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Life & Work with Modern Principal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Modern Principal.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
When we first started as young female principals, we found it difficult to network and connect with leaders experiencing the same struggles as we were. One day in her first year as principal, Christy had a situation at work and called a male colleague for advice. He willingly gave it, but it was advice that would work for him and didn’t take into consideration the complexities of a 30-year-old woman new to the role.

After reflecting on the situation, the two of us talked over dinner one night about how the difficulties of our jobs and how the current social media platforms portrayed school leadership as a breezy gig that they were doing with few obstacles. We struggled to find authentic leaders who were honest about the realities of the position. We wanted social media to reflect our experiences and inspire others.

The Modern Principal is a collection of thoughts to redefine the role of leadership in our schools. We use our voice to steer the new generation of those invested in education to see themselves as leaders regardless of their title. We shape education through practical problem solving, real relationships, and system solutions. Students are the core of every decision made, but we also find fault in the saying ‘students’ needs over adults’.’ We don’t believe it’s an either/or conversation. Quality school leaders make it a priority to connect, serve, and guide the adults in the building to achieve greatness for our students.

This is a Modern Principal.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The job of a public school principal can be difficult because it encompasses SO many roles: instruction, discipline, family communication, nutrition services, custodial services, finance, and the list goes on. So we tried to share everything and share everyone’s different perspectives by doing follower takeovers, as well. We also found quickly that there were start-up costs with a blog and social media platform, so we started looking for quicker ways to sustain this hobby like selling products.  We struggled to walk the line between being an influencer and being an educational consultant. Then, we met with a successful educational speaker, and he gave us some really direct advice that we were operating like the Cheesecake Factory: our menu was all over the place. We were sharing humor, partnering with clothing companies, sharing some principal tips, selling wine, etc. He urged us to focus our efforts on what we do best. At that point, we knew we had to hone in on what makes us unique. Our goal now is to help inspire other authentic leaders to make better schools for adults and kids. We now just stick to what we know and love and do it with honesty and humor.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Our work revolves around current and aspiring school leaders. We offer a weekly podcast where we deep dive listeners’ scenarios through three lenses: scholar (the research and evidence), systems (the structures needed to sustain progress), and soul (the heart of the matter). We have had almost 20,000 downloads in our first 16 episodes. Our Instagram offers our insights on the projects, successes, and failures we currently experience, and our website has templates to download, pre-recorded webinars, and blog posts. Through our platform, we have had so many women reach out that they had never considered administration but because of our story, they felt they could do the job well while also raising families, maintaining adult friendships, and being themselves. That is definitely what makes us the proudest.

Any big plans?
Right now, we are working to continue to provide more offerings that are consistent with our mission. We have some fun new ventures planned for the new school year. Our community is pretty active and vocal about the things they want from us, so we are trying to deliver! We have a book club planned, principal workshops, in-person meet-ups, pre-recorded webinars, and more downloadable templates for principals to use in their day-to-day work.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The Grays Photography

Molly Kuplen Photography

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