“We are the Champions”, by Queen, featuring The Peanuts


It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us. It seems like yesterday I was reflecting on my one word for 2016 and preparing a blog post with a friend. Each year seems to go by faster, both personally and professionally! 2017 is here…and I am ready! My journey to finding THAT word was a struggle this year. I even found myself fighting against what was staring me in the face. I had it all along, but I just didn’t see it. The struggle was REAL, friends! The fact is, it should be a struggle. In order to grow and to set goals that challenge us, we must be uncomfortable. It requires owning up to mistakes, failures and weaknesses. It forces us to think about what we lack in order to be where we want to be. The struggle is part of the process, and I am happy to say that it was worth the time and effort.

We all know of the book behind the genius of the one word process, One Word that Will Change your Life, by Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, and Dan Britton. Recently they have published a new book entitled Life Word. The process is somewhat similar, but the word is related to the legacy a person wants to establish and leave. Between the two processes, I found myself reflecting, analyzing, and looking ahead. I asked people in my inner circle to give me feedback, just as the book suggests. It was through the feedback of a close friend that my word came to fruition. She put into words what I could not. The moment I received her message, I felt peace, and my #OneWord2017 surfaced…


CHAMPION. Out of context most would assume it refers to the winner of something; someone who comes out on top of a competition. As I read my friend’s words, I realized what she was trying to help me see. She knows my heart, and through many deep conversations we have shared, she knows my goals. She linked me to the word CHAMPION as a form of action! To champion for something means to fight for it, which is what educators do every day. We fight for kids, their education, and for what is best for ALL of them. I have my word, and a song to represent it.


I am a fighter. I stick up for what I feel is right. I champion for kids. I champion for the profession I care so much about. I champion for public education because I know it is what our kids need. I champion for change in politics that impact public education in a negative way. I am ready to fight.

My ammunition? Fighters need it. I have it. My weapons are strong enough to take on whatever I may face, and will help me grow both personally and professionally. I will use all of it, and will borrow ammunition from others when I need it, and from God when I am at my weakest.


Faith. Positivity. Learning.


Via Facebook, nametests.com

Faith challenges us because it cannot be seen. Trusting something we cannot see is not always comfortable. I will champion with faith at the forefront. It will be my shield of armor to protect me from swaying. Through faith I can champion with self control and with love. Fear will not be a factor.



Look for the hashtag on Twitter!

The negativity in our world is everywhere, especially on television and social media. The power of positivity is something I believe in fully, and we simply cannot have enough inspiration! Some call it fluff, but I consider it a lifeline for championing. I need to be uplifted, and I need to uplift others. #JoyfulLeaders has helped me begin to fulfill my purpose…to champion for positivity, and remind leaders the WHY of leading. People without hope break my heart. They need joy, and it is up to others to support them until they can find it from within. I am stronger because of the people I choose to surround myself with, and feel so much comfort in knowing that positivity is all around me. It is keeping me sheltered, and guarding my heart.

CHAMPION. I will do this.

I will CHAMPION for what is absolutely best for kids.

I will CHAMPION for the best educators to serve kids.

I will CHAMPION for my school’s culture to stay uplifting and empathetic.img_6609

I will CHAMPION for individuals who need to find joy.

I will CHAMPION for my own faith and positivity, and use it to empower others.

I can do this. I will need help. I cannot succeed alone. Others will fight with me. A special person from my PLN helped me discover my #OneSong2017… “We are the Champions”. WE…because I will champion with others who are fighthing for the same things. WE are better together.

2017…here I come to fight like a CHAMPION!


A special thanks to Karen Norton and Sean Gaillard for their continued positiviy and willingness to take on the craziness in my mind. 

#JoyfulLeaders: A Hashtag is Born

JOY. I love this word. When I hear it, I want to smile. I constantly look for it in others, and if it isn’t there, I strive to instill it. JOY. Everyone should have it. Everyone should feel it. We are meant to experience joy, but we are also meant to share our joy with others. My favorite word has become part of who I am, how I live, and how I lead.


How can we make sure our joy is seen, heard, and felt? We must be intentional. Sharing our joy can “just happen”, but it is so powerful when it is intentionally spread to others. I have found that sharing joy, even when I am struggling with my own, ultimately comes back to me in a powerful way.


My school family at Central Elementary has been blessed to serve as a model school for Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey, led by Niki Spears. I read The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon many years ago, and it changed my entire mindset. I am thankful for a school family who has embraced the ten rules for the ride of your life, and model them daily for our kids. We lead and serve each day in education, and I choose to lead with JOY.

The hashtag #JoyfulLeaders is born upon the publishing of this post. Along with what I hope becomes a widespread joy movement, comes 10 traits of #JoyfulLeaders. There are so many more, but these are the 10 that I hold close and try to live out each day.

Ten Habits of #JoyfulLeaders


Look for the hashtag on Twitter!
  1. Smile…a lot!
  2. Are intentional.
  3. Always look for ways to share joy with others.
  4. Seek out people with an empathetic heart.
  5. Serve with humility.
  6. Inspire with purpose.
  7. Laugh out loud!
  8. Make eye contact.
  9. Listen to understand.
  10. Keep love at the center of the organization in which they belong.

#JoyfulLeaders have the capacity to build other #JoyfulLeaders, and the ripple effect begins with YOU. We are all leaders where we serve. I serve kids, and I do so with JOY in my heart. Whatever you do, and wherever you lead, do it with joy…be a #JoyfulLeader and make your mark on the world, while inspiring others to do the same.

Find your JOY, and never stop sharing it with the world. photo8 (2)


A special thanks to Jon Gordon for continually inspiring, and for his Chief Energy Officer, Niki Spears for her support with becoming an Energy Bus School. They are both true examples of #JoyfulLeaders.