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ImpactEDU 18 Tuesday Keynote: Jimmy Casas- Live Your Excellence Starting Today!

Jimmy Casas was the Tuesday Keynote at the 2019 Impact EDU conference.
Casas was a principal in Iowa as well as Milwaukee. For the last three years he has been a consultant.

Casas started by thanking educators. We cannot keep working as hard as we are without expecting our health or our relationships to suffer. We use all of our patience at work and then go home and we can't do that for our families. 

Living our excellence in every aspect of our lives is his message.
Beginning with Mindsets. 16 years ago, Casas realized he needed to shift.
Every time you bring a group of people together is an opportunity to build a community. 
Think back to August, and all the excitement. Are we still bringing that same level of excitement when we enter the building in September? What if we did reach out to others and let them know how much we appreciate them?
A person who feels valued and appreciated will always do more than what is expected.
When you forget your why, you forget your way. 
Sometimes we forget that. We need to take inventory of ourselves and our mindset. 
Remember what you said you were going to do for students when you sat in the interview chair.
Casas shared the story of his family, who were migrant workers. In 1966, they decided to make the sacrifice to help their children get an education and a better life. 
Later, during his first interview, he talked about his passion and desire, "Let me show you...."
His goal is to get us to reflect on why we do what we do, and how

This is a "Teaching AND Learning" profession, not just a Teaching Profession. Without reflection, there is no growth."
Casas's goal is to inspire educators to want to be great again. 
After 12 years as a principal, he was on his couch telling his wife he wasn't sure he could do the job anymore. 
What is happiness?
The Joy of the work is the students whose lives we get to touch every day.
Students are opportunities by the dozens. We need to culturize, and see the culture of the school through your student's eyes!

Start with yourself. He walked in and said that he is a community builder. 
The most powerful words in Leadership: "I Need Your Help!"
Every one of us can be a "Culturizer," and community builder. If you don't believe it, it won't happen. We need to remember our "Why." 
Don't just talk about excellence, LIVE your excellence. You can't be a great teacher and then go home and be a poor husband/father/wife/mother/partner.

We see the culture of our buildings, but there is also something called the "Undercurrent." That is the REAL culture in the building. Sometimes, that can be a culture of "compliance." That might work for short amounts of time, but ultimately it doesn't work. The adults in schools are creating these undercurrents. It is a hard truth school leaders need to understand. It is an unintended consequence. 
The number 1 culture killer in schools is Anonymous Surveys...

It hurts because we spend lots of time trying to figure out who is saying that about us...We give everything we have and then one comment strips it away...Then we lose our way. Ultimately, we need to change our practice. The best survey is really One on One conversations. That is where you really find out the culture of the school. The question that needs to be asked by building leaders is: 
If you became the principal today, what is the first change you would make and why?
That is where you find out the sub-culture/undercurrent that is going on in your building. This helps you find out where "average exists" in your organization. This helps to change the status quo. "We cannot allow average become our standard."
Don't fear failure, fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today. 
Any time you create change, you must have the students/staff there. If you don't want your leadership/teachers to be great, then they won't be. We have to stop "awefulizing!"

Awefulizers may get in your head. BUT: YOU are responsible for your own morale! It is not on anybody else. 
Great change, begins with self-change.
No one went into education to be average. Those that have fallen back to average have simply lost their way. 

Casas finished with an amazing story of a student he had in Bettendorff, IA. 


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