Ready to Ignite!

It’s well-known throughout the world of social media that since WiFi has been made available on airplanes, one of the first things many people do once they’ve been cleared to access it is to tell everyone that they are “Tweeting from and airplane” or “Facebook-chatting from an airplane” or “Taking pictures of the beautiful sunset/sunrise from 30,000 feet and sharing it with you all from an airplane” before they do anything else. Well guess what, I’m writing a blog post from an airplane, and I’m very excited! No, it’s not because I can connect with my PLN from the air, although that is pretty cool, and it’s not because I have an exit row seat (at 6’5″ tall this is as close to first class as I’ll ever get). It’s because I’m on my way, after making a flight switch thanks to winter weather in the Northeast, to the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) national conference, Ignite ’14 , in Dallas, Texas.

I decided back in October that I had to attend this conference. Afterall, it’s really a gathering of some of the best minds in educational leadership, and the geek fanboy in me was intrigued (read: more excited than I should be) at the idea of possibly meeting individuals that I have come to respect for their professionalism, innovation, and general prolific presence and stamina after following them on Twitter. People like Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal), Jimmy Casas (casas_jimmy), Daisy Dyer-Duer (@daisydyerduerr), Todd Whitaker (@toddwhitaker), and Brad Currie (@bcurrie5), among others, are people that I am regularly inspired by online, and having an opportunity to learn along side them was just too good to pass up.

Something I am equally excited about is having the opportunity to participate in the opening thought leader session this evening featuring the insightful Dr. Carol Dweck, author of one of the hot non-fiction books in educational circles right now,
Mindset
. This book is extraordinarily applicable to my life both personally and professionally. It’s rare that I find myself so engrossed with a work of nonfiction, often stopping suddenly to say things out loud like “Yes!” and “This is me. I need to adjust my thinking!” I regularly refer back to Dr. Dweck’s research when talking with teachers and students in my building. It’s easy to connect with her work, and her approach to creating a growth rather than a fixed mindset is something that everyone can begin to implement immediately upon engaging with the book. Stay tuned for a longer post about how I’m shifting my own thought process toward growth, an approach that has really helped me to readjust my outlook and focus on moving forward in my second year of being an assistant principal.

Most importantly, though, I am looking forward to walking in to my school on Monday morning with a renewed energy to lead alongside our dedicated faculty and staff. I am lucky to work in a forward-thinking school district, one that embraces technology, teacher leadership, student-directed learning, and supporting all members of the community. I am excited to be able to come home to this environment ready to contribute new ideas, programs, and approaches to student learning. I’ve got a busy schedule over the next several days, and I think I might find it difficult to fit everything in. But that’s not going to stop me from trying. Attending Ignite ’14 is in line with the idea that I am not a boss or a manager. I am one of the lead learners in my building, and I am ready to jump in with all the other lead learners in Dallas who are looking for ways to better serve our students and families.

My tweets this weekend will be (mostly) dedicated to sharing the sessions I attend with my PLN. Hopefully some of you reading this post are in Dallas. If so, I’d love to connect. Find me @Tim_Dawks. Also, don’t forget to connect with NASSP (@NASSP), and follow along with the conversation at #nassp14.

As my principal would say, let’s light this candle!

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