs that size too (we got to see them while were recording, so couldn't help but ask for
photo evidence to share!

Spike discussed his use of the SAMs Time Tracker System for Principals. He is going to their National Conference in a few weeks. For more information the SAMs Time Tracker System, check out their website.

She also recommended the app Pocket, a handy app that lets you save tweets, posts, articles to return to later.

We hope you enjoy listening to Lindsy as much as we did. You can connect with her at:

Principal_in_boots on instagram


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Episode 88: What's the Weather?

In this episode, we warm up with hot coffee and blankets to stay warm in this frigid winter. Spike talks about the Bomb Cyclone in New Jersey, which caused his school to close for two days, we compared temperatures and talked about indoor recess/school closure decision making. A fun app share to enjoy your weather is: WTForecast - Caution, the profanity can be offensive in this app, but you can change the setting.

We also talked about what happens when staff have a countdown or stir up excitement for a snow day...what message does that send our students and families? Thank you Tom Murray for this tweet:

Spike talked about "One word 2018." Have you picked "One word?" Spike's is Gratitude, Theresa's is Aware, and finally Jessica agreed to one word… Balance

We talked about pop news and how a youtube video caused quite a stir for students when a famous youtuber recorded a video from the suicide forest in Japan:

On a much more positive note we celebrated Adam Welcome, our crazy running principal friend, for completing 103 miles in 24 hours!

Jessica shared a discussion activity she used in a recent staff meeting with the purpose of building shared understanding and then brought up an issue that happens in staff you have this issue?


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Episode 87: Happy New Year 2018

In this special end of the year episode, Theresa, Jessica and Spike discuss their Winter Break.

Spike talked about his floating experience. He will be posting a blog about what he learned from the time in the sensory deprivation tank. Click here for the blog post on floating. 

Jess talked about her trip to the North Pole (aka Minnesota).

Theresa talked about couch time (SO important!)

We then got into a discussion about screen time. Jessica shared an app called (OffTime) and Theresa shared the app RealizD. Do you have a favorite app to keep track of the usage on your phone and what is taking up too much time in your day? Another recommendation on this topic included the book Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zambrodi, who is also the host of the podcast Note to Self.

We chatted about New Year's Resolutions and goals for balance. A podcast recommendation shared by Jessica included Lead to Win by Michael Hyatt.


Purchase "Breaking Out of Isolation" today!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Episode 86: The Holiday Break for Principals

Source: Austin ISD
In this episode, Theresa and Spike share their final week leading up to the Winter Break. It is clear from the discussion that no matter the school you work in or the area of the country, that it can be a very stressful time. Spike and Theresa shared some ideas for student and staff recognition.

What do Principals do over the break? Theresa, who has a two-week break, plans to read, relax and disconnect. She talked about the book Culturize, by Jimmy Casas and the Twitter group that is going along with that. In addition, she has some plans for writing and maybe even organizing her office.

Spike's goals for the break are very similar. He recently purchased, Brene Brown's new book Braving the Wilderness and plans to read it. In addition, he might try to do a Float session, yoga and or a hike in the woods to decompress.

Tell us what you are doing over the break. Tweet us @drspikecook, @principalstager, @principalj and use the #principalpln.


Purchase "Breaking Out of Isolation" today!