Five Keys Executive Director Steve Good answers 10 questions about work, life, & fun
1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I am embarrassed to admit that I was pretty unambitious. Actually, I had no clue what I wanted to do other than play baseball every day. For better or worse, that's why it took nearly 7 years and 4 colleges before I graduated. It wasn't until grad school that I decided to become a teacher... and that was only because I wanted summers off. Funny thing is, once I started teaching, I never took a summer off -- it was too much fun teaching. By luck, I found a job I loved.
5. If you could change one thing about Five Keys, what would it be?
Hard to pick one thing. Longer prep periods for teachers, shorter school years to give folks a chance to recharge, more funding so we can pay more, more case managers, direct links to employment... Unfortunately, so much of this is tied to State regulations and contracts. Oh, wait I know -- now assuming I have a magic wand, I would eliminate WPRs.
6. It is said that “Many leaders are scared about developing people and then having them leave. They should be more worried about not developing people and having them stay.” In what ways are you developing Five Keys staff?
I love that quote and use it all the time. Staff development, on-boarding, and training have become one of our main areas of focus. The new Academic Committee, the hiring of our Director of Training, the investments in our Learning Management Systems are just the start. I see the launching of the Five Keys Academy, a staff development program for all employees, as the next step. That, and micro trainings -- 1 to 5 minute PD segments you can watch on your phone. These things are coming.
9. A recurring theme in the Focus Group responses was that Five Keys Leaders are good, well-intentioned people, but are spread too thinly. As a result, teachers often feel neglected and underappreciated. What thoughts do you have when you hear this, and what can be done/is being done to address this?
Yes, it's true. I've been a school administrator for 20+ years and have heard that in every school and district I've worked. Doesn't make it right, but it's real. We honestly took last year's focus groups to heart and reconfigured leaderships role to address this. These changes will bring more stability, reduce the number of sites a leader has, and will add new positions to support them. I'm hoping this will be visible to our teachers by having increased access and support.
10. How have you changed since starting with Five Keys, and where do you hope to take Five Keys?
Anything else you'd like to share?
When I was an elementary school principal and was having a bad day, I would go into a kindergarten classroom and take joy in seeing these amazing little creatures; and for a moment, I would forget my troubles. Now, I watch one of the YouTube videos of our graduation speakers, and I remember immediately why I love this work. This is hard work we do. Find the thing that brings you joy and recharges your batteries, because we need you!