Your school can accomplish anything! If you pay the price.

You can accomplish anything at your school — and I mean anything — if you pay the price.

You can dismantle inequitable systems.

You can stop bullying and create a space where every child feels welcome.

You can create an environment where teachers LOVE to work every day.

You can create an environment where YOU LOVE to work every day.

You can say NO to the wrong things in order to say YES to the right things.

You can make your school as MAGICAL as Disney.

You can create a school with NO school fees.

Your curriculum could be truly inspiring, engaging, and solves real-world problems. Your students wouldn’t want to stop learning!

You could fill your teacher pipeline and eliminate any retention challenges — My friend Lisa has a 97% retention rate in a difficult system!

You can graduate 100% of your kids. One hundred percent!

Your students can add real value to their communities now by solving real challenges.

You could earn the reputation of being a model school.

You could work hard and still have time for your family and yourself.

(Read that again).

You could have an AMAZING relationship with the central office and the board of education.

You could see your kids as so much more than a test score.

You can build strong two-way relationships with your parents and love it when they visit the school.

You could instill a growth mindset throughout your faculty and student body.

You could eliminate childhood obesity by inspiring fitness and by providing real food in the cafeteria. If it’s processed, it’s not food, and for students that live in a food desert, we are failing them.

You could run a school in the black and have more than enough money.

You can provide incredible professional development that is Relevant, Responsive, and Results-Oriented.

You could eliminate gossip and outlaw complaining on campus.

You can help your staff achieve their dreams.

You could eliminate zeroes and modernize the grading system.

You could redesign the school day (you did back in 2020 & 2021)!

You could rely on design thinking and create human-centered schools.

You could embrace science.

You could ban history texts that white wash history.

You could hire a diverse teaching staff reflective of your students.

You can tell your students they can be the president, an astronaut, a CEO, a teacher and call your students into their gifts by seeing their potential.

You could treat your staff with dignity.

You could deal with toxic staff members and build a world class team.

You could create the school of your dreams …

But you have to pay the price!

The easy path is to play small.

The easy path is to protect tradition — even when it’s broken!

The easy path is to ignore what needs to be addressed.

The easy path is to avoid everything you KNOW you need to do.

But there is a better option …

There is a different way …

This path is available to all.

The first step is to make a choice to take the road less traveled.

The second step is to arm yourself with courage and discipline.

You will need both if you are willing to pay the price!

The hard path is not for the faint of heart!

You have to make a choice!

You have to choose to be a school that is great at ONE thing. And once you master that ONE thing, be GREAT at the next thing …

You have to value being an inch wide and a mile deep versus what everyone else does …

When you are a mile wide and an inch deep, you are great at nothing!

Schools that try to be everything to everyone end up being only average at everything!

Do you run an average “C” school???

You have to eliminate pointless meetings. Shrink the ones in your control to half the time you think it will take. It’s amazing how much you’ll get done!

You have to communicate a meaningful vision and create “sticky” core values that tell a story and guide your work every day.

You have to hire the right people and help the wrong ones find a new career. The hardest educators to move out are great in the classroom but make terrible teammates.

You have to address bias and racism.

You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

You have to learn to say “No!”

You have to remember how powerful you are!

You have to pay the price!

If you’re willing to pay the price, you can accomplish anything at your school.

And you probably have to change. You have to invest in your personal development.

Start with your mindset because that influences your actions.

Set boundaries around your work schedule. Work while at work. Be present when at home. Use an ideal week to create value for your school. Close your open door policy so you can focus on what only you can do.

Be honest with yourself. Where are you wasting time?

Do you recognize that email is just other people’s priorities for YOUR day and that most emergencies that come across your inbox solve themselves?

Social media is a distraction.

Commit to completing three big tasks aligned to your major goals a day. That’s it. Three tasks.

Exhibit a growth mindset. Not only will it increase your ability to learn, it will reduce your bias.

Invest in your emotional intelligence. With strong internal and external awareness, you will be much more effective.

Hire a diverse staff. Pay the price!

When you are observing a class, are you present? Or are you checking email or social media or shopping online?

When was the last time you read a book and then took action on the ideas you learned?

How often do you discuss leadership practices with your peers? A 2020 study of principals showed that just 32% of those surveyed collaborated with their peers 2+ times in the last 3+ years.

68% — the majority of leaders — don’t pay the price!

Do you ever wonder while doing a task, “Why am I doing this?”

Eliminate those tasks! If you can’t eliminate, automate. If you can’t automate, delegate.

When there is a hard conversation to be had, do you pay the price?

Are you willing to elevate your family’s needs above your school? You have to pay the price!

Are you committed or still pretending?

Do you really want this or are you still unsure?

When was the last time you invested in your leadership development? Have you ever?

You have to pay the price!

Your school can accomplish anything!

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Your students need your best! Your community deserves your best! We are counting on and cheering for your success.

But the price must be paid.

There is no way around this. And you can’t fake it.

It’s yours for the taking. Now it’s your choice.

Are you willing to pay the price?

You can create more margin in your life, if you’re willing to pay the price …

I’ve created the Maximize Your Margin 6-day challenge that will teach you how to create more margin in your life.

Lucky for you, the price is free. It will just cost you time to learn and implement the frameworks …

Live and work on your terms! Avoid 60+ hour work weeks with increased stress and negative health outcomes. Trade that in for your best school year ever.

Join the Maximize Your Margin Challenge here!



The Teachers on Fire Magazine features articles written by agents of growth and transformative change in K-12 education today. If you write about education, reach out to @TeachersOnFire to become a writer for this publication. Writers keep full ownership of content.

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Daniel Bauer

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀