Hey y'all welcome back to love, sweat and tears ingredients for transformative campus leadership. Today I'm talking with Andrew Marotta, who has been a high school and middle school principal in his district for nine teen years, and is now kind of transitioning into a role of an administrator coach. Um, he does that in his district, but he also does that across the nation as well. Speaking at events, he's written several books. I can't wait for you to hear some of the stories that he tells I love talking to him because he just every message that he had was told him a story and just made it so memorable and so easy to listen to that I know you're gonna love it. So without further ado, let's dive in Andrew Murata. It is great to have you here on love, sweat and tears today. Now, are you are you finished with the school year? Are y'all still we're still gone?
We go too deep in June that deep?
Ooh, okay. Do you like that? Do you like Do you have a shorter summer? Do you start later on?
When Memorial Day? Labor Day, Labor Day? Okay. It's all I know. It's what I did when I was a student. It's what I've done. Here, the schools and out west and different places. They're done on Memorial Day, and it's like, wow, you know, but then they're in school on August, you know?
Right. Yep. Yep. We start school August. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, but you know what, man, it's so hot here at that time, especially in August. August is the worst here. So it's like, no one wants to be outside. No one wants to be doing every like, we're just we're ready to like be back inside air conditioned buildings. Yeah. So okay, we are here to talk all things, principals, campus leadership, I can't wait to kind of dig into what you're doing right now. But before we do that, I want to hear a little bit about your background. And I would love to start with what you were like as a student in school.
Yeah, I was compliant. Beth was born in a strict Catholic family. I was the fourth kid. My brothers and sisters wore out the teaching staff before I got there. There was a reputation of a lot of Murata.
Okay, so like,
you know, personality and boldness that has helped me. I was the fourth one, we went to Catholic school. I went to Catholic school for 13 years, and my parents wanted that Catholic education and I loved it. I love school. I love my teachers. We went we had perfect attendance. You know, school was canceled due to snow we went. My parents were tough. There was no excuses. If I didn't have my homework done, I was in trouble at home, I got it. I got in trouble at school, I got double trouble at home. So there was a lot of support from my parents. But there was an expectation that we needed to do well in school, and we were to take it seriously. So we did that.
Where did that come from? Where your parents educators? Or like, what why did they have those? Like really high expectations? Yeah,
I don't know. I think their parents, they were old school. They knew education is the key. They both were college graduates. And there was the expectation, I knew I was going to college. First Second grade, I knew that that was my path. There wasn't really a choice. And if we didn't have our schoolwork done, or we, you know, we did nothing else was happening. There was no games. There was no teams. There was no sports. It's just it's just how they were.
Yeah. So when was it that you kind of discovered a love for education? Or did you know that as a student in high school, did you find that out later in life? Yeah,
it's funny. I know exactly what it was. It was my sophomore year of college. I was coaching a basketball camp in the summer. And I was the summer counselor. And I was like, wow, this is great. I love coaching these kids, right? We had a timeout betta and I would teach you how to make a layup. The game would go on and then you would make the lamp and you would look over at me and like I did it. And I was like, wow. And I just love the energy of the kids. And I was kind of like, I really liked this. How can I keep coaching basketball camp in the summer? Like, Well, why don't you think about teaching about bah bah. My father was a pharmacist. My mother was a medical technologist. My brother went into chemistry. So it was kind of like, I'll be a science teacher. You know, I was like science, watching my dad, you know, mix mix up stuff and the pharmacy was right there. Sophomore year and summer sophomore year of of college. I was like, yep. And that was it.
All right. So then did you jump straight into the classroom after that, like, what was the transition into the class? Yeah,
literally, I graduated in May. I was in grad school in the fall, and I wasn't certified. I was just adjust that graduated college. I was observing in late September, early October, I was there probably two weeks, and I got paged to the principal's office, I was leaving, and I was like, there's no way they're calling me like is it gotta be another Andrew Murata here. The principal said, the teacher just quit. Do you want the job? And I was like, I'm not certified. I don't know how to teach you do. You've been in there two weeks. I'm like, I'm not certified. You'll be certified tomorrow. I was like, Can I make a phone call? And I call my parents. And my dad said, Andrew, you crazy you telling me you don't have to student teach. And you could start getting paid tomorrow and be certified and start teaching. You absolutely take that job. And he said something that rang, you know, in my ears, not how good the opportunity is. It's how good you are to the opportunity. So go in there and do a great job. And that was it.
Did you have a relationship with that principal that called you like why? Why did they call you because
I was there? I did not have a relationship. They just knew there was another semi adult in the room. Bam. I was teaching the next day.
So what what was that? Like? What were those students like receiving you this young brand new teacher into there?
Yeah, I got my butt kicked 389 months. I had a couple of old school mentors. I think they smelled fresh meat. And they tried to take it to me. But that's how I learned right i i had some tough mentors that that did not coddle me they Andrew you better respond. You better call the parent you better have a better lesson tomorrow. Don't take that. You know, you know what, from them. And they taught me how to survive. It was called the Frank Sinatra school bet that if you can make it there, you can make it anyway. Yeah, that wasn't. That wasn't the name of the school. informal name from the teachers. Got to survive there. Yeah.
So it was a rough. School itself was rough. Yeah. So how long were you there at that campus? And when was it in your teaching career that you kind of transitioned out of the classroom and into administration? Yeah, I
was there for a few years. I transitioned to a middle school for a few years. New York City is a little different. But it was when I moved. Oh, this was in New York City. Yeah. It was in New York City. I grew up in Staten Island, New York. It was when my wife and I moved in oh, five. We were moving. We were building a home. We knew that my wife wanted to stay home with our children, which we didn't have yet. So it's like, well, how can we afford to do that? How can I make more income while being an educator? And boom, boom. So one thing led to another I got the certification, but we were moving. And I literally we moved into our house, the beginning of May I got the job up here in Fort Jervis, New York. In April, the timing was incredible. So work worked out, but I became an assistant principal here in Port Jervis. New York.
And is that where you come here, baby for prom? Wow. How many years?
My 19th year?
Oh, that's a big deal. Congrats. Thank you, man. So you have been in administration at that school for nearly 20
years gray hair bath. You see. We're recording this on a Friday afternoon and I looked at my calendar. I said What am I crazy. Grown in love. This has become a second home to me. We have done great work here and I'm proud of our school community. But I'm proud I look back at what I've been through and the work was done. Yeah, 19 years, my 90th year.
Man that longevity is just so great for a campus. That's awesome.
You know, the history of things, you know why things were done? You know, you know all the players you know, you know the ins and outs. I mean, I have my students when I was the high school principal for all those years. I'm the middle school principal. Now I have my high school students children in middle school. Yeah, yeah, I was their principal. They know how I am. And when their child is saying Oh, Mr. Murata is being this because they know me. So they're like so Your Familiarity is good. It's a good thing.
I'm curious what how have things changed over your years? Or like what have what trends have you seen come and go? What has that been like being kind of at one place that long? As things changed around?
This is going to change of gut, right? I have a picture hanging here my office, or is it somewhere here? I'm in a temporary office now. So everything's turned upside down. But it's a picture of, of green grass. It's just literally green grass. And I keep it because I'm reminded that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, right. There was other opportunities out other schools and maybe this and maybe that and who I want to go to a good school. This is a good school, it is a good community. We have changed for the better our budget, consistently passing our campus. This was an old factory town and old blue collar tag. Everybody smoked on the campus, the kids smoke, the adult smoke. When I got here, I was like, What is this smell like an ashtray in the school like, what is happening? Three years of fighting, I'm relentless bet, you're getting to know me a little bit. But I am relentless. And we clean this place up physically, first, the campus beautified the campus, and then we cleaned up the academics we're on our way, we used to have a graduation rate in the low 60s. And we're almost at 90 now.
Wow, that is a big deal. It
was a great journey. And that's why I'm proud. I'm proud of what we've done. Port pride means a lot.
You said that you unified the building, and then kind of focused on the academics. Was that strategic? Or was that just kind of how things? Yeah.
It was a it was a survival, we couldn't clean up what was happening in the classroom, unless there was a respect for the environment. If there was garbage all over graffiti all over. If it says f you on the desk, you're trying to read literature on what does it say about what you're trying to do? We cleaned it up, I was relentless. For graffiti, our custodians, we clean up, I'd be on the loudspeaker. I'm looking for some student volunteers to help clean up kids who come out, I took a long time to change the culture of it's not acceptable to treat our campus like this. It became a long time I would have kids help plant flowers, I'd have kids help do things. And that kid that helped plant the flower. You know if anybody was damaging it, throw it in milk container. And they'd say, Yo, hey, I planted that don't Don't be don't be litter in there. And it just it took a long time. But we weren't going to we weren't going to allow it. Think about that when you go to stay at an Airbnb or you go to a restaurant. Right? Number one, the first thing you do is check the reviews. But number two, if the foyer is dirty, if you open the front door to that Airbnb that you can't wait to go to, and it feels dirty, you are not going to have a good feeling about staying there. And I felt the same way about our school. So we really focused on cleaning it up. And once we did that, it we really for them focused on the academics of what was happening in the classrooms.
Is that something that you still fight kind of that respect for the building and for the space? Or has it kind of like baked into the ethos of the campus?
The second one I've transitioned to the middle school now I did 16 years at the at that high school. So I was ready for a change. I sort of kind of handed that over. And again, you know, things change. I'm not the principal anymore. So there's other focuses, you know, but it that is the expectation that that has remained, which I'm very proud of.
Now, I know you also did some refereeing. How you know, I hear the story. You were in college, you found education. You went straight for it. How did you get roped into referee?
Yeah, that same basketball camp at one time? Yeah. It was like Hey, Angie, you know, you want to wrap this game after camp. And I'm like, I'm not a refugee. I'm a player. Games. Like, come on. Andrew, you're tough. You know, the game you you can run up and down. Well, like, you know, I'm like, yeah, he's like, I'll pay you 25 bucks. I'm like, Well, you pay me 25 bucks. All I got to do is work one hour for 25 bucks. Oh, yeah. And the game started I'm running up and down. And then there's a collegiate fan who kids you know, and I'm looking at it like, Oh, that's a file. Oh, wait a minute. Oh, I gotta blow to blow the whistle. And everybody looked at me and I'm like, Yeah, that was a foul and and it was like, wow, I really like that. It's like a conductor conducting an orchestra all these moving parts and then bam, you you have to make a decision. And I loved it. I have ADD undiagnosed, it's a superpower, not a disability. But that add in the action of the game and the fast moving this connected with me. I love them running. I love the outlet. And it was an instant connection to feeling comfortable. As referees say, within those lines, people think it's chaos and everyone's yelling at you. There's a comfort in there, of being in charge of that crazy orchestra being in charge of that game. To know that you're good enough to do that. There was a comfort between the lines that I felt instantly.
Interesting. You don't hear that very often,
because people think it's like, oh, you getting yelled at this pressure? There's this. Right, you know, I thrived under that pressure. I was ready for that. I was the one. You know, create, you know, creating the conditions.
Yeah. Oh, that's cool. So you're doing that and administrating a school? How did those things like? Influence?
Yeah, good question. Good question. It was a balance. It was a balance of my time, it was about balancing my focus. There was certainly a large component here in Port Jervis. That did not like the fact that I refereed one of the components is I was allowed to take vacation days, you're allowed to take vacation days, if I wanted to jump on a plane and go to the beach. It was my vacation day. If I wanted to jump in a car and go rough a game in Virginia, and drive back home overnight and be at school. The next day. It was a vacation day. There was no dictating. I wanted to go home and go sleep for the day because it was my vacation day. I could do that. I had a freedom to do that. I had a right to do that. People didn't like that. I was out refereeing the games are on TV. He wasn't in school today. He's this guy on TV, ESPN, he wasn't at school. The flip side of that is the kids and a lot of people loved it that they would put ESPN on and there's my principal. The next day, you know, I was in North Carolina at 730 at night and the next day, I'm in the hallway at 730 in the morning. And they're like Mr. Murata. I just saw you on TV. And I'd say it's magic. You know what I would hire a driver, a lot of times bet. A drive quick. But even I drove home overnight from North Carolina. I'd have a driver, I'd sleep in the car. And those were long nights, but I wanted to get back for school. So when I wouldn't miss two days in a row, I was able to get there. But I thrived on it. Again, that energy that as I call it being on the edge, right? Having a kid or a difficult situation at school was easy. Compared to having 20,000 People at University of North Carolina yelling at me the night before, you know, a minor conflict in the hallway, the next day is no big deal. So ready to handle that. It was a lot of juggling. I dedicated my book Tales from the hardware to my wife, I would not have been able to do it without my wife. And my assistant principals. They were you know, they would cover for me meetings if there was stuff. I'd be on my laptop the whole way in the car. After the game, I'd be back on my laptop. And then I forced myself to be more energized the next day. I was never like, I'm so tired. I was up all night. No way I was I was focused because I didn't want the naysayers saying, Oh, he's really he's really dragging today. So it was great. I loved it was a great it was a great run.
I hear you you're talking about surviving and thriving a lot. And it sounds like you've really learned how to do that in chaos in overwhelm in like excessive situations. Where does that come from for you? Like how, how is it that you've I don't know, figured out how to thrive in all of the things going on? Yeah,
thank you. Good question. I grew up in a big family that I grew up at busy Staten Island. You know, you weren't hustling to the table. You weren't you weren't getting food. My baseball team there was no you know, there was no kind of every kid plays everybody gets a trophy. I didn't grow up in that environment. I tried out for my freshman basketball team. It was 100 kids at trial 100 And they took 12 You know that's a competitive environment as a 14 year old that I made the team. My dad and mom didn't didn't give us an inch. You know, that was the environment. I grew up at survivalists First, and I believe you have to earn everything you get. But those were decisions to I could have not done anything out, I could have gone home and gone to sleep, I could have got home, you know, I, I live a full life Beth, you know, I don't know if you ever seen in seven habits where they the big rocks and the little rocks, big rocks in and then they put a little rocks and then they even say, you know, and there's a time for a cup of coffee and they pour a liquid in there. It's all said and done. I want to I want to know that I lived a full life. And I did some some fun things. But life is short, you know, I think the things we regret the things we don't do. Versus the things I did like I don't look back at that career saying, wow, you know, it sucks ref and all those games and doing all those things. You know, I went to I went to California went to Texas, I went to the Virgin Islands, I've been to Florida, I've been to Maine I've been you know, it was it was a fun run. It was a cool thing. And I learned a lot about life in that journey. Being in those pressure situations, how to handle people being mad at you how to enforce the rules when it's uncomfortable. And those are a lot of things that you need as a school leader to do.
Right. Yeah, tell me more about that. Tell me what specifically what you learned about, you're talking about the power of presence and how to harness that? How did like tell me some of that about how you how you learned that and how you teach.
I think you teach it by you have to go through the experiences, you could tell a new principal you want, Hey, you gotta be a good speaker. When you stand in front of 900 kids in the auditorium. Yeah, has to connect with them. They can't stand behind the podium and going into the dinner. Well, you know, on the court, when there's 15,000 people in the stands, you have to show strength. Without arrogance. Ya have to show an energy that you're into what you're doing. And it's the same thing in school. If I walked down the hallway with my shoulders slumped and I just hate kids, you know, hey, versus Come on, guys. Let's go. Let's have a great day. And I'm high five. And there's presence there. There's energy there. I think that's contagious. You know, enforcing the rules of of organization in the school. No, you're not allowed to wear real hood in the hallway. And here's why. And I'm going to enforce the rules. When I tell a kid on the court, hey, hands off, take your hands off. Right? I'm saying it in a way that registers that I'm serious. But I'm not going out in the hallway tickets that take your hood off. You understand the rules. I've explained those rules to you, Beth, and then you I call the foul and give Beth detention? Or is the warning enough, right? Beth having a bad day to betches breakup with a boyfriend and she's crying and that's why she's got to put on so my the non observant principal that doesn't know bet to broke up with a boyfriend versus a bet I know you're upset. Come on in here. Let me let you calm down. Let me get you something to eat and drink. I'm gonna give you 15 minutes that you could sit in your hood and have a cradle on you. And then we got to get moving, you know, things like that, that you know when to blow the whistle and when not to know when to enforce the rules. You know, and then the teachers and the kids in the hallway. Oh, he's letting best wear her hood, I'm gonna wear my Well, no, that had a different situation going on. So don't throw that in my face and just learned to navigate these. They can be difficult situations. I just I learned one from the other and they also helped me de stress best. When I was on the court. I wasn't thinking about that kid that refused to take his coat off. And when I was in school the next day, I wasn't thinking about the call that I made that was wrong the night before. I was focused on being where my feet are and being present. Because I had to be my best self in those in those moments. You know, if you're, if you're not a good principal, you're gonna you're gonna get steamrolled. If you're not a good referee, you're gonna get steamrolled, and I wasn't gonna have that happen to me.
But that reminds me of that relentlessness that you mentioned earlier. And in the previous conversation you talked about there being a big difference between being relentless and being unbreakable. Can you tell me more about that difference between those two things and why you strive to be relentless rather than
Yeah, good memory. Good. Questions. Yeah. We all break. We all make mistakes. We all do it. You're not going to you know, you gotta have you gotta have a great party at your house. Someone's gonna break one of those fancy wine glasses. They are going to ruin your party. Is your party unbreakable? No. No, but you will have a relentless drive to have an amazing event. If you shoot for the moon, and you miss, you're gonna land amongst the stars, if there is a willingness to work, if there is a willingness that I'm going to clean up this school, they are not going to continue to smoke in these bathrooms. I am going to have flowers in front that are not going to get trampled on. And if they trample on them, I'm going back to get the card from the district office. I'm going to Home Depot, and I'm coming back here at seven o'clock at night and I'm gonna replant them. And I'm gonna be standing right in front of those flowers tomorrow, the next day said, Hey, we shouldn't walk around. We have poor pride. We're, you know, ah, you know, I've had some experiences that left an impact on me, my dad was a tough, tough guy Beth, at a farm, a pharmacy, which the first story in my book, The Principles surviving and thriving, the first story, and he had a pharmacy it was in a bad neighborhood, I grew up in a rough neighborhood. And there was graffiti on the building. And my dad I get there, you know, I did everything in the pharmacy running around. He'd say, Andrew, go pink. I go out there and I paint over and say I'm nice tan wall, right? Next day graffiti is back. Andrew, go paint data just didn't yesterday, Andrew, go paint it. Paint it again. Next day, they come back, this happened for about a week. Give me the pink cat and you got debt. Just leave it, it doesn't matter. They're gonna keep coming back. And he said, No, this is my store. I'm not having that. I'm not having that graffiti on my stores. You can't get it? Or I'm gonna give somebody that will. This is your job. Go paint it. And then you know what happened? The next day, there was no, there was no pain. There was no there was no graffiti. And, and, and he was relentless in having the front of his store clean. And I understood the importance of that even though there was me in the neighborhood. We were making our shop. Great and fun. And, you know, just you had your initial question, right? Well, how do you learn it you learn just by experiences, but I want my kids here in Port Jervis to have an amazing school experience. And I have a direct impact on that. If they feel that the school is dirty, if they feel that the bathroom smells like there's a there's an uncomfortableness, that kids don't want to be here. Well, I'm trying to make a school where kids want to get in not they can't wait till they get out. And I'm in charge of that. That's it. That's a big responsibility. What what did they say in Star Wars? What Yoda say, with great power comes great responsibility. Well, I don't use that word to power with a position. But I noticed great responsibility in my role to make this a great. And it's my job. Because if I don't care, why should anybody else care?
Yeah. How do you encourage your teachers? Do you find that your staff gets discouraged? Or do you find that they kind of you know, see your relentlessness and join you in that?
There's a lot of that. There's a lot of that, but I try to create ownership. Think about a rental car Beth right. rent the car, you're not washing it, you're not changing the oil. You hit the curb with the tire. You don't really care because you're renting when you own the car. You treat it a little differently. I'm trying to create owners here not people that rent in terms of their work. I just work here that drives me crazy when people say that I need you to be an owner in what we're doing. How do you create How do you create care you know that's that's a challenge right people do get discouraged right maybe they don't get a position they think they should get maybe they don't get to teach a class they think they they get disgruntled right Wow screw them screw them. Yeah. I think you know but me showing energy me showing up early. Meet me be invisible. Me, Carrie. I think there is some contagiousness there. I think there's an organic spirit there. That is intentional on my part. But I'm trying to create owners. And then I'm trying to great, you know, I love Todd Whitaker, Todd Whitaker says, Well, how do you make the other teachers like the best teachers? Right? How do you celebrate those great teachers that are doing it that doesn't make the other people feel bad, but makes them say, Well, how do I? How do I do more of them? Yeah, it's important that we celebrate the good things going on. I think it's important we model it. I see something great in the classroom. I want to I want to push it out there saying hey, check out this great resource teacher Beth is doing and things like that.
I hear you in almost all of the answers that You're giving me you're giving me some kind of story where I can see, you know, how you drew these conclusions and where they come from? Do you use that a lot as opposed?
Store stories? Facts, tell stories sell, right, and I'm selling important service, I'm selling a belief in what we're doing is right. And then when the numbers match, hey, look at this graduation rate, hey, look at this participation rate. There's there you know, there's the evidence, wow, okay. It is working. When I get emails like I got today, from a parent, you know, you know, you, you don't get a lot of Pat's on the backs in this job. But when you get them, it's like, wow, I know, what I'm doing is having an impact. And you have to have that self belief that not that you're doing everything perfect, right back to your unbroken versus relentless. You know, not every not every pair is saying that, but the ones that do another one with that bet I believe in the five s W's along with, yeah, sometimes it will sometimes it won't. So what stick with it, somebody is waiting, right, those five best W's. And that goes back to being relentless, because you got to get the next one. When I never had a perfect game as a referee, you never got every call, right? That's unbreakable. Right? The goal was to get the next one, right. And that is being relentless in to try to get the play Correct. being relentless, and trying to get your relationships right here. He's here in school, the situational things that the other day had a very tricky situation that a special needs student caused some vandalism in the bathroom with some items in the bathroom, if you're following along. Sure. That was how do you hold that kid accountable, who was angry, who doesn't know how to process that anger, and did something highly inappropriate in the bathroom? We tried to navigate that. But I wasn't going to have that in my bathroom, regardless of who you are. But that kid had to be handled a little differently than someone else. So having those that situational awareness to try to get these things, right, I think was important.
I want to talk more about surviving and thriving, and why that concept was central to the book that you wrote for principals. You know, creating this campus culture and creating this place that you can survive and thrive in. Where did that lesson come from for you? And why is it so important?
Yeah, you got good questions.
I know what I'm doing. I'm trying to
go very quickly. A lot. You know what, I want to be quick, but not in a hurry. I do have some spaces and places in my life where I can reflect back where I can kind of have some quiet time. I have a little getaway here an hour from where I work, that I go. It's an Airbnb, and I speak quiet. And I like kind of vision boards. And when I wrote when I wrote the book when I back in 2015 2016, when I was kind of thinking like, Hmm, I like to kind of throw a lot of things almost like on a canvas. And who do I represent? What what do I stand for? As I was kind of building this brand thinking about it? I wanted something that was evergreen. I wanted something that people can relate to. I wanted something that was real to me. Not something I was trying to be but something I am I can be proud of that my kids and my wife could be proud of my parents. And I just kinda I don't. I like to have what's called downloads. John Gordon talks about downloads, I get these downloads in my head. I always keep a notebook. I always have Siri going, I'm making reminders, post it notes at all. And it just came to me I don't remember the exact moment. But I can tell you where I'm at right now, Beth, I don't know the visual. I just got this tattoo a couple of weeks ago. My logo and then I have my children's and my wife's name on here. You know, I know where I'm at now that I'm all in on to surviving and thriving. But yeah, the points, the things on my circle, the Excellence in energy, enthusiasm, extra effort, all of those kinds of things I stood for. I had a graphic designer kind of put it together for me and I'm like, Yeah, that's it.
Oh man. Just kind of
came but I need that quiet time. I'm like the horse with the blinders. I need that focus that quiet focus I kind of just, I can work well in those quiet things. And it just kind of just kind of kind of came. Because this, this job will kill you this job, you got to be a tough son of a gun and in the same day in the same hour in the same period, you could be surviving for Drive. You know, it's it's that mentality of that. The five W's and the relentlessness, I think goes to that, you know?
Yeah, I love it. And, you know, I mean, I don't need to tell principals why that's important. Like, there's so much that comes at you from all of these different stakeholders, and people that all want different things and all want you to serve them trying to balance that can be crushing. I'd love to hear about how you manage that how you manage building relationships with your students and your teachers and your parents in your district. How what does that look like? Yeah,
it looks like visibility. Some leaders lead from the back. Some leaders lead from the front on the front, front person, you know, I want to be the voice on the answering machine. I want to be the the call going home. I'm very visible. I want to provide clear messages of of what's accepted and what's not accepted. Right. What is port pride? What does that mean? What does it look like? I run a workshop here in Port Jervis, called port Jervis. Port pride inaction. Right? What is it? What is it? What does it look like? I think you have to be authentic. I'm not going to say something to you bet that I'm not going to be to somebody else. Literally wear my heart on my sleeve. So people don't like that. But that's, that's authentic. I am who I think there's got to be a humbleness of I'm not the smartest guy in the room. I want to be the hardest working person here. There's some really hard workers here. But I want to get people rowing in the right direction. And I think they know that. I think there's an authenticity. There was five principles in three years before I got here. I got the question a lot, but where are you going next? You know, what, what were you know what's next? And I said, Well, I'm going right here. And they were like, well, no one comes and stays here. And you know where you go? Yeah. And I'm proud that I did stay here. And I earned the respect of of the people here because I was an outsider, I moved from New York City. I was not a port jerseyan. I am now you know. Yeah, it takes time. That takes consistency that takes showing up. But back to your question. I think you're authentic in your actions. When you're constantly doing good things for kids and people. It doesn't reach everybody, but it reaches those ones that can that starfish story, right? Why are you throwing that stuff is back in the water? Well, I'm saving that one. Well, you got all these starfish here on the beach. You can't save them all. I can say that. I'm making authentic, impactful, intentional actions. That I think people know where we are.
So just stay in the game as long as you have you know, you talked a little bit about going to your Airbnb and having that quiet time to kind of balance the chaos. What else do you do to make sure that you have energy to give to make sure that you show up every day with that energy type fill this role that you've created for yourself? And how can other principals do that?
Can't pour from an empty cup, right, but I read The Miracle Morning by how a rod so I practice savers. In the miracle morning I learned about sabers every day before school, but every day I got to do it every day. Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, exercise, reading and scribing. I'll say it again. Silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing. I do those six things every day and they fill my bucket. I have to tell myself I'm good enough, right. Here's an affirmation right. Put your hand up Beth and do with me, right. I know you got to do with your fingers here. Ready? Oh, I can't do this. I can't do this. That's an affirmation right before I go into that meeting. When I'm shaving in the morning. I look at myself I can do this. I'm gonna be a great principal today. I visualize myself being a great principal today. I see myself in the hallway high fiving kids and put a smile on my face and walking into a classroom and say Beth, you're a great teacher. Thank you for everything smiling at them, showing them I want to be here. I'm Glad you're here. I hope you have a great day, right? I got that exercise in, I do some short readings. And I do a lot of talk to text. So that's my bribing a lot. But I always do. Always do a gratitude, a couple lines in my gratitude every morning. When you leave with gratitude when it's on your mind. You're thankful for what you have. Currently right now. 342 on a Friday afternoon, Beth, and I meet my wife at 445 today, and we're gonna go for a walk, no cell phone, no kids, no nothing. We're gonna go for a walk and just have quiet. So I schedule all of these things. Very intense time and you've got to schedule it because if you're floating around like a, like a seed in the air in the summertime, and it just letting the wind take you where you're at. It's like scrolling on your phone with things when you get lost in whereas I'm about my time.
I want to I want you to tell me about hats. I know. This is kind of something that you've got cookin tell me, you know you you do these things to make sure that you have the energy to pour from the your cup. So then how do you
Yeah, yeah. The Hats is coming. It's coming summer. 2023 heartfelt acts for teachers, students and staff. Oh, you were asking about a holiday. I told you it's
no no, no, no, that's no that's.
That's my latest project is coming out. This summer. I wrote it with J billion Brian McCann to to school leaders here from the northeast. But that's what it is. Hats, heartfelt acts for teachers, students and staff. What are things that you can do, like you said, to help fill their bucket? One, one quick story. We have a special needs class. I love those kids. I just played uno with them here on Friday afternoon. It was great. But I watched the documentary about the first person with Down Syndrome who ran a Ironman nada, nada, you know a little you man. I was I was like, I can't do an Ironman with these guys. But But I want to do something with them. So we did our community five cat 3.2 miles it runs to our campus. We exercise with the kids, we worked up from a half a mile to three quarters of a mile to a mile to a mile and a half to two miles was the most we did training. We got them shirts, we got water, we got this. We had cheering people we have been. And we did it on that Sunday. We did. And those kids did a 5k. And it was awesome. And that was one example of a heartfelt act that I felt could have a deep impact, not only for those kids, but for the other kids that might look at them and say, Oh, it's that kid or oh, those kids achieved something that a lot of people didn't think they could. And to me, that is a huge win. And again, an intentional heartfelt act. So the book has 100 plus of those types of stories and things that you could do in schools to inspire a lot of people.
Oh, man, that's awesome. We're like, Where have you kind of gotten your ideas for that over the years? Do you find inspiration from other principals? Do you just get ideas? Do you see teachers doing this for other teachers? Like, what are some of the ways that you've found these different things?
I've read Teach Like a Pirate years ago by Dave Burgess. In that book, he talks about opening your our A S, your reticular activating system, that is the filter in your brain, right? I was assigned as teacher kind of thinking about, and my brain is a turbocharged Tesla. I got this thing. Like it's unbelievable how it goes. You know, and I've learned to control that. But when you open your RAS to look for something specific, it's the filter in your brain. I'm constantly looking for these types of little things that I could do that have a deep impact. I'm here in my office, Beth, you know, these are all little birthday cards that are going out to my staff. Oh my god, you would think like oh, birthday card I got people appreciate that. And it doesn't just say happy birthday to you write a note. Tell them how good they do. I have a teacher here to sign here. I have a teacher here who writes in calligraphy who every birthday he puts a big sign on their door. It pride takes him three minutes to do the sign in this nice calligraphy just painting the boom and he takes it and that teacher comes in the next day like Wow, that's incredible. So I looked for those things. So like I asked him Jim, Hey man, can we put that in the book, and that's in hats about the calligraphy? When you're looking for them, you find them when you're looking for stories. You find them they just, they just kind of come your way I was in Florida recently. And when you're in Florida on the coast, you watch the sunset or you watch the sunrise. Well, that got me looking on weather.com You know, when there's when there's a sunrise? Well, this time of year, it's a minute later each day. So it got me thinking, wow, I got one more minute. And imagine if you had one more minute in real time every day. And I wrote a blog about that about what we could do with one more minute. Right. One more hug one more email. One more impactful action. One more high five, one more visit to a classroom. One more, I love you think about that. And Annika, you know, you're not getting a minute in real time, you're getting a minute of more daylight. But what can you do to make an impact on other people? And that was just these these are blessed to get these downloads? My brain is a blessing and a curse. Yeah, yeah.
How do you do you have any systems in place for kind of, you know, as you're doing these things, making sure that there aren't people that kind of fall through the cracks? Or maybe the wallflower students that don't get seen? What do you do to kind of prevent that to make sure that everyone feels a part of the community? Yeah, I
think you have to ask, too, right? I can't reach everybody. I know that there are kids here that I just don't know their names. And I'll go up to them. It's June 21. I'll say, tell me your name. Again. I'm so sorry. You know, like, that's embarrassing. I feel terrible. I don't know the kid's name. But there are some kids that just haven't made a connection. But like an activity that we do with the staff. We do a survey with the kids, right. You know, whether it's on paper, whether it's Google form, you know, name somebody who you have a connection within the building. Right? We're doing this anonymously, but then, you know, yet, do you have somebody that you can connect with us in this building? And they if they Right, no, and we're going through that data, we are reaching out to that kid, we are telling the parent, your kid didn't have a connection here, we want them to join a club, we want to we're going to intent, an adult is going to bring that kid to the art club, they're going to bring him to the cooking club, they're going to bring him to the track team and say, Hey, man, we got to get you involved and try to try to force it. Is it going to stick? Not everyone does, right? Sometimes it will sometimes it won't. So what someone's waiting against stick with it. But that's an activity where you could catch people. That's an activity where when you ask right asking the right questions, do you feel pride in your school? 10 is a yes, zero or one is enough, right? If I'm getting a 4.2 Something's wrong. But if I'm getting eight, if I'm getting 8.2 and 8.7, okay, all right, good. We're in the right, we're in the right direction. But if I'm not asking the question, and I'm just running around saying, Go pour two cups. Gotta get we gotta get feedback. Feedback can look like a lot of different ways. So you got to ask the right questions, but your, your, your important thing, you know? Is everyone feel inspired here? Does everyone feel ownership here? No. Can I get every one of them? No. Here's another example. Beth years ago, I did this college banner project. I wanted all my staff to have their college banner up. I was relentless. I would put your name your major the years you went there. banners. I was calling colleges this and that. You know now it's December I am I'm still missing these six people. Hey, check. Yeah, I've asked you six times for your college band. Murata, I'm not paying I'm not getting I don't I think I think your ideas silly I'm not doing I don't want people to know where I went to college. Okay, well, you know what, Ben? I'm gonna purchase it myself. I looked at your on your transcript where you went, boom, boom, whoa, hey, college. So and so? Would you send me about it Sure, Mr. Murata bad and I put it up myself. There are some people that just aren't going to do it. And I don't put a lot of time or stress in there. I kind of make it make what I can happen on my own, but there's there are some that it just not gonna get. And I can't, I can't devote all that attention to that person. But I don't want to fall through the cracks.
So you've got this job, which you seem like you're working 90 hours a week at and then you're also doing all of this other work to support other principals, can you tell me about that? What you're doing what you're writing? How you kind of got into this principal coach role, and what you're doing? Yeah,
yeah. Thank you, Beth. And this has been a great interview. Again, back in 2014 2015. I felt that inspiration to write that book, the principles surviving and thriving. And then the book came out in 2016. And people said, Hey, do you do workshops? And I was like, Yeah. And they were like, Hey, can we get you know, how much is it? I'm like, I have no idea. And I didn't even have the workshop. And they were like, well, what are you gonna talk on, I'm gonna talk about the principles. And I built the workshop and I started doing workshops. And again, when I refereed I put all my heart and energy in there. And then I ran off the court, I showered and I ran out of the arena. And that was it. Whereas when I do a workshop, now, there are hugs, there are tears, there is emotional impact. And I loved it, I loved that I was helping other people. And over the next three years of transition, I'm gonna say, I don't want to read any more, I want to I want to do this. I'm a speaker, I'm an author. I've developed over a dozen kind of workshops and keynotes, and I love coming to present at schools and conferences, and there's an energy there, I love telling stories in my presentations, making people laugh. You know, like, Beth, what do you call, what do you call an educator who's afraid to pass gas in public? A private tutor.
But I love I love presenting. So I do that. And actually my district, I've been a principal here 19 years, starting July one, transitioning to a job with a little less time commitment, the Director of Academic Services and communication, which is going to allow me some more time to present my superintendent knows I have this passion for it. I love writing the books. And I'm blessed to be able to do both now. So I will transition to that position after 19 years as a principal, to be able to do a little bit more of both.
Oh, man, how does that feel to kind of start that transition away from being on campus?
It's cool. I mean, I'm signing the end of the year awards and things and when it says age, and we're out of principle, you know, I'm kind of saying, Wow, this could be the last ones here. It's a little emotional. But I'm a front windshield guy, Beth, I looked through the front windshield, I know that if I can help make a principal better, or it's a principle better, and believe in themselves more. That's a great impact. That's a great thing that I'm that I'm thrilled to be able to do. So I'm really excited.
Ah, we've kind of come up on our time here. But before we go, I want to ask, is there anything else that you would really love to tell our audience or anything else? Any kind of parting words that you would have that you would you wish principals could hear more? Yeah,
that they, they they have everything they need inside of them. We all need coaches, we all need mentors. We all need God's but they have the skills and the add that commitment to be relentless to do it. Schools need you the kids need your your communities need you. It's not a nine to five job, it is a all in Job, and they can do it. You can do it. That's the message I think people need to hear they need to be celebrated for their efforts. They need autonomy. And they and you know, but but that they have, some of the people don't believe that assistant principals thinking about Oh boy, I think maybe I could be principal like Nick can, right? You just got to jump in the pool. And you've got to be relentless to learn how to swim. You can do it.
Yeah. Ah, thank you so much, Andrew. As people listen to this, and they want to hear more from you or read something or maybe even like get you to come speak to their community. How can people do that very accessible
about Andrew murata.com with all my information, I'm on Twitter, at Andrew Murata. 21 And then my email is Andrew Murata. [email protected]
. But any of those ways you could get in touch with me on my website or DM me on Twitter. But I'd love to be in touch with you. I'd love to do a book study with you. I'd love to get books into the hands of your teachers or your administrators and I'd love to connect with them. There are college professors that are using the books in their courses. All of those kinds of things to be able to make those connections and traveling I love it. I love jumping on a plane and coming to Texas come had to work to make these things happen.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Andrew. This was so wonderful. I really appreciate you spending time. Yeah.
Thank you best to you, Bethany. Jeremy,
thanks so much. Bye. What did I tell you what a storyteller and his I can do this. I'm gonna I'm gonna use that I won't forget that. Andrew, thank you so much for coming on. It was a pleasure talking with you. As always all of those books that he mentioned and the different resources that he has available, all of that will be linked in the show notes in the description. And you can find all of that there. As always, this whole thing is produced by Erwin fullback, and he also did the music that you can hear right now. Our logo and design work is from Alana Conroy. And this whole shebang is a labor of most dearest love from the folks at responsible learning. They'll have a good rest of your day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai