Being a leader can take many different forms. For Darrin Peppard, being the leader of a K-12 school used to mean being the disciplinarian, yet he soon realized this was the incorrect viewpoint. After experience and reflection, his perspective changed from looking for what students were doing wrong to what students are doing right. 

Darrin Peppard (@DarrinMPeppard) has had 25 years of experience in K-12 schools and is currently serving as the Superintendent at West Grand School District. We recently had the opportunity to have Darrin on the Tackling Tech Podcast to discuss his book Road to Awesome, which is inspired by his experience with leadership and how his viewpoint has changed throughout the years. 

Darrin hopes people read his book to gain an understanding of what is important to them and how to lead from these values as he believes, “You can’t be an authentic leader when you don’t marry values and leadership.”

road to awesome

Darrin Peppard’s Inspiration Behind Road to Awesome

 Darrin admits early on in his career, he did not always take the right approach from a leadership perspective. Now, Darrin has discovered how to lead through positivity and has written his book Road to Awesome to inspire others to evaluate if their values align with how they lead. Through reflection, creating a new mindset, and making positive changes Darrin was able to create a positive school culture through his leadership.

Reflection: While in a staff meeting that was focused on the disciplinary actions that should be taken for students disobeying the school’s cell phone policy, a staff member raised their hand to pose a question. They asked, “Why does it always have to be about what students are doing wrong? Why can’t it be about what they are doing right?” This question shook Darrin to his core and made him reflect on how he was viewing his leadership position.

A new mindset: This reflection brought Darrin out of his current mindset and made him realize this is not how he wanted to treat his students. He wanted to create a new mindset where he wanted to recognize, reward, and reinforce the positive things students were doing, instead of what they were doing wrong.

Positive changes: Darrin realized through changing the school culture, the whole school was changed as well. Graduation, attendance, and GPA rates all increased when students were spotlighted for their achievements instead of their faults.

Road to Awesome: It was through reflection, creating a new mindset, and making positive changes that lead Darrin to truly discover how to best create a new school culture. He has written his book Road to Awesome to inspire others as well to reflect on their values behind their leadership tactics and how to make positive changes that benefit students.

road to awesome

Darrin Peppard’s 6 Leadership Rules

Darrin found success in implementing a new mindset to create a positive school culture. He wrote his Road to Awesome to share his success story with others and draw inspiration on how you can change your mindset. While reflecting on what he did to make his new mindset successful, he wrote down a list of 6 things he firmly believes drive great leadership.

  1. Lead from your values
  2. Build great culture
  3. Empower students
  4. Empower teachers
  5. Tell your story
  6. Coach everybody

Through reflection, creating a new mindset, and making positive changes, Darrin Peppard has found success in creating a positive school culture. He wrote his book Road to Awesome to inspire others to discover how to be a great leader while making positive changes.

Listen to the full conversation with Darrin Peppard on our Tackling Tech Podcast

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath talks with Darrin Peppard, a Superintendent in Colorado. His book, “Road to Awesome,” is about becoming a school leader who focuses on student’s triumphs, instead of focusing on discipline and what students are doing wrong. Unlike most leaders, Darrin despises strategic plans; rather, he likes to create a vision that everyone in the school can get on board with.

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