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Infinite Possibilities

Anthony Schultz is a leader, educator and visionary in his field. This month, we had the opportunity to learn his inspiring perspective on the topic of possibility, and how that concept translates into his work with students and his personal life. Read our Q+A with Anthony below, and be sure to check out his spotlight feature in February's issue of En Root!

This month's theme is all about remaining open to possibilities. Tell us how this theme has played a role in your personal or professional life.

As a school administrator, I always start with my "Why" when making big decisions, reviewing data, or introducing myself to new staff members. It grounds me in what I believe to be most important about the work I do. My Why is rooted in the same belief I held as a teacher, and one that I still hold: Every child can learn, regardless of their circumstances. If this is true, then it follows that every child is born with infinite possibilities when it comes to their path in life. As they grow, children make decisions about themselves--some positive, and some negative, which can open or close possibilities. As a school community, we need to recognize and live up to our responsibility: to keep those possible paths open for our students, and to keep our students open to those possibilities.

At OutGrowth, we believe in designing the space and time to reimagine the path forward. How do you believe that an openness to possibility can impact our perspective and influence our future decisions?

This is an area that I sometimes struggle with. Outside of work, usually on the drive home, I'm a big-picture thinker. However, my day-to-day is often spent delegating and tackling smaller challenges. Sure, I reconnect to the big ideas and goals outlined over the previous summer, but I need to be better about blocking off time during the workday to consider new possibilities for my school moving forward.

What is one hard lesson you learned in this past year that contributed to your growth?

Three days ago, I was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the street with my two sons. When I saw there was a truck not slowing down, I made sure the boys were on the sidewalk and remained in the crosswalk waving to get the truck's attention so they would stop, but they didn't look up until it was far too late. It knocked me about ten feet back and l slid a bit when I landed. I am injured, and many simple tasks and movements have become awkward and painful for the time being, but I am very lucky to be here typing this right now. The hard lesson is this: just as we need to be open to possibilities, we must accept that life's possibilities can disappear in an instant.

What is one competency or skill you hope to develop in 2024 and beyond?

Time management is a skill that I'm always working on. The ability to segment a day into small portions dedicated to tackling tasks is a skill that I truly admire in others, and continually work towards in my work and personal life.

What inspires you?

Every time I get to know a great leader, I'm left inspired. Not because of the advice they give me, or because of how I admire their accomplishments, but because it reminds me they are real people. As a fellow real person, it makes me think "I can do that," and it's important to hear that phrase in your head on a regular basis. This is one of the main reasons I stay as relatable as possible to the teachers I lead, and why I love to admit fault in work conversations and share what I'm struggling with. I want my team to believe that they can someday do what I am doing. Plus, this approach fosters a sense of mutual empathy and buy-in in my teachers.

At OutGrowth, we believe in preparing the next generation of leaders. What is one resource you'd recommend to those looking to carve out the time for growth in the next year?

I'm currently reading Leading Change by John P. Kotter. I recommend it to any leader who has great aspirations for positive change in their organization.

What's next? What are you excited about in the coming year?

I am lucky in so many ways. We are expecting another addition to our wonderful family this April, and I'm approaching a new chapter in my work life where I take over leadership of a new school. This year will be one for the ages!

Anthony Schultz is a father, school leader, and wannabe deadhead, in that order. He is also the founder of Reading Hero, the first reading app to listen to the student and provide real-time feedback.


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