5 Questions with… Jeff Veal

On Saturday mornings, I usually try to wake up and participate in several Twitter chats. One of the chats that I most enjoy is #leadupchat, which starts at 9:30am EST. Participants refer to the community engaged during the chat as a tribe. The #leadupchat tribe is a community that shares and inspires each other, and I’m proud to be a part of it. We are proud this week to feature Jeff Veal, one of the leaders of the #leadupchat tribe, in our latest 5 questions feature.

5 Questions with… Jeff Veal

1. What do you most want your students to take with them from your classroom, school or district?

First I want students to know they belong, they are genuinely loved and cared for when they walk out our doors. Secondly, I want students to leave with a sense of wonder about the world and to think at a metacognitive level about deep questions requiring big answers to solve. Additionally, my hope is that we are instilling a process of thinking in students that is growth centered and solution focused. Schools must be aware that learning isn’t mechanical but mosaic, the world we live in requires a diversity of thought and each day increasingly non-linear. I want students to leave my school with life and academic skills that they feel are transferable. 

2. What are the most rewarding and/or the most frustrating aspects of education?

There is something rewarding about knowing you are investing in something that will one day pay off, it can be frustrating to some to not see daily returns. The best reward is seeing what students and our teachers become not just today, but in 5 or 10 years. Education is uniquely positioned to leave an imprint on someone’s life unlike anything else. When you ask students who are your greatest influences, it most often includes at least one teacher – be that difference maker. 

3. What advice would you give to young teachers?

Be pliable, allow yourself to be stretched and to experience both success and failure. Sometimes young teachers will feel the pressure to perform at level that isn’t healthy or sustainable. Be willing to forgive yourself, because you will make a mistake, and fail forward. Young teachers have so much enthusiasm and energy, what a great opportunity to experiment and truly take chances, remain open to possibilities. 

4. What has influenced your career the most?

The people who have impacted me deeply has influenced my career the most. I stand on the shoulders of giants who have modeled for me the power of relationships. You have to win a heart before you win a mind. Authentic and impactful relationships are sustained through the power of individual influence. Seeing others take risks, question, chances, and then in turn invest in me has influenced me profoundly. 

5. As an educator, what are you currently focused on?

I am currently focused on cultivating culture and building capacity in other leaders. A personal passion is to see leaders take their “next step,” finding opportunities to lead/serve regardless of position. Today’s leadership landscape isn’t bound by position but possibilities to leverage influence effectively. As an administrator and educator at large it is helping other educators to connect with their passion and purposes. Students will benefit when their teachers and ed leaders are operating from a place of optimal opportunity. 

Jeff is a MS Assistant Principal in North Texas (Frisco ISD), speaker, presenter, co-founder of an edmovement #Leadupchat and leadupnow.com, husband, and proud father of 2 young boys. Jeff has a passion for empowering leaders and creating school cultures that connect.

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