“Miss! Miss! This is not a School!”

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I tend to take notice when I hear North Philly mentioned.  It’s where I lived for several years.  On the corner of Hancock and Diamond. It’s where I composed, “My Apologies to North Philly,” a spoken-word piece.  So when scrolling through my Twitter feed, this Ted Talk video caught my attention.

Ted Talk by a Determined Principal

The Ted Talk video below is given by Linda Cliatt-Wayman who shares about her first day as principal at a failing high school in North Philadelphia.  She was persistent to make a change.  And make a change at Strawberry Mansion High School she did.  After this low performing high school was on the persistently dangerous for five years, she got them off that in just one-year.

“Miss! Miss! This is not a school!”

Part of her inspiration along her journey was during her first day of school when she gave a speech in the auditorium, speaking about the school rules, and a female student stood and shouted out, “Miss! Miss! This is not a school!”  Listen to the Ted Talk to hear more about this emotional moment.

So Little Time, So Many Accomplishments

Here are some of the the things she accomplished in one year:

  • Resetting every locker combination by hand, so that every student can have a secure locker.
  • Decorated the school with bright colors and positive messages
  • Took the chains off the front doors & installed security cameras that were constantly monitored
  • Fixed the dim or broken lights
  • Cleared out the classrooms and recycled and threw out outdated resources
  • Rehauled the budget to have more funds to hire more teaachers and support staff
  • Redid the schedule so that students had a better mix of academics and extracurricular activities
  • One of her mottos: “What happens in a school and does not happen in a school is up to the principal.”
  • Instituted a behavior program called “Nongegotionals.”

They have a football team now too.

Slogans of Tough Love

She says she is known for her many slogans that she loves.  During the TED TALK she shares three.

  1. If you are going to lead, lead
  2. So what, now what
  3. If no one told you they love you, remember I do and always will

You can learn more about Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman on her website at http://principalwayman.com/.

More Videos about Linda Cliatt-Wayman

And here are a few other videos featuring her as well.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman: Preparing the Next Generation | Mashable Docs


How Leadership Transformed Strawberry Mansion High School


Diane Sawyer Special: Inside Strawberry Mansion High School, Philadelphia, Pa Most Dangerous H S in America


UPDATE:  Diane Sawyer Revisits a School at Risk School Called Strawberry Mansion High


Interview with Linda Cliatt-Wayman, Principal, Strawberry Mansion High School


Pennsylvania Conference for Women 2014 – Linda Cliatt-Wayman


Pennsylvania Conference for Women 2013 – Linda Cliatt-Wayman

Yes, one person can make a difference!

Read about another person and academy making a difference: the Cave of Adullam is a Transformational Training Academy (CATTA), a comprehensive martial arts program for boys in Detroit, Michigan.