Perhaps you’ve seen this classic YouTube video:

Sometimes it feels like we are herding cats in the ever-expanding digital world.  There are so many different tools, so many apps, and so much information to digest it is hard to know where to start.  Even if one did have a firm grasp on all that the world holds to offer, how does an educational leader disseminate resources, train teachers and leaders, and provide time and resources for implementation?

As this sometimes feels overwhelming, it is important to develop goals for yourself that will translate into benefits for your organization.  Setting yearly goals will help you to focus on what you can do this year, master this year, learn this year to continue to grow and develop professionally.

This year, I’ve set some goals for myself.

1.   Reinvent my blog.  I’ve been blogging for about 5 years–over three different blogs and first as a building principal, next in central office in charge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and now in my current position as Superintendent.  This year I have transitioned to using WordPress.  I have also altered the function of my blog to include resources for teachers and administrators (still not fully developed!) and also to be my online portfolio for how I have met the leadership standards for my state (thanks, George Couros for the great idea!).  As Indiana has altered the process of teacher evaluation, the teachers in my district will face a new form of evaluation when their current collective bargaining agreement expires.  Designing a way to collect artifacts demonstrating highly effective practice in each area will help them to experience success in the evaluation process.  I’m hoping to take this year experimenting with one way to do this in hope of providing at least one example of what could be done.  We will see how this adventure will unfold!

2.  Explore the power of Twitter as a Professional Learning Community.  I started this journey a couple of weeks ago after hearing George Couros describe what it looks like to be a connected educator.  Although I’d had a personal and professional Twitter account for years, I hadn’t really embraced the scene.  In the past two weeks I have moved to utilizing one account that is both professional and personal, I have established relationships with people on Twitter I have never actually met, I have learned more than I ever thought possible spending very little time each day on Twitter, and have discovered the beauty of Buffer which allows me to put tweets in a cue to post throughout the day.  Using Buffer means that I can catch up on the blogs I follow through Feedly and use Buffer to schedule and share posts at other times.  Rather than tweeting 20 times in a row over the course of 20 minutes, Buffer pushes out these tweets at the intervals I have set.  I have learned so much in these past two weeks using Twitter!

3.     Shift my mindset.  Have you read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck?  It talks about how we approach the world and whether we have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  While I think I approach life with a growth mindset, not everyone around me embraces life in that way.  After I read Switch  by Chip and Dan Heath I realized that approaching the process of change is complicated when leading a group and there are some key actions I can take to help lead a group through change.  It can be an issue of pace–and that’s something I have to pay attention to.  Not everyone hears a presentation about being a connected educator and retools their blog and embraces Twitter that week.  And that’s OK.  To be a successful leader I need to meet people where they are, learn how they are wired, and then walk with them down the path of change.

So, those are my goals this year to try to be successful in herding my mind in the world of so many cats.  If you are curious what other tools I have used to help me be successful in this journey, you can find a list of them in my resources for administrators page on my blog.

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