How can I help?

At our recently completed leadership retreat, we had the chance to chat with Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.  One of our questions to them was, “What are you reading?”  They both answered, Talk To Me, by Kim Bearden.  It’s absolutely fantastic and should be required reading for everyone.  Literally everyone.


Two ideas spring to mind.  Two stories.  So far, with this book as the catalyst.  Wait.  Three ideas.

One.  It’s sometimes better to be lucky than good.

Two. As a principal, when dealing with distressed parents, I used to close the door in my office, invite them to sit, then ask simply, “How can I help?”  Always asked that first.  I found this question, genuinely asked, was usually disarming and the last thing frazzled parents expected to hear.  And then we went on from there, usually with calm and success.  I accidentally was following part of Kim Bearden’s advice.

And three.  When people come by to see you, stop what you’re doing.  Look up.  Honestly engage.  Demonstrate that you are engaged in each person. This is a personal challenge for me.  Reminds me of my favorite coach, Ken Edmonds.  Whenever I see Coach Edmonds, to this day, he enthusiastically greets me like I’m a long lost friend, big smile, warm and vigorous handshake, “How are you doing Jeff?!  It’s great to see you again!”  Always makes me feel awesome!  I learned that from him and try to do the same.  Kim Bearden’s story along these lines is when she met Oprah Winfrey.  Yes.  The Oprah Winfrey.  Kim was hoping for a simple handshake.  Instead, Oprah turned to her, took both of her hands, looked into her eyes and asked about her.  Fully engaged.  The rest of the world disappeared.  Wow.

How can I help?  Give people your full attention.  Solid human being ideas.  Thank you to Kim Bearden and her fantastic book!

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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