The Real Deal

Chicago: I was attending my first national conference. I was nervous and worried about not knowing anyone.  Actually, I knew many people, but it was from Twitter or reading their books. As I stood in line to register, I heard someone call my name. It was Jimmy Casas, who I had only connected with online. He greeted me like an old friend and also stopped by to say hi to me several times throughout the conference, making me feel right at home.  He had always seemed genuine online, but now I could see in person that he was the real deal.

Traverse City: It was the MEMSPA annual conference and Jimmy was giving the closing keynote address. Before he gave his inspiring presentation, I presented him with one of my school shirts and asked him if he would be willing to make a video when he returned to Iowa for my students. In true Jimmy fashion, he immediately put the shirt on and said “Let’s do it right now!” Soon after, our students and staff were enjoying his video and would see that he was the real deal.

Livonia: We were preparing for the start of the school year and over a thousand staff members gathered to hear Jimmy spread his message of Culturize and remind us why we decided to become educators in the first place. After the presentation, I was giving Jimmy a ride to the airport and we were discussing the day. He mentioned how impressed he was that our superintendent, Andrea Oquist, had attended both the morning and afternoon sessions. Most superintendents would not dedicated that amount of time to building culture and spending the day with her team. In Jimmy’s words, “She’s the real deal“.

This month, the #CompelledBloggers are writing about something we have learned from a conference, book, podcast, or presentation that we have experienced recently. My lesson was from Jimmy Casas. Not from his book or even his presentations. I learned from his example that what makes a true leader is authenticity and being genuine. People don’t want perfection, they want “the real deal!”



“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” – Socrates

“Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” – Benjamin Disraeli


  • Monday, October 28: Students of the Month Assembly (Respect) 9:05 AM, REED (Hurula) 3:20 PM
  • Tuesday, October 29: REED (Mcguigan) 8:15 AM, IEP (Hochkins) 8:45 AM
  • Wednesday, October 30: REED (Kaufman) 8:15 AM (Jon out building from 8-10 AM)
  • Thursday, October 31: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, Kindergarten Costume Parade 11:00 AM, 1-4 Costume Parade 2:45 PM
  • Friday, November 1: REED (Trantham) 8:15 AM


  • Monday, November 4: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 5: No Students (District PD in AM/Building PD in PM)
  • Thursday, November 7: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM


  • Monday, November 11: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Thursday, November 14: PLC Meeting 7:50-8:50 AM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM, Social Committee Night Out 7:00 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: