Mark Brown is an educational leader, leadership and team development facilitator, author, speaker, coach, student, and mental health and wellness advocate. He is known for his passion and dedication for inspiring others to #ChooseToBeYou by living life as their best self! Mark shares openly about his life experience and how the highs and lows throughout his life have molded him into who he is today. His goal is to use his experience to encourage others to face their fears and challenges head on, and to learn to love themselves for who they are!
Tell me about a time you were in the trenches: Mark says he is still crawling out every day. As a leader, he has to make a lot of difficult decisions. As a people pleaser, it’s challenging. He struggles with anorexia, it’s a real part of his life. What he’s learned through counseling, therapy, it’s not just about the food, but spills over into other areas of his life. His life has often been consumed by anorexia. It kept him from being who he needed to be. It’s happened over the past 10-11 years. He was in the trenches consumed by desire to please people. He is continuing to climb out. He won’t necessarily get to point where he’s healed.
Tell me about your journey from a struggling high school student to where you are now? He climbed the ladder really quickly, is still pretty young. Title he had on door was what he thought he needed to get credibility. He became a HS administrator before was 30. It all came at a cost. In his current position, he has helped have a positive influence on people he leads. Leadership isn’t about who you are, it’s the actions you take. If he’s a good leader, those things will come. If always focused on climbing the ladder, he won’t be pleased. If doing 100% doing the things for the people he serves, other opportunities will come. It’s his 3rd year in this position. He has a chapter in his book called “Chasing Titles.”
Tell me about your current context and how you help students who may be like you were when you were their age as an AP during distance learning? How have you grown as an admin through distance learning? If we’re looking at strict attendance data, those rates haven’t changed. In the physical classroom, all focus has been getting them into the classroom, but now the focus is engaging them in class work. The focus has shifted into getting them connected with school work. They have done empathy interviews with staffulty members. It helped them understand that students have a story, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for all. Approach in a individual way. It’s shifted from finding out “why” and focusing on the “how”. Within google meets, they’re doing the breakout rooms. They aren’t just doing the sit’n’get. It’s more dialogue & collaboration. They enjoy it. This year, he’s teaching an advisory class “tiger time”. Saw that SEL and direct connections are important. He asks leading questions and prompts, he is inspired by authentic conversation, they meet 2 times a week.
What are your current offerings to schools in terms of workshops, motivational talks; do you have anything coming up? Has done several virtual keynotes-4 in the past week. (postponed to in-person) Summer ’22, the Maslow before Bloom conference in Missouri with Brian Pearlman July 21-22. He wants to line up in-person stuff. He is done consulting work with schools on how to bring in mental health. Work/life balance. Is humbled to get the opportunity to speak. He is consulting with schools about how to bring mental health conversation to life with students and among staffulty. He just wants to the get the mental health conversation started.
How we can open it up more to speak on the mental health of educators? Wherever you’re at, you need to focus on investing on learning more about how to invest in mental health.
How can we help staff members who are dealing with struggles who don’t necessarily open up? We haven’t done a great job of embracing that mentality. He helps educators learn to take care of themselves first. He can’t do thing for others if he doesn’t first make sure he’s in a good spot. Find an accountability partner, not in family. You need someone you can have an authentic conversations with. Self-care isn’t meant to be done alone. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. We need to admit that by ourselves we ARE enough. Now more than ever, we need to intentionally reach out. Now we need to schedule out the meet with colleagues during the day.
What do you wish you would have done differently as a young educator? He wishes he would have been himself. He tried to be cool, hip, and emulate others to a fault. He wishes he would have asked for help more. He skirted around some issues. He needed to be confident in himself. He missed opportunities for authentic connections.
How do educators like to control too much- and how should they focus on what they are able to control- our attitude, effort and how we treat others. He has approached looking for opportunities to be in control. Educators are naturally leaders, look for opportunities to see what we can control. Everything else is outside our control. E + R equals O. Experiences are outside of our control. What will help you get to control is your response to the experience. Then, there’ll be a higher probability of a more positive outcome. You can walk away from the experience knowing you kept a great attitude. You did everything you could in the right way. You treated everything with kindness.
Key quotes: “Choose to be you. You will face highs and lows in life, experiences you’ll have to respond to. Sometimes that means you’ll have to ask for help. We’re all a work in progress. Don’t try to lie & trick others into believing you are someone other than who you are”.