Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Sunday, March 25, 2012


This week’s weekly Torah Portion had as one of its themes the idea of humility. Rabbi Shai Finkelstein, Senior Rabbi of Baron Hirsch Congregation, mentioned that we see from certain Rabbinic sources that even Moses who was known to be the most humble person “got into trouble” for being too humble.

I think the message is clear that leaders need to be humble but at the same time they need to balance that with the need to take action and lead.

This message really spoke to me this week.

This past week I accepted the position as Principal of Ohr Chadash Academy in Baltimore for the 2012-2013 school year.

While I was truly humbled by the words written in the article as well as by a letter written by Rabbi Perl, my current Head of School, to the parent body here in Memphis, I need to remember this balance.

As I get ready to embark on this new leadership role I need to understand the need for humility in order to build and gain trust at first. At the same time there are areas where I will need to step up and take action to lead by example.

I am comforted in the fact that Moses the greatest leader and the most humble person struggled with this balance as well.

I am excited and looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities that this new position has and I pray for the wisdom needed to help me grow as a leader and to help Ohr Chadash grow into a school of excellence. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012


This past week I read the amazing manifesto by Seth Godin “StopStealing Dreams”
Here are some highlights:

“The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake: We spend a fortune teaching trigonometry to kids who don’t understand it, won’t use it, and will spend no more of their lives studying math. We invest thousands of hours exposing millions of students to fiction and literature, but end up training most of them to never again read for fun (one study found that 58 percent of all Americans never read for pleasure after they graduate from school). As soon as we associate reading a book with taking a test, we’ve missed the point.”
“There’s no room for someone who wants to go faster, or someone who wants to do something else, or someone who cares about a particular issue. Move on. Write it in your notes; there will be a test later. A multiple-choice test.
Do we need more fear?
Less passion?”

“What is school for?
If you’re not asking that, you’re wasting time and money.
Here’s a hint: learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do”

43. How not to teach someone to be a baseball fan
Teach the history of baseball, beginning with Abner Doubleday and the impact of cricket and imperialism. Have a test. Starting with the Negro leagues and the early barnstorming teams, assign students to memorize facts and figures about each player. Have a test.Rank the class on who did well on the first two tests, and allow these students to memorize even more statistics about baseball players. Make sure to give equal time to players in Japan and the Dominican Republic. Send the students who didn’t do as well to spend time with a lesser teacher, but assign them similar work, just over a longer time frame. Have a test .Sometime in the future, do a field trip and go to a baseball game. Make sure no one has a good time. If there’s time, let kids throw a baseball around during recess.Obviously, there are plenty of kids (and adults) who know far more about baseball than anyone could imagine knowing. And none of them learned it this way.
The industrialized, scalable, testable solution is almost never the best way to
generate exceptional learning.”

“Teach a kid to write without fear and you have given her a powerful tool for the rest of her life. Teach a kid to write boring book reports and standard drivel and you’ve taken something precious away from a student who deserves better”

“132.What we teach
When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of
good decisions.
When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become
When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become
When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we
insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each
of us.
And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers. “
This really is a must read for every educator.
While there is a lot here to digest and I don’t meant to simplify the major issues that we face today  but to me we could change a lot if we just put   “LIFE”  back in school
LIFE to me stands
L- Learning
F- Fun
E- Everyone
Perhaps if we made learning fun and engaging we could “Stop Stealing Dreams” and create Dreams