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7 Questions on Leadership with Josh Murnane

Name: Josh Murnane

Title: Associate Principal- Wrestling Coach

Organisation: School District of New London in Wisconsin

I have been in education for 20 years. I have held positions as a social studies teacher at the middle school and high school levels. I have been an Athletic Director and am now a Middle School Associate Principal and wrestling coach.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Josh's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The thing I find most challenging about being a leader, is meeting all student, staff, and community needs, in an efficient and financially responsible way.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I am an accidental leader. I never planned to be an associate principal. I happened to take a number of masters classes in administration. My University called me and let me know that I was only a few credits away from earning my principal license. I completed the program, just before completion the athletic director at my school left, I was hired on a 1 year bases to be the athletic director. 10 years later I am still in administration and I love it.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I am an early bird. I get up at 5:30 to walk the dogs, get ready for school, get my children to school, and plan my day. Once at school I aim to accomplish a number of tasks each day, once students arrive the plan may change completely. Be flexible in your expectations as student and staff come first. At night, I aim to unplug from school. I enjoy coaching wrestling and working with students in a different capacity. Additionally I plan for and engage in family time regularly. I am always sleeping before 10:00.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Make sure to take care of yourself as well as the other leaders in the building. Burnout is real in all roles. If you are not your best self and in a good place, you cannot be there for students, staff, and your own family.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Principal Kafele's associate principal books, as well as his virtual academy have been largely impactful on my leadership. Hands down the biggest influence in my career as an educational leader, is the a former colleague Mr. Dexter McNabb, Principal at Green Bay West High School. The time I spent learning from and working with Mr. McNabb has been priceless both on my professional and personal life.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Be yourself and have fun!!! Listen, learn, and move forward with the best intentions.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Similar to most educators, the most meaningful experiences I have had is having students come back and share that your class, or being on the wrestling team, or being part of the building you helped to lead in really made a difference in their life. Seeing the "kids" you worked with become young adults, then see them as successful parents is truly amazing.

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