Episode 318: How Becoming Your Best Can Be Transformational with Jeanene Dutt

Episode Summary

It never occurred to our guest, Jeanene Dutt, that a book she read as part of her doctoral program would massively impact her life. She got a copy of “Becoming Your Best” and applied the 12 principles of highly successful leaders to her personal development, losing 40 pounds and improving her personal and professional relationships in the process. Jeanene then decided to extend the transformational power of her experience and develop the several teams she was leading.

Rob Shallenberger: Welcome back to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners. So glad you’re able to join us today. And we have on with us today a special guest, who I have now known for years, and is just an amazing lady. One of the words that you’ve probably heard us talk about along this podcast at some point in the past are the words “transactional versus transformational”. And transactional is when we just go through the motions – we do the min effort required. Transformational, on the other hand, is where we change something for the better. When we touch it, it’s better as a result of our touch, so to speak. And Jeanene is one of those people who is transformational. When she interacts with people, when she touches a process or whatever it is that she does, it is better as a result of her touch. And so, I want to introduce Dr. Jeanene Dutt – she’s the principal of North Warren Regional, which is a 7-12 school. And there are several reasons why we wanted to have her on as a guest. One is because she is just that transformational, amazing leader. And number two is the impact that she’s been having on the lives of the people within her school. And she’s taken Becoming Your Best to include the 12 principles, the six-step process, do what matters most. And she’s really incorporated this at her school, and we want to talk about some of the ways that she’s done that, the impact it’s had. And as you’re listening, relate this to your team and your organization. You may not be a principal in the school, but you certainly interact with people. So, think about these lessons that Jeanene shares and any nuggets that you might be able to gain from her. And if you’re not in the workplace and you have children, think about it from the children’s perspective – you’re in that role of parent. Or maybe you have someone else in your family that you could share this with. The bottom line is I’m confident that whatever Jeanene shares with us today will have a big impact in our lives. It’ll give us things that we can think about and ways that we could better influence others, if that makes sense. So, with all of that said, Jeanene, welcome to the podcast, and give us a little background on you, first of all, so that our listeners can become a little more familiar with who you are and your background. 

Jeanene Dutt: Thank you so much. First of all, thank you for inviting me to even be a part of this podcast. I listen to these episodes faithfully, and you have some amazing people on here, so I’m honored, but I kind of feel like I have some big shoes to fill here as well. But a little background, I am a public educator, and I have been my entire professional life, but it was quite a journey to get to where I’m at. I was raised in a blue-collar town in New Jersey, a little town called Phillipsburg. It’s very sports-minded. In fact, I think we have the longest-running high school rivalry in the nation. And that suits me fine because I grew up as an athlete, I still feel as though I am an athlete. My dad was a local police officer. My mom worked in a library. I’m the youngest of three. And our generation, my siblings and my cousins, we’re pretty much the first generation to go to college. So, education has been instrumental in our lives, a little bit different than it was for our parents. I went to a small college in Bethlehem Pennsylvania called Moravian College, where my intention was to graduate with an English and Journalism major. I enrolled in an educational psychology course and was assigned a field study in a bilingual classroom in an elementary school. And pretty much the rest is history. I immediately connected with the classroom and working with kids. So, I changed my major to a dual major in English and Spanish, and then I also got my degree in Secondary Education. Where I started off professionally? I went back to my hometown, I went back to Hillsboro High School, where I taught every level of Spanish included in an alternative school program, and I also coached and advised. And after 11 years in the classroom, I was promoted to – I guess what would be equivalent of a central office position – I was a Director of Curriculum for multiple departments across various schools. Spent three years there, moved up to a middle school principal position in a little township called Lopatcong, where those children actually go to Phillipsburg High School. Six years in that position, I decided I needed a different challenge. And in a way, I missed what I refer to the chaos of high school. And anyone who has high school children or has worked in a school understands what that really means. So, I moved on to my current position. So, I currently work as the Principal and Director of Curriculum at North Warren Regional, northern part of New Jersey. And I have the best of both worlds: I have middle school kids and I have high school kids. And I’m currently in my fifth year in this position. My educational background – I completed my Master’s in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and I recently completed my doctorate while I was at Lopatcong and in my transition to North Warren. So, that’s how I got to where I am now – I have a little bit of experience in all different levels in different school districts, different cultures, different climates. And, yeah, that’s where I’m at. 

Rob Shallenberger: Awesome backgrounds, Jeanene. And I want to now transition into how you use Becoming Your Best in the schools, because you’ve garnered the attention of the school district because of the results that you’ve been having within your school, with the teachers. And I used that word – transformational – to start this out, and that’s exactly what you’ve been. And so I really want to take just a few minutes to talk about what you’ve done in your school. So, how were you introduced, first of all, to Becoming Your Best? And then let’s get into what have you done with your teachers? How have you used the different facets of the content with your teachers? 

Jeanene Dutt: I know we have limited time, and I could talk about this for a long time because I’ve done so much with this. But my introduction to Becoming Your Best was through my doctoral program. We were challenged to read The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, and then part of one of the activities was to pick another “principles of leadership” book. My friend – he’s an engineer here in New Jersey, Becoming Your Best trained his leadership team – he told me to read Becoming Your Best.  

Rob Shallenberger: Bohler Engineering, right? 

Jeanene Dutt: Yeah, Bohler Engineering. His name is Grayson Murray. So, he told me to read the book. I read the book, I decided I wanted to try this for multiple reasons in my life, and I kind of did it on my own. And in doing it on my own, I was able to finish my doctorate, I lost 40 pounds, I was really trying to improve relationships just with my family and friends. And then a light bulb went off, being a leader of a diverse group of people, let’s put it that way, in a school district, but parents, students, teachers, staff, leadership team – I reached out to Becoming Your Best, and I said, “I just want some advice, or how can I get someone out here possibly to train my staff?” I connected with Jamie Thorup, and he said, “Hey, we have an opportunity for you if you want to come out here and be trained to be a facilitator.” And I did. And that’s how I got introduced to it. Moving on, how did I use it? I started with my leadership team. So, I started with myself, then I went to my leadership team because I am a true believer that if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of others. So, I figured it out on my own, so to say, on how to do it. So, from there, I introduced it to my leadership team. And then I opened up workshops for my staff to attend – so there was a signup, and anybody who was interested in taking that next step and taking that challenge, participated in my workshops. And that then grew, because what ended up happening is, we started developing a team leadership vision for our leadership team, and then we have a Becoming Your Best team. And then arms of other teams started popping up throughout my school district that were all based on Becoming Your Best. So, right now, I probably have five or six very distinct teams that each have their own vision that links back to our school district vision, that link to our yearly goals. So, that’s basically how it was rolled out with the staff and with my leadership team. 

Rob Shallenberger: And what are some of the things that you either heard from the teachers — And I haven’t even talked about or prefaced some of these questions with you. But what are some of the things that you’ve heard from the teachers as they’ve been exposed to some of these principles and learned? Because it’s been anywhere from pre-planning to vision, to being an effective communicator. And like you said, school is a really interesting microcosm. I mean, there are so many different dynamics and personalities from the students to the parents. So, it’s just a fascinating culture, if you will – we’ve got so many diverse people. So, what have you been hearing from the teachers? What’s been some of the feedback from them? 

Jeanene Dutt: Some of the feedback is, for the first time there’s a common vision or a common language. And we’re all working together – although we’re in vastly different roles – towards one vision. And the one thing that we do is every team that comes together – and this was instrumental in the pandemic, when we had to pivot back and forth in our school – it was giving the teacher some autonomy and giving them, I think, the skillset. And we talk about skillset and mindset when we talk about Becoming Your Best. But they had those opportunities to work together and to be leaders themselves. And so we weren’t doing management that was top-down management, we always went back to our vision. The vision is always centered on students, and that’s what makes us so impactful in the school. So, even if we’re in, what we’d say, a crisis, or we’re looking at a new initiative, we’re just looking for personal growth, either to become a better team or to become a better teacher; to become a better leader, individually. The center of that vision is always, “What do we need to do for students?” And that may not always be what is the easiest thing for us to do as teachers or leaders, but it always goes back to students. We have to make incredibly hard decisions every day in schools. But when we revisit what I call “recalibrating our vision” or “recalibrating our goals” with my leadership team, with our teachers, “What are we doing for kids?” That, I think, has been one of the most powerful and life-changing and impactful assets that the program has brought to my school. People in the education field are used to a mission statement; I teach what Becoming Your Best is not. And it is not a mission statement, it is a vision. There are goals every year that we have to do per-mandate, per state requirements, school district requirements. Now we do them according to, “Well, what’s our vision? Where are we going?” And they overlap from year to year. So, we’re not throwing out new initiatives every year; we are getting better at the initiatives that we decided collectively as a team and as a school that we need to do for kids. So, every time we introduce something, we go back to that vision. And that has never been done before. And that has made all the difference in the world for us. 

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, you’ve caught the attention of your superintendent who now I know. It’s like, “What’s going on over there on your school, Jeanene?”  

Jeanene Dutt: Yes, my superintendent is incredible. Her name is Sarah Bilotti. She is one of the reasons I’m on this podcast right now. She encouraged me to come out and get trained. She encouraged me to bring this to the school. She supports me and she allows me to bring this program into our school because I think she’s seeing the difference that it made with the climate. I said earlier, I built it from my leadership team up, it was what I call kind of a “broken environment” where I was, and I had to start with me, start with my team, branched out to the staff. And now we’re getting into the students as well. And I’ve also brought this into the teaching that I do outside of North Warren as well. 

Rob Shallenberger: Now, for a parent. If you’re listening to this and you’re a parent, I’m gonna ask Jeanene a question right at the end. I don’t want to press Jeanene, but here’s the question that I don’t want you to answer now. I’m going to let this be our last question. And that is: As a parent, what are some things that a parent could be thinking about with their son or daughter who may be a student in their school? Seventh grade and up, that’s where you’re at right now. So, middle school, junior high, high school. But what are some things that parents can be thinking about that they could do in their home for their own kids, that would impact their school, that would impact other aspects of their life? So, let’s tuck that question away. But you brought up students, and that’s why I want to start to shift to the students. You’ve been focused now for two or three years on the teachers, the leadership. And you mentioned that you’re just now starting to really think about Becoming Your Best with the students. Jamie told me the story, I’ve never heard you share it, so I don’t even know if I’m going to have it accurate. But he told me that if a student gets suspended, you give them the opportunity to read “How to Succeed in High School” and then come up with a goal or something like that. So, first, tell me about that. And then second, what are your thoughts on taking Becoming Your Best to the students? How do you want to approach that? What’s your end objective for that? 

Jeanene Dutt: This is a great question. So, yes, I did start with the adults. I started with my team and expanded on that. But what I did with the students was – this is kind of a two-fold answer, Rob. So, I did a little bit of piloting with this with my niece, who was struggling a little bit through the pandemic, was transitioning from middle school to high school, and started work with her like, “What do you really want to do? What do you want out of high school? What is your vision?” Kind of taking it down to the terms of a 12 or 13-year-old would understand and be able to talk about and understand. So, we lightly set some goals. And I did tell Jamie a story about that, and she ended up far exceeding those goals. And she’s now where she wants to be as a freshman in high school. So, with working with my students – yes, Jamie is right, I did do that. I also worked with a student who I considered – this was a couple of years ago now – to be a very influential future leader; made a misstep, got in some trouble, was part of our national honor society, our student body. Our bylaws basically say, “You do this kind of misstep, you lose your title.” And I didn’t want to do this with this kid. So, I worked with her – part of her intervention was to read The 12 Principles of Becoming Your Best. And then she had to meet with me weekly and we needed to talk about some of the concepts that were in there. And then worked her through her vision; where she wanted to be, had her write her goal. It was like a six-month probation period for this child, but she ended up getting to keep her role. And she’s now very successful and has a leadership role in her current university. Working with her, I decided, we have these students who don’t quite fit out of school suspension, we do our best to keep kids in school, no matter what they did. It has to be very egregious for them to be asked to not come to school for the day. So, we have an in-school suspension, where they get to do their schoolwork, they get some counseling, they get intervention. I have a wonderful assistant, her name is Tina Ritchie. She does something called Restorative Practice with our student discipline. Becoming Your Best fits in there so nicely.  

Jeanene Dutt: So, it was about two weeks ago, a student ran out of work to do and I had your book, How to Succeed in High School, gave it to the monitor, and I said, “It’s very short.” Every chapter, there’s an ability for them to reflect and talk about where they’re at right now in their high school career and where they want to be. And so now, it’s kind of a thing, where I have copies of that book, and I work with my staff to work with the students in in-school suspension, and they write a goal and a reflection for each chapter of that. So, now, moving forward, in two weeks, I’m training about 45 of our student leaders and captains of athletic teams in Becoming Your Best and Do What Matters Most. Those students are then going to become part of a Becoming Your Best Student – I haven’t come up with a name yet, but like a student forum for them. We have a staff team that’s just called The BYB Team. So, it’s been very powerful, and the staff knows, most of my advisors and coaches have been trained for the whole program. So, they’re used to the vocabulary – like I mentioned that common language — and I said, “This will be great for kids.” So, it’s fully making its way into the student body as well. And I’m very excited for that. So, I’ve done some training with kids, with students, both personally and professionally. But this is going to be the first time I really launch it with very specific vision and goals for our future leaders in our school. 

Rob Shallenberger: So awesome, Jeanene. That just gets me excited because one thing I’m passionate about is our youth – our young men and young women. And I’m not going to announce any dates, I’m not going to announce anything here that’s concrete. But you know because we’ve talked about it, that we’re working on developing an educational curriculum. And I know that you’re even helping with that, Katie and some others are involved in working on that curriculum with us. Because the thought is, we traveled the world, we’ve had so many parents come up to me afterward and say, “This is great that we’re getting this, how can we get this for our kids? How can we expose our kids to these 12 principles, to pre-week planning, roles and goals?” And it’s like, “Man, you’re right.” What an impact that would have? For those listening, say, your son or daughter, or niece or nephew – could you imagine kids to get exposed to principles like “be true to character”, and having a written personal vision, and learning how to do pre-week planning, and living the golden rule, and be accountable, and never give up? The principles that are so life-changing. And so I just love what you’re doing there, Jeanene. We’re hoping to have that curriculum out by 2023. Maybe there might be a couple of pilot schools ready for 2022, but you’re already ahead of that curve doing that with your students. It’s just awesome to watch that. You mentioned the COVID pandemic – how did this impact your approach to the COVID pandemic? I know for most states, we’re moving back into some semblance of normalcy, there are still a couple that are not. But what impact did this have through COVID? 

Jeanene Dutt: I actually got the goosebumps. So, I already mentioned that I had an incredibly supportive superintendent who made Becoming Your Best a part of our climate, a part of our culture here. And we started Becoming Your Best with my team and with my staff. There were two years of training, I’m talking about two separate groups of staff members. So, I truly believe that we had already established a community of trust and transparency with our staff. So, when this difficult time came of the pandemic, they trusted us. There was this inherent trust that we believe in democratic leadership, you know, we believe in getting all parties involved. So, we prefaced everything again with that vision: What do we need to do for kids? Not what’s going to be easier for us, that’s never what the discussion was. And I’ll be honest with you, Rob, I used the six-step process. So, when we launched into this pandemic and we had what was called a hybrid scenario and then we had to go full virtual — Well, first it was full virtual then hybrid, then back to full virtual, then back to on-site. We have a Becoming Your Best team that has three prongs that were for COVID only. There was a team for technology, there was a team for logistics, and there was a team for instruction. Each one of those teams were taught the six-step process prior; each one of those teams had a leader – this is amazing – of the six-step process that were trained in Becoming Your Best. They worked with Sarah and I, and they worked through the six-step process, and then we all came together as one big Becoming Your Best team on what pitfalls — what do we really have to consider when we talk about what’s the real issue? What’s the current reality? Our current reality was easy. It’s COVID. And there are many, many mandates placed on us by the state. But this team continued to work flawlessly with each other, and I think because they had that background. And even in Q1, as we would say, we went back to that vision, and we went back to what we needed to do for our students. And we came up with an action plan of “When do we need to have this done? What can we do? What resources do we need? Who do we need to communicate with? What levels of communication do we have to have?” So, our Hybrid Task Force – is what the name of this group was – were all members of Becoming Your Best, with maybe one or two other members of the staff that wanted to join it. So, this team – we all combined and developed the plans together for the hybrid and the reopening of school. But I don’t think without that background of me having a majority of my staff trained, and me always talking about vision, or always talking about goals, or always talking about working as a team; I don’t know if it would have gone as smoothly. Now, there were bumps, and it was challenging, and it was the most challenging and still is the most challenging two years of my career. But we really had some buy-in, and I believe it was that trust, and we maintained that trust through that pandemic. And that is something that I am extremely proud of, but could not have done it without the tools that I have now because of the program. 

Rob Shallenberger: Well, for our listeners, what Jeanene is referring to, many of them would be familiar with the different books and trainings; there’s The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders on one hand that you’ve been talking about a lot. On the other hand, now, there’s the other book, “Start with the Vision”, which we refer to as the six-step process. And it is a powerful planning and problem-solving process that can be used, as you just illustrated, for almost any issue. And I think it’s awesome that your entire team was familiar enough with it that they were solution-focused rather than problem-focused. COVID hit, and it’s not like, “Okay, here’s all the problems.” They were empowered because of the skills that they had – reflection of you –they could take the six-step process and go through on their own and develop a plan. In other words, “What’s our solution? Here’s the current reality, how do we solve this?” And because they had a process and a common language, they were able to solve that. That’s such a reflection of leadership right there. So, one other question, Jeanene, and we may have time for one more after this. But I want to make sure we give enough time to this thought process. For a person that’s listening to this that has kids at home still – so, in the role of parent – what are some things that you would suggest to them that they can do that would be transformational for their own kids? In other words, from a parental perspective, what are some things that they could do that would have a positive influence in the lives of their own children? 

Jeanene Dutt: If you’re a parent, whether or not you know the ins and outs of what we’re talking about here with Becoming Your Best and setting vision and goals. One of the places where I start when I’m working with family or when I’m working with my students at school is I ask a question that guides what the child’s vision would be. You ask them, “What are the values that are most important to you? Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What are you afraid of? What do you think you’re really good at? Or what do you think you need some help with?” So, those are some really easy guiding questions that you can have with your children at home, that then get their mind thinking. Because, as we know, the adolescent mind is not as developed as ours is, so you might have to take it down to their level. But keep having conversations with them, even if it’s difficult, about what they want, and what they see, and get them looking towards the future – that’s helping them develop their vision. But that’s also giving you a clue as a parent as to, “What really is their direction in life? Where do they want to be? Do they see themselves in college? Do they see themselves in the military? Do they just want to make the varsity basketball team when they’re in ninth grade?” You never know what’s going on in the mind of a child, but you’re never going to know if you don’t ask. So, that’s always my first piece of advice: Don’t assume that there’s something wrong, or that they’re unmotivated, or that they’re over motivated. Ask them, have conversations with your children – that’s going to help you both frame where they want to be and how you can support them doing that. So, that’s number one.  

Jeanene Dutt: Number two is, I absolutely recommend having them write goals and having them write goals together with you. And they don’t have to be intricate. You don’t have to have 25 goals. Smaller is better, less is more in this reality. But make sure you’re checking in with them. So, however you decide to support your children or work with your children, you’ve got to start with that value system or that vision system; what they want, what they desire. Because what they want and desire doesn’t always match up with what we want or desire for them. And so we have to learn how to support our students and our children for the world that they’re going to be in. And they have to love what they’re doing or they’re not going to find success, I’m a firm believer in that. So, start with that: conversations, vision, generate some goals, generate some deadlines, guidelines. But if you don’t go back and revisit it, then it’s going to fall away. So, one of the greatest pieces that I’ve walked away from with all of my experiences in my personal life, professional life, coaching, teaching, leadership: You’ve got to go back – you’ve got to go back and reevaluate, recalibrate. Go back and talk about what you talk about, where are you at, do check-in. So, that’s a very, very easy way to start the process with your children. But that weekly planning piece, also, is instrumental for kids. They are overworked, they are over-enrolled, they are overtaxed – our children and students today are doing way more than I imagined ever doing at that age; help them plan out their days, help them plan out their week. And it shouldn’t be all work, and it shouldn’t be all academic. They’ve got to have fun, they have to have downtime. If they don’t have that downtime, they’re over engaged, and they burn out. So, conversations, generate some goals and some ideas for them, recalibrate, check-in with them. They have to have fun too. They’re kids, they have to have fun. But that weekly plan is so impactful. And that’s where I’ve seen success with the kids that I’ve worked with. 

Rob Shallenberger: And that’s such great advice, Jeanene. And my mind is just spinning here. We could keep going for another 20 minutes, 30 minutes easily. There are so many things that were on my mind as you were talking there. I posted a picture on Facebook today of my daughter doing pre-planning on Sunday. She didn’t even know I took the picture. I just took the picture. She had her planner opened, she’s going through doing her pre-planning. And you’re right, they’re over-tasked, they’re overburdened. And for her to look at her life through the lens of her different roles, and be thinking about how to take care of herself and how to show up as a sister, and as a daughter, and as a student, athlete, etc; bring such a piece to her life. And she’s 17, and it’s not necessarily easy. This has taken years for her to develop that habit, but it’s been awesome. And I just think one of the things you said, you mentioned those questions. For me, as a former fighter pilot, it’s so easy to problem-solve. I love to problem-solve. And I think most of us, naturally, go to problem-solving. Asking those important questions without an agenda is not necessarily easy to do, and I love that. And my dad did that with me when I was 17 and it really changed my life. And for those that have read the books, you know some of my background, it was a tough time in high school, I didn’t have much direction. And I remember my dad coming out while I was playing basketball because he had gone through this – if you want to call it principle – build and maintain trust. And he asked where the trust meter was with me and he said, “Well, it’s probably on a half tank to a quarter tank. Not a lot of trust right now.” And so he thought, “What can I do to raise that trust meter?” And that’s when he thought, “Maybe I’ll just go spend some time with Rob shooting the basketball.” No agenda, these questions that you’re talking about. And I remember this. I remember him walking out, and the first question was, “How are you doing? How’s life? How’s school going?” “Fine.” Typical teenager answer. And as he says it, the first couple of times, I really didn’t answer his questions. After two or three times of doing that, though, suddenly I started opening up; “Well, yeah, here are some of the things that I’m thinking.” And suddenly, we started having these conversations because he was asking the right questions, like you mentioned. And it was founded on trust. I wasn’t going to get a lecture, he wasn’t out to problem-solve for me, he was just out to listen. And so I just think, what you shared there, Jeanene, from my own experience – both as the parent and being on the receiving end of that – is life-changing. If we can ask the right questions without an agenda, we can get our kids to be thinking about what their vision and goals look like. And I would suggest to any reader or any listener right now to read chapter six of Do What Matters Most before you have that goals conversation with your son or daughter so that you can introduce this roles and goals concept, and then, like you said, pre-week planning. So, Jeanene, great advice. Before we wrap up, anything else that you would like our listeners to know? Your vision of the future for Becoming Your Best? Anything else that you’d like to share before we wrap up? 

Jeanene Dutt: Yeah, real quick, too. One of those other questions that parents can change that they ask their children when they come home from school is, “Hey, what do you do at school today?” You’re going to get that “Nothing.” “Hey, what’d you learn today? Tell me something that you learned today,” or “What was your favorite class today?” If you change that question, very, very slightly, you might get a different response. That’s just an easy way to try to see what’s been going on in the school. So, where do I see Becoming Your Best in the future? I firmly believe that Becoming Your Best is going to make its way into the education field, there’s no way that it shouldn’t. There’s just too much at stake and it’s too powerful. So, I do believe there’s a future there. And one of my wishes would be that any parents that are on this call, or aunts, uncles, whoever, that you’re working with young people; you need to take a pretty good look at this because it is very impactful, and it can change a life. It changed mine as a somewhat well-adjusted adult when I first started doing this, but I’ve seen it do incredible things with students and with staff, and with teachers who needed another challenge, they’ve upped their game a little bit. So, I just see the power in it. And the other final thought that I have on it is some people that I did introduce this to at first were like, “Well, what’s the point? Is this like a self-help program?” And they looked at it negatively – No. It is, but it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s a very simple process. It’s simple, not easy is what we always say. But I can’t even express the change that it has had on my life and the people around me, including my profession and the most important people that I work with – our future. So, I can’t say enough about it.  

Rob Shallenberger: Well, thank you so much, Jeanene, for being here. And I’ll just throw one thing out there. If there’s anybody listening to this in the role of parent or in the education system, that would like to talk about your school or anything else like that, please email us at, because in conjunction with you, and Katie, and some others, this is why we’re having that conversation. Our hope is to have this rolled out in the education system throughout the entire world. I know there are people in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Africa that want this as well. And so if you have a son or daughter in your school, and you’d like to talk about your school, email us at, and let’s start that conversation. Because we’re in the process right now to figure out what does that look like, getting some pilot schools. And I’ll just give you one example. One of the things that we’ve done with one school already, and I know Jeanene’s done this in part as well. There are 12 principles, in many schools, a semester is close to 12 weeks. And so one of the invitations is to focus on a principle a week in the classroom. And it works out perfectly because that takes them through an entire semester of doing this with both the teacher and the student. So, there’s a lot of ways that we’re looking at doing this. We’re still in the process of developing it. Jeanene, you’re going to be a key part of this, we know. And so, again, if you’re a parent that has a son or daughter, if you’re in the education world, please reach out to us and let us know your thoughts on this. Because, again, you could actually play a role in the development of what this looks like in the school system. So, thank you, again, Jeanene, for being here. This is the whole spirit of transformational, I know our listeners have sensed that from you. Anything final that you want to say before we wrap up? 

Jeanene Dutt: You just sparked something. I do have two teachers that went through the program, Rob, that I taught the workshops that are now being trained facilitators, and we are rolling out a leadership class next year with these two staff members. So, talk about an opportunity and something that’s very exciting. So, it’s going to be at the middle school and the high school level. So, I have teachers who have been so influenced that are now being trained. And they’re going to be teaching a class with this next year, so I’m looking forward to what that looks like and what trickle-down effect that has. 

Rob Shallenberger: I love it, Jeanene. You’re awesome. Well, thank you for being here. Thank you so much to our listeners for listening to this podcast. Hopefully, this has sparked an idea in your mind as something that you can do in your sphere of influence. And remember this, that we will either lead a life by design, or we will live a life by default. And that’s the whole intent here is how do we focus on principles and habits that empower us to lead that life by design. So, thank you again for joining us. We hope you have a wonderful day and a great rest of your week. 

Rob Shallenberger

CEO, Becoming Your Best

Leading authority on leadership and execution, F-16 Fighter Pilot, and father

Jeanene Dutt

Principal, North Warren Regional School District

NJL2L Progam Mentor, NJPSA Council Member, President of WCPSA

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