Episode 29: What Makes a Great Principal? With George Couros

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Episode Summary:

George Couros, an innovative teaching, learning, and leadership expert, shares his insights on what makes a great principal. The discussion revolves around the five key pillars outlined in his book What Makes a Great Principal, co-authored with Allyson Apsey.

The conversation delves into the following topics:

  • 👥 Relationship Builder: George emphasizes the importance of building meaningful connections with students, staff, and the community. He shares personal experiences and lessons learned from his parents on the value of relationships.
  • 🌱 Continuous Learner: George stresses the significance of principals being continuous learners themselves, modeling the behavior they expect from their staff and students. He discusses the impact of learning by example.
  • 🌟 Talent Cultivator: George explores the idea of recognizing and nurturing individual strengths, rather than focusing solely on weaknesses. He emphasizes the importance of helping everyone find their unique talents and supporting them in their growth.
  • 🔀 Resource Maximizer: George highlights the often-overlooked aspect of resource management, which is crucial for bringing visions to fruition. He shares strategies for maximizing available resources and leveraging the diverse talents within a school community.
  • 🔭 Visionary: George discusses the importance of cultivating a shared vision for the school, one that involves the entire community. He emphasizes the need for principals to facilitate a collaborative process, rather than imposing their personal vision.

Throughout the episode, George draws upon personal experiences, anecdotes, and research to illustrate the significance of these pillars in shaping an effective and impactful principalship. He encourages principals to embrace a learner-centered approach, foster a culture of continuous growth, and empower their staff and students to reach their full potential.

Related Resources:

  • Book: What Makes a Great Principal? by George Couros and Allyson Apsey (Book Website)
    “Dive into the collective wisdom of George Couros and Allyson Apsey as they lay out a transformative vision for school leadership. ‘What Makes a Great Principal?’ is not just a book—it’s a roadmap for educational excellence in dynamic times.”
  • Course: Learner-Centered Leadership Book Study (Learner-Centered Collaborative).
    In Learner-Centered Leadership, Devin Vodicka offers a deeply researched and urgent blueprint for orienting education around the strengths, interests, and needs of individual learners. Pair this book with a guided course from Devin himself that invites you to reflect, discuss, and engage in activities that will help you reimagine school and learning in your community, with your community.
  • Tool: 4 Guiding Principles for Learner-Centered Leadership (Learner-Centered Collaborative).
    The principles and prompts contained in this handout are designed to support school and district leaders in cultivating learning ecosystems that empower all learners to know who they are, thrive in community, and actively engage in the world as their best selves.

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