Curtis Zimmerman has worked two decades as a keynote speaker and consultant, he’s had the honor of developing deep relationships with companies including Kroger, Proctor and Gamble, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Duke Energy, Bacardi and Universal Orlando Resorts—along with The United States Air Force and hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. He also loves working with non-profit organizations and teachers and faculty to give back to the people who have had the biggest impact on his life.

Daniel: Being a kid is already tough enough, but when you're a kid, who's dealt a really challenging hand at the gate of life, right at the beginning. And then you try to still succeed. Despite the obstacles, it's hard, it's a hard job. And then imagine when you enter a new school, forget about the kid component, which is already challenging enough, but then you have these adults, teachers, principals, deans, and they look at you and they think they already know your story. You see, we've had kids just like you and they project what your whole existence is all about. How do you succeed despite those odds? Well, sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with you. Sometimes it has to do with a very special adult in your life. And that's where we're going to start today's conversation with Curtis Zimmerman and an educator who transformed everything for him. Hey, it's Daniel. And welcome to the better leaders, better schools, podcast the show for Ruckus Makers, those out of the box leaders making change happen in education. And we'll be right back after these messages. From our show sponsors.

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Daniel: Hello Ruckus Maker. Today I'm joined by Curtis Zimmerman as a keynote speaker, best-selling author and podcast host Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over 1 million people with his life message for nearly 30 years. Curtis has used his performing arts background to inspire a wide variety of audiences from fortune 100 companies to universities and schools. Currently, Curtis is empowering students and educators in an innovative virtual hybrid format. Curtis, welcome to the show.

Curtis: Well, thank you so much excited to be here with all those Ruckus Makers. Let's make some noise. I'm ready.

Daniel: We are ready. So let's start with a story of a former teacher of yours, Miss Natal.

Curtis: Yes. Well, I always like to talk about the why. Why take the time to be on a podcast? Why take the time to listen to a podcast? And what's the reasoning behind that? And for me, when I thought about being on this podcast, talking with leaders, school leaders, I had to go back to my why and my wife goes back to Mrs. Natal. Now Norma Natal was a junior high school teacher that I had and a quick background. And that is as a kid, I grew up on welfare and food stamps. I'm the youngest of five kids. And every one of my brothers and sisters has a different last name. We moved 27 times when I was growing up and the other bonus I got as a kid, I have dyslexia. So I had the whole package going for me and Norma Natal didn't do something that I call Projection Error, and there's no room for projection error in our communities in our schools and even in leadership roles with our staff.

Curtis: And that means you see a person, you look at the color of their skin size of their body, the neighborhood they grew up in. And based on that information, you think, them and that's called misinformation and Norma Natal, taught me this very quickly because I was there my first day in junior high. I think I was reading on a second or third grade level due to the chaos that I grew up in as a kid. I remember my mom was in the principal's office and she was screaming at the principal. I have no idea why and Norma Natal saw my little folder. She grabbed my hand and said, come on, you're coming with me. She took me to her classroom and the very first day she interviewed me and found out what I was interested in.

Curtis: She didn't see a little anemic scrawny, little kid with jeans, with holes. She just saw a person that she wanted to reach and that's whatever great teacher does. She interviewed me and I told her I was interested. I was already starting to perform. So I was interested in mime and juggling and I was interested in magic. The next day I came back to the class and after school hours, she went to the library and she got three giant stacks of books, one on mine, one on juggling and one on magic. She also went and purchased two giant posters. She placed me in the corner. So a poster was on each wall. One was a Marcel Marceau, the most famous mime of all time and then the other was a juggler. I sat in the corner, I had three giant stacks of books and these two posters I just stared at constantly.

Curtis: And that year I went up three and a half grade levels in my spelling, all because she found out what I was passionate about and she fed that passion. I remember when I graduated from high school, I got a note from Norma Natal. I walked home and there was on the couch, three, four, five giant pieces of luggage, Polo luggage. And that's when Polo was, it was huge and a note from Norma saying, Curtis, I want you to have this luggage because I want you to go and perform around the world and I want you to go in style. Thank you for being my first student to ever graduate from high school, love Norma Natal. That's why I'm on the life. I'm on the path I'm on. It's because of the impact of teachers like that. I just have to say to whoever's listening, anything you can do to encourage those teachers to reach those little kids I'm living proof that it works. That's why I'm here today.

Daniel: I love that story. You don't necessarily see their fruit right away, but she had a huge, huge impact in your life. I can only imagine what it felt like to receive that luggage. I love how she immersed you in the vision right of what you can be.There were the two posters and all the books, and it just took a little bit of effort to get to know who you were as an individual. Right. What a beautiful story and Norma Natal and what she wrote for sure. So thank you for sharing that, Curtis.

Curtis: Absolutely. I would just say now that I'm a best-selling author and I've reached a million people with my message and blah, blah, blah, that none of that would be true if it wasn't for the impact of those special teachers. I would say now that I do a lot of stuff with leaders, it's the same with all the listeners right now, , we can change the narrative of a teacher's life, which then can change the narrative of thousands of students' lives. What I love about the principals that I've worked with that were in the classroom for years and they said, Curtis, I have a certain amount of impact on my classes each year, but man, if I can have an impact on 37 teachers, and then I multiply that times, how many students, I can have an even bigger impact and that's what I want everyone that's listening to remember is even though you may not be in the classroom every day anymore, you can still have a huge impact on thousands of students by empowering those teachers with the tools and the gifts and reminding them how much we appreciate them every day. Huge.

Daniel: Yeah. So huge. In a second, I'd like to talk about some of those tools that you might've learned as a performer that, uh, the Ruckus Maker listening can use in or leadership. But before that, it's just a personal question. You didn't know Aunt Donna. She bought me juggling kit when I was a kid. I had like this bean bag type thing. It was a tomato, a carrot and a cucumber and I learned to juggle that way. There were a couple of books she got me. I wouldn't say I got great. Could do two, could do three, could do four and it stopped there. So decent hand, eye coordination and what I used to love to do. And I want to know if you had something like this, I would love to go into the kitchen when mom was making breakfast and grab three eggs. It just dig deep and start juggling them. I would spin around, I'd spin around and catch them still. It would drive her nuts. I only dropped it once. She wasn't too happy that one time, but all the times I did it, I didn't really drop it. So do you have a fun story? Was there anything like that you used to do?

Curtis: Yeah, absolutely. Even today in my program and when I do my keynote speech, I teach the whole audience to juggle. I love to have an interactive activity that also has a metaphor of teaching something. So what you did was what I call failing successfully. The reason I say that is the way that you got to where you had mastery, where you could actually juggle three eggs and only had scrambled eggs. One time was in the process when a teach people a juggle, I start with first, do you believe that I'm going to teach you how to juggle? So before I give you my time and the resources of the juggling balls and the knowledge I have, I want you to get to, yes, first I am going to teach you. So you, the belief that you're going to be able to do it, the next thing is I have to tell you the process, the only way you're ever going to learn how to juggle is if you're willing to drop the ball.

Curtis: So with those three different objects, you had, you drop them over and over and over. You didn't start with eggs, you finished with eggs. And that's the thing. I think so many people are afraid to fail. And I tell kids all the time and I tell teachers, please remind them that when you drop the ball, when you fail, you look at that and go, that's me. And that's not you failing is an event, not a person. If we want our kids to grow and change and become, we have to give them permission to fail in the process. Not only permission, but encourage it. So every time somebody is juggling and they dropped the ball in my sessions, I say, yes, you dropped the ball. You're amazing. Why? Because you're that much closer to learning how to juggle than the person that's afraid to drop the ball.

Curtis: Your story reminds me of you being able to then kind of be in performance mode where I'm juggling three eggs and I get to flip around. And, but the only reason you're there is because of all the times you dropped the ball prior to that and that's key to our learning environments that we need to encourage kids more of because as we know, so many kids are afraid to fail. When they do sadly, they oftentimes are making poor choices and hurting themselves and other things like that. We want to encourage them to realize failings is an event, not a person.

Daniel: I mentioned, maybe we can pivot to some tools that you've learned as a, as a performer, uh, what you talked there about, I think was a lot on mindset, but for the Ruckus Maker, who's listening and thinking about, wow, I really enjoy Curtis's message so far. What are some things he might teach me about leadership?

Curtis: Absolutely. So the first thing is I think about somebody in a leadership position is their job. Oftentimes to try to change the narrative and change the culture and change the way that maybe we used to do things or handle things internally and, uh, give people permission to be human and with all the online learning and with the everything with, uh, , the pandemic, the way that we handle it, it gave a lot of people time to reflect and on ourselves as well as the way that we handle other people and the way that we treat them. So for me, with leadership, I like to get specific. So one thing I would say is on your next conference call or on your, in your next meeting, when you start, don't just jump into the problems. Don't just jump into, what's not working. I love to start with these two questions.

Curtis: Every time I have a meeting, the number one thing I want to ask everyone right now is what's one win. What's one thing last week that happened in your life personally happened, in a classroom are happened, with an interaction you had, or even something with your self development. We don't brag enough about the wins. So I want everyone, or I want three people, depending on how big the group is to share one of the wins you had in the last week. It's amazing, the things that you hear. My son or daughter that was struggling with this, had this. When my, my son finally got his driver's license, my son finally moved out. So whatever your win is, it's so important because it starts the whole trajectory of the meeting in a positive, upbeat way. The second question I often ask people to say is, okay, so here's your win. Now tell us one thing you need help with one thing that the group group think we could kind of help you with a challenge that you're having.

Curtis: We start the meeting with a positive, and then we start a collaborative thinking rather than me being the leader. Therefore I'm the expert. No, as a collective, there's the brain power together as amazing. Let's get a few suggestions to help this person with this thing they're dealing with. Those would be some specific things I would say people could do to help change the narrative and open up the conversation in a new and exciting way in your next interaction. Absolutely.

Daniel: I like even though the win example to connect that back to how we open this conversation too, I think if you're paying attention and present and seeing what those wins tend to be, you might figure out metaphorically what the posters are that you need to put up around that staff member or what the books are that you can get and send their way. If you pay attention or not, if you really get to know those people, I'm also really curious. I have a leadership community called Mastermind. It's great. We have members from all around the world. We do what you just said. We start with wins every single week beause I want to hear what's going on and help people also develop that attitude of gratitude. You talk about taking Zoom, which is one dimensional and turning it into a three-dimensional experience. I'm really interested to hear what you have to say about this.

Curtis: Yeah. So this is one of the biggest challenges, I have three teenagers at home right now that are all doing learning at home. The challenges that we're talking about, aren't something I'm just dreaming up. I'm seeing them every day in my own house. One of the things I love to challenge the educators I work with, and that is how can you take this screen? And then give me something that I'm going to do in my real world today. So what's a challenge for instance, okay, today when we're done here between now and when we get on tomorrow morning, I want you to do one thing that surprises a family member. I want you to do one thing to make your brother's day. I want you to do one thing. So for instance, it can be as simple as, as soon as we're done go through the whole house and take all the trash out without asking.

Curtis: I know that sounds silly and it's no big deal, but it just shows the impact a simple little task could have at the end of dinner, I want you to make an announcement. Every one's done and I'm going to clean the table tonight. Something simple that can actually change the behavior of that person, but also the view of other people in their life. I also liked the idea of rather than saying, , practice is so important and I know you're struggling, but the value of practice, well, how can I turn that into an interactive activity? So here's one that I love and everyone that's listening, you can try this one yourself. And that is get a blank piece of paper and with your not dominant hand. So I'm right-handed, so I'd use my left hand. I want you to write your first name 15 times.

Curtis: When you do that, you're going to get very frustrated. We have to remind all of our educator friends, that that's what you're asking your students to do every single day. It's something you now have mastery over reading math, whatever it is, but for it's like writing their name with their left hand every day and we're encouraging them to do that. So I want to remind you what that feels like. And then once you've written it 15 times, I want you to take your dominant hand and write your first name one time and now look at the progress you made from the first attempt to the 15th. It should look different, but also look at how amazing it looks with your right hand. Why just because we've been practicing for years, this very simple task of writing our name. If you do that with students, it goes in a different place in their brain than if you just explain it.

Curtis: Doing the activity is different than explaining the activity. I don't talk about juggling in my keynote. I have executive stand up and fail and learn to juggle in the moment. It's a totally different thing. That's the challenge of every single lesson every single day with every single teacher, how can I bring it into the third demand into their real life, with an activity, with something they're going to pause the video and run and go do something and come back, whatever that looks like that to me is the key to success with the challenges we all face right now with this remote learning

Daniel: Curtis, I'm enjoying this conversation. So thank you for that. We're going to pause here just for a second for a message from our sponsors. But when we get back, I'd like to dig in a little more about tips and tricks, especially on the Zany and fun side, and also get into what you facilitate, The Virtual School Assemblies. Today's show is brought to you by Organized Binder, Organized Binder develops the skills and habits. All students need for success. During these uncertain times of distance learning and hybrid education settings, Organized Binder, equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning routines so that all students have an opportunity to succeed. Whether at home or in the classroom, learn more@organizedbinder.com. Ruckus Maker,I want to tell you about a remote blended learning tool. Your school needs right now, SMART learning suite. Online as a teacher, you can create store and deliver lessons from anywhere. No smart board required in your students can access and engage with your content from any web browser on any device, no matter what your classroom looks like right now, smart learning suite online offers many options for flexible learning, engaging students via collaborative workspaces in game based activities, SMART learning suite online integrates with tools like Google classroom and Microsoft teams making it an easy to use way to create engaging content and connect with students. Learn more and get started@smarttech.com/learning suite. That's smarttech.com /learning.

Daniel: We're here with keynote speaker, best-selling author and podcast host, Curtis Zimmerman. Curtis, Zany and Fun, right? This is something that I think, uh, I'm happy to do. I like to play, , uh, nothing is too weird for me. Right. But that's how I was built. We're going to talk to people like me who are like, yes, give me some strange, I'm going to run and do it, but also be sensitive because everybody's not built that way. There's a few people that need to get a little more comfortable before they let out their inner freak. But how might we weave Zany and Fun into opportunities while we lead?

Curtis: Yeah. I love the concept of a dance party and this is where I queue up about four different types of music. So I have some country western music. I have some reggae, I might have a little cleaned rap music, and I stand up and I put the music on and then I dance to the music and I ask all the kids to stand up and dance with me. They have to adopt whatever movements I'm making into their dancing and vice versa. They are able to dance and then I try to mirror their dances. Now why it's so important is this idea of humanizing one another while we're basically watching each other on TV, how can we allow ourselves to be human and look silly and feel comfortable with that? Because if I get up and I dance around and I'm acting kind of crazy, it gives the kids permission to realize I'm a real life human being.

Curtis: I may not be the best dancer in the world, but it doesn't matter. I'm enjoying myself. My passion is breathing into my dancing and that's what I want to see. Not your technique, your passion, because passion supersedes natural ability. And I want my kids to be passionate. I want my staff to be passionate. I can teach you anything. But the passion that you bring is what really drives the momentum into whatever learning you have. One other one I would say really quickly is I do something called, Pass a smile. Where I look in the screen and I smile like crazy and then if I'm doing that, it's hard for people to watch and not smile. Now with some of the other kids, I can talk about the emotions that we pass with our face. Our face is very powerful and we can use that by showing a surprise, showing fear, showing these different emotions. What basis are we sharing with people every day? What are we telling them through our facial expressions, this can be done in a Zoom call or whatever platform you're using. It can remind people that we need to smile more.

Daniel: A lot more probably. Yeah. I heard, Michael Hyatt, once about how he hired somebody to stand at the back of a auditorium or whatever, where he was talking and that would be his person to look at. He would just point to his face and smile to remind him, Hey, you're frowning up there again. Like, you don't have the energy and you're not smiling and nobody's resonating with that. The smile, his smile is good. So Curtis, you talk about resumes and Real Resume. I hope I have that written down correctly, but can you talk about the difference between those?

Curtis: Yeah. So again, especially leaders, this is so important. We love to talk about our resume. I do mine often. I said I was a performer for 25 years, a juggler and a firefighter and a magician. I worked at Universal Studios for seven years and travel the world on cruise ships. I became a speaker at fortune 100 companies and bestselling author. That's my resume and the truth of the matter is your staff and the kids could care less about your resume. The only one that cares about your resume is you. Now, what everyone does care about is something called your Real Resume. Your Real Resume is who you really are. Your Real Resume is what motivated you way back in the day to decide, to get into higher education or to be a teacher, or to reach out to a community and make a difference.

Curtis: The thing that people, once they get the position and they get to be all that, oftentimes they get amnesia. I just recommend everyone that's listening. Don't be afraid to go back and share a little bit of your Real Resume and share a little bit about your past and some struggles you've had and times that it didn't go perfectly because it lets your staff hear you say, wow, they struggle with the same things I'm struggling with and now look at them. Now they're a superintendent. Now they're a principal or a vice principal, or now they're whatever that is. The more you can do that in the long run, the more you can share your Real Resume don't be afraid to start a staff meeting with something that blew up at your house. Don't be afraid to share something that isn't going well with a family member right now, the more you can humanize this experience that we're all going through, the more you're giving them permission to share who they really are.

Curtis: When they have things they're going through, they're going to have you as a resource, which really is the point of being in a leadership role that having somebody, when it's going great, it's easy to be a leader when you're there. Hey, here's a check for $20,000 to the YMCA. We're amazing. That's easy. But when I have to lay four staff members off, that's a whole different thing. It's a whole different reason of why you're the leader. So I would just say I shared my resume already at the beginning about my mom being married six times and I have dyslexia. I have a rare disease called, Celiac's disease. So I had seizures when I was a kid, all these kinds of things. It's a balance between who you are and where you are, but then also the people like Norma Natal that helped you along the way and that's something I just began. Any video you can share with your staff, any stories you can share, even telling a story about a teacher that impacted your life. Don't be afraid to do that and do it more often than you think, because they need to hear it. Believe me, we're all going through hard times right now, everybody I talked to has somebody that's dealing with something, I call it, real life in their life. So share your Real Resume more often.

Daniel: Afraid to share the same story over and over. The former CEO of LinkedIn, used to say that people don't start hearing your message until you're bored, it's sick and tired of saying it. So, it's okay if you use the same stories I can connect to the real resume because I remember as,a novice school leader at Brooks College Prep, South Side of Chicago. First leadership team meeting and people had walls up. You could feel it right because here's a new leadership team and here's the new staff and just like feeling it out. Once I started telling the story of how I went overseas to Tata, South Africa for three summers to work with their teaching staff, but also support the leader leadership development they leaned in. They started to see me as a human being and not the enemy or some terrible boss or whatever. And that allowed some of the relationship to start being built. So the real resume is good.

Curtis: I like to reflect on that really quickly. When we talk about Ruckus Makers, we think about flipping chairs over and jumping up and down and doing this dance break I was talking about. But I also think that the real Ruckus Makers can do it the way that you just described. There can be a low vibration that also resonates and changes culture and changes people's narrative in a not so blown up way because every leader is different and their style is different. So if you're listening and you're going, no, I'm not going to do a dance thing. That's not happening. That's totally cool, but figure out how is it you're going to make a ruckus in your style. I love the story you just shared because that's exactly what you did and you didn't get up on the table and jump around. You did it in a calm, very sensitive way. So I encourage everyone that's listening to think about how am I going to create a ruckus during my next interaction in my way, that that's key.

Daniel: About your virtual school assemblies.

Curtis: Performed literally in hundreds and hundreds of schools as a performer, and then I did lots and lots of teacher in-services and I really, really enjoyed that. But to be honest with you, that was about 20 years ago. When I first started out as a speaker, I did a lot of colleges. Spoke at thousands and thousands of college students on hundreds of college campuses. Ultimately, I moved into the corporate world where I have been in the last 15 years or so pretty heavily, and with everything going on and some of the colleges that I visited prior to the pandemic, my line, when I was done, speaking on the college campuses I was speaking at was longer than ever. It wasn't because my speech got better. It's that more students were telling me how they were excited to be there, but they're sad because their friend wasn't there because they tried to commit suicide prior to going to college or how they're dealing with cutting themselves right now.

Curtis: They had all of these really big problems that they were dealing with and that line was longer and longer with those kinds of students. When I saw my own kids, my own children at home, doing online learning, I thought I really need to find a way to reach all of those students and give a tool to the teachers because a lot of the teachers and administrators I was talking to were saying, one of the biggest challenges, how do we build a relationship and rapport with people when we're not with them? And we're not seeing them live? How can we have some prompts and some conversation starters in a fun interactive way and kind of tear down that barrier. And so that's why I developed my online kind of school assembly program because it's life at performance level, which is my keynote and my best selling book.

Curtis: That's the title life and performance level and it's very interactive. I do juggling and I spin a plate on a steak, I play Simon says, and I teach everyone how to juggle in the video. So it's all interactive, but after each little segment, there's some open-ended questions. There's a little study that the people could do to write a little something about what that is. One of the things I talked about in my keynote is, the basic concept is as a performer, I have to write a script. What do you want your show to be about? You have to cast your show wisely. You have to stop rereading old scripts. If you want to write the next chapter, you take all those principles as a performer, you put them in your life. So you're the star of your own life.

Curtis: You have to be the character you want to have and show. So these are questions that then the teacher or whoever's doing this, can then start these conversations, going to get a deeper understanding of kind of where their students are. We have it in two different segments. It's a 30 minute all school kind of, or you can do each little segment one at a time over seven or eight days, or you can have a theme for the week and show the video on Monday and then talk about it. So it's a tool for teachers to interact and get to know their students better in a real fun, interactive way, and yet something that has real meat on the bone for the older kids as well so that's what we did. We're excited about. It's just launching this week, by the time this comes out on December 23rd, it should be up and going perfect thing to start when everybody gets back from the holidays, or even if it's online learning perfect thing for them to use there. So we're excited about it. I think that it's a tool that I didn't think I'd be doing. I went into a studio with no audience and I filmed the whole thing as first time I've ever performed, , without an audience. But it was worthwhile. I hope that it helps a lot of students and a lot of teachers reach their kids in a new way.

Daniel: Great. For the Ruckus Maker, listening, if they want to explore that tool, where can they go to learn more,

Curtis: Just Curtiszimmerman.com. You can go there and you'll see a keynotes. And then it has the virtual school assembly, and there's a promo video and everything you'd ever need to know on that. It's available for schools individually, of course, are, we're also doing whole school districts and things like that. So there's lots of different ways we can get it out there. The goal here is to reach as many students as possible and to give teachers that tool that we all know, how do you get community when you're a one box with 40 other boxes? That's the big, the big challenge. I hope to be a small part of the solution to that.

Daniel: Thank you, Curtis. We'll have that linked up for the listener in the show notes. So if you could put a message on all school marquees around the world, just for one day, what would your message be?

Curtis: For me? I think it's a great question. First off, and education is a gift and something that can empower you for the rest of your life. Enjoy brilliant. I just think it is important that people appreciate the opportunity of an education. I think so often we devalue what that is for a myriad of reasons. If there's any way I could encourage people to see the value in the gift, the amazing gift that an education like you've traveled the world and the gift that you've learned from those travels. It's just, you can't take that away from a person's eyes. When I look in your eyes on this video, I see somebody that's traveled the world. You can't not see that in someone and that's part of education.

Daniel: I appreciate that. Thank you, Curtis. You're building a school from the ground up. You're not limited by any resources. Your only limitation is your imagination. So how would you build your dream school and what would be your top three priorities?

Curtis: Number one priority has to be, I don't know if you've seen these, it's called like run, jump and play, but it's like a giant inflatable. It's a room full of inflatables. And so the kids go there and you pay and you get to slide down these giant slides and bounce in giant bouncy rooms and move all around. So to me, that's the gymnasium. First off, I got to have this crazy interactive, really fun place to, to start the day. So it doesn't have to be baseball and Dodge ball and football because everybody isn't good at that necessarily. Instead I want this place where I'm going to go and I'm going to be sweating and I'm going to be working out and I'm going to be laughing. My head off that to me is what entertainment and education combined looks like. So using that theme, I would then have every subject and every interaction be something that is kinesthetic learning.

Curtis: We need to move a heck a lot more than we are. That includes whoever's listening. You need to stand up and you need to go around three times and sit back down every hour are your brain doesn't function correctly. So how can we instill that in our classrooms, in our interactive class style every day, the last thing I would say is how can I get the absolute, most passion out of my teachers and my students. I want to design Anthony Robbins, woo hoo inspiration every day into the curricula. I want you to be fired up. It's another day. I get another chance not to suck as bad as I did yesterday. I want that mindset with everything I do every day in my school. Those are the kinds of things I say all the time, the brick and mortar, I don't care about it's the real live human beings and their interaction that makes education work every day. Okay,

Daniel: Thanks so much for being a part of the better leaders, better schools podcast. Earlier, you mentioned how education's a gift, but I think a, your message and you yourself have been a gift to the Ruckus Maker listening. So I want to thank you for that, of everything of everything we talked about today. And there was a lot, what's the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?

Curtis: For me? The number one thing is, is that you personally are right now doing something that's amazing and that is you're taking time to continue to invest in yourself. So please don't make everything about everyone else. As an educator, we are givers. As an educator your whole life is about helping other people make their dreams come true. I hope you take away today that you spent some time to make yourself better and feel really, really good about that. People that are listening. I say we're preaching to the choir because people will listen to these kinds of podcasts, man, feel good about your choice. Feel good about what you're giving and realize a lot of people talk about being a lifelong learner. You're proving you are by listening to content like this. So I just thank you for doing that. Please keep it up. And if you find it valuable, share it with your people, give away whatever it is you have. That would be what I hope people take away from today.

Daniel: Thanks for listening to the better leaders, better schools podcast for Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel F better leaders, better schools.com or hit me up on Twitter @alienearbud. If the better leaders better schools, podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway. From the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at alien earbud and using the hashtag B L B S level up your leadership at better leaders, better schools.com and talk to you next time until then class dismissed.

If you’re tired of boring virtual conversations and you’re ready to get your people excited and invigorated, give him a call. Currently, he is taking all of his experience and putting it together to bring something that nobody else is doing through a hybrid virtual keynote that he’s been sharing with corporations, universities, and school districts. Think TED meets Zoom Meetings! Let’s make your next virtual meeting memorable.

Show Highlights

  • “Brag on it” and more useful tools for leadership
  • Take 1-dimensional Zoom and turn it into a 3-dimensional experience
  • How to weave Zany and Fun into opportunities while we lead 
  • Resume vs Real-a-me
  • Join the Virtual School Assembly
  • Find and feed the passion of your learning community
  • Fail successfully
  • Figure out how to make a ruckus in your style
  • Doing the activity is different than explaining the activity
Curtis Zimmerman: Leadership lessons from the stage

“I may not be the best dancer in the world, but it doesn’t matter. I’m enjoying myself. My passion is breathing into my dancing and that’s what I want to see. Not your technique, your passion, because passion supersedes natural ability.  I want my kids to be passionate. I want my staff to be passionate. I can teach you anything. But the passion that you bring is what really drives the momentum into whatever learning you have…I encourage everyone that’s listening to think about how am I going to create a ruckus during my next interaction in my way, in my style.”

– Curtis Zimmerman

“Failing is an event, not a person. The only way you’re going to learn to juggle is if you’re willing to drop the ball”

– Curtis Zimmerman



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