Part 1

Part 2

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Fidel Montero, the principal of Alta High School (Twitter) in Sandy, Utah. Fidel is inspiring from the first moment that you speak with him. He is incredibly smart, very caring, and wants students to be the most successful people they can be. Here is his TEDxCSDTeachers talk: Care.

  • The Doctoral research that Fidel conducted for his degree in urban school management.
  • Parents pick up on who is being supportive, regardless of whether or not they spoke the native language of the parents.
  • The demographic shift that Utah is currently experiencing, and why he wanted to conduct his research in Utah.
  • Specific strategies for engaging and supporting Latino families in your school.
  • Microagression
  • The balance of talking about race when your race is either the same as your demographics or different.
  • How including multicultural families in your school and recognizing their heritage and history actually encourages them to feel more pride in your country.
  • His work with Greta Pruitt in Los Angeles Unified School District to teach parents to work together.
  • His thoughts on School Improvement versus CSIP plans.
  • How he counsels teachers and puts them in their areas of strength.
  • How he evaluates himself and the initiatives he implements.
  • How he delegates and guides the implementation of his vision.
  • Michael Barber - Deliverology
  • Some missteps the school took as they rolled out some new initiatives.
  • How he responds when people complain about being overworked.
  • How he gets feedback from teachers.
  • What you can do to be a transformative principal. The President's Club

Great quotes

  1. The role of the principal is to maximize the potential of the adults in the school.

  2. We didn't have an instructional coach, so I wanted to create a structure for an instructional coach.

  3. Some principals might be intimidated to bring someone on board who might be able to run circles around you as far with their experience. She's going to bring some strength to our team.

  4. You have to have a process of measuring implementation of different initiatives from their infancy to when they are carried out.

  5. I orchestrate, I don't micromanage.

  6. For some of those things, I didn't have the answer, because I am not an expert in everything.

  7. When you trust people...I really believe that you're going to land in the same place.

  8. We found that we were too structured.

  9. One of my areas of weakness is that I don't have a lot of sympathy for that sort of complaining.

  10. I grew up with a dad that worked 60 hours a week picking walnuts and cherries.

  11. We are very blessed to work where we do with the benefits we have.

  12. Your champions don't complain about being overworked, they just get things done.

  13. Every time we talk as a faculty, I stress this is how successful organizations get work done.

  14. I try to remind them of why we went into this profession.

  15. Over 85% of our teachers said this is something we want to continue doing.

  16. Yeah, we survey our teachers a lot.

  17. I'm not sure if I am a transformative principal.

  18. When you have balance in your life, you don't absorb peoples' problems.

  19. All of those things sharpen my saw, give me perspective, give me context to my role as a leader.

  20. I associated with Arlene Ackerman and other leaders as high as you can climb in education - they all emphasized balance.

  21. What type of school would I want for my kids? I repeatedly ask my faculty that question.