Dr. Joseph Jones is the Superintendent in the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District. A passion to provide all students an incredible and valuable learning experience Dr. Jones started teaching World and US History in 1996. A few short years later he found himself within the ranks of school administration hoping to make a difference on a larger scale. That desire and pursuit continued as he worked as a principal for seven years striving to reach two major goals: One, give teachers the best scenario to perfect and practice their craft; Two, provide students every opportunity to learn in a secure, enriching environment. As a school they made great strides and received various awards and accolades that enabled them to grow even stronger as a school community. Being the first high school in Delaware to receive the academic achievement award for closing the achievement gap was a hallmark of their relentless pursuit. His efforts continue now in a central office role as he oversees assessment and accountability. The combination of precision, best practices, and passion forges his educational ideals and provides  a clear path to reaching our goals. Educationally, he believes time spent within the walls of schools has been his best teacher. 

Daniel: Don't want to be all doom and gloom here. The reality is that we have a challenge when it comes to teacher recruitment, school leader recruitment, and retention, which is a whole other aspect of the hiring process and on boarding team members. If I'm honest, many of the schools that I see out there are going through the hiring process, haphazardly and not putting the intention and focus that it deserves. Lucky for you today I'm joined by the founders of The School House 302. We discuss their incredible work around thinking about how to attract magnetic talent, onboard them in the right way, mentor and continue to pour into them so that they don't want to leave your school district. That gets into the retention piece. I'm super excited to bring this conversation to you. Hey, it's Daniel and welcome to the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast, a show for Ruckus Makers, those out of the box leaders making change happen in education. We'll be right back after these messages from our show's sponsors.

Daniel: Deliver your school's vision with Harvard certificate in school management and leadership. Learn from Harvard business and education school faculty in self-paced online professional development, specifically designed for pre-K through 12 school leaders courses include leading change leading schools, leading people in leading learning. Apply now for our June and July cohorts at BetterLeadersBetterSchools .com/Harvard. That's Better LeadersBetterSchools.com / Harvard. Better Leaders, Better Schools is brought to you by school leaders like principal Katerra's using Teach FX. Special populations benefit the most from verbally engaging in class, but get far fewer opportunities to do so than their peers, especially in virtual classes, Teach FX measures, verbal engagement automatically in virtual or in-person classes to help schools and teachers address these issues of equity during COVID learn more and get a special offer from Better Leaders, Better Schools , listeners at teachfx.com/BLBS. That's TeachFX.com/BLBS. All students have an opportunity to succeed with Organized Binder, who equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning. Whether that's in a distance hybrid or traditional educational setting, learn more@organizedbinder.com. Dr. Joseph Jones is the superintendent in the new castle county vocational technical school district. Dr. TJ Veri is the assistant superintendent of secondary schools and district operations in the Appoquinimink school district, Dr. Jones and Dr. Vari along with Salome Thomas are authors of the new book, Retention for a Change Motivate, Inspire, and Energize your School Culture.

Daniel: Guys, welcome to the show. Thank you, Danny. Great to be here. Truly appreciate those kind words. I don't know how true they are, but we certainly appreciate them. Yeah. Thanks Danny. Thanks for having us on the show again. I know we're here to talk about retention for a change, your new book. I wanna do just a quick riff, TJ, this might not be your favorite guy, Joe Polish, but he has this thing called the eight profit activators that he made with Dean Jackson and they call it breakthrough DNA, but it actually applies, I believe to this book, because it has me think about Better Leaders, Better Schools, in terms of not just one organization, but a before, during and after unit of the business. As I was digging into your content in the new book, I came across the, BDAR three model.

Daniel: I think it's kind of similar and very interesting because when we're talking culture and we're talking, hiring, and all this kind of stuff, it's not you make the hire and it's done. There's so much more to it. I think that's what I want to invite you into the conversation and just hear you both riff on the BDAR three model.

Dr Vari: I can get a started, Joe, the original concept was a single book. It started with building a winning team. We wrote Building a Winning Team and actually Retention for a Change simultaneously. At one point I had the idea of publishing them as one book. I'll get into the BDA here in just a second, but we broke them up into the first book is Building a Winning Team. The second book is retention for a change. You don't need to read one before the other, you can read them separately. There are really three concepts. Building a winning team addresses the magnetic reputation that you need on your work for your school, for your workforce and also the recruitment strategies that we need to have typically in schools. When we have a vacancy, we just post a vacancy and our central argument is that that's not going to help you build the winning team, the top talent, the awesome school that you want. The BDA is reputation and then recruiting and then retention and that's the R 3. In terms of what we say leaders need to do in their thinking before, during and after a vacancy, instead of just what happens in the vacancy.

Dr Vari: And so it's telling your story, the recruiting and hiring strategies. Retention for a change really addresses how to keep people on the team and build them up. We do that through what we call our three retention, accelerators, motivation, inspiration, and energy. I don't know if Joe wants to add anything to that, but that's where that BDA R three came from.

Dr Joseph: That's a great description, TJ. I would just add, too often. Danny, when we think about hiring, we put all of our effort into the posting and then the process, but that's short of really the complete picture. We want to start thinking about this well, before a posting ever occurs, what's the story that you're telling. How we're attracting people. That's building what, TJ just mentioned, your reputation. That is really how you attract people, the initial posting of a position. If you're waiting for that posting to really draw individuals, then that's too late, you're already behind. With the BDA R3, it's really trying to get everyone to focus on really the holistic approach to hiring. It starts way before posting and it doesn't end after that approval from the board or whomever of saying "Yes, thank you. Thank you and welcome to the team." After that, we have to then really scaffold and create supports that help onboard that person. We fall short very often by attracting the right individuals to our schools and then we fail at the other side of it when we simply just don't support them. This model attempts to achieve is giving everyone a full lens on how to truly attract and truly support the rock stars we're all looking for.

Daniel: I hear what you're saying, the postings not going to do the job itself. You guys started thinking about it way before the vacancy. I heard you say, I think it was you Joe that story is a part of this in terms of attracting top talent. I don't, if you want to share maybe from your district's point of view or another school or district that's doing it well in terms of the story to attract the right kind of people. I get it conceptually and I'd love to try to make it practical for the Ruckus Maker listening. What might that story or an effective story look like a hundred percent?

Dr Joseph: One thing Danny is we have to leverage probably the easiest tool schools and districts have, which is social media. It's out there. We have to embrace it. There's no doubt there's things we have to be wary of, and that we have to have processes and programs in place to make sure that people understand how to use it productively. Once that's established schools can really run with this. When I took over as superintendent of New Castle County, Vo-Tech, we're a career in technical education district. Our whole premise is employability getting our students equipped with the skills necessary to go into the workforce, whatever that may be, whether it's allied health, whether it's tech, whether it's traditional trades like construction. We created the hashtag #NCCVTworks, which is layered. You'll see that everywhere within our district. Not only does that mean that what we do works, what we're trying to do within the community with our students and support New Castle County, the state of Delaware and the Delmarva region, but also that our students work even throughout COVID our students work. How do we now really make this practical? Every time we post something and take advantage of social media, we have first responders that are 17 and 18 years old.

Dr Joseph: Throughout COVID, they've been working. Shame on us as a school district. If we're not celebrating those first responders who are also young, who are also just learning their way in the world, but are learning how to use what they've developed in the classroom, those skills in the field. By their senior year, we want them in the field working so very practical. We have a hashtag that emphasizes really our vision and mission as a district. And then we try to push that those stories out as much as possible. Early on in COVID last year, we've been pushing out our first responders. Whether it's EMS, whether it's our nurse tech students, but recently we just heavily push out a great story. A 2008 Del Castle Graduate, one of our four high schools of the chem lab program is now a pharmacist at Rite Aid. Rite aid to run vaccination of events for our students and our families that gentlemen who graduated in 2008, had not stepped back into our gymnasium since then, is now running in the lead pharmacist of this vaccination clinic. The day they vaccinated well over 150 students or family members of the Del Castled in Howard High School Community. We have to push that out. It's an incredible story, but it's a great example of how NC CVT works. People want to be a part of that. We want to attract people who want to contribute to these students' success, who eventually give back in the community. We'll hear and see global citizenship on every vision statement in America, we would like to think that we're doing that every day. We got to let people know how we're actually doing it.

Daniel: It's a great story. I had a huge smile on my face and, uh, I think I'm unemployable, so I'm not going to put my hat in the ring. If I was looking for a position, I'd want to work there because what you were sharing is what it's about. It's real, it's authentic. You're making the change happen in students and former students are engaged at such a high level. It's fantastic. Thank you for taking us there. TJ, you mentioned earlier the three retention accelerators. I want to go back to that just because as Joe was talking about sort of the before area in story, how to attract people to you, we don't do enough to keep the great people in our districts. I think maybe just we get lazy and take it for granted. I'm sure you have some opinions and thoughts on that, but give us something practical, retention wise that the Ruckus Maker listening can use.

Dr Vari: Sure thing, Danny. The motivate, inspire, and energize part is really, um, a lot about the psychology of the workplace. We did a ton of research when we wrote these two books and there's aspects of people in terms of being actively disengaged at work. The opposite of that is discretionary effort. Whereby people have effort that they can put into their work, but they don't because it's not necessary, but when they are motivated, inspired, and energized by their work, they respond in a totally different way. A couple of simple things. One, the concept of micro-credentialing is growing legs. That's good, but any school leader can do something around micro-credentialing in the school itself at a very small scale.Getting Google certificates and there's a Google coaching certificate, lots of these things are free, but investing in people is such an underutilized strategy by leaders in terms of taking a portion of our budget and investing in professional development. It's a core value that I know you hold through Better Leaders, Better Schools and through the Mastermind. There's specific buckets of money who are allocated for this. A lot of times teachers don't feel like the school or the school leader is invested in their development. We need to survey people and find out what they want to learn, how they want to learn best. Professional development can't just be a concept that we have these days that we use each year and that everybody gets the same thing.

Dr Vari: It needs to be differentiated. It's not hard to do that. Make a list of all your staff members ,come up with some specialized training that they're very interested in, and figuring out how you can afford to do that. Maybe over time and invest in the people. That's one aspect of motivation, inspiration, and energy that retains people. People feel like the place has some ownership over their leadership and development. Another thing we also mentioned in the book is philanthropy, generosity and giving back. Schools have a greater purpose. They certainly did during COVID, but the schools that we have found that we're retaining top talent and attracting top talent, we're able to tell a story about how they gave back to the community. I know Joe didn't couch his story in that part, but those kids that he mentioned, they're giving back to the community and that feels good. That energizes and inspires people and makes it so they feel a part of something that's far bigger than just teaching and learning. I don't mean that as just teaching and learning, that's a big deal.That's a major purpose of our schools, but if we want a quality organization, a quality culture, we have to, um, make sure that people understand the greater value that their the contribution they're making to the world, not just to their classroom. I hope that that gives us the leaders out there some practical tips. If you're a school leader, invest in your people and find a way to invest in the community that builds a culture where people aren't going to want to go anywhere.

Daniel: Yeah. I agree. A hundred percent and calling them to something bigger. The inspiration what Simon Sinek, probably would call it "just cause." After reading the Infinite Game, I crafted that for Better Leaders, Better Schools, and it's to connect, grow, and mentor every school leader that wants to level up. That fires me up. That's an inspirational goal to be working toward. Probably ultimately unachievable because it's every school leader and I find that motivating. The other part that I love about my "just cause" is that I can't do it alone. Creating a podcast with the Schoolhouse 302, you guys are living out that "just cause", so thank you for allowing me to do that. I think one of the mistakes that we often make as school leaders, some people have this mindset and it is not helpful. It's just silly, but they say stuff like "that's their job," "They're professional," "they're getting a paycheck, they just need to do it." I believe your book argues we should shift away from what you call an employee mindset and move toward a membership mindset. I'd like to invite maybe Joe, you can riff on what that's all about that membership versus employee.

Dr Joseph: We always talk about, what we dubbed as a membership mentality. Truthfully with this membership mentality, do people feel a part of this? Do they belong? Is this something that they believe in? Do they see the value in the work and ultimately education, this can even sound a little ridiculous, but it is a calling and we don't say that lightly. Dealing with students at any grade level can be challenging. When you shift from this idea within a membership mentality, we also want you to embrace what we call a learning culture. Within this learning culture, everything is about growth. Everything is about us developing ourselves so we can serve our students better. We can produce students that can make meaningful contributions, um, into society. How do we do this? We want to really develop levels of intrinsic empowerment within our students, within our teachers that really can develop and grow. Whenever they feel a part of something, that purpose is what anchors everyone to really, um, be successful. Danny, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there's a lot of highs and lows. A part of education, there are tough days. There are days when things don't go well. When you are really trying to educate students sometimes like throughout COVID, remote they're disengaged, they've experienced trauma in one form or another. It's not like people are just coming to us and you're filling a cup. One of the biggest mistakes regarding education were developing people. But I will say the more people recognize this overall purpose and the contribution, the more app they are to learn and grow. The more apt they are to do whatever it takes to help our students succeed. And that's what we want to cultivate in our schools.

Daniel: Ultimately brilliant. We're going to pause here just for a short moment and get a message in from our sponsors. When we come back, I'd love to hear a bit about your mentoring programs.

Daniel: Get professional development without leaving your home. Harvard's online certificate in school management and leadership helps you establish your legacy and deliver on your vision for your learning community. Learn from Harvard faculty as you examine case studies of leaders in education and business. Since 2018, we're proud to have served 4,450 plus school leaders from over 120 countries. We are honored to welcome you to our June and July cohorts. You can apply today at BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard. That's BetterLeadersBetterSchools.com/Harvard. Are you automatically tracking online student participation data during COVID? Innovative school leaders across the country have started tracking online student participation using TeachFX because it's one of the most powerful ways to improve student outcomes during COVID, especially for English learners and students of color. Learn more about Teach FX and get a special offer@ teachereffects.com/BLBS. That's teachfx.com/BLBS. 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 at organizedbinder.com.

Daniel: We're back with Dr. Joseph Jones and Dr. TJ Vari. They are the founders of the School House 302. They have a new book out, which I highly recommend that Ruckus Makers pick up right now, Retention for Change, Motivate, Inspire, and Energize your School Culture. They have been giving so much value already through this show and practical things that you can do to really level up your culture, how you attract people to your building and district and how you retain them. I mentioned before the break I wanted to hear about your ideas around mentoring programs because that's an important piece. Sometimes if we're honest, just gets mailed in and maybe it's loosely defined. Who knows if teachers are even meeting with their mentors or principals and all this kind of stuff. TJ, I'd love to invite you to talk a bit about the mentoring programs.

Dr Vari: Sure thing, Danny. We talk about onboarding as like a critical aspect and a major fail when it's not done well. Bringing people on board, it's not just about getting them to sign the paperwork and come to work on the first day or even go to the new teacher orientation program. Those are all obviously important things in the book. We bring up a concept called mentoring teams, where groups of people come together to talk about new folks to the school. Regardless of whether the state or the district has a formal mentoring process, that the school itself creates an informal mentoring process. One of the things we say in the book and explicitly, we call out the fact that when leaders don't have quality mentors, it's not likely that they're going to be programming for quality mentorship at the teacher level.

Dr Vari: If you're out there and you support leaders, make sure all of your leaders have informal and formal mentors, and that doesn't stop at one, two and three years. We need people in groups. We need people to have in district and out of district mentors for the work that we're doing. We need our school leaders to be mentored. Beyond that, the teachers should have mentors, at the beginning, middle and end stages of their career. We also point to the fact that being a mentor is really good mentorship in itself and shouldn't be reserved for people with 10, 15, 20 years of experience. Sometimes our best mentors for our newest teachers can be people in their third, fourth and fifth year of experience, especially if they've been at our school for a couple of years and they know the ropes, but they also remember what it's like to be brand new and the things that are associated with that.

Dr Vari: Layers and layers upon layers of mentorship is super important for people to be calm, acclimated to the culture which we call out in the book, but then also supported within the culture as they either receive mentoring or provided.

: I want to add to it don't take yourself out of the race or discount the value you can create for others. My quick story, I was on a friend, Dr. Chris Jones, and he has a new show called On The Scene to Lead. I joined them over there and we had an awesome time, great conversation. I put out my cell phone number, as ways to connect with me. I got a text from this wonderful human being Mallory who I hadn't talked to in at least five years, maybe 10, but she reached out. We had a long conversation for an hour about her doctoral work and all this stuff. Connecting of the dots here is that I forgot that I led a workshop. It wasn't mentorship, but I was leading a workshop and she was so impressed and moved and inspired by what I was teaching in this small workshop that it stayed with her forever. She just wanted to thank me for that from way back when. The funny thing is that I had no idea what I was teaching. I was just trying to stay one chapter ahead of everybody else because one of the directors of English in the district, they wanted me to teach a writing workshop, which I had never used before as a teacher. I had to figure out what it was and then start learning and applying it.

Daniel: If I would have said to myself, "You're not an expert, you haven't been doing this for a decade. What value do you have?" That moment that Mallory wanted to thank me a decade later for creating never would have happened. I'm hearing you say, TJ that mentors can come from all shapes, sizes and years of experience. Show up and you can create incredible value. Thank you for allowing me to share that. You have something in the book, Joe called technical tips. I don't know if this is putting you on the spot, but just curious was there a favorite technical tip? Can you talk broadly about what that's about in terms of the structure of the book?

Dr Joseph: I think whenever TJ and I were generally speaking. We try to do the what and the how. I think this is where practitioners lye. I think this is why our books have resonated with people and how we like some of the books that we read and why it revolves around not only why it's important, what it's all about, but then how can I actually use it? How can I actually implement it? My favorite technical tip is owning. That one resonates if you've been able to read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, and one other gentleman apologize, the name's slipping me right now. He describes this whole scenario in the Malawi district of Ramadi in Iraq. Nothing we face on a day-to-day basis is anything like he's describing in this story. When he gets done the ownness of everything falls on him. When TJ and I were writing this and really wanted to talk about where all of this rises and falls on the leader, we talked about it own it.

Dr Joseph: Owning, it really means you operationalize, you wrestle with something, you nurture it, then you influence it. Then you build in trust. Throughout the book, we talk about this, but the idea is that for us to retain top talent, we need to build an environment that really starts to support people. Are we taking full ownership of every aspect of that? As a leader, we become sometimes more and more distance from the ground floor and all the work going on. You have to build mechanisms that you have, um, opportunities to know really what's going on. The last thing you want is to be disenfranchised from the actual work. In this book, extreme ownership, they really harp on that was a major point that resonated with us and that we wanted to really extrapolate and demonstrate a way that teachers can feel support. This is the best way leaders can build this, technically speaking within the structure of their school and make sure that they're getting the feedback necessary to make sure it's actually occurring. The distance between the position and the person, um, sometime is too great and that is what builds disconnect within that disconnect grows at times, um, animosity or uncertainty, both cripple morale and that what we're trying to make sure does not happen.

Daniel: I'd love for both of you to chime in quickly as we're sort of rounding out this conversation, but what was your hope and what's your why for this most recent book?

Dr Vari: Obviously our WHY for, Retention and Building a Winning Team is that we believe deeply in educational system. We want leaders to have the tools that, uh, will build a culture in every school that can make it the best that it can be. It's a law of the lid, nothing rises above the capacity of the leader. When you build a leader's capacity to do great things, um, we're going to have great cultures in schools, and that goes down at the student level. We also know that hiring practices fall by the wayside. Since there's a hiring season in schools, there's all this swapping in between schools of teachers and leaders. It's technically, um, somewhat of an afterthought, but we think it's the it's the key strategy to sure that you have a winning culture is the way that we bring people into it and the way that we support them. I think that's one of our why's, um, behind writing these books and just really supporting school leaders and hoping that they get to tools and tips and tactics, I would say of the business world. Almost all of our research can, we've been criticized for this actually is, from businesses. We wrote a candid and compassionate feedback, a lot of that research about feedback is from the business world. We know that schools aren't businesses, but we do have a lot to learn about everything from goal setting to supervision from outside of schools. Joe, anything you want to add to that?

Dr Joseph: A couple of things I would definitely add, we're losing great teachers annually and these are individuals that are of non retirement age. The attrition is just at this point, we would consider a major area of concern if not crisis. We need to think about why are so many people, we're talking to hundreds of thousands of 8% of the workforce annually are leaving. Linda Darling-Hammond, Carver Thomas others have done a lot of work on this, and we appreciate their work because they're putting a mirror up for us and saying, "Look, what are we going to do about it?" So that's one major impetus for this. The second major impetus is we also know that great teachers matter. We know that the data is clear. Um, I believe it's strong. Warding grant have research out there that 30 percentile points on different standardized assessments with a highly effective teacher. Not only do we need to retain teachers, we need to retain highly skilled teachers in the most neediest of schools. Yet, that's where we exactly see the deprivation, if you will. This book is built on trying to reverse the trend that's occurred since the 1970s, that less and less people are going into this profession. We need to attract highly skilled, highly qualified individuals who have a student first mentality, and really as a culture restore the nobility of this profession, um, especially in America there's just a lot of negativity around American schooling system. For whatever reason we don't get into that. We don't want to admire the problem. Um, we've wrote retention along with building a winning team, um, to really change that narrative around education in America. Hopefully, not only attract teachers back into this profession. We would now say that's from early childhood, pre-K all the way to 12th grade. Those that do come in that we retain them, that we support them. They understand the difference they're making, and they feel a part, um, of that membership that they feel a part of all the great things that can be done.

Daniel: I'd like to end is to touch on the website. I know you've put a ton of work into redesigning it. You're already prolific, in terms of the books you create, but then there's blogs and newsletters and podcasts pumping out from the school house 302. It's admirable to see how much you add to the discussion in education. I think you have a download about specific praise if people visit. Anybody want to chime in on the website real quick, before we close here, you want to hit on the content a little bit.

Dr Joseph: Danny, we appreciate you mentioning that. What we've tried to do is, is give our audience really the opportunity to develop into a topic each month. We know that's how we learn and that's not a Joe and TJ thing, this is something that we learned from Benjamin Franklin. You stay on a specific topic for a period of time and do your best to master it. Each month we choose a topic that's very relevant within educational leadership. As TJ mentioned, it's not always education because there's so much we can learn from industry as well, especially under the idea of leadership and that development. We start with the blog posts. The blog post is a long form blog, really intent on building the framework for the entire month. Then we interview an expert guests, very similar to Better Leaders, Better Schools, and really equipping people with the knowledge and the skills needed. It's why we're such big fans. We would like to think of ourselves as Ruckus Makers as well, Danny. We can get into the one thing series with the interview and then three or two thoughts, which is just, TJ and I basically riffing on that leadership principle for the week. In May we really hit the peak end rule, which is a Dan Conaman principle that people remember how things end even if it was a rough year. COVID really crushed a lot of efforts this year. There's no doubt people are exhausted. We can still find time to make something very memorable in a positive way at the end of this school year. May was dedicated to that and then we feature an author. We try to make it very practical this month. We focused on Amber Teaming and Melinda Miller and their book Lead with Appreciation. We feature Conamon's work and then try to bring it down to the practical with someone like, um, Amber and Melinda and their book lead with appreciation. Hopefully, our audience enjoys that by the end of the month. We truly hope they're an expert on ending on a high note and learning how to lift their organization with very practical and, uh, specific strategic ways to do so.

Daniel: TJ I'm going to invite you to have the last word. Joe, thanks for talking about all the great work you're doing at the schoolhouse302.com. Get their books, sign up for the newsletter, engage with their content because it will transform you as a leader and you will level up. TJ, I know you guys have goals in terms of coming and facilitating and speaking. With the last word, paint a picture of how you might come in and serve a district because that's a level deeper than what you're already doing.

Dr Vari: Thank you for that, Danny. Our books are set up almost like professional development models. You mentioned the technical tips. We have stories embedded, practical tools for leaders to use. What Joe talked about with our blog is every month in that long form, we start with a model. It's a mental model about how people can put concepts, theories into action in their schools. It could be a business area. It could be educational theory. A lot of times those theories are housed in books on shelves. Our books, and our blog is meant to break that down. We do professional development on any number of our blogs. We're called in the school districts. We'll do a half day, a full day, an Institute for several days or one hour. We do that throughout the country. Even into Canada, especially since a lot of things have been virtual. We've run master classes on the topics of our books. Finally, we do work on a full contract basis with some school districts where we push into their leadership teams and we develop capacity on leadership teams, whether that be administrators or teacher leaders. We have a number of things that we do to build capacity for principals and assistant principals to build the capacity of their teacher leaders, to support this concept that we've been talking about, which is a positive school culture. Thank you for allowing us to share that. I will say too, we've been talking a lot about retention for a change, Danny, but we want you to be able to give away a copy of a Building, a Winning Team. However you would like to do that, we would like to send a lucky winner of your listeners, a copy of Building A Winning Team. You can decide how you want to make that happen. Again, thank you for having us on the show, for promoting our work, but also for helping to make for better leadership and better school cultures out there in the world. It really does mean something to us.

Daniel: Cool. Here's how to get that book, Building A Winning Team. I want a Ruckus Maker listening. The first one to write in and subject line could be Building a Winning Team. I want you to share your number one insight from this conversation that I had with Joe and TJ. Whatever your number one insight is, maybe just maybe if somebody, shoots a video 90 seconds or less talking about, uh, their biggest insight, they might get another book, Building A Winning Team from me. There's two ways to win, be the first and then be bold and do a video. Thanks guys for joining me on this show. Keep making a ruckus.

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@BetterLeadersBetterSchools.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 [inaudible].

Dr. T.J. Vari is the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools and District Operations in the Appoquinimink School District. Dr. Vari is an experienced school administrator and adjunct faculty with a demonstrated history of working in schools and in higher education. Skilled in K-12 education, online learning, literacy, classroom culture, curriculum & instruction, district operations, human resources, change management, and education reform. Strong education professional with an Ed.D focused in Leadership and Innovation from Wilmington University.

Dr. Jones and Dr. Vari, along with Salome Thomas-El are co-authors of the new book: Retention for a Change: Motivate, Inspire, and Energize Your School Culture

Dr. Joseph Jones and Dr. TJ Vari: Attracting and Retaining the Best Educators

Show Highlights

  • Profit Activators for a Ruckus Maker mindset 
  • The BDA R3 Model will transform for processes 
  • Holistic approach to hiring built on your reputation
  • Leverage and embrace the easiest tool schools have 
  • 3 Simple solutions for retention accelerators
  • Avoid being actively disengaged at work
  • Stop haphazardly hiringLeaders 
  • Shift from the employee mindset towards a membership mindset 
  • Onboarding is critical aspect and a major fail
  • Technical Tips and quality mentoring

“As a leader, we sometimes become more and more distant from the ground floor and all the work going on. You have to build mechanisms so that you have opportunities to really know what’s going on. The last thing you want is to be disenfranchised from the actual work. The distance between the position and the person sometimes is too great and that is what builds disconnect within.” 

Dr Joseph Jones

“We believe deeply in the educational system. We want leaders to have the tools that  will build a culture in every school that can make it the best that it can be. It’s a ‘law of the lid’, nothing rises above the capacity of the leader. When you build a leader’s capacity to do great things, we’re going to have great cultures in schools, and that goes down at the student level.”

– Dr TJ Vari



Transform how you lead to become a resilient and empowered change agent with Harvard’s online Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Grow your professional network with a global cohort of fellow school leaders as you collaborate in case studies bridging the fields of education and business. Apply today at http://hgse.me/leader.



School leaders know that productive student talk drives student learning, but the average teacher talks 75% of class time! TeachFX is changing that with a “Fitbit for teachers” that automatically measures student engagement and gives teachers feedback about what they could do differently. 

Learn more about the TeachFX app and get a special 20% discount for your school or district by visiting teachfx.com/blbs.



Organized Binder is the missing piece in many classrooms. Many teachers are great with the main content of the lesson. Organized Binder helps with powerful introductions, savvy transitions, and memorable lesson closings. Your students will grow their executive functioning skills (and as a bonus), your teachers will become more organized too. Help your students and staff level up with Organized Binder.


Copyright © 2021 Twelve Practices LLC

(Visited 168 times, 1 visits today)