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Episode 47: 7 Mindshifts for Tackling Old Problems with Connie Hamilton, Joseph Jones, and T.J. Vari

Oct 31, 2022


Season 4, Episode 7:

Poor achievement scores, teacher turnover, funding shortfalls and political pressures. These are just a few issues that have dogged the education profession for years; they seem intractable. But this session’s guests, Connie Hamilton, Joseph Jones, and T.J. Vari, disagree. They believe we need a few mindshifts to spark our collective efficacy for tackling these problems. They also believe certain leadership behaviors which emerged to help manage the Covid crisis are valuable to retain and apply to these perennial problems in education. They discuss how different mindshifts are suited to particular challenges, offer leaders a way to reignite their passion for finding solutions to tough issues and frameworks for processing old problems in new ways.



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Connie Hamilton


Connie Hamilton

Connie Hamilton, Ed.S. served the field of education for 25+ as a teacher, instructional coach,principal and central office administrator. She earned her master’s and educational specialist degrees in the area of School Leadership with emphasis on curriculum and instruction. Throughout her career, Connie has supported teachers and administrators to refine their instructional practices and be reflective educators. With experience throughout K-12, Connie is mindful of systemic needs and how to develop structures that create growth within the entire system. Connie presents internationally on topics centered around instructional practices such as questioning, formative assessment, teacher clarity, and student engagement. Leaders and teachers benefit from Connie’s experience when she coaches them to put practice to action as they continue to learn and grow.

Connect with her at and connect with her on Twitter.


Joseph Jones


Joseph Jones

Joseph Jones, Ed.D. is the Superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District in Delaware. Joe is a former high school social studies teacher, assistant principal, and principal. As principal, he was named the Delaware Secondary Principal of the Year and during his tenure, Delcastle Technical High School was the first high school to receive the state’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. He received his doctorate from the University of Delaware and currently works closely with local and state leaders on student achievement, spearheading an aggressive campaign to ensure students are successful in high school and in their post-secondary pursuits. He presents nationally on topics of school leadership and is the co-founder of the leadership development institute, TheSchoolHouse302.

Learn more at TheSchoolHouse302, and connect with him on Twitter.


T.J. Vari


TJ Vari

T.J. Vari, Ed.D. is the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools and District Operations in the Appoquinimink School District in Delaware. He is a former middle school assistant principal and principal and former high school English teacher and department chair. His master’s degree is in School Leadership and his doctorate is in Innovation and Leadership where he accepted an Award for Academic Excellence given to one doctoral student per graduating class. He holds several honors and distinctions, including his past appointment as President of the Delaware Association for School Administrators, his work with the Delaware Association for School Principals, and the honor in accepting the Paul Carlson Administrator of the Year Award. His efforts span beyond the K-12 arena into higher education where he holds adjunct appointments, teaching courses at the masters and doctoral level. He is a national presenter on topics of school leadership and the co-founder of TheSchoolHouse302, a leadership development institute.

Learn more at TheSchoolHouse302, and connect with him on Twitter.


Peter DeWitt


Peter DeWitt

Peter DeWitt (Ed.D.), a former school principal in Upstate, NY, previously taught elementary school for 11 years. His syndicated blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week and he is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter has traveled the world, developing content, visiting school sites, influencing policy, and presenting with John Hattie. He has worked with educators at schools, districts, educational service centers, and educational organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officials. His presentations focus on school leadership, school climate, as well as safeguarding LGBT students and other social justice topics.

Learn more about Peter's onsite professional development consulting, Collaborative Leadership, and connect with him on Twitter.



Get the Book!

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders     

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders

With the right approach, no problem is unsolvable.

How do you approach and solve problems in education that have been around so long that they just feel…normal? Perpetual issues—numeracy, reading ability, equity, grading, and teacher retention—are often continually managed, but not solved like the crises they are for future sustainability.

This innovative guide introduces seven mindshifts that will help you engage with your community, access diverse resources, embrace radical new ideas, create equity, and chart a course of school improvement to solve those “unsolvable issues” so that your students and teachers learn and grow.

Get the book


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