Coming Home

School Principles gets the AED and is shocked back to life (or maybe has come back undead).

angry baby

I have not blogged for a few years – for all of my loyal readers, you have a right to be angry (or thankful – not that there are any of you out there after years of neglect) here is my explanation to you:

I had an agent agree to work with me after a few hundred rejection letters, on a book proposal tying in my time in Iraq with my thoughts for reforming public education. After the long hunt, little Bambi was in the cross-hairs of my scope at 50 yards, and all I had to do was pull the trigger. As I sat typing chapter 2, I realized I was in it just for the money, so I had to quit cold turkey (sorry, MaryAnn).

I am a principal/teacher at a small alternative high school in rural Oregon. Along with one other teacher, an assistant and a secretary, we host 55 quirky, fun, energetic, kind, giving and amazing young people, 95% plus of which have dropped out of high school. We are woefully understaffed (I did a quick poll of other alternative high schools in the state and they run about 14 to 1 ratio – we run 27.5 to 1), but the staff we do have are nothing short of incredible. The band of folks I work with are like superheroes – each has their special powers, and they show up to work not because they have to, but because it is a CALLING for them.

We are all really busy people (I am talking to you, the reader – breaking the fourth wall (my daughter, who is totally into writing (mostly Supernatural fan-fiction) explained this to me)), so let me splain to you what my blog is going to do – about the journey I am going to take, in hopes that you will walk the road with me.

My life has been blessed with a safe and loving upbringing, the opportunity to go to college, join the US Army, work as a public educator for the past 21 years, marry up (implying my wife got the raw end of the deal, which she did), and have three quirky, kind, giving and amazing children. Finally, I was given enough rope to hang myself (yet again), by my superintendent when I asked her a few years ago if I could start a Place Based Education Alternative High School.

In my non-work time I dabble in martial arts, gardening, playing music, weight training, Magic the Gathering, going on dates with my wife, listening to my grown kids’ ideas, building computer models, and dreaming of building robots and Steampunk-like giant things. I think I might want to be a farmer when I grow up.


My wife tells me I am really quirky and that if I could tone it down I would not frighten people so much. As life is short, and I do not suffer conforming for the sake of an easy life, my response is “Nuts!” (WW2 reference – score yourself a point if you got that one). It is time to “tone it up” and get radical.

In the modern professional parley, what “Take-aways” will my blog provide. Here is a list…..

  • A blueprint for educators to start and sustain amazing changes in your work.
  • How to make a stronger community where you live, work and play.
  • The benefits of my readings and research on education, social justice, war and sustainability (I spent about ten years as part of my employment doing research for either writing grants for schools or how to stop counter-insurgencies).
  • Lessons learned from my time as a teacher, Athletic Director, HS VP, Elementary Principal, district federal programs, grants and foundation director, Alternative High School Principal and Teacher, dad, husband, friend, Company Commander, Intelligence Officer, amateur gardener and scientific tinkerer.
  • How to get a great leg workout even after your lower back has gone French and declared a surrender.
  • How to win the war (by not winning the battles) in Magic the Gathering.
  • A keen insight into a dyed-in-the wool 1980’s American Male, with all stereotypes included.

I will post when I am able – my work days start before 5 a.m. most days, and I get time for a pee break for about 2 minutes twice a day at work, and then come home about 5 (unless there are meetings for the district), talk to my family, eat dinner, wash dishes (I love the suds!), have a few minutes of exercise or hobby time, maybe watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers with the family, go to bed, read for a few, collapse, repeat. I hope you will join me!


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