As a professional speaker who speaks to over 70,000 people each year, I get the opportunity to teach a lot. I love the privilege of teaching, inspiring and all of the accolades that come from my profession. Every once in a while I walk away thinking I learned as much as I taught. This weekend was one of those weekends. I may get in trouble for saying this but Tulsa Union High School is one of the top large schools in the country. In a world that is filled with bad choices, drugs, violence and a lot of negativity they just seem to be doing things right. Oh, they have their challenges, they would be the first to tell you, but what they do in their school in regards to leadership is amazing! If you know anything about high school sports you may know a thing or two about Tulsa Union High School. They consistently do well in all sports, their football team has an amazing tradition in which they have set a first class standard of excellence. However it is my belief that their stellar sports program is a symptom of all the other things they are doing right. I spent 2 days with 200 hundred of their leaders. This is what I learned.


Top 10 Things I Learned at the Union High School Retreat


10. When faculty members just jump in and get involved with the students without having to be coaxed it makes a huge difference in the fun factor and the student learning. It also sends a message that this is so important and so much fun that everyone is getting involved!


9. Two days of hearing students talk positively about their school is refreshing and it gives me hope about the future of our education!


8. Students want to be involved in creating positive school environments and they need to be led there by powerful examples.


7. When mutual respect is a priority it becomes the norm.


6. When a school gives value to its’ students those students will freely want to give back to their school.


5. Be humble. Don’t seek credit for successful initiatives. We all got where we are today because … We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.


4. When placed in a leadership role we need to inspect what we expect.


3. Positive leadership is not that complicated. It is not being the boss, or being in charge…Leadership is Service! When we lead with a humble heart and a willingness to give people what they need we will capture excellence.


2. Obstacles create opportunities to adjust. In this life we have reasons or results results are more powerful and more fun!


1. None of the above happens by accident. It all happens by design and by being purpose driven. Denise Vaniadis and the administrators and staff at Tulsa Union High School expect excellence and that is what happens daily at their school.