Northern Star – Nicole Padula-George

Rob BreyerGuiding Principals Podcast

Nicole Padula-George is the proud Assistant Principal of Instruction at Mastery Charter School Gratz Prep Middle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She brings over 12 years of experience at the middle and high school levels as a teacher, instructional coach, and STEM program director.  Mrs. Padula-George leads with heart, responsibility, and the mentality of putting students first.  Her mindset has resulted in a track record of student growth and achievement. When not in classrooms, she enjoys time with her husband and son.

Connect with Nicole:

“Nicole has created strong data metrics for us to pinpoint, diagnose, and correct students’ strengths and weaknesses per standard, but it isn’t as robotic as it sounds. She’s carved out a warm approach where she collaborates individually with each teacher to create unique approaches depending on a specific teacher’s strength supported on the very strong foundation of data. It’s a continuously iterative process. What works, what doesn’t, why does it work, why does it not, how can we adapt, how can we innovate? She asks a lot of questions that do not dictate the methods we choose to use but she makes sure that the methods we do elect are effective.” – Lanre Anima

4 Principles of Leadership:

Let who you are be the North Star.

Define (Values, purpose, non-negotiables, strengths, areas of growth, learning style, conflict management style – Why am I here?), Accept (Who you are is enough)
Who you are guides decision making = anchor
Ongoing process of refinement
Be genuine/authentic

Be steadfast with the destination, but leave the journey open.

Set a clear vision
Communicate that vision and asks (expectations)
Provide a few pathways (ideas/solutions/frameworks)
Create opportunities and spaces for authentic input and varied collaboration (teacher/leader, teacher/teacher, teacher/culture, etc.)
Empower others through maximizing their strengths to share their ideas and have their individuality shine
People are more likely to take a risk with something they do well/confident in
Multiply and enhance impact by delegating -> not “doing it all” yourself
Do not lower the bar through the process, find another way to reach it

Listening and doing speak louder than words

Equal your listening and action, speak wisely
Ask questions (not make assumptions) to gain understanding
Walk the walk, not just talk the talk (with next step, collaborate/do it side by side with the teacher while still developing, not sit in classroom, behind a computer and share feedback at a later date -> urgency)
Be transparent and provide rationale, lean into tough conversations – connect to Brene Brown’s quote: “Clear is kind.  Unclear is unkind”

Pause. Celebrate. Evaluate. Fail.  (Not necessarily in that order.)

You will not know everything.  You will never and that is ok (way it should be)
Failure is part of the process
Pause to:
Celebrate the small wins
Reflect/evaluate/pulse check
Action (next steps)

Please use the hashtag #TGPP to continue the conversation, make suggestions, provide feedback, and ask questions.  Connect with me directly by tweeting me at @rbreyer51.  And, please remember to subscribe, like, and leave a comment on whatever platform you are listening in order to help me connect more school leaders to the show. Are you interested in sharing your stories about being a visionary leader?  Check out my website and fill out the form in the podcast section.



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