Episode #260: Rhonda Roos

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Rhonda J. Roos, PhD is an educational consultant coaching principals, district leaders, and administrative teams in the complex and ever-challenging work of leading schools. She is a former assistant superintendent in New Albany, Indiana where she led curricular improvement, aligning those efforts with the district’s progress in becoming a professional learning community. Rhonda has been an educator since 1983 serving as a guidance counselor, English teacher, middle school principal, and district administrator. She has taught graduate courses on leadership at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana and Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Rhonda served on the leadership team of the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute and is a regular keynote speaker. Honors include the 2010 Indiana Middle School Principal of the Year, 2011 Solution Tree “Redefining Excellence District Award” and the 2015 Indiana University Southeast Educator of the Year. Rhonda’s book, published by Solution Tree, is titled The Deliberate & Courageous Principal. Rhonda’s dissertation, "An Examination of Principals in Effective High-Poverty Middle Schools with High Achievement,” was completed in 2014 and she co-authored an article in the NASSP The Bulletin entitled “Brain Compatible Secondary Schools: The Visionary Principal’s Role.”

Dr. Roos received a bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in counseling from Western Kentucky University, her administrative license through the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) from Butler University and her EdS and doctorate from Indiana State University.

Rhonda lives in Louisville, Ky. with her husband Vic. They share five children and four fabulous granddaughters. Rhonda loves baking cookies and cakes, practicing pilates and yoga, spending lots of time with family, reading, sitting in the quiet, and walking in the park next to their home in St. Matthews.

Trench story: first and largest one as a principal, she thought she was ready. Became so overwhelmed. MS of 900 kids. Pink legal pad notes. Items would come up. Things were a mess. Univ. program trained her to be around st. learning. Felt like she had no time to get into cR. Got out looking at 72 items on pad. Started calling them systems. Running list. Couldn’t fix them all. Chose 8-9/semester. Had all systems strengthened by 2-3 yrs. Was able to quit feeling of being busy all the time. In schools she’s in now, she says you can feel if systems are in place. There’s a calmness, efficiency. Those leaders don’t say “I’m too busy”. Build the systems to get back to real stuff. Tina Bougren-decision fatigue.

Transition from DOS at Middle School to consultant: Started in Jan. 2017. Was a big step to leave. Had done her Ph.d. Looked a high poverty/high achievement- 80%+ in ELA & math. Advisor was Todd Whitacher. If you want school to hit 80%, find out what the other principals are doing. They were following the PLC model-deep & consistent. Friends wanted her to share w/ them. She struggled entire time she was a principal with imposter syndrome. Spent years questioning herself. Solution Tree reached out 2 yrs ago. Started consulting in Dec. of 2017. Went to different schools in Kentucky & Indiana. Ppl said it needed to be in a book. Early 21 started with Solution Tree. Was a 2 yr process. Her work can be with the principal, their assistants & their team. Solution Tree came up with framework. Talks about accountability, trust, equal jobs sharing. Does 4-5 days on site, sometimes virtual. 1 day w/ principal on site, rest could be virtual. Ask principal “are you good to the people working in your school”? Even “veteran” principals reach out. Self-assessment. “Am I acting in a way that ppl would want to work in this school”? ST can buy a set of books for the team, then she does virtual consulting. (could do for TRMS-share w/ Quiana when out)

Some of the session topics you present on (book is on):  Rhonda works with individual principals or district administrative teams in strengthening the 5 Deliberate Actions Represents PLC model. Do we clarify work for ppl, look @ 1 semester at a time. Building a strong guiding coalition. Time-how are you using staff’s schedules? Also, leading effective meetings. She hopes book is different b/c she talks about  5 Courageous Skills of leaders. Many leaders can be condescending, or be nice but not hold ppl accountable. Build trust, handle conflict, holding ppl accountable, positive leading mode. Take time to reflect. Works w/ schools from all over U.S.- schools reach out to Solution Tree. Does an initial zoom to assess needs.

VIRTUAL AUTHOR PRINCIPAL COHORT SERIES (starts again in July and January ‘24): only takes 5 principals. Tries to keep @ same level-like elementary. Stays in cohort for 5 months, 1 action and 1 skill. 5 session/5 months. She shares reproducibles, powerpoints. Vision for upcoming school year. Playbook for 1 semester at a time. Then meets 1-on-1. She’s intentionally kept it tighter. Say “you have to be there”. The one in July is a MS cohort. The cohorts are good for colleagues who’d like to connect with other level principals across country. They use her book as the foundation for the work. If a district orders 15-20 books, she’ll give a preview session.

Out of everything? You can do this work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, yes, you can. Leaders can do it, hone in on specific actions. Click To Tweet

Where can ppl find you online? www.rhondaroos.com rhonda.bluebird@gmail.com SolutionTree- put in The Deliberate and Courageous Principal. Solution Tree can connect

Twitter @drrhondaroos

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0YgQS3vfEA0



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