Episode #212: Brian Faulkner

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Brian Faulkner is the principal of Kaneland Harter Middle School in Kaneland C.U.S.D. 302.  He says “My focus has been simple from the very start of my career; give students what they need in order to be successful.  I fully embrace teacher leadership and a shared leadership philosophy and look for creative ways our staff can collaborate, share, observe one-another, and continuously improve their craft.  Saying I love what I do is an understatement.  I’m on a mission to make a difference in the lives of each member of our learning community.”

Trenches story: What is he doing to not lose sight of what it’s like to be a t, para, student in his building. he subbed a lot during pandemic. Hybrid model, esp difficult. He has had to serve lunch. He feels like the staff is in the trenches. Daily Homeroom (takeover) period. They need planning time. Exploratory t’s need more. He took the entire team of kids to do an activity. He did this to relieve the staff. He can talk about going on lockdown model, everyone coming out safe & supported. They just had mandatory law enforcement last wk. Didn’t want it to be a surprise to staff. Practice in a good mindset. He gets on PA after to say “great job”.

Tell me how you embrace teacher leadership and how you encourage t’s who don’t see it in themselves to take on teacher leader roles?  It’s always been a focus for him. IT’s not about you, it’s about them. Peer-to-peer is powerful for him. When students can teach other students it’s strong. He went through project Chris training when he was a teacher. Teacher leader summit in Louisville. Goal to promote teacher leadership within the district. Wants to be put in a position where he supports staff. Opportunity to have their voices heard. It’s different if you have someone in the building, make that connection. Learned the hard way- amazing teacher. Asked a teacher to talk at institute day about it. She wasn’t super comfortable leading. Teacher

leadership for her is allowing others to observe her classroom. It pushed his level of what was teacher leadership. As a leader, he feels like he needs to step away to let them lead. Get to know your staff or it won’t work. He makes it a point to always get to know about their passions. TOTS-teachers observing teachers, they aren’t obliged to. It’s built into team mtg schedule. Used as a collaborative moment. They’re our best resources when it comes to PD.

Journey to principalship? Always at the middle school level.  20+ years ago when he interviewed for 1st job wanted to go to HS to work. He had a MS interview, was called back right away. Never looked back, realized MS was his jam 1 month into teaching. He was always interested in being a principal. During his own HS experience, he had 2 great principals, liked the way they conducted themselves. Make an impact on as many as possible. Teacher-dean-AP-principal. Wants to stay in this role. Got into admin because he wanted to give back more. Still thinks of principals he had when he was a student & teacher.

What kind of PD drives you (both to lead and to participate in)? He will go to TB conference. He is a certified project Chris trainer (focused on metacognition), but hasn’t done for a while), sometimes will do PD about personalized learning. IS connected w/ a few Univ. in N IL, speaks to students in their ed leadership cohorts. 2x’s a year.  He does his leadership 101. It’s a Q & A w/ a small presentation.  He told himself he had to do something. He talks about how it’s about promoting growth in your learning community. Occasionally presents @ conferences. Was at inaugural Teach to Lead Summit.

TB blogging insert link to blog series on mental health (most are from 2020, is he still doing it?): He is still writing a ton, just hasn’t shared w/ world. We can mention one. He focused more on mental health. Wouldn’t call self a writer, has been writing since HS on 100 different topics. Kaitlyn G. was teaching in his building when he wrote a few times.He wants to focus on t mental health, how to create down time. He needs to model Maslow before Bloom philosophy for staff.

Out of everything? There are 1000’s of quotes in his office. Be you! It’s OK. That’s what your school needs. It’s ok to be different. Show up, love your kids & colleagues, do everything you can for them. You don’t have to be like the teacherBe you! It’s OK. That’s what your school needs. It’s ok to be different. Show up, love your kids & colleagues, do everything you can for them. Click To Tweet down the hall.

Where can ppl find you online?  #kanelandpride  @brianfaulkner44 on Twitter, DM/tweet him

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/MK2p-G7CbCE


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