Teachers Surprise Steve Spangler with a Best Day Ever Experience

Mini STEM Conference at the Jasper-Troupsburg School District in Greenwood, New York

There’s nothing like a great surprise… especially when you’re on the receiving end of the gift. Teachers and staff from Jasper-Troupsburg School District surprised me with custom-made t-shirts, signs, banners and even napkins with the words BEST DAY EVER.

The phrase “best day ever” has become a powerful metaphor for a leadership principle that I share with educators as we explore the science of engagement. Whenever a teacher hears the wonderful words “best day ever,” there’s a good chance that the student connected and engaged with them on a much higher level due to a shared experience created by the teacher. Best day ever moments are super powerful in the way they can help change the way a student sees, feels, thinks or reacts to key experiences in their life.

LeeAnne Jordan is the Superintendent of the Jasper-Troupsburg School District, and she’s a master of creating unforgettable experiences. I was fortunate to work with LeeAnne and her cadre years ago during her time in Brevard County School in Florida. She’s a leader who just “gets it” when it comes to providing professional development opportunities for her entire staff. I caught up with LeeAnne and a few of her teachers last summer while keynoting the Get Your Teach On conference in Orlando. Little did I know LeeAnne would not only internalize the message, but she would turn the tables and gift me with one of her unforgettable experiences.

The halls and walls throughout the school were decorated with “Best Day Ever” banners and signs. Nice touch, I thought. But then I noticed teachers and staff members, including support personnel, cooks, custodians and bus drivers, arrived wearing custom-made shirts with those three words… BEST DAY EVER.  The thought that kept racing through my mind was… these people haven’t even heard the story and we haven’t even unpacked its significance, but somehow they’re fully engaged and eager to participate.

I’ve been sharing the BEST DAY EVER message with educators near and far for more than a dozen years. But I’ve never quite experienced anything like I did yesterday during my time in Greenwood, New York. As a speaker or consultant, I often wonder if the message and the information I’m sharing from the stage “lands” with the audience. Does the metaphor make sense? Do you think anyone will use the principle in their work with children in the classroom? All of those doubts were cast aside when LeeAnne Jordan and her leadership team put the principles into action and created an unforgettable, BEST DAY EVER experience that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

In a time when leadership is sometimes hard to come by, the teachers and staff in the Jasper-Troupsburg School District are so fortunate to have LeeAnne Jordon leading the charge!

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Learn more about Steve Spangler’s Everyday STEM workshop for K-8 teachers or STEM for Little Sprouts for early childhood educators.

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