Optimism important part of education

Jan NeufeldPawhuska Public Schools superintendent

From time to time, I will be writing about various themes in education and ways we can impact students as teachers and leaders. These thoughts are meant to share information, musings, perceptions and conversation about current topics in education.

As I begin my tenure as your new superintendent, I think it’s a good time to affirm what a wonderful community I have been invited to join. It will take some time to learn about your community, traditions, partners and what makes Pawhuska unique.

I have shared with the Board of Education that I will begin what I call “The 90-Day Plan.” During the next 90 days (it’s 60 by now), I will be charged with learning as much as possible about the district. The first 90 days are imperative to setting the stage for success, relationships and ensuring and outlining the work and goals of the district for the days ahead.

Now, to switch gears a bit. I have a website that I frequently visit and I want to share with you. The website is the work of Dr. Nate Regier and his company, Next Element, and may be found at:

Dr. Regier shares The Discipline of Optimism: “Optimism is not just seeing the glass as half full. It’s about doing what it takes to fill it up.”

As I begin my journey in the Pawhuska Public Schools, I will be searching for the optimism to fill our schools with positive, friendly and transparent leadership. My first year will be spent getting to know as many of you as possible and developing strong relationships and friendships.

On his website, Dr. Regier (2016) shared tips for developing optimism. This includes: Focus on what’s working. Take time to each day, with each project, to list and celebrate what is working and what went well. The more you do it, the better you will become.

Overnight success is “a thousand problems solved.” The key to success is solving one problem after another, not focusing on the doom and gloom, but instead on each new problem to solve. Enjoy small successes along the way.

What could go wrong versus What didn’t go wrong. How do you want to remember your life? What went wrong, or what could have gone wrong that didn’t. It’s better to feel lucky rather than worried. (paragraph 3)

What are ways we can spread optimism and solution-seeking as we go about our day? This is a question I will ask students, teachers and principals.

Now, I want to know “and what do you think about that?”