Enthusiasm – School Culture Virus for Change


“There is nothing more contagious on this planet than enthusiasm.”

It is time to dig, we have come to the X on our Lead Like a PIRATE Journey.  At this point, being the inspirational agent to promote student and teacher success as well as school improvement, is within our grasp. Like any PIRATE crew we will share the spoils, but first we must get them.  As I mentioned in the last post, the tenets seem to fit nicely into leadership and they are interconnected.  How do we tie them all together? Enthusiasm! (those of you who have read lots of my posts my be familiar with my gratuitous use of the !)

As a leader the school’s culture can be greatly impacted by your personality.  While there are many factors that go into creating a school culture, it is the power of effective leadership that can change the tide.  What message do you send?  When you walk into the building, are you “on”?  When your staff see and interact with you, do they leave that conversation with a feeling that you LOVE what you are doing?

A great example of this comes to mind from my days on the college soccer field.  I didn’t spend as many days on that field as I would have liked, but in retrospect that is probably the case for most.  My sophomore year we got a new coach.  He was a complete 180 degree turn from the previous coach.  There was a lot of upheaval, frustration, and discontent that all went on behind the scenes.  One thing that I will always remember, and it is what started to win over our team, player by player, was how much he LOVED soccer.  When you talked to Coach Wagner about soccer, he was like a kid on Christmas morning.  I knew that whether I agreed with his decisions or not, he was making them because he wanted greatness for the team.  Coach Wagner is still the coach at Franklin & Marshall, and they are now a well-respected D3 Program thanks to his leadership.  His enthusiasm for what he does slowly won over the respect of his players, the alumni, and recruits.

A great school leader is no different.  When you interact with your staff, enthusiasm makes a difference. If they feel like YOU are “mailing it in” how inspired will they be to step up and give their all?  There is nothing more deflating than walking into the school on the first day and having your administrator talk about how much it stinks to be back at school.  Be the driving force of positive action in your school, spread Enthusiasm like a virus, and your staff will repay you beyond belief.

Thank you for joining me on this incredible Journey through PIRATE leadership ideas.  I cannot thank Dave Burgess enough for his inspiring words and his support of my quest to develop a greater understanding of leadership through them.

I plan on a reflective post to “share the spoils” soon before embarking on the Blog 365 challenge.  I hope I can continue to write on topics that inspire the readership and discussion that this series of posts have provided!




2 thoughts on “Enthusiasm – School Culture Virus for Change

  1. Brian Costello – Thanks for the kind words… it means a lot. Those first two years of the program were incredibly tough. Ironically, I was in ed leadership myself at that time, teaching at local Penn Manor High School as we as chairing PMHS Social Studies Department. I was constantly overworked and often lacked the wisdom to keep all the balls up at the same time. Thank goodness for the energy, belief and idealism… what you call enthusiasm in your blog…that I carried in my 20’s. When you start in teaching, coaching or other leadership positions, it is hard to see the longer view.. that you can make a difference if you hang on and stay positive. You and your team served as a critical bridge between the old and new. Consider what has happened since that year by going to http://www.dipsoccer.com/about . I would have never expected we would now be top 8 out of 400+ programs after having only 3 wins in 03′. Your era was hamstrung by 4 different coaches in 4 years.. hard for you to get traction. But you guys believed in me and allowed me the time to create stability and change the paradigm. You were a great keeper (still remember your Muhlenberg match) and have stayed a consistent, positive supporter of our program who is well respected from our alumni. I loved your post and appreciate the wisdom you are putting for to other educators. Great stuff my friend and thanks for the shout out!

    1. I knew that the program would be headed in that direction with you there. We didn’t always agree on things, but I knew the program was headed for great things both on and off the field. The amazing culture shift that took place was in large part due to your passion and enthusiasm. I will continue to support the program and I am happy to share their story with a broader audience!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s