From Teacher to Lead Learner & Principal: 8 Questions with Todd Nesloney

8 QUESTIONS is a series of interviews with teachers who have effectively transitioned their classroom skills into new and exciting careers in the field of education. We at believe that teaching is a rigorous and diverse classroom in and of itself; the skills learned “in the trenches” can translate into an exciting portfolio of professional options. From education tech to consulting, the only “X factor” is where you want to go — our interviews hope to shine a light on the steps it takes to get there.

1. What’s your name, location, current profession?

Todd Nesloney, Navasota Texas, Principal/Lead Learner of Webb Elementary

2. Where did you earn your teaching certification and where did you go to school?

I got my BS at Texas A&M in Interdisciplinary Studies and my Masters in School Administration from Lamar University.

3. How long were you a teacher for?

I taught for 7 years before becoming an Principal.

4. What was the most rewarding part of being a classroom teacher? What about classroom teaching did you find most challenging?

The most rewarding part was being able to reach a child's heart. To truly connect and get to know them and remind them that there is someone out there who cares.

The most challenging would be keeping up with the million things your campus, district, and state require of you on a daily basis. There are so many holes to jump through as an educator, and many of them are repetitive or unnecessary.

5. Why did you decide to transition from classroom teaching to your current profession?

I was offered a position I couldn't refuse. I was given the opportunity to start a campus over again from scratch and hire my entire staff. I was also given a chance to work in a district where social media was encouraged and the wifi was very open. How many teachers get the opportunity to jump straight from the classroom to principal? It was a giant leap but one I don't for a second regret.

6. What is the best part of your current job?

The best part of my current job is the opportunity to instigate and initiate change on a much larger scale than just my classroom. Being the lead learner of a campus now, I have the opportunity to really challenge my staff and challenge the 750 students we serve. We focus on building relationships and creating unique opportunities for every child to shine.

7. What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel in your current profession?

I think the biggest skill I gained was understanding and appreciation. I came straight out of the classroom, I know the daily battles teachers face. So I try really hard to push them without overwhelming them.

8. What advice would you offer a current teacher who is looking to make a career change to outside of the classroom?

I would say do what makes your heart happy. I was terrified of leaving the classroom, but now my classroom is just bigger. I still teach every week, I still read to classes, I play at recess, I go to PE, I make time to do things that make me happy as an educator and all it's done is grow me into a better one.

Todd Nesloney is the Principal/Lead Learner of Webb Elementary in Navasota, TX. He formerly taught 4th and 5th grade for 7 years. He is the 2015 Bammy Award Recipient for Elementary Principal of the Year, and the 2014 Bammy Award Recipient for Elementary Classroom Teacher of the Year, the TCEA Teacher of the Year for 2014, a White House Champion of Change, a National School Board Association’s “20 to Watch”, Center for Digital Education “Top 40 Innovators in Education”, Classroom Champions Teacher, Ron Clark Academy Slide Certified, and part of the Remind Advisory Board. Todd also is the co-founder of The 3 Tech Ninjas education technology training company, the author of children’s book “Spruce & Lucy” and the co-author of “Flipping 2.0”. He is also the co-host of the popular, top iTunes rated, education podcast series “EduAllStars”. In addition to his passion for working with kids and teaching, Todd travels around the country speaking and presenting at different conferences. You can learn more about Todd, by visiting his website or you can follow him on Twitter @TechNinjaTodd


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Looking to make a career leap of your own? A doctorate of education (EdD) can help bridge the gap. Click to learn more.