Episode 47 – Dr. Frank Rudnesky – The Magic Man

Adam DeWittPrincipal Leadership Lab Podcast

Join Adam and Jeff as we chat with “The Magician!” In addition to teaching at the high school and university levels, Dr. Frank Rudnesky was the principal of Belhaven Middle School in Linwood, New Jersey for a span of two decades.  During that time, the school was recognized with numerous local, state, and national awards for leadership, technology influence, excellence in performance, and a positive culture. The school was often used as a visitation site for other educators from as far away as Japan.

Frank has developed, implemented, and studied leadership processes to enhance organizational culture.  He has authored numerous books and articles published in the areas of leadership and technology influence. Dr. R. resides in the Jostens Renaissance Educator Hall of Fame and sits on several non-profit boards including the New Jersey Schools to Watch core team.

Frank’s Education Journey

No straight arrow to his path into education

U of San Fran

Started in Magic Shop on Fisherman’s Wharf

Opened up a magic shop in New Jersey,

Got bored and started substitute teaching

Magic was a connector – “what is YOUR connector?”

30 years public educator

“Leadership isn’t just for those at the top”

Got connected with others after “retirement”

Started writing down ideas

LEGACY surfboard – given to him by students his last year

Find out what your student’s passions are

Never surfed in his life before 50 years old

“Core Boards” – Leadership Exchanges with other middle schools

Core Boards were an instigation led by students

Wear them and when someone inspires or moves you, write that person’s name on the back and give it to them.

Amazing what happens when you inspire and empower kids


Empower Half Hour

Desire to stay connected in education and leadership

Twitter chat inspired to fit a tighter timeline

Let’s take what we can control, and control.


FIRED UP Leadership

  • Added passion to tie all of the domains together
  • Focus on the group, not self
  • Don’t be afraid of failure; don’t be afraid of success
  • Tell stories

50 Great things leaders do?

  • Time to make animal balloons
  • Started writing stories down from the collective thoughts of the school.

Leadership struggle

Teacher at a high school

Always thought he would be a great difference-maker

Was asked to homebound tutor a student who had cancer

Learned another way of looking at things


Use the optimism of those we serve.

Students engage when we provide choice, love, kindness, etc…





Dr. Jeff Prickett

Adam DeWitt



Dr. Jeff Prickett

Adam DeWitt



Principal Leadership Lab

Dr. Jeff Prickett

Adam DeWitt


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