Every Child Needs a Renegade

I had an epiphany after the Olympics ended. In fact, I think I invented a new Olympic event. We need a cannonball contest. One big, joy-filled event that celebrates creativity and poolside innovation. After watching several countries try to shave seconds off their times it dawned on me. Every one of those runners, jumpers, and divers was attempting to execute a flawless routine. Divers tried to minimize their splash as they entered the glassy surface of the pool. And those that achieved the rare "splashless" entry were greatly rewarded. In many ways teachers...and all educators for that matter....have been unfairly tasked with doing the same. We're involved in the endless pursuit of cr

What if we had a Literacy Olympics?!

This Sunday our family stopped by our local public library to return some books that my kids had checked out. As I approached the "car-side" book return I noticed a swarm of people casually conversing in the parking lot of the library. I started to pile the books my kids had read into the narrow opening of the drop box two-by-two, and quickly realized just how many titles my kids had read the past week. After repeatedly feeding the book return for what seemed like several minutes, I started to chuckle to myself. I suppose this outward giggle was my feeble attempt at masking my "dad pride." (The ridiculous amount of books my kids read actually presents a challenge in that it can be diffic

New Teacher (Star Wars) Intro

Meet our new teachers in this short (3 minutes) Star Wars themed intro video! Learn a little about the passions and Jedi skills each of our new teachers will bring to their new roles this year. You'll also see rare video footage of a Jedi mind-trick caught on film! Click HERE to view the short video. We're looking forward to an epic year. EndFragment

4 Surprises from Writing "Renegade Leadership"

In a few short weeks my new book, Renegade Leadership, will be out. The book is about creating innovative schools for today's students. The process of writing a book still fascinates me. The manuscript for this book was no exception, and I wanted to share a few surprises that emerged along the way. 1. As I was writing Renegade Leadership many stories from my childhood, college, and early years in education surfaced. I can be somewhat guarded at times, so I'm surprised at how natural it felt to share some of those stories. Earlier versions of the manuscript featured stories from renegade artists, engineers, athletes, and business people. However, the final manuscript is so much more. I

Goodbyes are hard.

I suppose it’s obvious, but I never noticed this before. A lot of goodbyes happen in an airport. This past week I stumbled upon one such goodbye as I approached an airport security checkpoint. Although I was in a rush and mentally walking through an upcoming conference presentation, the goodbye immediately captivated me. A woman was talking with a young man who was perhaps 20 years old. I couldn't be sure, but it seemed as if the young man was not related to the woman. However, it was very clear that she cared deeply about him as she shared these words, "If you come back to Minnesota for school you always have a home." You always have a home. Such a powerful statement. So much so, that

Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 


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