The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

The Mr. Bernia End of the Year Awards

As 2012 winds down, I took some time to reflect on the year that was to determine my personal “best of” end of the year awards. While there is no prize, except for the mention right here on, I do appreciate all the learning and growth I experienced this year and am thankful to all those who are listed below for their contribution to my professional practice.

Conference of the year

The Birmingham Learning Conference, held last summer. Rather than sending people “out” this district chose to bring people from across our county together, and invest in two keynote speakers. The learning was powerful, as evidenced by my blog posts on the topic.

Tweet of the year

My friend Stephanie Dulmage posted “Would like to organize and edcamp in Oakland County – maybe oakland schools or Oakland University. Thoughts?” This led to an outstanding partnership and a wonderful day of professional development at EdcampOU.

Book of the year

Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders by Joel Manby. Led me to reflect on myself and my leadership, as well as provided me a great opportunity to revisit my behaviors and set some goals to improve as a leader.

Author of the year

Todd Whitaker. Not only did he publish an outstanding book, Shifting the Monkey, he also was a solid contributor on Twitter and took the time to have a conversation with me to give some important advice.

Twitter chat of the year

Inspired by my friend Derek McCoy, #edfocus held a chat that was focused on “what’s good” in the world of education after the tragedy in Connecticut. It left me feeling inspired and proud to be an educator.

Top app on my iPad this year

Evernote. I’m 6 months away from being totally paperless.

Conversation of the year

A social worker called my wife and I, asking if we’d be interested in adopting a little girl who had been born a few hours earlier. Averie has made EVERYTHING better.

2012-11-22 12.18.59

Question of the year

My friend David Coffey, who asked “how do we make education sustainable?” It left me thinking about ways to personalize what we do in school and develop problem solving skills.

TED video I kept watching

Professor Adam Grant, “Always Wear Dark Suits.” How we can do a better job of retaining high quality people.

Cartoon that made me laugh hardest

Justin Tarte posted this on his blog, it still makes me laugh.


Advice of the year

My mentor Dan Hickey said to me “get your hands in the dirt,” as a reminder to focus first on our school and get out of my office. I remain appreciative of his perspective.

Idea of the year

My friend Bill Burkhead spent his first week as principal with his desk in the school lobby. It was a great way to connect with students, staff, and families. In addition, it was a genuine attempt by a new leader to get to know his community.


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