Award Winning Culture has NOTHING to do with winning actual awards. It’s about creating a mindset of INTENTIONALITY. A daily mantra to make our circle of influence stronger through Character, Excellence, and Community. Throughout the next year, I’ll be highlighting educators, companies, and even students who are dialed in to a winning approach to LEARNING. Here are the 50 educators that have simply INSPIRED me in 2018 because of their intentionality with education. They’ve tweeted, blogged, and written incredible work. They’ve delivered inspiring speeches and created epic podcasts. They’ve produced impactful graphics, ideas, and slogans. But...most importantly, they helped RAISE education to incredible new heights! To kick off this year-long focus on OUTSTANDING...here are MY Award Winning Culture educational disruptors (in no particular order)...
John Norlin: John is simply the MOST dynamic trainer of professional learning I’ve ever been around. His lifelong work with Character Strong has greatly influenced the way I think, behave, and feel about school culture, Whole Child education, and leadership. I feel fortunate to call him a friend. See you next week buddy! (John's Website)
Houston Kraft: Houston is the most INSPIRING speaker I’ve ever seen! His mission to Make Kindness Normal and Choose Love has become the catalyst ofCharacter Strong work around the world. He’s simply studied, thought, wrote, and spoke about kindness in a way that’s uniquely special. Hands down best motivational speaker for secondary students! Lucky to call him a friend. See you in January Houston! (Houston's Website)
David Geurin: Sparked by a chance encounter at the National Principals Conference last summer in Chicago, David’s book “Future Driven” (#FutureDriven) and his regular blog posts have probably had more impact on me than any other piece of writing this year. Beyond an expert author and award winning principal, David is just a FANTASTIC person! I feel like David and I are destined to work on a project of some sort. Hope to see you in Boston this summer David!
Barbara Bray: The #1 best blog post I read this year, belonged to Barbara! She’s uber passionate about student engagement, student choice, PBL, student empowerment and helping students discover their WHY. I’m thrilled to have made an appearance on her groundbreaking podcast ReThink_Learning and I’m confident we’ll collaborate on something exciting again soon! Thanks for all your support Barbara!
Amy Fast: Amy has the uncanny ability to deliver the most salient, on-point, bite-sized educational beliefs in education. I suppose, it’s no surprise that every tweet she sends goes viral, given the messages are directly taken from her inspirational own book: "It’s the Mission Not the Mandates." A must read for every educator. I’m hopeful that our paths will cross soon, since she’s relatively close proximity from my district (McMinnville, Or to West Richland Wa)...not that far! Amy is that rare rockstar who seems to be unfazed by her own popularity. #Humility Thanks for making education stronger!
Beth Hill: It's impossible not to be aware of Bethany Hill in Twitterverse. Her#JoyfulLeaders is just the start to her POSITIVE contributions in education. Although I only briefly met her this summer, I know we’ll connect again soon! She’s a must follow for sure! Looking forward to reading her upcoming book. If you need someone to review it Beth, I’d love to get a sneak peak! Thanks for sharing your JOY everyday!
Marissa Thompson: Marissa Thompson may be one of the best teachers in the country and wrote one of my favorite articles this year for DisruptED TV Magazine. She’s quickly become a key PLN member to me in student centered learning, flexible seating, and student engagement. Look forward to continuing to learn from Marissa in 2019 and beyond! Check out her article on DisruptED TV Magazine: "Education Without Limits."
Sean Gaillard: Sean wrote my FAVORITE book this year, “The Pepper Effect” and has quickly become one of my favorite educators. His Principal Liner Notes podcast is unlike anything else in K-12 education...and everything Sean does seems to ooze masterpiece. Sean’s book and life work are uplifting and MAGICAL! Sean-you’re the best pal! Here's his website
Chuck Poole: Chuck is my daily inspiration! He works tirelessly to provide insights, love, and support to his fellow educators. He’s written a spectacular book: “Unforgettable”, and is a regular podcaster and blogger. HisTechonomy resources are meaningful beyond words. Thanks for all your hard work to make me and other educators better everyday!
Meghan Lawson: Megan and I quickly bonded over our passion for kindness last year but have moved on to connect over student empowerment. She’s been a huge supporter of our student-led leadership podcast and was kind enough to give some of my students an opportunity to recently showcase their work to curriculum directors in the Cincinnati area. My wife and I were thrilled to observe our leadership podcasters presenting to adult educators over Skype. REAL WORLD LEARNING AT ITS BEST! Such an incredible learning opportunity for everyone involved. I just think the world of Megan and I’m grateful to be connected to her! Check out her incredible article in DisruptED TV Magazine: "What If Conversations Could Change out Schools."
Follow Meghan @Meghan_Lawson
Mariah Rackley: Mariah might be my biggest inspiration on telling my own school’s story. The volume of tweets, pictures, and videos that Mariah shares over social media about #CCMS or #FalconPride leave me in AWE! She’s so passionate and positive that I feel lucky to call her a colleague. I have no doubt that Mariah and I will collaborate on something special real soon! Here's a look at Mariah's Wakelet page. It's no wonder she won the 2018 NASSP Digital Principal of the Year!
Melissa Chouinard-Jahant: Melissa is one of my favorite people I’ve never met! She’s a source of ideas, support, and encouragement. Despite not having written a book yet (that I know of)...she’s probably the BEST WRITER on this list of 50 disruptors. She writes blogs, stories, poetry, and even screen plays! Her writing lives me speechless! In addition she moderates multiple twitter chats. Thanks Melissa! Here's her blog pages: Practical Rebellion and iteacher imother.
Jimmy Casas: Jimmy has been one of the biggest catalyst to my work on creating an Award Winning Culture. I’ve seen him speak multiple times this year and have read 3 of his game-changing books. One of my highlights of the year was being asked to previewSTOP. RIGHT. NOW. and provide a review. To think that someone I admire and respect so much...would reach out to me: MIND BLOWING! Jimmy’s presentations, books, and consulting work are second to none. Thrilled to be connected to such an educational giant! Jimmy's Website.
Rachelle Dene Poth: Rachelle is such a prolific writer! Her posts, articles, and boundary pushing indicate to me that she’s very often, the smartest person in the room. I’m overwhelmed by her work in edtech, student-centered classrooms, and PBL. Her writing will be a focal point for me this coming year. I look forward to continuing to learn from such a rock-star! Rachelle is a MUST WATCH in education for the coming year!
Kayla Delzer: Kayla and her TopDogTeaching company have flipped everything I thought about student seating. In fact, our school’s jump into flexible seating can be 100% directly tied to the influence and inspiration of Kayla! She’s a speaker, author, award winning teacher who totally gets classroom culture. Our student-led podcasters have been researching her and are excited to have her on the show! Thanks for always thinking outside the box Kayla!
Roman Nowak: Roman’s work with creating cultures of kindness through regular writing, chats (#BeKindEDU), and messaging continues to create a ripple of kindness around the world. We’re thrilled to have him as an upcoming guest on our Award Winning Culture show! Look forward to continuing to learn from this kindness expert! Roman's blog page.
Wendy Hankins: Another one of my favorite people, I’ve never met! Wendy wrote the most touching blog post, I read all last year. #BLOGBRAG She’s a regular source of positivity and all things great about humanity! She’s a dedicated teacher who removes all obstacles to support student success. Thanks for being AMAZING Wendy! #HearditfromHankins
Jeff Zoul: Jeff is another educational disrupter who’s work challenges me to think, behave, and explore school culture in exciting new ways. I deeply respect Jeff's drive for excellence. His latest STOP. RIGHT. NOW. falls into the same upper echelon of educational literature than will simply empower you to be a better version of yourself. He’s the real deal and I look forward to connecting with him in real life very soon! Thanks for striving for an Award Winning Culture everyday Jeff! Jeff's blog page.
Evan Robb: So, apparently I was living under a rock...as I only recently became aware of Evan’s work. The guy is absolutely crushing it! Impactful writing,podcasting, and speaking all while being a TRUE practitioner! He might be my favorite new twitter follow and I eagerly await learning from this super star in 2019. [Note to self: READ EVERYTHING Evan writes this year]. Blog Page
Jennifer Hogan: Jennifer is one of the most GENUINE people I met this year! She has a heart for supporting students and educators and she THINKS like an uplifting COACH! Loved meeting her in Chicago this summer and staying connected on social media. She’s one of a kind and I’m excited to be a regular subscriber on her new podcast: “Rising Tide Radio.” The fact that she’s a talented blogger (Co-leader of the Compelled Tribe ) and speaker is just icing on the cake! Thanks for all your support "Niff"!
Danny Steele: I’ve probably liked, retweeted, or replied to more SteelThoughts than any other twitter handle. I’m eagerly anticipating the release of his first book. It’s gonna be a gold mine of wisdom! He’s a servant leader who LOVES kids and teachers. He really understands school culture and his regular reminders leave me filled with BELIEF in our profession! Thanks Danny! (Blog Page)
Dave Burgess: I’m eagerly anticipating Dave’s upcoming appearance on our Award Winning Culture podcast. Our kids can’t wait to interview a real-life pirate! His "Teach Like a Pirate" bestselling book is simply legendary in educational circles. Perhaps, no one person has done more to elevate educational literature in the past 5 years than Dave. Indeed, every book I’ve read, from Dave Burgess Consulting has been a HOMERUN! With my own aspirations of completing my first book this year, DBC has been a huge source of inspiration.
Beth Houf: Listening to Beth Speak in Chicago and reading her outstanding book "Lead Like a Pirate" (#LeadLAP) motivated me to turn up my social media story-telling game this year. She’s such an authentic leader who you just can’t help but be drawn to. She’s taught me the power of community through educational storytelling and I’m already planning to take a few new risks this year. Thanks for sharing your story with us Beth! (Website)
Tamara Letter: Tamara is a champion of KINDNESS! I’m excited for her upcoming book: "Passion for Kindness" and feel so happy to have her in my PLN. She’s class personified and inspires Character Strong behavior in others through her words and actions.
Allyson Apsey: Allyson is a sweetheart who I’ve been thrilled to count in my PLN. She wrote an incredibly moving book called "Path 2 Serendipity", which I loved! Our school even got to help edit and preview one of her latest book projects. Her new podcast: “Rising Tide Radio” is sure to be a hit and I know 2019 will bring much Apsey AWESOMENESS!
Dr. Jessica Stephens: After creating my favorite hashtag (#LoveWorks) Jessica has become one of my favorite PLN members. She leads with her heart and believes that all students are capable of fulfilling their dreams. Keep spreading the LOVE! Thanks for being so WONDERFUL Jes! Here's her blog page.
Jon Harper: Is it weird to want to be on a podcast entitled “My Bad?” Cuz….I really love Jon’s podcast! I’m a regular listener, subscriber, and find real learning in dissecting mistakes. Jon’s willingness to model a fail forward, mistake-making mentality has helped fuel my growth mindset this year. By creating a culture of risk taking, Jon achieves a perfect balance of Character, Excellence, and Community through self discovery. Keep up the great work Jon and let me know when your ready to hear some of MY bad. (Website)
Josh Stamper: Another must-listen podcast is Josh’s “Aspire.” He does a masterful job of stepping out of the spotlight and letting the guests shine! This is another podcast I hope to be apart of, in the future. Love the leadership takeaways Josh! Great work! Here's Josh's blog page.
Barbara Gruener: Barbara is one of the most SELFLESS people in education. She’s a kind soul with a burning fire to create student success! Her writing, podcasting, and speaking have made her a household name in the counseling profession. Excited to have my AWC podcasters on her show and I know Barbara and I will connect in real life soon, thanks to all her work with Character Strong. Barbara's Blog Page.
Heidy LaFleur: Heidy’s common-sense approach to leadership is so down to earth and approachable that I just think she’s fantastic! Her book “Hop on the Clue Bus,” is a wonderful read for would-be leaders and she’s a consistent source of energy, reality, and SPARKLE! Heidy's Website
Jay Billy: Jay wrote an excellent book on school culture called “Lead With Culture.” He’s an exceptional leader who walks his own talk. His approach to relationships is like a master class in focusing on what’s most important to creating an Award Winning Culture. Keep insipring Jay!
Pete Hall/Kristin Souers: After reading “Fostering Resilient Learners” and hearing Kristin speak this fall, I’m very excited to dive into their new book “Relationships, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma Invested Practices for Fostering Resilient Learners!” Pete and Kristin’s work on creating trauma informed classrooms is best practice and a perfect formula in how to create an Award Winning Culture!
Michael Mattera: Perhaps, no one taught me more about creating cultures filled with FUN and high level ENGAGEMENT than Michael. His Gamification book “Explore like a Pirate” is the bible of Game related learning. His writing, Youtube channel, and events like the HIVE Summit have catapulted him to a must follow. Thanks Michael for making learning fun!
Elisabeth Bostwick: Elisabeth proves that teachers are some of the strongest leaders in education. I’m ready to get my hands on her new book “LEAP Effect.” Elisabeth is a successful speaker and Co-founder of LeadUpTeach You Tube Podcast. Thanks for LEADING UP Elisabeth!
Tara Martin: Tara put out such STRONG content this year that I felt compelled to cite, and or mention her work on numerous occasions this year. Her book “Be REAL: Educate from the Heart,” was UNREAL! So, so GOOD! She’s a perfect example of modeling authenticity. This year I’ve rejoiced in learning about #BookSnaps as well. Tara is one special person! Tara's Website.
Taylor Armstrong: Taylor has some of the best tweets and posts related to leadership, relationships, and culture. If I ever decide to try and produce an Award Winning Culture Conference, Taylor will be one of my first calls to recruit him, as my partner in crime. He’s one of those educators who understands what’s most important and believes in leading with character first. I learn something EVERYTIME Taylor hits send. Thanks Man! Follow Taylor @Taylor_does_IT
Mae Ward: Mae is the type of teacher we all hope our own child gets! Passionate. High Energy. Lead Learner. She’s been a great addition to my PLN this year and her insightful, well thought out blog posts always push my own thinking. Thanks for all your support and leadership! Love it Mae!
Roger Davis: Roger is one of the key encourager I’ve had this year. He’s a supporter of all things great in education! I deeply value his feedback with EVERYTHING I write. I so appreciate your kindness, your impressive graphics, and your passion. Thanks for making me better Roger! His blog page.
Kristina Macbury: After briefly meeting Kristina in Chicago, we’ve really continued to connect over teaching to the Whole Child through Character Strong. She’s a visionary in terms of understanding and valuing the creation of an Award Winning Culture and I have no doubt she’ll continue to be recognized for her outstanding leadership in education. Kristina's Website
Eric Sheninger: Eric is probably the one person on this list who has literally no idea who the heck I am. Still, I can NOT get enough Sheninger! If he’s written it, said it, or shared it this year...it’s probably found its way to me. As a former award winning principal now ICLE Senior Fellow, Eric speaks, writes, and teaches educational AWESOMENESS into existence. Grab everything you can find on Sheninger!Website
Matt Bush: Matt’s strong PBIS voice and Grateful Fridays are the weekly dose of intentionality that we all need. I appreciate his Tier 1 approach to school culture through kindness, character, and positivity. Thanks for bringing a consistent challenge to my Fridays Matt! Matt's blog page
Andrew Epperson: Andrew has become a friend, a member of my PLN, and PBIS colleague. His work with PBIS Rewards has been instrumental in our creation of an Award Winning Culture at Wildcat Nation. Look forward to ongoing collaboration, support, and brainstorming with Andrew! Here's a post I wrote about our partnership with PBIS rewards:
"An Ocean Awaits"
David Volke: David has elevated an already successful leadership program to award winning status. The Whole Child work with culture and character that he’s doing from the classroom level is...SPECTACULAR! I really appreciate David’s inspiration. Look forward to continuing to build our connection. Follow David@VolkeSmash
Garry Gorman: Garry’s weekly images and tweets have become welcome additions to my weekly routine. He always seems to match quote with image in such a way to elevate my desire to be a better educator. I really appreciated having him in my PLN this year! Follow Garry @GarryGorman
George Couros: What can I possibly say about George that hasn’t already been said? I love that he’s a Lakers fan! In my opinion, he wrote one of the BEST educational books ever written: “The Innovator’s Mindset.” Read it. Follow him. He’ll challenge YOU to create an Award Winning Culture! George's Website
Laurie McIntosh: I’ve known of Laurie, since learning about her passion for kindness on the Ellen show. I feel very fortunate to have her in my PLN as she’s such an uplifting person. Thanks for making Kindness Normal Laurie! Laurie'sblog page.
Michelle Thompson: Michelle is another one of those teachers who proves that leadership starts in the classroom. She’s a mover and shaker who is a tone setter when it comes to positive school culture. Love the Character work she’s leading in her school and district. Please follow her immediately! @mathommi
Doug Lane: Doug is one of the best teachers I’ve ever worked with! He is unmatched in his commitment to help EVERY student find success in the classroom and he challenges me to raise my game. I’m lucky to have him as a friend and co-worker at Wildcat Nation. While he’s new to social media, he is absolutely doing Award Winning
Teaching! Here's a blog post he wrote:
"Getting Gritty in a Middle School Math Class."
Follow Doug @douglane9
Jeff Kubiak: The titles of principal, author, and consultant really don’t do Jeff justice. He’s a rare talent who’s an advocate for students, educators, and learning. Looking forward to his upcoming book! I’m anticipating 2019 it to be a BIG year for Jeff! You rock yo! Jeff's blog page.
Jennifer Appel: Is it cliche to put your own wife on the list of 50 educational disruptors? Oh, well. In almost 18 years in education, she’s the BEST teacher I’ve ever worked with. She’s brilliant, passionate, and driven to do what’s best for kids! She comes from a long line of outstanding educators and has magic in her DNA. She inspired me all year and is a critical reason that Wildcat Nation has been nationally and even globally recognized this year. She’s a rockstar leadership and ELA teacher who inspires me EVERYDAY! LOVE-YOU! See below how her work has been instrumental in our school creating an Award Winning Culture at Wildcat Nation...
Follow Jennifer @jennifermappel
About the Author
Hans Appel has worked as a counselor in the Richland School District for the past 18 years and at Enterprise Middle School since it opened. He’s passionate about school culture, servant leadership, and kindness. In 2018, EMS was awarded the ASCD Whole Child Award for the State of Washington and the Global “Class Act Award” for creating a culture of excellence through kindness, service, and empathy. Recently, Hans launched his own blog about School Culture and this fall rolled out a student-led leadership podcast called Award Winning Culture: Hosted by Wildcat Nation, which can be subscribed, listened or reviewed on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and Libsyn. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Hans on twitter @hansappel094. Follow AWC on twitter at @awculture or Instagram @awardwinningculture. Wildcat Nation at @emswildcats1 and Instagram @emscounseling #WildcatNation #AwardWinningCulture
Award Winning Culture was created by Hans and Jennifer Appel with the sole purpose of creating an educational mindset of Positive INTENTIONALITY and ACTION; with a daily mantra to make our sphere of influence stronger through Character, Excellence, and Community. Part of AWC's mission is to highlight outstanding educators, companies, and resources that support an Award Winning Culture. Both Jennifer and Hans work at Enterprise Middle School aka Wildcat Nation. Wildcat Nation received the 2018 ASCD Whole Child Award in Washington, for its award winning culture and the 2018 Global "Class Act Award" for Kindness.