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Mafost Mashup

Mafost Mashup

By Matt Foster
Insanely innovative ideas for school leadership and principals focused on people, culture, and impact.
Lead Learning.
Improve Schools.
Check out the 3x's per week blog at
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Our Duty to Subvert in Education
Maintenance pedagogy has it's place and so does subversive pedagogy. What mode does your school need in 2020?
June 01, 2020
One Final Question
Why must we and when must we say stop? Continue receiving updates at the daily blog
March 26, 2020
Principal Interview Tips - Get The Gig!
Dig deeper at
March 17, 2020
5 Reasons Using Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers is Plain Wrong
1) Correlation 2) Achievement 3) Student Discipline Policy 4) Programs and Initiatives 5) Construct Validity. Get more ideas and tips at
March 03, 2020
Innovation, Risks, and the Anchor
Often change or innovation appears risky to outsiders, but when done right, innovation is a natural part of successful school improvement.
February 18, 2020
Moving into the Edupreneur Space
What's Your Next Step? A conversation with Vernon Wright ( and Matt Foster.
February 12, 2020
What If Schools
Three What Ifs that could spur creativity in finding solutions for the challenges in your school.
February 04, 2020
Time Management for Principals - Research, Tip, Concept (108)
Episode 108 is focused on time management for principals and provides recent research from new principals, a time management tip for power meetings, and an essential leadership concept - the circle of influence. Why is it that some principals always feel like there's a monkey on their back...they're always frayed and ran to the end of their energy? Yet others can complete all the tasks of the day with a sense of calm and the headspace to lead as their selves. Time management is the difference. Learn more at Get all the show notes at
January 28, 2020
6 Ways to Lead Learning During The Struggle
Permission to Struggle. Survival Instincts. The amygdala. These are all tied up in the learning process and the school culture. In this, episode 107, you'll get 6 ways to lead learning in the struggle. Get insanely innovative school leadership ideas delivered to your inbox 3 days per week at 
January 14, 2020
Two Pressures That Resist Change (Wall Building & Conformity Bias)
Understanding these two pressures can help any principals avoid plateaus and headaches associated with change resistance. Wall building and conformity bias are little known pressures that exert large influences on school cultures. Here's what to do about them. Read more on Conformity Bias at the Mafost Blog.
January 07, 2020
Two End of Year Announcements
1) I'm sending out the the year in review . 2) Inviting your input on a new project at 
December 17, 2019
Instructional Coaches, 4 Missed Opportunities
Clerical Work, Substituting, Intervention, Inner Circle. These are four common missed opportunities and missteps when utilizing the role of instructional coaching. Join the thousands of school leaders already receiving the Mafost Daily Blog straight to their inboxes -
December 10, 2019
Vision vs Vision Statements (Two Examples of Vivid Visions)
In this first live episode, typical school vision statements are put to the task of becoming visions. Sign up for the daily blog at
December 03, 2019
Bonus: Real Gift of Gratitude
Two Quotes on Gratitude, Special News, and a Thank You. Get the daily blog at
November 26, 2019
Three Communication Missteps (Rebroadcast)
These three communication missteps are essential to avoid as a principal and school leader. Your teachers, community, and students depend on it. Get the daily blog at Get the monthly blog at
November 19, 2019
Clarity and Toxicity (Ep100 Rebroadcast)
Clarity and Toxicity, Matt sits with Hal Bowman and discusses real-life experiences with school cultures, including: -Shaping School Culture vs. Letting It Happen -Creating a Tribe -Bringing Clarity to the School Vision and Purpose -Uncertainty and Toxic Cultures that Result -The anxiety of the Unknown -Finding the Right Fit -Unintentional Culture Viruses -Communicating with Clarity Principals, instructional coaches, and educational leaders will receive helpful insights into why toxic cultures form and how to turn them around. Subscribe to the daily blog at
November 12, 2019
Elisabeth Bostwick on Efficiency Problems, Emotional Safety, and Shaping Culture
Elisabeth Bostwick is the author of Take the LEAP: Ignite a Culture of Innovation. In this episode she shares actionable ideas related to the efficiency problem, building emotional safety in classrooms, and shaping classroom cultures. Get the book at (paid link to Amazon) Follow Matt's Monthly Blog at
November 05, 2019
What are Principals Learning?
Principals Mark French, Lauren Higgins, Chris Chappotin, Heather Patterson, Cathy Jacobs, Chris Legleiter, and Jon-Eric Zaier join the episode to share what they are currently learning about:   Leading Community with Purpose   Creating a Sense of Community in a Large School   Asking for Help   Being a part of a Principal Network   Empowering Teachers   Reaching Students Each Day   You can get more innovative ideas at
October 29, 2019
Confrontation and Candor
If you're going to lead, there will be tough conversations. But that's not the same thing as tough confrontation.  Get the Daily Blog straight to your inbox three days per week at ___ Check out these quality resources (*paid links from Amazon Affiliates) to help your candor skills: Radical Candor Crucial Conversations
October 22, 2019
Mistakes Made Lessons Learned Part 2
Elisabeth Bostwick, Chris Chappotin, Jon-Eric Ziaer, and Chris Legleiter share mistakes they made and lesson they learned from their experiences leading learning. Topics include:   Asking for Help   Context Switching - Finding Your Identity   Priorities, Management vs Leadership  Given the Right Feedback after Walkthroughs   Get more actionable ideas at  Purchase Elisabeth's Book, Take the Leap: Ignite a Culture of Innovation, at
October 15, 2019
What's A Mistake That Made You Better?
Mark French, Heather Patterson, Cathy Jacobs, and Lauren Higgins discussion four lessons.  Assumptions.  Student Discipline.  Letting Go.  Relationships.  These amazing school leaders and principals share mistakes they made that made them better. Next week, we'll continue this conversation with Elisabeth Bostwick, Jon-Eric Ziaer, Chris Chappotin, and Chris Legleiter. Connect with today's guests in the show notes at Preview Mark French's New Book
October 08, 2019
Emotional Hijackers and Problem Solving That Doesn't Work
Rational problem-solving doesn't work (most of the time). This episode shares a quick strategy that does. Are We Rational Thinkers? Four Steps to Rational Problem-Solving Actionable Empathy, Not Just Venting Who Controls the Conversation? 3 Tips to Communicate a Sense of Calm Get the research and show notes at
October 01, 2019
Culture Crafters
4 Leadership Tips for Culture Crafting. 4 Management Tips. Questions to evaluate your school culture. Starting points for building trust and solving problems. Get the research and show notes at Get the Mafost daily blog three times per week at
September 24, 2019
Bonus: Fear Equation for Decision-Making
What idea is held captive by fear? Use this equation to tackle fear.
September 20, 2019
Phrases to Help with Tough Conversations
Tough conversations are an unavoidable part of life. In school leadership, having the right words to say will compound your leadership influence. Here are 9 phrases that can help you navigate difficult conversations in your work. Get the daily blog and the show notes at
September 17, 2019
18 Questions in 8 Minutes
Every school leader needs questions. We lead with questions. We learn from questions. Here are 18 questions for school leadership, management skills, and instructional systems. Subscribe to the daily blog at
September 10, 2019
Brief History of Management
What do World War II, Peter Drucker, and School Principals have in common? That's the guiding question in this brief history of management. Leave your thoughts at
September 03, 2019
Innovation - Three Riffs
What do the Houston Texans, Stock Market, and School Innovation have in common? Plus, a special invite to
August 27, 2019
Obstacles and Traits (Part 2)
In this episode, part 2 of "10 Obstacles and 10 Traits," we look into teacher obstacles 6-10, which are: Upward Mobility Perceived Disconnect Support Sabotage Cynicism Likewise, 5 leadership traits are offered to help tackle these obstacles in your school. Get the research at
August 20, 2019
10 Obstacles and 10 Traits
This is part 1 of 10 obstacles facing your school and 10 leadership traits that will remove those obstacles! Are you ready to level up your leadership? Visit
August 13, 2019
Emotional Labor of Teaching
The emotional labor of teaching - what is it and what can we do about it? Mismanaged and it leads to teacher stress, fatigue, and even burnout. Here are some questions and ideas to ponder. Share your thoughts on this topic at Read the full article "Teach Your Heart Out, Emotional Labor of Teaching"
August 06, 2019
Bonus: Academics vs Life
A quick rant on the limitations of academics. Changes are coming to education. Is your school ready?
August 02, 2019
Fear and Creativity, A Few Riffs
Fear and Creativity. They feel like opposing forces. Elizabeth Gilbert thinks so - as you'll hear in today's episode. Share your thoughts at Grade the show notes at Episode Sponsor:
July 30, 2019
Reflective Leadership
Actionable ideas for increasing reflective leadership in four different areas. Get the resources at and the show notes at
July 23, 2019
Bonus: Shared Accountability (4 Steps)
A riff on 4 steps to building shared accountability within your school's culture. Get the Mafost Blog three times per week in your inbox >>
July 20, 2019
Team Entropy
Ever wonder why some teams are wildly successful and others struggle to solve problems? Team problem-solving is not that straightforward - it involves team entropy. What is team entropy? What are the 4 phases of team problem-solving? What leadership moves can you take to prevent team entropy? Get it it all in this episode of the Mafost Mashup! Show Notes:  Look for episode 80 "Team Entropy".
July 16, 2019
Back to School Transformed
Transform basic back to school principal tasks into vehicles for crafting school culture. In episode 79, we explore:  Back to School Letter 2.0  Pre-Videos for Meet and Greets  First Day back with Staff  Edcamps  Micro Emails  Delegation  Insider/Outsider Focus  5 Visibility Techniques  Get the research for episode 79 at Music from Queen: 
July 09, 2019
Dam Capacity
 How does a school leader or principal build collective efficacy? In this episode of the Mafost Mashup: Floods The Metaphor A Rant on Effective Balance Between Leadership and Capacity Places to Build Collective Efficacy Smart Data Methods Building Communication Capacity Teachers Giving and Receiving Feedback Get the Mafost Blog three days per week at
July 02, 2019
Staying Focused as a School
If you’ve sat behind the principal’s desk for more than 6 hours, you know it’s difficult, and in some cases impossible, to stay focused on any single task. Magnify that challenge across days, weeks, and semesters, and you have the daunting challenge of staying focused as a school principal or educational leader. Why is it so hard to stay focused? What are the pitfalls and sidetracks for meeting goals or following through?  How can we make it easier to say no to distractions? What supports can we use to stay focused? Where to Find Distractions Quick Tips for Staying Focused Costs of Distractions Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals Too long, unfocused 2 Methods to Stay Focused as a School Download the tools at  Learn more about the collaborators who made this episode possible.
June 26, 2019
Houston, We've Had A Problem
Problem-Solving on Teams is not as easy as it looks. Teacher teams, school leadership teams, and district leadership teams can get distracted by sophisticated problems. In this episode, you'll find the role leaders can play in improving the performance of teams in educational improvement.  Download the research at What are your ideas or questions? Leave a voice message using the link below.
June 18, 2019
Bonus: Say No This Summer
Bonus Episode: Saying No This Summer. It really is the only way to open the space for improvement. Why must we say no? How does it benefit the school? Get the monthly article at Need help with a topic? Have a question I can answer for you? Send me a comment at or tap the voice message button in this app.
June 15, 2019
How To Increase Your School Leadership Network (Blog Crawl)
What is a blog crawl? This strategy will increase your school leadership network, your professional learning, and your contribution to the profession. A blog crawl is a great way for school leaders and principals to collaborate and generate new ideas and solutions. This episode will examine the benefits of a blog crawl and show how to get started.  > Why a Network?  > How to Build Your Network  > Leadership Collective Efficacy  > Why a Blog Crawl?  > What is a Blog Crawl?  > Biggest Benefit of a Blog Crawl?  > The Essence of a School Leadership Network  > Blog Crawl First Steps and Invite Send your topics, ideas, or questions to
June 11, 2019
How to Scale A/B Testing in Your School
This is the single most important strategy to improve learning in any school, and here's a simple 3 step process for scaling A/B Testing (split testing) in your school. Plus:  - The Fallacy of Waiting on Proof -   - John Hattie Misunderstood and Misused -   - An Example of A/B Testing -   - 3 Steps to Scaling A/B Testing -  Get the research, book references, and show notes at I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions. Send me a written comment at or a voice comment in the link below.
June 04, 2019
5+ Strategies: How to Jump Start the Next School Year
Now is the time to jump start the next school year. Here are 5 strategies to help you with this, plus bonus ideas from a few friends. School Leadership Strategies in this episode: Plan Out Your Summer Collaborations.  Address August Amnesia.  Create Outlier Policies.  Visit With Your People.  Manage Up.  Comments and Ideas from Friends: Decluttering, Goals with Initial Steps, Using Padlet, Pause But Don't Stop, Community Engagement Slide. Share your comments or ideas at  Get the show notes for the podcast or join the educational leadership blog at 
May 28, 2019
Bonus: Action and the Planning Fallacy
In this bonus episode, we briefly look into the planning fallacy and why it makes action so difficult for strategic plans or improvement plans.
May 24, 2019
5 Ways to Initiate Change in School Culture
It takes more than spreading the narrative, using social media, or creating a "brand" to make change happen in school culture. As a matter of fact, there are three categories for leadership behaviors that can impact school culture. In this episode, I'll share 5 ways to initiate change that can result in a positive school culture. 2:29 Defining Leadership Behavior 2:51 Three Types of Leadership Behavior 4:36 Action 5:56 Be a Feedback Loop 7:31 Stoke the Fire 8:31 Clarify the Problem 10:26 Research Download Get the research and show notes at and look for this episode title.
May 21, 2019
6 Tactics for Empowering Your School
Let's get concrete on the topic of empowerment. Here are 6 ways to empower your teachers, teams, and staff members. Download the research for this episode at
May 15, 2019
Personalized Learning with and without Technology (Marci Houseman Part 2)
In part 2 of this discussion, we talk about the core concepts and practices in personalized learning, both with and without technology. Several metaphors are given for personalized learning, and Marci shares insights into how Lexia Learning uses technology to enhance teaching. Get the show notes at and join the daily blog at
May 07, 2019
Morale, Communication, and Vulnerability
In this episode of the Mafost Mashup, we discuss ways to boost morale, one communication misstep, and the concept of vulnerability-based trust in a school culture and team.
May 01, 2019
Personalization with Marci Houseman (Part 1)
What does personalization look like in classrooms? What role can technology play in personalized learning? In part 1 of the interview with Marci Houseman we talk concepts of personalization and how they apply to one elementary classroom. Get the show notes at Follow Marci on Twitter at @marcihouseman
April 24, 2019
How to Use a Go, No-Go Date
Stop doing lists are critical to keeping focus in your school improvement efforts. However, this simple to use strategy will make stop-doing lists an automated part of your plans. Music by Lobo Loco
April 16, 2019
How to Shift Instructional Climate
How do you shift the instructional climate? Let's talk about the 3 factors in instructional climate and some actionable how-to strategies for each factor. Do you get the monthly email? Get it at
April 09, 2019
Keep Your Star Teachers from Quitting You
These 6 ways cost nothing. When used, they will empower your star teachers and solve the morale problem. Is the school climate a little off? Is teacher morale low? Is turnover a problem? In this episode you'll find: 1) How to Say Thanks 2) How to Treasure Hunt 3) Avoid Task Vacuums 4) Manage Your Own Fears 5) Manage Frameworks 6) Create a Culture of Success Consider leaving your thoughts or a question at Thanks to our sponsors: Anchor, Flipboard, and Broke for Free.
April 02, 2019
How to Create Your Vision for a School
What is your vision for your school? How is that vision different than a shared vision. In this how-to episode of season 4, we look a simple method you can use to create your vision.  Do you have Questions? I'd love to answer them. Go to and submit a question to be answer on the podcast. Also,  get the daily email three days per week at
March 27, 2019
How to Craft an Unstoppable School Culture
There are 5 culture crafting strategies for school leaders in this episode: SGI Clarity Smash the But What Abouts Use Conditioning (Words Not Needed) Avoid Rubbernecking The Mafost Mashup is beginning a series of how-to episodes for principals and school leaders. This is the first, and you can keep up with the research and show notes at Get the daily email at - innovative ideas to your inbox, three days per week.
March 20, 2019
Action, Finishing Strong, Empathy, and Impact on Learning
This is a mashup of season 1 focusing on Action, Finishing Strong, Empathy, and Impact on Learning. Topics include: Dynamic Teams for Culture Data Developing the Instructional Plan Using April and May to Finish Strong Empathy in School Leadership Situational Awareness Research on Staff Happiness Misuses of Data Impact on Learning Get the show notes at The daily blog is delivered to your inbox 3 days per week, and it's focused on People, Culture, and Impact. Sign up at The Mafost Mashup is currently sponsored by Anchor, Flipboard, and TeamTom Education, LLC. You can also support this podcast by leaving a review, subscribing, or passing it along to a friend.
March 13, 2019
Bonus: 4 Ways to Celebrate Your People
Four highly actionable ways to use celebration to impact professional learning and student learning on your campus. These are research-based strategies and not fleeting tactics or gimmicks. Get the research and show notes at
March 05, 2019
Episode 63: 5 Ways to Use Immediacy
Immediacy. It can increase your impact as a school leader. It's an actionable way to lead with empathy. But what is it? How can you do it? Learn More at
February 27, 2019
Episode 62: Your Importance to the Group
2 Actionable tips to increase your importance (and influence) with a group. This bonus episode is a follow-up to the problems presented in the season 3 finale: Winning with Bold Empathy. Learn More at
February 20, 2019
Winning With Bold Empathy (S3 Episode 10)
In this season 3 finale, we investigate the connections between group think, bystander effect, herd mentality, fear of failure, risk-taking, and bold empathy. Resources: and
February 13, 2019
Interview: Rethinking Structures to Increase Learning (Episode 60 with Mel Hawkins)
In this bonus interview, Mel Hawkins shares his thoughts on erasing grade levels, competency-based learning, mastery teaching, and other outlier ideas to increase student learning. Connect with Mel on Twitter. Find show notes, research, and the daily blog at
February 06, 2019
Why You Can't Create Change in Classrooms Part 2 (S3 Episode 9)
Plus, 15 ways to create change!
January 30, 2019
Stop Doing Lists (S3 Episode 8)
The what, why, and how for stop doing lists including the interesting behavior science behind human memory and cognitive bandwidth. (Episode 58) Get the show notes and more research at If you to have more Mafost, subscribe to the 3 times per week blog at
January 23, 2019
Where Emotion and Clarity Intersect (S3, Episode 7)
The role of emotion in school leadership. Using the powerful leadership resonator. Insights from Daniel Goleman. And the power of this rarely-discussed intersection of emotion and clarity. Get the research and show notes at Want to join the Weekly #822Chat? Visit
January 16, 2019
Three Communication Missteps (S3 Episode 6)
This season is about people, and this episode is about three of the most common missteps that cause bottlenecks in communication. Research from the Harvard Business Review, a Marine Courtroom, and practical solutions are all present in this episode. Get more insanely innovative ideas at
January 08, 2019
Bonus: How To Masterpiece, Fringe, and Vulnerability (Episode 55)
Episode 55: How to craft a masterpiece in 2019, work in the fringe of conflict, and lead with vulnerability. This mid-season 3 bonus focuses on 3 distinct how-to segments.  Get the Show Notes at Also, join Matt at the #822Chat on Twitter. Learn more at
January 03, 2019
Interview: Distinguished Schools of Mental Health Part 2 (Episode 54)
In part 2 of this interview with Dr. Bryan Pearlman, we continue the discussion on mental health and wellness in schools - 1:45 How a Guaranteed & Viable Curriculum Promotes a Healthy School  - 2:10 Not Just Teaching to the Test  Supporting Strong and Healthy Teams  - 3:30 Taking the Long-View on Academics  - 4:00 Cognitive Conflicts Instead of Affect Conflicts  - 4:45 Effective Training for Staff Members  - 5:30 Using Scenarios in Training  - 6:30 Dealing with "Challenging" Students  - 8:10 Distinguished Schools of Mental Health and Wellness  A Support Model for Mental Health at Schools - 9:35 Developing Mindfulness  - 10:00 What to Expect with DSMHW Coaches  - 10:45 Student Management Techniques  - 12:49 Kindness Quote  - 13:05 Power of Kindness  - 14:00 A Student's View of Kindness - 16:51  How to Contact Dr. Pearlman  - 17:48 An Opportunity  Get the show notes at And receive blog 3 x's per week at
December 28, 2018
Interview: Mental Health & Wellness, Part 1 with Dr. Bryan Pearlman
In this interview, Dr. Bryan Pearlman and Matt discuss how to create a school culture that supports mental health and wellness. Topics include: - Helping students deal with trauma and self-harm. - Helping teachers with stress and anxiety. - Setting the health of a school on the right path. - Self-care for teachers. - Finding balance and avoiding burnout. Get the show notes at Get in touch with Dr. Pearlman at his non-profit or at his consulting company
December 19, 2018
Bonus: Moving Vision to Reality with OKRs
Google uses OKRs to avoid the numbing effects of bureaucratic improvement planning. Your school can use OKRs ( Objectives and Key Results) to take the leaps toward your vision in small concrete steps. You can find details and samples of OKRs under Season 3 at
December 15, 2018
School Brands That Inspire (S3 Episode 5)
What's in a Name? Quite a bit, it turns out. Should a school work on a brand? What is a brand? What do the top 10 high schools in the U.S. have in common? This episode includes the following topics: - Tesla's Quest for a Name - Nominative Determinism - Studies on the Impact of Names - A Tennis Classic - Top 10 Schools 2018 - Three Types of Values - Finding Your Something Get the research and show notes at Join the email list for insanely innovative leadership ideas 3 times per week, straight to your inbox at
December 11, 2018
822Chat: Four Simple Ways to Celebrate Strengths in Your School
How do you celebrate the strengths of your team? This week’s #822chat was on fire again! The tribe is connecting, discussing, and sharing some amazing ideas. The theme for December is "gifts". How to find them. How to celebrate them. To get show notes, research, and dig deeper visit
December 06, 2018
Inspiration and Accidental Manipulation (S3 Episode 4)
Can you change practices that have become automatic? What's the difference between an environment where play is encouraged and one in which self-regulation is the norm? How does cognitive embodiment manipulate our judgment? Is it possible to intentionally inspire human brains? What's the difference between supervision and being watched? Topics Include: -- Psychology of Perceptions and Manipulation -- Resistance to Change -- Emotional Exhaustion -- Perception is Not Reality -- Leading With Heart Get the research and videos at
December 04, 2018
Bonus: Culture is a Reflection of Leadership
The school reflects your confidence and passion. Likewise, it mirrors your fear and insecurity. Embrace your weaknesses, build your strengths, and empower your people.
December 03, 2018
Why You Can't Create Change in Classrooms (S3 Episode 3)
...and solutions that work! Season 3, Ep.3 connects Ronald Reagon, Ice Cream Shops, and Hillary Clinton to bring you 5+ ways to create change in classrooms. These solutions address 3 powerful challenges to effective change leadership. Get the show notes at
November 28, 2018
Magnified Side Effects, Clarity (S3 Episode 2)
Clarity of Purpose. Educator Burnout and Demoralization. Where do these magnified side effects come from? Who are the Millers? Do you want to take a cruise? is missing, are you missing out, or is it a mission for your school? Topics in this episode include: -- Stats on Burnout and Attrition -- Understanding the Problem -- Clarity of Purpose -- Mission Statements in Schools -- The Millers -- Bearings & Long Distance Cruising -- Behavioral Cohesion for School Leaders -- Magnified Side Effects Leave your comments, questions, or ideas at
November 20, 2018
Bonus: 3 Exercises to Lead with Vulnerability (Episode 46)
Leading with vulnerability builds trust and creates organizational health. Here are three exercises you can use to shape culture, connect people, and impact learning. Leave your thoughts and questions at
November 18, 2018
The One Thing That Limits Your People (S3 Episode 1)
Season 3 Premiere focuses on busting through the one thing that limits your people in your schools. Topics include: -- Organizational Health vs. School Culture -- The Key Ingredient to High Performing Teams -- Minimizing Politics -- Difference Between Trust and Confidence -- How to Lead With Vulnerability If you enjoy this episode, consider sharing it with one friend. Leave your comments or questions at Also, get the show notes and research behind the episodes at
November 14, 2018
S3: Unleashing Your People (Intro to Season 3)
This season is about your people. Over a decade ago in the Harvard Business Review, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote, “Executives spend too much time drafting, wordsmithing, and redrafting vision statements, mission statements, values statements, purpose statements, aspiration statements, and so on. They spend nowhere near enough time trying to align their organizations with the values and visions already in place." Topics in this introduction include: -- Removing Restraints that Limit -- Propensity to Complexity -- Brains Need Simplicity -- Overview of Research on 40 School Districts -- An Actionable Definition of Integrity -- Coming Topics such as the Amygdala, Environments that Matter, Builders of Learning Systems, and Crafters of Learning Cultures
November 06, 2018
S3 Preview: School Health
Season 3 is about people. It's about what's simpler but not easier. Addressing the health of a school is simpler than addressing the complex data, spreadsheets, tactics, and plans. Those things are complex, but they are also tangible and easy to see. They are the brains. But the health of the school is much more subjective and requires nuance and common sense mixed discipline to execute. School leaders who understand school health are poised to empower their people and reach levels of outlier success.
October 31, 2018
Ep41 Five Morale Boosters for Right now
This happens to be that time of year where back to school enthusiasm is long-gone, and teaching is deep in the trenches. This is good for learning momentum, but it takes its toll on energy. Student attendance might be dropping. Staff attendance might also be dropping. So here are 5 Morale Boosters for Right Now. Get tips like these 3 days per week in your inbox at If you enjoyed this episode, please consider rating and subscribing to help others know about this podcast, Music by Broke For Free, Creative Commons Attribution:
October 24, 2018
Ep39 Bonus: The Job Description
A Mashup of Three Ideas: Not on the Job Description; Career Moves; The Mirror. These 3 concepts can place you in control of your career and make you indispensable in your organization. Sign up for the daily email at Also read the transcript at or on the monthly blog Copyright 2018, Matt Foster @mafost Educator, Creator, and Culture Shaper.
October 17, 2018
Ep38 Danny Sunshine Bauer BLBS Roadmap
In this interview, you're going to get inspirational, innovative, and practical ideas from Danny "Sunshine" Bauer as we discuss his new book, Better Leaders Better Schools Roadmap. Topics include: - Part 1: The Inward Journey - Holding Difficult Conversations - Being Other People Focused - Routines To Perform Your Best - Genuine Empathy - Morning SAVERS Routines - Helping People Reach Their Dreams - Giving to Give - Free Coaching Opportunity - Part 2 of Leading Your School - Envision Your Best School - Fighting Isolation for School Leaders - Always Questioning the Why Preview and purchase the book at
October 10, 2018
Ep37 Bonus: Good Sense and Creativity
Why did IBM fall from the top 10 tech companies? Why has school been so successful in preparing employees in the 20th century? How do these two questions parallel each other? - Good Sense and Creativity was originally a long-read at - Get more episodes of the Mafost Mashup at
October 03, 2018
S2 E10 Finale: Impact on Learning
Impact on Learning. The season 2 finale explores the amazing learning of dolphins in Florida. Connections are made to dropouts, successful business leaders, and the next horizon for education. Topics include: -- Dolphins -- Curiosity -- Dropouts -- Beyond Accountability -- Next Horizons -- The show notes will be available at The daily blog is also available at
September 26, 2018
Bonus: Overarching Factors
Getting biggest impact on learning usually requires us to look beyond the quick fixes of visible and easy adjustments. Enter, overarching factors.
September 20, 2018
S2 E9 Measuring Impact
Measuring Impact. Education is too important to get this wrong, and the gaps are getting too large! Let's talk about the why and how behind knowing our impact on learning. In this episode: - Canary in the Coal Mine - Program for International Student Achievement - Breaking Rankings - High-Yield Strategies from John Hattie - Knowing When Something Works - Case Study with Common Assessments - False Positives - Pursuit of Happiness - Impact on Learning For the PISA data, the videos, and John Hattie's Books, go to https://mafost/mashup
September 19, 2018
S2 E8 Execution Gaps
Execution gaps are deadly little traps that put serious limits on the impact of instructional leadership. They result in fragile plateaus and false positives only to be exposed in times of change. There is a solution though, which we explore in detail in this episode of the Mafost Mashup. Topics include: - Quote from Howard Gardner - Results of the short-game - Recent trends in instructional leadership - Limits of instructional leadership - The dangers of plateaus - "The Silver Bullet" - Perfect, in theory - Insights from Daniel Goleman - People, Culture, and Impact Get the full show notes, access to the research, and video clips at
September 12, 2018
Bonus: 3 Instructional Coaching Activities
These 3 monthly activities will help you approach instructional coaching with systems-thinking. It's a bonus for Season 2 Episode 7: Process of Coaching. If you like it, pass it along. If you found it helpful, go ahead and smash that subscribe button! Thanks for listening. Get the research and show notes at
September 07, 2018
S2 E7 Process of Coaching
Here's part 2 of the interview with one of Houston's foremost instructional coaches and curriculum directors on the topic of instructional coaching. Highlights include: - Coldplay's "Fix You" - Research on the lack of research - Multifinality as a guiding principle - Difficulty of being an instructional coach - Coaching conversation tips - Simple coaching prep - What really matters You can get episode notes, resources, and research at If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to pass it along!
September 05, 2018
S2 E6 Assessment Data
Season 2 Episode 6: Assessment Data. With guest audio from Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, this episode of the Mafost Mashup is a heart throbbing take on 3 ideas to make assessment and data a driving force for impact on learning! Topics include: - Moneyball: Managing with Bad Data - Data Dashboards - Sensitive Data - Unidimensional Assessments - Top Gun: Top-Down Errors - Reliability for the Practitioner - Problems with Big Tests - The Solution Get the details and how-to at Audio clips from Fandango's Movieclips YouTube channel. Check them out at
August 29, 2018
S2 E5 Collaboration, A Basic Need
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are more than mere lesson planning or book studies...they are a basic human need. In this episode, we sit with Dr. Coryn Prince school administrator and educational leader, whose recent doctoral research focused on features of successful PLCs. Topics include: - PLCs as a basic human need - Naturally-formed PLCs - The focus of effective PLCs - The role of a shared purpose - Trust and Safety - How to Build Trust - PLC as Family Get show notes and additional resources at And subscribe to the 3 times per week blog at
August 22, 2018
S2 E4 Failure of Fidelity
In Episode 4 of Season 2, we challenge the RTI concept of fidelity. Should it be in your intervention systems? Has it failed? What is the evidence? Topics include: - What is Fidelity in Instruction? - Where did fidelity come from? - Why has it failed? - Why should it be embraced? - Research on the failure of micromanagement - Why reading gaps occur - Data on illiteracy - Multi-layered Intervention for Reading Get more details, research, and show notes at
August 14, 2018
S2 E3 Reading Systems
Which of these has the biggest impact on learning? Whole Language, Student Control Over Learning, RTI, or Teacher Knowledge. This episode starts with John Hattie's updated research and then delves into why systems-thinking wins over instructional strategies, especially for reading instruction. Topics Include: - Changes in Reading Technology - The disappearance of Learning Disabilities - The Documentation Problem - Why RTI (Response to Intervention) Fails - Multi-Gate Screener Systems - A/B Testing as a System for Improvement - The Coming Change in Reading Skills - Why Systems Win You can get the Mafost Mashup show notes at And subscribe to the blog at
August 07, 2018
S2 E2 Instructional Coaching
This episode of the Mafost Mashup, the premiere principal podcast, is about instruction coaching, and we have guest Kerry Flanagan sharing insights about successful instructional coaching. Topics include: -Dopamine -Lottery Tickets -Serotonin -Relationships & Trust -Successful Conversations -Challenging Coaching Conversations Instructional coaching is a tool that, over time, builds trust and acceptance. It builds serotonin and oxytocin, the key ingredients needed to remove the veil of emotions that cover the brains rational center, so strategic steps toward improvement can be made!
August 01, 2018
S2 E1 Impacting Community
Impacting Community, Mafost Mashup Season 2 Episode 1. In this episode, Matt sits down with the innovative and insightful principal Matt Arend to discuss the impact he's had on the community at Sigler Nation (Sigler Elementary in Texas). Get the show notes at Connect with Matt Arend at: Website: Twitter: ___ Topics include: - Making the Climb - Support (Danny Steele Quote) - Building a Culture of Family - Social/Emotional Needs of Students, Staff, and Families - Simple Ways to Make a Daily Impact - Balancing the tasks of the Principalship - Lessons Learned for New or Aspiring School Leaders * This episode includes a live interview from Orlando, FL in a less than optimum acoustic setting.
July 24, 2018
Season 2 Prelude
I'm kicking off season 2 of the Mafost Mashup with a prelude - for principals and school leaders who appreciate insanely innovative ideas to lead learning and improve schools. You can subscribe here to get all episodes and you can read the show notes at In this prelude, you will find: > Peek into the Season 2 Interviews > John Hattie's Worst Factors on Learning > Bad Data is Worse than No Data
July 18, 2018
BONUS: The 321 Strategy
The 321 Strategy takes complicated school improvement plans and strips them down to a focused and actionable set of components directly connected to professional learning and student results. Learn more about the 3-2-1 strategy at To get more tips like this, follow the Mafost Blog at
July 16, 2018
BONUS: NAESP 2018 Leadership Live Rant
Live from NAESP conference! Inspired by the energy, vision, and passion of a few principals and educational leaders whom I happened to bump into - this quick rant is about the fulcrum, leadership. Being the one for kids. Being the voice and difference maker! The Mafost Mashup is a podcast for principals and school leaders who seek to shape culture, connect people, and impact learning.
July 09, 2018
Episode 10: No Excuses
High expectations for student success - this is the mantra of our generation, but what if we've got it out of balance? What if we've used high student expectations in ways that created blind spots for excuses? Episode 10 of the Mafost Mashup is a hard-hitting, fast-paced finale to season one including topics for principals and school leaders such as: - High Expectations for Students - Strange Thing About Water - Determination - Reform of No Excuse Schools - Overview of Top Research on Student Expectations - The Role of Educators - Expectations for Educational Professionals - Metrics of Impact - DNA of No Excuses - No Excuses in Education Get show notes (research, charts, and examples) at This is the podcast for principals and school leaders who want to be challenged with insanely innovative ideas on school Culture, People, and Impact.
July 03, 2018
Free Resources for Principals
Over 100 principals have joined the collaboration to share free resources for school leaders and principals. The tools and resources are growing. Take a look at
June 30, 2018
Episode 9: The Real Lessons
In this episode of the Mafost Mashup, I sit with Hal Bowman and discuss the real lessons of school - those lessons that actually stick with students and meaningful for life. This podcast for principals and school leaders will leave you inspired to bring passion to your school every day because students aren't merely learning skills - they are forging identities. Topics in this episode include: Doing Time Impact Through Meaningful Work What If School... Bootlegging in Schools Passions and Skills, Not Grade Levels A Leader Who Gets It Egg Carton Learning Industrial Age Employee Model Opportunities to Forge Identities The Real Lesson Passionate Teachers Students Envisioning Their Futures
June 26, 2018
Episode 8: Clarity and Toxicity
The Mafost Mashup is a podcast for principals and school leadership. In Episode 8: Clarity and Toxicity, Matt sits with Hal Bowman and discusses real-life experiences with school cultures, including: -Shaping School Culture vs. Letting It Happen -Creating a Tribe -Bringing Clarity to the School Vision and Purpose -Uncertainty and Toxic Cultures that Result -The anxiety of the Unknown -Finding the Right Fit -Unintentional Culture Viruses -Communicating with Clarity Principals, instructional coaches, and educational leaders will receive helpful insights into why toxic cultures form and how to turn them around.
June 19, 2018
Episode 7: Communication
A podcast for principals and school leaders - Episode 7 of the Mafost Mashup tackles 5 insanely innovative ways to improve communication in your school. This episode starts with the Effective Schools Research, discusses a major gap in the effective school correlates, and addresses a powerful analogy to increase the effectiveness of your school culture.
June 12, 2018
Episode 6: Empathy
Episode 6 of the Mafost Mashup is loaded with practical applications for principals and school leaders who wish to build a leadership strategy using Empathy. Five characteristics of empathy are discussed in detail, including these topics: -Situational Awareness -Predicting Pitfalls -Tribes -Circles of Trust -Below-the-surface Issues -Seeking to Understand -Humility -Conversations -Authenticity -Authentic Leadership Gone Wrong -Research from "The Leadership Quarterly" -Self-Awareness -Unbiased Processing -Relational Authenticity -Well-Being -Fearless Empathy -6 Mindsets to Kill Fear of Failure -What Empathy is Not This is the must-listen episode for all school leaders, principals, and teacher leaders striving to lead learning and improve schools!
June 05, 2018
Bonus: People this Summer
The only thing that makes or breaks a campus is people. Here are a few ways to strengthen the connections with the people on your campus, to lead learning, and to improve schools. For principals, school leadership, and teacher leaders.
June 01, 2018
Episode 5: Meaningful Work
How do we cultivate meaningful work in our schools? For teachers, leaders, and students. This episode tackles several topics related to meaningful work: -Workplace Envy -Absorption -Play -Research from Jeffrey Springer -Flow -Creating Meaningful Work -Quote from Alfred North Whitehead Schools that cultivate meaningful work will tap into the creativity and innovative spirit of their people. Students will experience learning that can be applied in their lives. Teams will have extreme engagement.
May 31, 2018
Episode 4: Impact
What is success for your school? Is it a rating? Is it a passing rate? Is it your own promotion? Or do you measure success by impact? After spending the day with Hal Bowman at an amazing campus in the Houston area, I reflected on the meaning of impact. This episode challenges common notions and practices regarding the impact on student learning. Topics in this episode include: -Measuring Happiness -Job Satisfaction Research -Turnover -Achievement Gaps -Transformative Leadership -Test Scores -New Achievements -Ways Schools Could Impact Communities -Performance-Oriented Trends -Your Game Defines Your Culture
May 22, 2018
Bonus: Pizza Panels
Let's get insanely innovative this summer and buy a lot of pizza! Create 3, 4, or 5 different student panels. Buy lots of pizza and watch amazing things happen for your school! Learn more in this 60 second bonus segment.
May 16, 2018
Episode 3: Champions Finish Strong
You are building something great, you are not just doing a job. You are doing meaningful work. And you will continue deep into the summer days because you understand your finish determines your starting line next year. And your start will determine your wins. You are a champion for your school, and champions finish strong. Episode 3 tackles the big questions of how to seriously advance your school during summer break. Don't listen to this episode, unless you're ready to roll up your sleeves and make some amazing culture shifts! Topics Include: -Situational Awareness vs. Curriculum/Instruction -Leading with Questions -Who to Question -Intentional Questioning -Acting on the Data -Build a Baseline -Summer Leadership Steps -The Instructional Plan -Leadership Dinner -Pizza Panels -September Execution -Surveying Campus Culture
May 15, 2018
Recap 1: #FuturEd
Pitfalls of hype. Surveying Campus Culture. What's Coming? Interviews from counselors, principals, and business leaders. Vision for the next few decades.
May 10, 2018
Episode 2: Culture in 3 Simple Steps
Don't worry about curriculum, assessment, and data if you don't have this in place. So here are 3 simple steps to take. Get @mafost in your inbox at Topics Covered in Episode 2 -Is there enough common ground? -The nitty gritty -What you do collectively -Brushfires -Culture as a cloud -Building school culture -Surveying school culture -Garnering involvement -Dynamic teams -Merely doing Free online school culture course at
May 08, 2018
Episode 1: Not So Grand Opening
Is buy-in a necessary component for school improvement? Or is it a detriment? What is your school's attention span? How do you garner commitment to long-term improvement efforts? What is the long game? Episode 1 tackles these questions and more. The Mafost Mashup is for principals and school leaders who value people, build school culture and make a measurable impact. This is insanely innovative - not for everyone! #education #edleaders #edleadership Subscribe to the blog at and gain access to free online courses for school improvement!
May 01, 2018
Mafost Mashup Teaser #1
How many walk-throughs do teachers feel they need? I asked, and this is what I found.
April 26, 2018
Mafost Mashup Sneak Peek
This is a sneak peek into the coming podcast for school leaders, instructional leaders, and anyone interested in school improvement. Starting May 1st.
April 06, 2018