Lessons From the Lightkeeper


Lightkeeper Quote

Lighthouses have sent out a beacon for centuries to guide mariners to safe harbor. This light represented the difference between reaching safety or floundering on the rocky shoals. As the world contends with a pandemic and societal unrest, schools are sending out a light of hope, of strength, of safety, and of care.

EdLeaders are the lightkeepers, keeping the light shining bright. There is much to learn from the men and women who cared for the lighthouses despite the storms that raged. In this series based on the book "Talent is Never Enough" by John Maxwell, Dr. Rob Jackson applies Maxwell's teachings to strengthen and encourage those who keep the light shining bright from schoolhouses around the world.

Maxwell, John. Talent is Never Enough. Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007.

Episode 1 - Introduction
The first episode of this new Leadership Development series lays the foundation for the series and explores the metaphor of schools serving as lighthouses in their communities. North Carolina State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis described the compelling nature of the lighthouse metaphor, "The light shines out for every ship, no matter the condition or size." Each short lesson is designed to give leaders something to reflect on as they seek to grow in their abilities and their impact. This new series will have you scanning the horizon for more.

This episode of the @EdLeaderPod made me think about service as a leader. No task is too small or too unimportant if you want to make an impact or #Shinethelight - @Chris_Davis_20

Chairman Eric Davis shares how he looks at the lighthouse and how educators stand tall for others. This reminds me of our CCPS cafeteria ladies serving lunches in the scorching summer heat during this pandemic. @ginaburchdunn

Episode 2 - Belief Lights the Light
What do you really believe about students and their learning? Beliefs lead to expectations. Expectations lead to achievement. In this first Lesson from the Lightkeeper, Dr. Jackson discusses how our beliefs in the ability and capacity of students, our teammates, our schools, and our leaders become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Listening to @EdLeaderPod this morning 'Belief Lights the Light' has reminded me of my WHY. I LOVE the look of a child or adult's face when they truly know how much I believe in them and their success! Actions speak LOUD! - @MrsEllingtonAP

When we believe in ourselves then others often believe in us too. When we can help others believe in themselves then we have really achieved something. That’s what great leaders do! - @Juanita43949084

Episode 3 - Passion Energizes the Light
It seems that personal energy is at a premium in this time of great challenge. Oprah Winfrey says that "Passion is energy!" An EdLeader's passion is the source of their energy. It propels them forward. The power of passion in great leaders cannot be denied. What are you passionate about? In this second Lesson from the Lightkeeper, Dr. Jackson discusses how passion is the first step to achievement, that passion increases willpower and is the foundation of excellence.

My first group of students will always bring me the energy to get up on the hard days. They remind me of the importance of our work. I am passionate about equipping students with the tools so that they feel fearless as they take on the world. #cantstopwontstop - @LaurenDudeck

“Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body, and soul into something as is possible.” - @mcms_adam

A passionate leader multiplies leaders. “Multipliers liberate people from oppressive forces within corporate hierarchy. They liberate people to think. They create an environment where the best ideas surface and where people do their best work.” —Liz Wiseman, “Multipliers - @JohnSuralik

Episode 4 - Initiative Activates the Light
In this episode, Dr. Jackson discusses the critical importance of initiative. As has been said countless times, every journey begins with the first step. Without initiative, there is no progress. With initiative, the doors of opportunity are wide open. 

Sometimes the distance of the journey is overwhelming. Just take the first step, the initiative to go forward. It is much easier once you get started to keep going. - @ChristyPropst

"Taking the first step allows us to close the door to fear and move forward " is the take away today from the @EdLeaderPod lesson "Initiatives Activates the Light". How many opportunities pass us by because we don't take the first step....we can not do that to our students! - @KimKrohn3

Episode 5 - Focus Directs the Light
In this episode, the focus is on the importance of intentional focus. Every challenge, including the present one, must be approached with a calm, unwavering focus and a determination to light the way for others. “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” - Zig Ziglar

It's easy to get bogged down with all the other stuff that comes with being an administrator. Keep the focus on your strengths and priorities as you direct your light towards your goals. #ShineTheLight - @parish_laura

Attempting to do everything often means you accomplish nothing. When your attention is directed, your energy is amplified. In 2021 how will you increase success by utilizing focus? @Dr_Rob_Jackson my word of the year is Focused. This podcast helped etch it in my heart. - @BMSNCPrincipal

Episode 6 - Preparation Positions the Light
Preparation is a process, not an event that precedes spectacular achievement. Spectacular achievement comes from unspectacular preparation. This lesson is centered on the power of preparation to relieve pressure and ensure a leader is ready when an opportunity is presented. "Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it." - Alan Armstrong 

The work is in the details, and the details are what set you apart. Preparation, or lack of, speaks for itself! #ShineTheLight #NoSuchThingAsTooPrepared - @karenwood1

”Fail to plan, plan to fail” if you value something, you spend time in thought and preparation. There is a sense of relief when going into a meeting with a feeling of preparedness - @Chris_Davis_20

Episode 7 - Practice Centers the Light
In this 7th episode of "Lessons from the Lightkeeper," the focus is on the importance of practice. Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Practice is the "little bit more" that separates great leaders.

You become what you consistently practice. So practice consistently what you want to become. And then do it again. Thank you for today’s motivation, Dr. Jackson. #ALittleBitMore #ShineTheLight - @kdh28594

Episode 8 - Perseverance Sustains the Light
President John Quincy Adams said, "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." In the eighth episode of the special Professional Development Leadership series, "Lessons from the Lightkeeper," Dr. Jackson discusses the importance of perseverance. 

I certainly needed to hear this today!! As we continue through this year, it is a needed reminder that all success comes from dedication and hard work...educators are certainly doing the hard work. Perseverance is continuing the hard work to reap the rewards. Hang in there! - @algraham107

As educators, we are “fixers.” This is a great reminder as we implement interventions for struggling learners to be patient and persistent with the fidelity of the intervention before jumping to a new intervention. - @jody_mcclenny

Episode 9 - Courage Brightens the Light
Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” In the ninth episode, Dr. Jackson discusses the importance of courage and of being a courageous leader in times of crisis. A leadership position will not give you courage, but courage can make you a leader.

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity”—
Clapping hands sign
I strive for courage over comfort in my journey as a leader. Taking the leap into
@NCPFellows was just that as I left the classroom. I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had since taking that risk! - @RebaLew90086767

Today, I had to display this courage and stand up for what is right & what is best for kids! - @OrangeEducator

Episode 10 - Teachability Expands the Light
Sir Winston Churchill said, "The most important thing about education is appetite." In this latest lesson, Dr. Jackson discusses the power of learning from everyone around you while avoiding the pitfalls of pride. 

“Nothing is interesting if you’re not interested.” “Teachable people are always open to new ideas and are willing to learn from anyone who has something to offer.” I remembered this as a kindergartner was teaching me about patterns & symmetry as we made our necklaces together. - @ginaburchdunn

“The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.” -Dalai Lama - @JohnSuralik

Episode 11 - Character Protects the Light
In the eleventh episode of "Lessons from the Lightkeeper," a leader's character is front and center because as Rev. Billy Graham says, "...when character is lost, all is lost." Educators are role-models and must authentically live the very character traits they teach.

I felt like @Dr_Rob_Jackson was speaking right to me... my true, authentic self, that loves to #shinethelight. - @LAMSimmons10

As a MS Principal, teaching students to be more concerned about character than reputation is so important. Also a great reminder for us as adults. - @SHWeinhold

I've always worked to protect my character! "Character is the firm foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character." - @annabrooks05

Episode 12 - Relationships Influence the Light
Relationships are key and crucial and are the focus of the twelfth episode. "If we want to design schools that promote student ownership of learning, one underlying principle must come to the fore: Relationships are essential for learning." - Charles Leadbeater 

#edleaderpod Leaders who build good working relationships set the foundation to making work more enjoyable for everyone. Being able to encourage people, active listening, communicating, and modeling excellence through a personal commitment to them shows people how much you care. - @chuckonealwchs

So this happened today-An early grad came into the office on his own accord to thank the principal for "being tough on him, he stated he didn't always like it but he needed it." A student who found success as a result of a relationship built by the principal. - @hdietzler

Episode 13 - Responsibility Strengthens the Light
In this leadership reflection for leaders who want to keep growing and improving, Dr. Jackson discusses the importance of taking responsibility for leaders. “Look at the word responsibility – “response-ability” – the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.” – Stephen Covey

Great #EdLeaders are dependable for those who depend on them. When a decision is made, leaders own it, make no excuse if it goes bad, learn from it, and do better next time. Then there's this: Don't make decisions today you wouldn't want to read about in the paper tomorrow! - @parish_laura

Response ability. Once again, I found myself nodding, just like I would at a church sermon. I love that
@Dr_Rob_Jackson preaches right to me. #shinethelight #thislittlelightofmine Teacher friends, take time to listen to the lessons from the lightkeeper. You won’t be sorry. - @LAMSimmons10

Episode 14 - Teamwork Multiplies the Light
The conclusion and final episode in this special Leadership Development series is dedicated to every one of the amazing teammates Dr. Jackson been blessed to serve with. Often repeating the phrase, 'Teamwork makes the dream work," Dr. Jackson knows that the student and staff success he has witnessed over almost thirty years as an educator is directly related to the strength of the team. "We can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." - Mother Teresa

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” ~HE Luccock Proud to serve alongside EVERY member of this team to do our very BESt for students. Together we are better! #BEStstaff #ShineTheLight - karenwood1


  1. I cannot be reminded enough about the need to staying current and surrounding myself with passionate people, will continue to keep the "fire in the belly" burning to serve with commitment and a willingness to learn new things from others. We do not have to "know it all" even if we have been in the field for a long time.

    1. I am convinced that "Fire in the Belly" is the difference between incredibly successful leaders who make a tremendous difference for others and those who seemingly just exist between requested tasks. It is the defining characteristic of those who rise above expectations and circumstances to change the world.


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