Beth Hernandez 0:06
Hey, y'all, welcome back to love, sweat and tears ingredients for transformative campus leadership. Today I'm talking with John Hinds, the guy behind JL Hinds consulting about what his life was like as a school principal, and the work that he's doing now consulting and training and leaving and coaching school principals. This was such a special conversation to me, I loved listening to his heart, for students and for teachers and his systems based approach. I am a Systems girl, I love some systems theories, I love some systems. So I really loved hearing his approach to that and where that came from. And it's just a sweet and special conversation. With so many nuggets of wisdom. So many things that you can go home and do tomorrow to make your job easier and better. I mean, come on. I hope you guys enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Let's dive in. John Hinds, it's so great to have you here to get to talk with you and learn from your experience. And I'm just so excited and thankful to have
John Hinds 1:22
something to share with you how much you actually edit out and how much you actually key.
Beth Hernandez 1:29
Oh, we rarely edit these things very much. I'm sure we'll keep all of it in. Okay, so before we kind of dive into what you're doing right now, in your current work, I want to hear a little bit about who you are and where you come from. And especially like what your experience was like in school as a kid.
John Hinds 1:51
I'm a poor guy from West Texas, that that would sum up my history. And growing up in a small town. My mom was my grandmother owned a restaurant and my mom ran it and was a waitress. And so she would open up the restaurant at five in the morning. Go for the old field. She'd come home it to take a nap, and then go back at four. Yeah, until 10. And that's all I now. Even I mean, reflecting back hard. That's what I remember, my mom worked. And she ensured we knew how to work. Now, we just said we were poor. Today's standard would be like economically disadvantaged, or, but we were just born blue. But we didn't know any better while everybody was in the same boat. But I've I've learned now I wasn't living in poverty. And I wasn't living in trauma. But we were poor. And I think that's a difference of growing up back then versus some of the schools I've worked in here. Thank God, I was just poor. We didn't have trauma in our family because we were a family. We're loving family. And we weren't we went to school. Long version for I was a Maslow kid growing up all the way to high school really all the way through college of hey, we got to eat. We got to pay bills. So school wasn't my priority ever. Even in college. Just one Yeah. Yeah, so I was.
Beth Hernandez 3:41
So how did you What kept you going? What kept you coming back? What kept like you went through college? What was it that motivated you to just stay in? Haven't figured
John Hinds 3:52
that out yet? You know, really, when I went I don't even know why I went to college and not just worked in Oh, Phil was making more money in the oil field than I was in as a first year teacher. And I was a business major until I started dating a girl who was an education major. And in San Angelo, they had an on site kindergarten with an observation deck. So I would go and watch her be with kids. And I was like, wait, I I liked that better than this business stuff over here. And so that's how I got into education.
Beth Hernandez 4:36
Yeah, interesting. So coming from that and you know, not not being the person that you know, as a high school student and feel so passionate about education and they know that's what they want to do, having just kind of fallen into it in college. What were your first years like in the schools?
John Hinds 4:58
My first years in school Well, it was just getting by. I mean, I was still poor. No doubt about it. I remember back then our principals would come and physically hand a check. Okay, none of this direct deposit stuff. And he came in, gave me my check, and I had done the numbers, and I was gonna get, I was going to have $50.55 Zero to make it to the next check. And so when you're still working in Maslow's needs and trying to work, that's just not a good combination. Yeah. So I think I was empathetic, but I can't say I was the best teacher. There's no way. There's no way.
Beth Hernandez 5:54
Sure. Of course, course. Yeah, you're an experienced and what grades were you teaching? When I started?
John Hinds 6:00
I was fifth grade at one school. And then I was fourth grade at another school. So I was a teacher for seven years. And then I was assistant principal for five. And then I was a principal for 17.
Beth Hernandez 6:17
Okay, what what was it that started that transition from Classroom Teacher to Administrator principal,
John Hinds 6:23
who hired me on a signed from San Angelo. He said, Hey, I see something in you. I think you need to pursue administration like, Mr. Martin, please. Yeah, I can't, I can't afford what I have. He said, Okay, go to such and such bank, find us person, she'll take care of you. And so I went to the bank, she took care of me, she consolidated all of my loans, all of that stuff, so that I could then afford working on my masters. When I when I paid that loan off, you know, you get the actual paperwork back. He had cosign for me. Yeah.
Beth Hernandez 7:15
What on earth,
John Hinds 7:17
he had cosign for me to get that consolidation loan, so that I could go get my oh my gosh,
Beth Hernandez 7:22
yeah. Wow. That's crazy. So he just really believed in
John Hinds 7:32
that. Because I didn't have the desire, I was still trying to just make sure bills are paid that kind of stuff. And, and so he, he saw something to me and supported me through without me no one battle.
Beth Hernandez 7:49
Wow. So when you found yourself kind of going through your masters or getting into administrating? Did you feel like, Oh, this is my niche, or what was that?
John Hinds 8:02
I feel that was my niche. Because again, I wasn't a student. And so graduate school was not, it was, wasn't painful, but it was as an enjoyable as all of my other learning. And so it wasn't until I became an assistant principal that I really said, like, okay, these kids who are going through tough times, I can identify with that. And let's figure out what it is. And I was really good at that. And I was really good at working with the most even in the classroom. The most behaviorally challenged kids, I knew how to figure them out. And my wife was a school psychologist. So she had that. I had that support and that knowledge, so I can figure out how to just about any kid, any kid, but even from that, the LD to the highly autistic kid, I was really good at that. And so that's when I realized, okay, this, this may be something I can do.
Beth Hernandez 9:10
So what were your first few years like as a new administrator,
John Hinds 9:15
okay, other than being an assistant principal, because many people think the principal job is the system principal job just a little bit harder. It is not, it's not, I'm telling you 100% The assistant principal job, you are a resource to be used. And as a principal, you are managing resources. So when I was an assistant principal, I was trying to be the best assistant principal I could be because I was competing with all these other assistant principals. I wasn't paying attention to what the principals were doing and I was under Master principals, usually great people, but I wasn't paying attention. I was trying to rock at being an assistant principal. So when I did become a principal, it's like holy crap. Now what, because I really didn't have the skills to be the principal, I had the skills to be a great assistant principal. So my first three years, were just not fun at all, at all, because of me not having the skills, and I landed on a campus that was in mass dysfunction for several reasons. And so trying to get a staff to cooperate to have the same values to because I didn't hire the staff. So they had different values. They had a leader before me who they did not like, and they were gonna take it out on me. And so it was not fun at all. The kids were awesome.
Beth Hernandez 11:04
How long were you at that campus? Nine years. So what was that like going from this is not fun to nine years at the same campus?
John Hinds 11:18
Well, those were. Those were nine long years, but I did learn some valuable lessons. And I would not have learned those lessons if we're not at that school.
Beth Hernandez 11:34
So So what kind of lessons Yeah,
John Hinds 11:37
every decision that you make, or don't make, can be grieved. I didn't know that. So moving a teacher from fourth grade, the first grade, I have that right board policy says I have that right. But board policy also says they have the right to grieve that decision. I didn't understand. I could be grieved for coming into a classroom unannounced. Like letters that, but I have the right, and they have the right. But what am what they would do is they would file the grievance to Friday at four o'clock, before Thanksgiving break, or before Christmas break. And so it made every time off. Terrible because you're just threading this process you've never been through and, and so forth. But over the years, I came to love them, they came to love me. But we always there were still a lot I didn't learn. So I was still struggling as a principal. Because I didn't have the skills yet. But I did learn how to analyze data, which was an enormous boost. I learned how to communicate not only to my staff, but to the community. That was one thing I had not seen the previous principals I worked with, do it. So once I learned that, then I got the community to support the initiatives that we were doing. And therefore things got better in school.
Beth Hernandez 13:24
How did you do that? How did you communicate with your
John Hinds 13:27
lunch, every Friday, I would send out an email. And this is probably my last two, three years, I would send out an email to my community. Basically from a perspective of a dad, who is the principal of the school, and acknowledging that this is a working community and they can't come to the school and be involved like they would want to. So I'm gonna give them a little insight into what's going on what I saw in the cafeteria and some of the outstanding students that were rocking it and is like if I were a dad, out in the community, I would want to hear some of these stories. So I would talk about being in the cafeteria and a girl wanted me to pull her tooth because she couldn't eat her Apple was like, Baby I can Yeah, I can't reach into your mouth. I can't do that baby but I can walk you over to the to the clinic. We can make sure that gets taken care of and things like that of prep being proud of my kid my students helping my parents understand why we were going to do a fundraiser or what why I needed them in at school before the tardy bell so that you can get breakfast and get to class before they blah blah blah. And so I I learned that from the principal At the high school level, can I tell you story right click?
Beth Hernandez 15:04
Okay. Okay, please,
John Hinds 15:08
with my PTA posted. And we're just talking and couple of other moms join us. And they were talking about the email that high school principals sent out. And if I had received them like, No, I don't know what you're talking about, is it? Yeah. It was a big football game that Friday night. And he wrote this email. And it basically went like this. And wasn't that an awesome game? From a principal, I'm on the field. And I got to look up into the stands and see how excited all of you were got to see our pep squad and our band and cheerleader, and, of course, the football team. But I couldn't leave my office tonight, without writing you the email explaining how proud I am of the community, and the community support. And that email made such an impact to those parents that they felt like yeah, because see what he saw based on the way he wrote it. So I'll ask the ladies Hey, can you all send me that email, and then start sending all of his emails. So I started learning how to write because of the way he wrote, I didn't even know you could write like that. I thought it's supposed to be a bulletin, just a board. Now he wrote, it was it was it was crazy. It changed me. Like one of those deep changes as a professional. And from then on, I just became a better and better communicator, because of that example. Yeah, it was cool.
Beth Hernandez 17:02
I love that, especially as a parent, you know, I have a third grader and a kindergartener. And so I'm, I'm the PTA president at our school. And so I get to be up there a lot and see what's going on. And I get to be that person that communicates with the parents, but just what a treasure it is to have those experiences. And remember, like, most parents don't know what's going on at the school. And a lot of parents don't have those little stories that are just make it personal and real and special. And to know that your principal loves your kids and cares about the community is just such a treasure and produces so much buy in and so much ownership. And yeah, we're in this together. And there's just a sweet, yeah. Yeah,
John Hinds 17:52
if you look at where you shop, or your friends or whatever, trust is a really solid connector. And if your parents can trust you, they're going to forgive you when you screw up, because you're going to screw up. I mean, this way it is, but they're going to trust that you had good intentions, made a bad decision, or there are 10 better decision, but I trust you, you're going to fix it, it's gonna be okay.
Beth Hernandez 18:21
And especially now in an age where parents are having so much more and more choice about where they send their kids what campus they send their kids to, and then that leads to the resources available to that campus. It's almost like principals are having to, there's like competition or marketing involved in creating a campus culture and campus community that hasn't really existed in the same way before. I think that trust element is so important in convincing your parents why this is a good school doesn't your kiddos to agree. But you were in that position for 17 years, and now you're doing something adjacent but a little bit different. Can you tell me about what the process was like from transitioning off of the campus into what you're doing now with your wife?
John Hinds 19:17
Saying that we were naive would be an understatement. Because okay, sir, as a principal, you mentor people around you, okay? And I saw I saw the need one hand, these new people in this new world, it they're really struggling. And so I'm going to get out of being a principal and I'm going to turn around I'm going to have this huge business because there's a huge need
Beth Hernandez 19:49
right? No, sir.
John Hinds 19:50
It didn't happen that way. Because number one, I retired two months, two months before locked down. So that so trying to start a business is to go into schools during COVID. didn't work too well. But overall, what I'm finding is that superintendents are almost in denial about what their principals need, or they're just connected, disconnected dinner, whatever. And there's a pride factor on the principal side, to not ask for help and not to reach out. And so what happens is, you've got these new principals who were not APS very long. struggling to figure it out on their own, because of pride, because of time, because of their overwhelmed. And district personnel not really knowing what they need, because they're not making the needs of their voice and the needs. And so you got a lot of tough, we got a lot of people in a tough position, which breaks my heart because it's unnecessary, but I went through it too. I understand it completely. I didn't want anybody to know I was struggling. That's, that's a sign of weakness. Can't do that. Right. But if you had somebody who could come in and say, Okay, tell me more fires you got right now? Okay, let's help. Let me help you prioritize? What about writing this type of memo or putting this play in place or whatever? Okay, you got this, you got this. You run with it? I'll be back in two weeks. I think that would give some confidence to the leader of like, okay, I do have some support here. It's not public. He's not my evaluator. It's, my job's not on the line. He's coming in to help me that he'll be back. And I can call him at anytime. I think that would help. But maybe it's just me, I don't know. So naive. That goes. That's the the answer to your question. So here's a long answer.
Beth Hernandez 22:28
So how you started this kind of right before lockdown? When was it that you finally got to start practicing some of these tools that you have developed for principals and the systems that you've put in place? How long have you been able to kind of work in that space? Like,
John Hinds 22:47
when I was a principal, probably my last five or six years, I was assigned, or people just use me as a mentor. And so I got to learn that how to mentor back when I was still principal. And so now, it's going in building that trust number one, and figuring out the skill level. The background, what what, what are they confident about? What what are they not confident about? And then how can I help them? Move forward with out? How can I help them move forward without stressing them more?
Beth Hernandez 23:43
Sure, that's the big thing. Yeah, not adding more to dues when they're already feeling like they're drowning with so many different tasks to do. Which, which kind of brings up the systems based approach. I really love since systems theory myself. So when I saw that so much of what you teach is based around kind of a systems theory or systemic approach to administration. Can you tell me a little bit about where you got that? Why it works for you why you've seen it work for others,
John Hinds 24:18
I call it systems. Some people call it routines. Some people call it structures or protocols. Whatever word resonates with you rock on structures is what one of my mentors taught me. Now back when I was at my first school, I was getting beaten like mad from central office because of my scores, my benchmark scores. And I didn't know what to do about it because I was a great AP, or wasn't a great instructional leader. Moving into this Java was great AP, or at least I thought it was. So one person Sippel took me under her wing and taught me her system of, of analyzing data. And this was like a 20 year vet principles. So she had her system down, Pat, most successful principal in our district. And we had 72 schools, okay, just to give you an idea of the district, she rocked it. She knew she rocked it, she owned it, she, she, anyway, so she taught me how to systemize the analysis of data. And I'm like, okay, and then she taught me how to systemize meetings in system. And so thank God I had, I ran across this lady, and she was so generous with returning and patient, that, then I could take that concept, put it into my style, and then just start improving those systems, because you're not going to learn how to do data overnight. I mean, that's over years, but you improve, you learn a little bit more, and you do better, you learn a little bit more nothing. Maya Angelou said that what you do the best you can until you learn more than you do better. That's how it was with me. And I'm a very competitive achieving person, right? So that lines up with my, with my strengths with the strength finder of, okay, here's the system, I'm going to make it better because that's just what I do. And they're going to make it better. And so I took her teachings and just move forward with it. So if I had to put like, let's say four things in order of meetings, Systemising me who you meet with, and you do it regularly. Okay, that's the system right there. Your head custodian, if you meet with him once a week, that's going to improve things. If you meet with your leadership team, once a week, it's going to you're going to solve problems, your communication is going to get better, your culture is going to get better because you're going to learn more about your staff. I mean, this on and on and on. It's meetings. That's a system. But so many people don't understand that the system to put into place. Your master calendar. I've got a video on that of why I think that's the number one thing. You can watch it if you want to daily.
Beth Hernandez 27:48
Where is that real quick? Is that on your YouTube channel? Now, Hinds Consulting. Okay. Great. Yeah, and it'll be linked, it'll be linked in the episode too,
John Hinds 27:57
with systems is if you can systemize ADT, to 90% of your job, which you can. That gives you a lot of mental energy and physical energy to deal with the 10% of the things that are going to happen, the crises the emergency fire, and yeah, that's a whole complete mind set, that if I can walk on this campus at 630. And until five, most of us just system, just walk my walk, I do my routine is going to work. As opposed to walking in at 630 going, damn, what's going to hit me today. That's just because you're defeated before you even get in the front door. And I know what happens because that was me, my first five, six years, lived it or know it. And it doesn't have to be that way. And then if you can systemize it also when you're off campus, at meetings, or if you have to, heaven forbid, take a day off of work. The systems are still working at your school, and it's not falling apart because everybody is dependent on you to make a decision for you to be there to fix things. Things are still running because you've systemized everything. I think
Beth Hernandez 29:25
that sounds amazing. And I can hear so many administrators saying, Yeah, but how? Like, how do I go from this feeling of chaos and overwhelm and just taking it moment by moment and fire by fire? to developing these systems, start
John Hinds 29:45
with meetings. Just start with me. It's I mean, and if you meet with your leadership team, and these are, these don't have to be long meetings. But if you let's say your office staff in your office step, be with them for 20 Minutes, one time a week. You can just about everybody can do them. Well, everybody can do that. They can carve out 20 minutes, even if you just huddle on stand in the front office for 20 minutes, okay? What's going on calendar? Who's responsible for what what field trips we have? Okay, ready, breaks done. Okay, you've already solved half your problems, because now everybody's communicate. And then your leadership team meeting, and then your team leaders, and then your teams, and then your PTO, and so forth. I have a checklist. And so on my website, where it's just a chart, and when you meet with someone, you put a checkmark there, that that's a system, because what happens is you get to the end of the month, and you're like, crap, I mean, this has been a heck of a month, I didn't meet with people. Well, when you start doing that, you start going back to the old ways of being overwhelmed, because it just didn't have a meeting. That makes sense.
Beth Hernandez 31:09
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. How do you How have you addressed staff members that are kind of resistant to bringing in new systems or changing things or doing things a different way? How did you kind of work through that and build that trust for them to say, Okay, what you're doing is working? I'll try it, or is that something that you like? How can other campus administrators work through that?
John Hinds 31:42
I was on three different campuses. So I went through the three different times, in each campus staff, they were at different places. So my first staff, it was hell, complete. That's it. That's the word for my second staff was amazing. I need to tell you the things I learned from that campus, but they were amazing. And then by the time I got to the third campus, I had built a reputation, mainly positive. And so I had earned some trust. So it wasn't as hard. But the two, two main things that help. The quickest is to have conversations and listen, and actually listen. And then when you if you do that, then you can turn around and tell the staff, okay, we're making this change. Because I heard you say, this is what you want, you wanted to cut down on discipline, or you wanted to make things easier on everybody or you wanted you want this to be a happy place. Heard it, let's go. Now, which gives you the intent behind the change. Because a lot of people go a lot of principals go in, and they're going to change the campus to be like, their last campus. Sure, yep. That may not be what this campus needs, or it may not what they need right now. And I use a form I learned how to use a form called keep doing start doing stop doing. So everybody's okay, what are the things when you stop doing on this campus? They're not serving us? What is it? What are the things we need to start doing? That you've heard from friends, or you saw on Pinterest or Instagram or whatever, hey, let's, let's do some of that cool. And one of the things we're going to need to keep that are traditions, mainly a secondary, they always have tradition, or your veteran teachers will say, you know, I've been through five different principles. And these are the things no matter what your principles, these are the things that are best for our kids. So you have that information, then you can tell yourself, look, I've gone through it, I've heard. And so here are the things we're going to start doing and stop doing and keep doing at least, let's say for the next three months, then We'll reevaluate it then and see how it goes.
Beth Hernandez 34:23
What kind of systems for for that evaluation? Have you developed to know if the changes that you're making are working
John Hinds 34:32
data really, data, both objective and subjective. So let's say you do the stuff Start key, okay, you give that sheet out to everybody or you do it make it a Google Doc, one, three months, bring it right back. So okay, here, do it again. What have we made adjustments that have improved this campus? And hopefully you can say improve this campus? for our kids, because not all campuses are about kids. You want them to be but they're not been there. And then data use, let's say, decreasing behavior issues is the number one goal. Okay? So we've got data as of right now, in three months, we're going to do it again, we'll see what we've done, or decreasing attendance or increasing kids on the honor roll, whatever it may be, you can get some subjective data, and you can get some objective data, and then go from there. But it goes back to Okay. Communicating because you're the chief communicating officer. And if there's one way, there's more than one way to communicate with people, it doesn't always have to be word, there's a phrase somewhere, and it's a I'm gonna butcher this. It's communicate often. And if necessary, use words like that, when
Beth Hernandez 36:11
you talk in some of your courses and your videos about the importance of administrators finding their unique leadership style. Can you talk to me about how you found that for yourself? And how you practically coach other principles to identify or develop that for themselves?
John Hinds 36:36
Well, I was introduced to StrengthsFinder. Early on, okay. Really, if you go all the way back, the book series went, first break all the rules. Now, that was the first book by the Gallup Corporation. And then it was now discover your strengths was the second book. It's now StrengthsFinder, 2.0. But before that, it was now discover your strengths. And so if you do that survey, which I highly recommend, it pulls out your strings. And I remember doing this survey, printing it off and going to my wife saying, Look, Lisa, this is why I am who I am. It's not because I work. It's just true. It's in my DNA that I have to achieve every day. Even if it's a sick day or a holiday, kind of get crap done. That's just who I am. And so once I could articulate that to mourn my wife, and my staff, then they it helps them understand where my drive comes from. And why I don't celebrate too often. That's because I'm looking to point B. And then once we get to point B, I'm going to point C, and when you understand that about me, then you're going to forgive me for zooming past the celebration part or whatever it may be. And so with that, and standout, which is Bob Marcus Buckingham, once you get some of those indicators, and then descriptors of who you are and what people can expect from you both positive and negative, because there's pros and cons to everything, then you can articulate that to your staff and to your bosses and to everybody. Then you start say, okay, if I'm really good at this, this and this, how can I put that to work? In my profession? In my job? And then sure, okay, if I'm good at achieving, I need to have a Whoo, some somewhere around the building who or who's going to sue that over? Sure. Because that's not me. That's my number. 26. Right. And there's 26 Throw
Beth Hernandez 39:05
out. Right, right. Yeah. Uh huh.
John Hinds 39:10
So I would hire my APs. Mainly, we're always woo people, because I needed that to balance me. Does that answer your question?
Beth Hernandez 39:25
Absolutely. Yeah, our District uses StrengthsFinder a lot and but, you know, I hear you talking about identifying your strengths and communicating those but then also using the understanding of things that you're not as strong in to make sure that you surround yourself with people that can make up for your weaknesses and that takes a lot of work to be comfortable with that to be comfortable saying, This person is better at this than me, and that's why I hired them. I like that a lot. Then That's great. Um, so, you know, we've talked a lot about developing systems of using data of, you know, understanding yourself and your leadership style. How do you kind of put all of that together? You talked, you talked about, we talked about how we can go all in how we can take all of these different small bits and go like dive in headfirst? Can you talk to me about that concept?
John Hinds 40:36
I think you've got to get to a place beyond overwhelmed. You can be whelmed, but not overwhelmed. Because I think when, when your confidence in what you're doing, and you're proactive, you're going to make better decisions. Okay. But somebody is not just going to come and hand you confidence, and say, Here you go, you got to build it. And to get confidence, specifically, as a principal, you got to figure out where you are, in comparison with your peers. Now, Data Wise, you can see, you can pull all the data and you can say, Okay, how does my campus compared to other like campuses? Okay, that gives you a very objective measure. But when you know that you're in the ballpark, it's like, okay, I'm in the ballpark, because I've spoken to my peers, and I know what they're doing for the month, or for Teacher Appreciation, or whatever it may be. Okay, so now I'm going to move a little bit forward, I'm going to move faster, I'm going to make better decisions, because now I'm confident I'm in the ballpark. Now somebody would say, Okay, John, you are doing exactly what this district wants you to do. Keep doing it. We're going to say yes. Just imagine your self esteem. And you're like, Okay, let's get it. Because the boss has just told me, I'm doing it. But how often does that happen?
Beth Hernandez 42:18
Right, I'm like, that sounds great. That would be wonderful.
John Hinds 42:24
For appear up, someone says no, no, no. Ice, when I look at all these campuses, you're in the top five, you go boy, you go girl, let's get it rock on. I'm gonna monitor things. If you start going off track, I'll be your bumpers. And you go. That's what I want for the leaders these these these days, is to have somebody or Hey, hello, a group of people to say, No, you, you're doing exactly what we want. Go. But then you can, once you get out of the overwhelmed stage, you can stop and reflect. You can stop and have good conversations and listen, and then make some adjustments. But when you're going into work every day, overwhelmed, stressed out, knowing that you did not give your family what they needed this weekend, because you were physically there, but not mentally there. You're just there comes another bad week. And you don't know how to get out of that cycle. Because if you knew how to get out of a cycle, you'd get out of a cycle right?
Beth Hernandez 43:45
So how do you do that? What would be for our campus leaders that are sitting there thinking that's me? What how how do they begin? What's the first next dot together there?
John Hinds 44:00
Got it because this is how I looking back. This is how I can't see it figured it out. But I improved with after the kids went to bed on Sunday nights.
I would go to the school because they'd like okay my wife, you go you take care of the kids Sunday night and going to school. So you go there you can get more work done Sunday nights in two hours than you did the whole week. If nothing else, you get a silent place to work. And if you'll take 10 minutes to say okay, what went well this week? what didn't go well this week? What can we do I want okay, if I want that, what are two things I can do to get that? Okay, that right there would would give you traction, to start improving your situation. Because really, it's a situation, you're not going to the job is tough. And it's always gonna be tough, you're not gonna make it easy. But you can improve how you feel doing that job. That's what I think. So, finding the time to reflect and plan is, to me is your only way out. And if you don't, if you can't, or don't do that, you're gonna, you must not my coach says to me, You must not hate it enough. Because when you hate it, you'll change it.
Beth Hernandez 45:47
How many principals do you see doing that before they start their week?
John Hinds 45:52
10%. And it's mainly veteran principals who know. Or they have a system? Yeah, because you don't, you don't stay a veteran. Unless you figure some of this out. Is stupid is too painful.
Beth Hernandez 46:09
Is there anything else that for our for our principals that are listening to this thinking? I love where you've gone? I want to get there, how do I get there any other practical things that you would impart upon our folks that are listening?
John Hinds 46:24
You know, after after 17 years of being a principal, I think my number one thing I would recommend is finding time to reflect and plan. Find time. I mean, there's time to decompress. There's time to deal with trauma, there's all of that. But if you don't find time to reflect and plan, you're going to be doing the same thing next week. And if I could just tell my younger self again, okay. Stop, reflect and plan. It. That would be I mean, there's learning data and systems and all of that, but to stop and planner and
Beth Hernandez 47:14
I want to hear a little bit about what you are doing now. What you in? Is it Linda is your wife's name again? Lisa, okay, you and Lisa are doing together? And can you tell me a little bit about JL Hines consulting?
John Hinds 47:31
It's J for John L for Lisa. And on our logo, I'm blue and she's up. She's her L is red. Okay, just FYI. Okay, little No. Okay. She's the budget manager and John that stupid, don't do that person. Okay. So she,
Beth Hernandez 47:50
yeah, she only one of those, I need
John Hinds 47:52
like three. But so she keeps me on track. We do have a voice. And I have a great team of independent consultants who work with me on different projects, depending on the project. I am in a different consultants. So we'll go in, we'll listen to if the principal was called Just call me in, figure out what they need. And then either I'll do it, or I will pull in someone who is better at it than me. If the superintendent calls, it's like, Okay, do you need depending on if it's behavior or special ed or with their administrators or instruction, I have this group of independent consultants who I tap into and say, okay, they need a behavior specialist. They need you Let's go, or they need to work on their special ed program. Come on in, let's go. And so that's, that's what I do. I that's what I do with districts. Now, like with responsive learning, I create content. I love creating content, because it's going to be out there for everyone. And it'll be there for a long time, like my YouTube videos. So that if you're stressed out principle, you can go and just chill and watch a 10 minute video or do a 30 minute course with responsive learning, and learn a little bit more. So I really enjoyed that part of it. And I love working with principals because I know the principal is going to either positively or negatively affect the kids. I want them to positively affect the kids and the staff and the community. So that's what I'm committed to right now in my life. I was working with my coach the other day and talking about retirement. She said John, you didn't retire you just changed jobs. Yeah, Hi, I'm gonna try that arm for a little bit. Yeah, I just changed. So what I try to get principals to do specifically is own it, and be all in. And then your professional development affects everyone. So depending on where you are, if you need more professional development, then let's work there. But when you can own it, like on everything, on the relationship with the community, on the relationships with the business partners, on your scores, on your relationships with people who are going against you, but you're still going to level that's all in and if you're not there, let me help you get there. Because I think that's what our kids deserve these days. They deserve and you're getting quiet on me whatsoever.
Beth Hernandez 51:09
I'm just, I'm just listening. I want that. No, of course not. I want that for our principals. I want that for our campuses, we have so many young, inexperienced, struggling, floundering, isolated alone administrators that don't have that support that don't have someone to nudge them in the right direction, or give them practical tools or just listen to them. And I want that for more of our administrator, which is why I'm here doing this and talking to folks like you because we're trying to find more resources, practical resources that folks can tap into to get some of that, because we know it's powerful. And I just love the heart that you have paired with the practical, applicable tools and ways to get from point A to B to C and I'm thankful for the time is there as Do you have anything else that you would like to share before we sign off here? Two to two things? Okay.
John Hinds 52:18
Give it to me. Absolutely. The last canvas that didn't get to talk about them.
Beth Hernandez 52:22
Okay. Yes, please.
John Hinds 52:26
This is my second campus was I'll skip that one. But we'll go to my last campus because when I got to my last campus, I was a principal for 14 years already. Okay. Okay. So it was the lowest performing school in our district, and we have 43 schools. Okay, so when I got there, it was not in good shape, physically instructionally ever, I mean, but here are the lessons I learned. Because this is why I want to just tell you the lessons I learned. All kids deserve a champion. And in our on service to our underserviced areas, communities. They're being underserved by the community, they're being underserved by government are underserved by in some cases, the district, they're getting the short end of the stick every day. And I didn't know that. I came from the highest performing school to the lowest one. And just seeing how one school can be serviced differently than another score, because of the expectations completely pissed me off completely. And it was almost Okay. All right, game on, challenge accepted. And so all kids deserve a champion. Success is possible, even at the toughest schools. But I think it begins with the principle. Don't accept the victim mentality that, well, this is the school and that, you know, we can't get the best teachers or, you know, our kids. Our kids are the like, Stop that right now. Because I've seen it, the kids rise to the level of your expectations. They just do. The kids come from the toughest families or the most intact families. They reach your expectations in the staff does too. And I didn't learn how to be all in until my last school. I thought I was all in until I got to that school and I'm like, No, I gotta up my game. These kids need me to up my game and be better, because there's more issues to tackle and to handle and to manage, and the problems to solve. So I gotta up my game because they need me to up my game. Okay. And then the last thing for a struggling principle, Pat Lencioni, his book, The advantage, and his videos that go along, he's got a book a video for each chapter there, like three minutes. It will help you get really focused on what in how things need to get improved. Okay, other than my website and my videos and my responsive learning courses, yeah. That's what I recommend.
Beth Hernandez 55:52
Okay. Great. I'll be sure to let we link that in the show notes for this episode also, so folks can find that really easily and access that
John Hinds 56:03
quickly. That's, that's me. Well,
Beth Hernandez 56:07
thank you so much. This is so wonderful and insightful. You like moved me to tears on a couple of occasions, which hasn't happened in this podcast yet. So that's really interesting. But I'm thankful so much for your time for the energy that you have put into what you do as a parent of kids in public schools in Texas. I just want to thank you. My kids are out one of those like underperforming underachieving schools that so many in the city don't expect much from and, and their principal just, she disagrees and she fights for them. And she works so hard for them. And so as a parent of a kid at that school, I just thank you for seeing that population and seeing that community and loving them so well. And for all you do for administrators and for students and for teachers, thank you so much. What did I tell you? I mean, I got like teary there at the end. Oh, man, it's just always a joy to meet someone that has been in the trenches and is working hard to make it better for the people that are in the schools and the classrooms and the offices on the phone with the parents that are angry. We love all of the work that you guys do as principals as leaders as teachers in the school and we're just doing everything we can to make your job a little more fun a little easier. As always, everything you do here is made possible by responsible learning the production and editing for this podcast is done by Erwin Solbach, Alonna Connoy did all of our logo and design work for us and as always, all of the resources that we mentioned here, all the books that John mentioned, links to his website and his services. You can find all of those in the show notes. Thank you guys so much. I hope you have a great rest of your day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai