Leadership changes in organizations usually signal change is coming to the employees. This could be new initiatives, new ways of doing business, or just new leadership styles, but change is coming. High performers may find change to be difficult, but will embrace the challenge and work hard to meet or exceed the expectations of the new leader. Low performers are busy thinking and saying, “This too shall pass. Just wait and see.”

I remember when I first started teaching and new standards or changes came from the State Education Department. I read all the information, began working on an implementation…


Being a leader is hard. We’re supposed to have a vision and develop a plan to reach that vision. We’re supposed to guide our employees to do their part to reach the vision and help them see how they fit into the plan. Often this means we have several initiatives happening at the same time in order to reach the strategic goals that are all a part of the big picture. So what happens when something doesn’t go as planned? How do strong leaders handle setbacks, seemingly poor performance, or failure? …


Educational technology has always played a disproportionately large role in the budget and policy space. New technology developments get the headlines and right now districts are feverishly spending gobs of money on pieces of technology they could not afford prior to this year’s windfall.

However, wise educators are being a bit more circumspect about this movement. For years, schools just needed to get everyone “Smart Boards” or tablets, and then everything would be good. The pandemic demonstrated in a very visible way what the research had been telling us for a long time: technology is not the difference maker. …


I’ve always had a problem with the concept of grading. As a teacher, I learned from my colleagues that your grading policy is valid if your mathematics is accurate while calculating average. Slowly, I learned what validity was and that my grading policies had been anything but valid. I changed the way I graded students. When I became a school leader I was surprised to see what some people did with grading policies. As students return to school after the most unusual and traumatic year they’ve experienced, please make this the year you re-examine yours.

My problems with grading policies…


Are you prepared for today? Maybe you are and maybe you’re not. Maybe you had much more planned for the weekend and didn’t get nearly enough of it done. Maybe your inbox is still overflowing, or maybe today you will have to deal with a situation that fills you with dread. Whether it is your own personal tribulations, or the crazy toxicity of the past year (think insurrection, mad fires, an ocean on fire, murder hornets… MURDER HORNETS!) we all have to deal with what life throws at us.

The reality is that even under the best of circumstances, the…


It is not difficult to put together how student lives have been endangered by the pandemic. Like everyone else, young people could be exposed to a highly contagious virus, get very sick, and possibly die. However, as the pandemic and the attempts to mitigate it become politicized, we are seeing student lives put at risk in ways that were unfathomable before.

First, there is the politicization of mask wearing. We know that students under the age of 12 cannot receive the vaccine, but are less likely to die from the virus, but they are also more likely to develop complications…


We are seeing an ever-increasing wave of mental health concerns overwhelm our school systems. Much of this has to do with the concept of trauma. An enormous number of students have had adverse childhood experiences, or ACES. ACES negatively impacts a students ability to learn, regulate their emotions, and ultimately have a negative effect on physical health.

When you see a student lose their temper over a small thing or just shut down and refuse to engage, you can feel reasonably confident that there is a dysregulation factor related to trauma at work. The problem in dealing with this has…


So many meetings begin in the same way, with a bit of a lost “let’s see if we can figure out where we were when we last met” memory contest. This issue is really not about memory or about how meetings begin, it is about how meetings end and it is deadly to getting anything done in your organization.

If people are unsure what was decided at the last meeting, or what needed to be done, what are the chances that they have spent the intervening time doing the things that were decided? The chances are very, very low. …


For too much of my leadership career, I thought I needed to be invincible. I was too worried that someone would find out that there was something I didn’t know, or think that I wasn’t qualified. This made me defensive and closed off. I was sometimes short or avoided situations in which I could learn from others. Needing to be right shut down many people around me.

Maybe this was my imposter syndrome coming out, and there are definitely worse things as a leader than working really hard to be more knowledgeable than anyone else. But, it still came at…


We’ve all been in the situation where you feel all set for your meeting, ready to go, and almost as soon as the meeting gets going it seems like everything is a slog. It’s not long before the thing you most wanted to talk about is relegated to the background and the team is talking about anything but.

It would be easy to lay the blame on a particular team member, someone who has some motive for not wanting to discuss your topic. And that certainly may be the case. If it is, I suggest you deal with that person…

16th Street Consulting

ceo@16thstreetconsulting.com is dedicated to improving organizational effectiveness through equity, focusing on education, health care, and government.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store