Chapter 2 guides you in understanding how personal and authentic can help define the culture for learning that our students need to thrive. Beginning with a focus on you as the reader, I hope that this chapter will challenge your leadership mindset, and help you make every interaction matter by building trust and taking calculated risks along the way. In the Personal & Authentic Framework, this culture for learning reinforces the relationships and remains at the center of the student experience.


Stop & Reflect / Study Guide Questions

  • In the opening of the chapter, Tom shares how leadership, interactions, trust, and risk-taking make up four core pillars of a learning culture. Which of these four pillars is strongest in your classroom or school? Which needs to be solidified the most? How do you know?

  • When you think of the words “school leader,” who comes to mind? What characteristics does he/she consistently display?

  • In your classroom, school, or district:

    • What are the shared attitudes of those in your school/district?

    • What shared values are consistent among those that work with you?

    • What shared goals are in place and owned by those on your team?

    • What types of practices are most consistent?

  • Do the attitudes and practices in your school propel, or hinder, learning that is personal and authentic?

  • Tom shares a story of an airport interaction with a veteran that had a significant impact on him. Think of a recent interaction that was personal for you. How was that interaction authentic in nature? What type of impact did it have on you?

  • Tom shares a story of his first superintendent that went out of his way to encourage him. What have these interactions looked and felt like for you as an educator? How have those moments encouraged you to do the same for others?

  • What do the first few moments of each school day or class period look like for you? What are you intentional about during that time?

  • Whether for your students or your teachers, how do you model risk-taking for those you lead?

  • What have you wanted to try in your classroom or school but have been hesitant to do? What support do you need to make it happen?

  • Share something from your classroom, school, or district that relates to #AuthenticEDU.


#AuthenticEDU CallOuts

Download the callout quotes from this chapter and use them as part of your book study, team discussion, upcoming presentation, to share on social media, or in any way that can support you as an educator!

Related #LeadershipMinutes

Additional Resources to Support Your Personal & Authentic Journey

Author’s Note: The resources contained within this page are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but are intended to provide conversation starters, pre-reading/watching, and inspiration on your journey. If you have additional suggestions, please share them so that they can be included for the benefit of others.