Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association – Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership
Todd Nesloney has many titles, but none are able to convey the complete passion he has for kids. Previously a Principal/Lead Learner at a PreK-5 school in Texas, Todd now serves as the Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership for the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). He also manages to speak at events, host podcasts, and author many books including: Kids Deserve It!, Sparks in the Dark, and Stories from Webb.
It’s evident Todd has a clear vision for the future of education and is dedicated to seeing it through. Through the challenges that come with his career, he chooses to rise to the occasion. His fresh and infectious attitude towards reading and education is something more should strive for.
Todd is a great example of how to utilize resources and create impactful learning opportunities. Continue reading to see his innovative approach when making a difference in education.
When did you decide to become involved with education and the issues surrounding it?
I always knew I wanted to work with children. At first I thought it would be social work, but found it far too hard to disconnect myself from the struggles that come with social work so I decided to try teaching and fell in love with it. As I taught longer and longer, I quickly learned how important it is for educators to advocate for our profession and our students and started doing just that.
Why did you choose to approach these issues?
I started using social media at first to connect with and learn from others. Then I used it as a platform to advocate for my students. That led to me speaking across the country (and Canada) which gave me another avenue to make sure the issues were being discussed.
How do you motivate students to become active learners and excited for reading?
You can’t get students to fall in love with reading if you aren’t reading yourself. I believe every adult should make time to be growing their own reading lives. That way you actually know what books to recommend to kids when they share with you their interests. You also have to build that excitement around reading. There’s no such thing as someone who doesn’t like reading. That is just someone who hasn’t found “that” book that breaks your heart and moves you. Once you’ve experienced the power of a life changing story, you’re hooked.
How do you approach education and technology together?
I love using technology with students. But not just using it to make something flashy. Making sure that there is meat behind the glitter. We also have to make sure that we don’t let our own fears of technology keep us from using it with students. It’s ok to learn a new tool alongside your students instead of always having to be the teacher who has all of the answers.
What are your strategies to improve communities and their education?
I view education a lot like mission work. Missionaries don’t sit at church and beg people to come in, they instead go out and serve. As educators we have to be willing to do the same. In my school community we found many ways to get out into the community. Whether that was hot-dog cook outs, park get togethers, or more. We also held events that did nothing more than celebrate the men and women in the children’s lives. Events like “Dinner with a Gentleman” and “Tea with a Lady” were game changers for tearing down walls between the community and our school which therein leads to a bigger importance being placed on education.
Special Note: Support Todd by listening to his podcast, Tell Your Story, or learning more about his many books: Sparks in the Dark, Stories From Webb, Kids Deserve It!, Pushing Boundaries & Challenging Conventional Thinking, and Flipping 2.0: Practical Strategies for Flipping Your Class.