“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This was the line from Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk that has led leaders across the country to rethink their purpose. 

This past weekend I was able to travel to San Diego to attend Staff Developer Training for AVID. My specific strand was AVID Elementary: Leadership for Implementation. 
One portion of the syllabus that we reviewed included Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. If you have not taken a moment to watch this inspiring Ted Talk, take a minute. I have included the video below. 
Through our Leadership for Implementation Strand, participants are challenged to develop their personal “why”. Through viewing the Ted Talk or reading Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”, it is explained when others know our “why”, we can inspire, grow loyalty and drive success. In developing your personal “why” there are three questions that drive your response: 
  • Why do you do what you do? 
  • How do you do what you do? 
  • What do you do? 
How many times have you introduced yourself and included your professional title? I have personally introduced myself to colleagues numerous times as an elementary principal of a KN-5th grade building. Is that inspiring? Does that grow loyalty or drive success? Why do you suppose we identify what we do with a title? What if we identified what we do, starting with our why, then shared how and ended with what we do? 
Recently, this has also been a topic of conversation on Twitter and Voxer with my friends who participate in #leadupchat. Leaders Nathan Lang, @nalang1 and Jeff Veal, @heffrey have been leading participants to find their why. I encourage you to check it out! 
I close with sharing my “why”. My hope is that it inspires you to develop and share your personal “why”. 
“My name is Matt Arend and I want build a foundation within students that supports their ability to set and achieve goals they have yet to establish & help students understand their journey will include set backs and obstacles they must overcome; but with grit and perseverance students can fulfill their dreams. 

I do this through empowering teachers and students to be problem solvers and risk takers who are confident in failing forward. 

I am an elementary school principal for students in Kindergarten-5th grade.” 

Be sure to share your why! 


Golden Circle. N.d. Graphic. http://www.varchannelmarketing.com/people-dont-buy-what-you-do-they-buy-why-you-do-itWeb. 26 Apr 2015.

How Do You Define Success?

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
– Maya Angelou 

It is hiring season for the administrators and staff at Sigler Elementary and while it may add hours to the day, it can serve as a source of unexpected inspiration when you have the privilege of finding the next great teacher.

One question I like to ask candidates is,
“At the end of your first year of teaching, how will you know if your first year was a success?” 
I am wanting to hear how the success of their students will determine whether or not their first year was a success. 
Of course, this brings the next question, “How do you define success?” 
This is the fork in the road where candidates take the STAAR results path or pinpoint specific moments such as the relationships cultivated, teaching students to read or helping students reach their goals as how they define success. 
Today, I encountered a different response. Today, I was asked a question in return. 
The question was, “As a principal, how do you define success for your teachers?” 
As @Byronvgarrett would put it, I had to take a moment and “pause for the cause” and reflect on that.  Once I collected my thoughts, I responded as follows: 
I define success as whether or not staff members are happy while at work. I desire everyone genuinely enjoy their role in educating our students. I want an environment where teachers are happy in their rooms with students, happy when discussing instruction with their colleagues and happy when students exceed our expectations. 
I define success as celebrating the small victories. Small victories like helping students accomplish a goal or helping students discover a passion they didn’t realize they had. 
I define success in the relationships with students. Such as the number of times we make students smile or the number of hugs students give when they need the reassurance there are teachers who care. 
I define success in the opportunities we provide students and the experiences we expose students to that are life changing. 
I believe if we measure success as mentioned above and take care of one another, others who are not a part of our Sigler family can spend time measuring our success based on standardized tests, such as STAAR and everything will fall right into place. 
How do you measure success?