Jumping in with the Blogging Challenge

I’ve been meaning to get a professional blog started for quite some time now as I continue to grown my personal learning network (PLN) online, mostly through Twitter. I’m certainly no stranger to blogging, but it is only recently that I’ve truly considered the power of being able to write about my career in education as a powerful reflection tool for myself. It also gives me another opportunity to engage in important discussion with professionals from around the world who are living in the changing world of education right along with me.

With that being said, I’m breaking into this medium with a softball pitch from Lisa Meade, who has been bugging me to jump in feet first for a while now. And since I respect her both as an educational leader and as someone who knows how to rock a PLN, I simply have no choice but to respond to her tagging of me in this viral blogging challenge. Here goes!


  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition and a little blogging love! (I’m skipping this part, as I really don’t have an established list of education blogs that I read. That will be changing soon. Don’t worry.)
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.) (Skipping this part, too, Total cop-out.)

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I went to an all boys, Catholic, military school from grade 6 all the way through grade 12. I graduated as a Lieutenant Colonel in our JROTC program. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. In fact, I really wouldn’t have had it any other way.

2. I don’t know how to drive a manual transmission car. Anyone giving lessons?

3. My first trip out of the country was with my family when I was 12 to Ireland. We rented a car and drove the western and southern coastline to Dublin in a week. It’s the trip where I picked up the bad case of the travel bug that I’ve had ever since.

4. I’ve traveled to 21 of the 50 states, Canada, Bermuda, multiple islands in the Caribbean, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, and China. My current travel dreams are to go to Turkey and Southeast Asia.

5. I have only a very basic working knowledge of sports. Many people have tried to break through my athletic barrier with nothing but poor results.

6. I played the clarinet from 4th grade all the way through high school. Definitely not an instrument you break out at parties, so it’s currently collecting dust in my basement somewhere. I think I might even still have the same reeds I used during my senior year!

7. My wife, Amy, and I have been together for 14 years, 8 of those as a married couple.

8. I have a 4 year old boxer named Olive who is an eternal puppy, but I love her anyway.

9. I’ve had my photography shown at two individual shows in the Capital District, as well as published online in several different web-based publications. I still prefer Polaroid-style pictures over digital, and I sometimes shoot with an old SX-70 from the 1970’s.

10. When I plan a trip, my itinerary is mainly focused on food with a regional slant: Where can I get it? What can I try that I’ve never had before?  How often will I be able to eat it?

11. I once spent an evening on a movie set with a sound engineer friend and the actor Tim Daly (among others), watching a movie get made. It was definitely one of the cooler nights of my life.

And now to answer Lisa’s questions for me:

1. My best “pick me up/cheer up” song is “Kick Drum Heart” by The Avett Brothers.

2. My favorite movie is a tie between Clue and Love Actually. Also, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Lost in Translation. OK, really, I don’t think I can answer this question.

3. If I could change anything about the educational system in my area, I’d do whatever I could to take away the undue stress facing all NYS educators these days so that they could do what they do best: teach our children to be contributors to a global community.

4. If I had funds at my immediate disposal, I would open up big, technologically stacked, collaborative learning spaces throughout my building, and I would provide as much professional development as is necessary so that teachers were comfortable collaborating across departments rather than feeling like they need to teach to a test within an assembly line version of education. Then I’d hire more of them.

5. I handle the sometimes stress and negativity that comes with my job by reminding myself that I am making a difference as long as I come to work every day ready to forge relationships with the entire school community. And when that doesn’t work, I turn to a really good sandwich. Sandwiches are gifts I give to myself wrapped up in nice carbohydrate-laden packages!

6. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet anyone within my Twitter PLN that I didn’t already know professionally. I’m hopeful that will change as I continue to be involved in planning EdCampUNY with Lisa MeadePeter DeWittVicki Day, and Christina Luce. Stay tuned!

7. My big professional resolution for 2014 is to pull even further away from the desk and become more in tune to what is going on in my building with students.

8. I typically read several books at the same time. Right now I’m reading Divergent by Veronica Roth (not afraid to admit that I enjoy the YA lit – nice distraction from daily stressors), The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (one of my favorite authors), and The Passage by Justin Cronin (in audiobook format while I drive back and forth to everywhere!).

9. One of my proudest moments was getting my current job as assistant principal. I had been a 9-12 counselor in the building for 8 years, and it was amazing to know that I was tapped as a leader in this school that I love.

10. I’ll stick to the professional answer here – One of my saddest moments came this year when the other AP that I worked with informed me that he had been offered and accepted a position in a nearby district, starting just after Thanksgiving. Although we had only worked together for 14 months, as two brand new building leaders we established a positive, uplifting, and trust-filled working relationship that benefited everyone around us, and I miss that very much.

11. Three of my best qualities are my ability to listen, my penchant for remaining flexible even in the presence of challenging behavior, and my willingness to reflect on my failures so that I can be better in the future.

So that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to me. Thanks to Lisa for inspiring me to stop procrastinating and just get blogging already! I hope you come back again soon. I’d love to hear what you have to say. And don’t forget to find me on Twitter.