Dr. Justin Thomas
Bio: Justin Thomas, Ed.D., is an elementary school principal serving students, faculty, and community near Nashville, TN. Prior to his work in school administration, he enjoyed 8 years as a middle school and high school band director. During his 6-year tenure as principal, his school team has been recognized multiple times by the Tennessee Department of Education for outstanding student growth and achievement gap closure. Dr. Thomas believes that the keys to success revolve around growth and gratitude – the ideas that all members of a school can ‘get better’, and that a spirit of thankfulness is key to strong culture. Dr. Thomas is the author of “The Principal’s Toolbox: Real Talk on Tackling School Leadership” (2020). Noticing an abundance of philosophical books about leadership, his purpose in writing The Principal’s Toolbox was to take an honest look at many of the practical aspects of the principalship. Aspiring and new principals will find this title especially helpful. Dr. Thomas is married (Susan) and they enjoy their busy life with 3 daughters in Nashville.
Show Notes: I think a great school focuses on growth and gratitude. Every person – child or adult – is at a different place on their journey. As a teacher, as a friend, as a mathematician, as a writer, as a coach. Our only goal should be to compare ourselves with ourselves – Where was I yesterday? Where am I today? The growth is what matters.
Gratitude – There is so much good going on around us, but we fall into the trap of talking about/focusing on the problems. Intentionally seeking the good and calling it out improves your life and lets others know that their contribution is seen and worth something.
Story – I decided to write this book because I kept having experiences that I was never told to expect, and I would have been better prepared had I at least thought about them ahead of time. They are situations that I feel every principal will encounter, and I hope that considering them will make the principalship a bit less overwhelming – especially in the early going.
Book: The Principal’s Toolbox
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