There’s nothing scientific about these tips, just wisdom passed down to me from many of my mentors and experiences encountered in my 27-year career.

  1. A leader must first and foremost think of themselves as a servant.
  2. Invest in a great mentor/coach and have a trusting sounding board; every leader needs a great leader/coach from which to model after.
  3. Make sure your PLN has strong and dedicated people who are committed to your professional growth! Distance yourself from negative people. Eagles soar; chickens cluck and cackle.
  4. Great leaders are voracious readers. Personal and professional reading helps keep your imagination daring and innovative.
  5. Growing as a leader does not always equate to a job promotion. You develop to improve yourself not just to get a new job. As you grow, others will pay for your ability to lead and solve problems.
  6. Leaders get things done through other people. Develop your relationship and people skills by talking to people. You don’t have to be charismatic to be a good leader, but you have to really love people.
  7. Developing relationships is an important factor in growing your leadership. Expand your relationships, and you’ll grow your network. Grow your network and you will expand your influence.
  8. Trust is critical. You can’t lead alone. You must work to develop trust within your organization and nurture it daily. Successful leaders are trusted by their teams and organizations.
  9. Leaders have the courage to change things that warrant change. Strong and decisive leadership is often unpopular. Your leadership effectiveness can sometimes be measured by the amount of pushback you receive.
  10. Leaders show humility. They are inspirational, transformational, reflective and futuristic; they believe in a collective greatness.
  11. Growing yourself means you are committed to personal, professional, and spiritual development.
  12. Healthy and vibrant leaders lead healthy organizations; it’s hard to lead well if you are not physically well! Sharpen your saw, eat healthy, exercise regularly, pray, and meditate. Spend quality time with positive people.
  13. Power and influence don’t come from a professional title. They come from your sacrifice, your integrity, and your example. How you treat people becomes your legacy. Your legacy is what is talked about after you are gone.
  14. Educational professionals are merchants of hope, education evangelists, nation builders, game changers, curators of dreams, and prophets of enlightenment. We are difference makers!


Dr. Walter Jackson has served in public education for 27 years as a teacher, assistant principal, middle and high school principal, and area superintendent. He currently serves as the Brenham ISD Superintendent. Located in Washington County, the birthplace of Texas, Brenham ISD was the first public school district in the state. Dr. Jackson is the first African-American superintendent to lead the 144-year-old school district.

Dr. Jackson has taught masters and doctoral courses for the University of Houston System and has served as a field advisor and executive leadership coach to graduate students at Rice University. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management Fund, UIL Legislative Council, Texas Association of School Administrators Executive Council, and Baylor Scott & White Hospital. In August of 2019, Dr. Jackson was named a finalist for the TASB Superintendent of the year.

Dr. Jackson is an “Equity Warrior” and “Education Evangelist”. He is always seeking to create opportunities for students to take advantage of the public educational system while pursuing the American Dream. He strongly believes a child’s destiny is not determined by their zip code and nothing is impossible to those who believe in the transformative powers of a Great God and a good education.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 6000 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

© Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

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