Episode #218: Bryan Zwemke

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Bryan Zwemke is an Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Innovation in Illinois with 23 years of experience teaching and leading in rural, suburban, and urban settings focused on student achievement and student engagement. His priorities focus on the core strategies of a guaranteed and viable curriculum, mental health, equity and access for all students, supporting quality teams, and personalized learning for students.

Bryan completed his doctoral program for Educational Leadership at Aurora University defending his dissertation Building Social Capital Through Social Media and is serving as an adjunct professor at Aurora University. As a veteran administrator, Bryan has developed a passion for the necessary change toward future ready education – an ecosystem dedicated to student growth, collaborative spaces and practices, and research supported techniques to long term success. Further, Bryan is a co-facilitator for the Mastermind and sometimes blog contributor. Teach Better Team.

Trench story: different trench each year. Transition from building level leadership. Remembers how principal & superintendent have spoke to him about how you move away from students and “trenches”. she looked at the issue teacher had, broken rulers still in his office. Everything’s important to someone. Allow them to air their issue. 15-16 years ago this stuck with him.

Move from principal to Asst. Sup. This is his first district-level position was AP, principal for 18 years at MS & HS. Taught 6 yrs. Got into student services, early RTI. First MS, then HS. Gave him full picture. Thinks about his timeline. Blended learning, a lot at HS, looking more at MS level. Is learning more about how to lead through a principal, instead of being the voice/face. His goal is 50%/50 split with being at 2 MS & 1 HS. As a building leader, you get more opportunities for engagement. In current position, he wants to build in some walk-around time with time management. He needs to know staff. Department showcases- set up time with teachers who want to show off what they’re doing in CR. Systemically way of getting into buildings seeing what t’s are up to. Building As a principal, you’re making decisions for next 3 hours or days, now he is more intentional and strategic, implementation plans, what’s sustainable. Is surrounded by great district leaders.

Was this a move you anticipated? Being in his doctoral cohort was best PD he’d had. Had a great cohort for F2F doctorate. He had an eye on district leadership. Met people, more doors opened for him. Where does my educational philosophy match up? He became more selective on where he was applying. He’s getting stretched, learning to support thru building leaders. He’s read more, attended more webinars since entering position. New district.

Adjunct work at Aurora University He was teaching curriculum, instruction & assessment class. Enjoyed it. His dissertation is  Building Social Capital Through Social Media . He went through demographics. Studied highest performing HS in state where they fell w/ climate/culture. Talks about what schools share on website- what’s happening on a day to day basis. Who was using what. Communicating with kids, use IG. He walked around and did IG stories. Twitter is about Edu. PLN. WE can get into strategies, being intentional about what you’re sharing.

What’s good & what’s not. He talks with students about maintaining digital footprint. We need to experience what’s happening in the classroom as public. Families need to understand what’s happening in CR. They otherwise create their own neighborhood. They did an audit, created a class #. Academic achievement, supportive environment. You control your feed & alogrhymn. Stories can be portrait of graduate.  Opportunities for 2-way dialogue. Great retention/recruitment tool.  Push out info at a certain time of week/day. Look at metrics. Words are great, pics are better, video is best.

He loves to coach admin. Teach Better Team admin mastermind facilitator. He’s had good mentors, wants to pass it along. They were excellent thought partners. Building capacity through people. Do they need to solve a problem or vent? He does it through his district. Movement among admin. in general people he’s worked with who have moved up. He takes pride in coaching them to move up. Not too much attrition, come & go. Recognizing where talent is. Line of succession. IF x happens, moving pieces on chessboard.Athletes have coaches, musicians take lesson. All educators should have. It’s a team sport. Say “you’re doing a great job, here’s where I can see you grow”. Let them get coached so they turn around & coaching.

Out of everything…It’s important to be active in your story. Your story’s about students. We’re here to support students & teachers. Understand that narrative. It’s a relational industry. Click To Tweet

Where can ppl find you online? Twitter @bryanzwenke, LinkedIn Would love to have cup of coffee, in person or virtually.

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ubiTvOpZmdc