Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Episode 100!

We want to start out by thanking everyone who has ever listened to the PrincipalPLN podcast. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to share our learning with you over past 5 years.

We finally made it to 100 episodes of the PrincipalPLN podcast. Theresa, Spike, and Jessica began this journey in the fall of 2013. They have been together with their #principalPLN network through all types of changes in our lives.

In this episode, we brought back a few of our friends (who happened to be guests) to talk about the latest changes in education, books we are reading, and inspirational words. We all have something in common that we want to inspire each other and to have a purpose in our lives. More importantly, we were able to do what we do best... hang out and chat!

Guest List - Please follow and connect with them! 
Tony Sinanis - @TonySinanis
Jessica Cabeen - @JessicaCabeen
Sarah Johnson - @SarahSajohnson
Jay Posick - @posickj
Curt Rees - @CurtRees

Show highlights 
Throughout the show, we were able to catch up and reminisce about our favorite PrincipalPLN episodes. We talked about running, job changes, Donkey Basketball, Time Zones as well as educational issues. We also gave away a few of our favorite books:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Party Like it's Episode 99!

It's May, a crazy time of the year. We hope you're not only surviving, but also trying to thrive. Theresa and Jessica don't have a topic today, but naturally, discuss the busy-ness of May while trying to remain positive. We shared ideas for transitions from one building to the next for students and the end of the year.

Jessica talked about the upcoming Coach Approach Institute taking place this summer in Chicago and New Jersey. If you are interested in finding out more/how to register, go to:

If you're in need of inspiration to fuel your leadership soul at this time of the year, or any really, you should read The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon. Jessica shared a couple of her favorite books, but she has been creating many images of quotes from the book so here is inspiration to fuel you through the rest of the school year:

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Episode 98: Apruary and Avid

In this episode, Jessica and Spike talk about the weather during this month of Apruary. After Jessica got her venting out about the weather our conversation moved into state testing and she shared her idea of using Bitmoji to make stickers for the back of student test tickets for motivation.

They also chatted about Snapchat and want to learn more about how teachers are using snapchat to engage students. Are you using snapchat as a student engagement tool? Please let us know.

Our conversation also touched on communication and how many different ways information needs to be shared.

Spike shared all about being an AVID school.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Episode 97: Staff Meeting Ideas

All 3 of the PrincipalPLN crew were here today, so we started out catching up on Influenza recovery and post Spring break updates. We talked about our morning routines to start each day out on the right foot and the importance of having a gratitude habit.
In our random discussions, we mentioned the hot new games kids are playing: Fortnite and Prodigy. Why is Fortnight so popular? Here's an article that discusses this: TomsGuide

We talked about staff meeting ideas and building collective commitments together with our staff.  A couple of book recommendations that came out of today's discussion include:

       Lead with a Story

PrincipalPLN is a part of the Education Podcast Network

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Episode 96 - Planning for Next Year

In this episode, Jessica and Spike continue the conversation from Episode 95 regarding next year. Throughout the conversation, both shared the various plans for overcoming budgeting and staffing obstacles as well as how to stay positive with the additional requirements of being a Principal.

Spike discussed his recently published article in Innovate My School - Team Activities for Budget Planning. He also talked about the conference that he coordinated with local Millville City Commissioners, Millville Youth Empowerment Summit. The Summit was attended by about 60 students and 20 parents and featured area speakers helping students become empowered. They are already beginning the planning process for next year.

Jessica shared how her school staff is inspiring their elementary students to dream big, using March Madness to promote college awareness. Here's a blog post she wrote last year to share about this (although this year they added even more to what they do at her school): Promoting College Awareness in the Elementary with March Madness. 

At the end of the podcast, Jessica talked about our upcoming 100 episode of the PrincipalPLN. If you would like to share a few kind words or favorite aspects of the show, be sure to Tweet us or Vox us.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Episode 95 - Planning for next year

In this episode, Theresa and Spike discuss how each school is focusing on planning for next year. They begin by describing the specific schedules for their middle school and the high school. Theresa's school operates on a Trimester schedule and Spike's is on a block schedule.

As they plan for next year, both schools are looking at initiatives that will foster student learning and prepare students for the 21st century. How does this work in the confines of the school? How do you get buy-in? How much change is too much change? These are the questions that both ponder as they share their experiences.

In the podcast, Spike also referred to The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. He learned about this last week when talking with Jethro Jones and it has already helped him as the school plans for next year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Episode 94: The One Thing with Jethro Jones!

In this episode, Spike sits down with the host of the highly rated Transformative Principal Podcast, Jethro Jones. Jethro discusses life as a Principal in Alaska and in addition, he shows the power of his unique coaching framework. In this podcast, Jethro takes Spike through the coaching process to allow him to uncover the one thing he can do to make a difference at his school. In addition, Jethro recommends the book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

Be sure to check out Jethro Jones and support his podcast.
Twitter - @jethrojones
Transformative Principal - Sign up to learn more about the Mastermind Coaching Sessions 

PrincipalPLN is a part of the Education Podcast Network

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Episode 93: The Principled Principal

In this episode we are fortunate to be joined by Jeff Zoul and Anthony McConnell, the authors of the hot new book, The Principled Principal: 10 Principles for Leading Exceptional Schools.

The Principled Principal examines ten guiding principles, using stories and real-life examples to make them relevant and applicable for every school leader.

You’ll learn . . .

What to prioritize and what to eliminate from your to-do list

How to empower your staff and students

How to hire the right people for your school

Why and how to keep calm in a crisis

How to recognize and avoid “culture crushers”

How to create a positive culture for your school community

Implement the strategies and practices in The Principled Principal, and fast-track your way to becoming the leader your school needs.

The list of what you'll learn goes on, along with stories from practicing principals in each chapter.

We know you'll enjoy listening to Jeff and Anthony chat about their book just as much as we did! Want to tweet about the book? Use the hashtag #10Principles to join in the conversation with others.
You can find a wealth of resources to go along with the book at and connect with the authors on Twitter:


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.