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(Inspired by and dedicated to #LeadWild, David Theriault, David Culberhouse, Jon Corippo, Dr. Brad Gustafson, Tom Whitford, Ken Durham, The Ramones, Bad Religion, The Clash, X and many others.)
“PUNK IS: the personal expression of uniqueness that comes from the experiences of growing up in touch with our human ability to reason and ask questions.” - Greg Graffin, Bad Religion
“The thread of culture that runs through the entire history of punk is also a dedication to challenging the authoritarian.” - Greg Graffin, Bad Religion
You can’t peruse social media, even for a minute, without coming across another book, blog post or quote about LEADERSHIP. But, here I go anyway. Leadership, and leadership theory, are applicable to all industries, endeavors and human interactions. And no doubt that leadership, and our leaders, are going through major transformations as our entire global society questions traditional approaches and yearns for more meaningful and empowering ones. With that in mind, he…
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Students Can Lead School Improvement Through Culture and Community Building

Ever since I began teaching 28 years ago, I have always been interested in student voice and ownership. Maybe it was because my bachelor’s degree was in journalism and my initial career was media. Maybe it’s because I never felt like neither I, nor my peers, ever had as much say in our education and learning as I think we could have or should have. Maybe it’s because I think finding one’s voice and the leadership required to take action on that voice are the hallmarks of real learning and self-actualization. Regardless, I’ve seen the power, over and over, of students when they are engaged in pursuing work they have chosen or helped create (voice, choice) and are willing to take responsibility for (ownership). Throughout my collective experiences as a teacher, advisor and site leader, I have consistently witnessed students producing amazing, powerful, relevant and impactful work when given the opportunity and support. One of those experiences that truly transformed me, my students and …

Students' Big Voices, Hearts & Minds Ready To Tackle Big Problems As Projects

Ever since I started teaching in 1990, I have been a student voice advocate. Whether it was as a media/English teacher, student leadership advisor or a site leader. I have always believed that students not only have good ideas, but that they may just have new, unique or even better ones. In an effort to find their own voice and place in the world, they may see things that we don’t see or have long been paralyzed to do anything about. In 1999, I saw students address a school’s racial divide and cultural issues by creating a school-wide learning experience (see Harmony at Buchanan High School in this article from USC Rossier's online masters in teaching program).
Ever since then, I have believed that projects with real-world outcomes hold some of the greatest potential for helping students become driven, empathetic and engaged citizens. The outpouring of student voice in the wake of the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, is a great example.

When we begin the project design process i…

Savvy High School Students Teach Us Valuable Lessons About Future of Learning

As a former high school media teacher, a recent news story about high school journalism students in Utah and their pursuit to publish truly warmed my heart.
The backstory is about how two high school seniors, inquiring why a well-liked history teacher was dismissed from their school, were determined to find the truth regardless of how their school or administration would handle it being published in the school newspaper.
They did interviews, requested public records and soon pried open the proverbial can of worms. Initially, their story was published on the school’s student newspaper website. But after an unprecedented amount of traffic, they discovered that their story was pulled down. Ultimately, they had to publish their story outside of school on their own newly created website just for that reason. (see the full story here:    And that’s what I want to examine. We truly live in a digital DIY world where we don’t depend on others - i.e. scho…