What it Means to be a Vuck (Viking-Duck)

What it Means to be a Vuck (Viking-Duck)



Today, during senior college seminars, one of our sessions included a reference to a new school motto: “Be like a duck. Calm on the outside but paddling like the dickens underneath.” Dr. Crouse, the session leader, passed out rubber ducks to a few of us that were dressed in Viking gear; hence the Vuck.

As we learned, and as the saying tells us, being a duck consists of working ridiculously hard at something (or multiple things) and making it look easy. But what does it mean to be a Vuck? Sure we’re ducks who go to Princeton, and we have pride in our school, but even though all of us are Vikings, not all of us are (or can be) Vucks. Mr. Everett Lamar told us very simply today to “stop making excuses!” He reminded us that we must have a “by any means necessary” mentality, and throughout the day, we were told repeatedly that we had to be willing to do whatever it took to get to where we wanted to be. We watched the popular motivational video with the saying, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” A Vuck, I have determined, is a special sort of Viking who is the epitome of a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals.

Princeton’s job, as a school, is to give us, as students, the tools it takes to be successful, and in four years, we are generally given that opportunity. Like Dora the Explorer, all the tools we need are in our backpack. The Vucks are the Princeton students who take advantage of said tools and through hard work and dedication achieve the success we heard about all day at school. They are the leaders of the school, and the people the rest of us Vikings want to follow after. People like 2012 alumnus Claudia Saunders are Vucks. Claudia was third in her class, won state championships in two different sports and is now running at Stanford University. She never let anyone tell her she couldn’t do something, and she is the Vuck I want to be like.

My message to students: Always strive to be a Vuck. My question to them: What is it going to take for you to become a Vuck? Start paddling. It’s worth it.


By Emily Roper

Princeton High School, c/o 2013

Scholar, Athlete, Mentor, Visionary, Ambassador, Friend, Daughter. Leader……Viking Duck

10 Great Articles, Resources, Videos & Quotes for Educators in September 2012

Below are 10 very thought-provoking articles, blogs, video clips and other resources for Educators and anyone leading Organizational Change.  The list is diverse in its purpose and topics. Furthermore, the links provide a strategic set of tools for your #Leadership

I came across these wonderful finds due to the folks I follow on Twitter.  Enjoy, and follow me on twitter @PHSViking to broaden your Personal / Professional Learning Network.

The Power of Effective Feedback

Written By Peter Dewitt via Education Week – @PeterMDeWitt


The Flipped Faculty Meeting

Written By Peter Dewitt via Education Week – @PeterMDeWitt


Video: Recorded Open House Presentation by Mrs. Johnson

Shared by @teachingwhtsoul via @PrincipalJ

Favorite / Thought Provoking Quote:

Shared by @AnnTran_

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” ― Stephen King

Handling Co-Worker Complaints and Backstabbing

Written By @LeadershipFreak via WordPress


Favorite / Thought Provoking Quote:

Shared by Lead Change Group ‏via @leadchangegroup

“When you’re a professional, you come back, no matter what happened the day before.” – Billy Martin

The Best Apps for Teaching Math and Science

Shared by @NMHS_Principal via The Wall Street Journal Technology Report



The Principal Melt-Down Video

Shared by @WiscPrincipal


Free Reproducibles from Marzano for Coaching & Evaluating

Shared by @MarzanoResearch


50 Educational Tools Every Teacher Should Know About

Shared by @KleinErin via @edudemic 



Digital Diversity is a MUST

Last month I had a major failure.  I published a blog of “10 Great Stars to Follow in the Twitterverse.”  Within one hour, I was flooded with angry questions and comments of “Where are the Women?”

After all, the blog consisted of 10 white males (all amazing leaders though).  And after processing and reflecting, I couldn’t believe myself.   As a Principal and Educator that preaches Culturally Responsive Practices of perhaps the most diverse high school in the State of Ohio, my Twitter list failed to have Digital Diversity.

So, I began reflecting on the cultural shift to Social Media.  DIGITAL DIVERSITY is a MUST.

A series of reflective questions immediately flooded my conscience:

  • Do I follow enough women, men, people of color and those from different classes in our society?
  • Do I follow people on Twitter that ONLY validate and support my ideas? Or, do I intentionally follow people that challenge, contradict and bring alternative perspectives to my digital feed?
  • Do I follow the ‘little guy’ from the small business or tiny school district, or only seek out digital leaders with thousands?
  • Do I fear following people with opposing or different viewpoints and ideas?

Lesson Learned:

While many of us cannot change or control the diversity that surrounds us on a daily basis, we can use the internet to circumvent the obstacles of geography, class, color, religion and more.

No longer can we as educators claim we “did not know,” — as it is our responsibility to explore and embrace a digital world that is more diverse than we could ever imagine and wish for.

Whether your digital network, or the people you surround yourself with daily, you must have diversity in your life. Challenge yourself to learn and grow from others not in your regular social circle.  Hear their perspectives and try to see what they see.

Be Reflective and Seek out Digital Diversity – IT is a MUST.

William T. Sprankles III

District Principal, 6-12

Princeton City Schools


10 Great Stars to Follow in the Twitterverse…

For those of you new to Twitter – or if you are wishing to get more Value and Diversity from the Leaders you follow – begin by seeking out these 10 Stars in the Twitterverse.

In no particular order, the below 1o educators are great leaders to follow on Twitter for the following reasons:

  • They are always active, but never overwhelming on your twitter feed.
  • They will challenge you to Think and Reflect – and push you to grow professionally
  • They will provide resources and guidance
  • They focus on Technology and Best Educational Practices
  • They are all Unique, Practical and provide Authentic Leadership

For your convenience – all 10 profiles below are hyper-linked directly to their Twitter Accounts.


Written by:

William T. Sprankles III – @PHSViking

Princeton City Schools, 6-12 Principal



Bonus Star in the Twitterverse: John C Maxwell – Leader of Leaders…


By William T. Sprankles III

Princeton, 6-12 Principal


Redefining What Educators Must BE…

Every industry or culture has a critical time when the organization, the people, the process or the product must be redefined in order to be successful.  And now is the time for Educators to Redefine What We Must BE…

Be A Chemist and Synthesize:  The educational paradigm is evolving more broadly and rapidly than ever before – with new legislation, reform measures, contract negotiations, budget cuts, changes to No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, linkage, value added, common core and new assessments – the list goes on and on.  Educators must have the ability and professional commitment to research and keep ourselves informed. More importantly, we must have the skills to “sift” through so much information and combine the right elements into a single entity in our classrooms – understanding how our kids are directly impacted!  Essentially, we all have to be Chemists in such a day and age of change and evolution.


Be a War Strategist and Embrace Technology:  If most schools and classrooms don’t change, there is going to be an educational revolution led by students.  It is going to be over technology, weapons are going to be social media platforms and the battlefield is going to be in classrooms; choose carefully which side you will be on. If the only thing you do with technology is check your email and present some basic concepts on a Smartboard or PowerPoint – not only are you behind the ball, you are harming your students.  If you continue to struggle with classroom management because students are Texting, Instagraming and Tweeting – then begin rethinking your degree of engagement and pedagogy. One goal of the 21st Century is to prepare students as digital citizens – and if the only place they are getting exposure and guidance is outside of the classroom by external forces – then we have failed our mission.  If you don’t know about popular social media sites – then be a learning facilitator and ask your students for their input and creativity. Create a Twitter account for your classes, Use Instagram to celebrate top performing assignments, Develop a Pinterest Board for Project Based Learning – and push yourself to Get Connected!


Be a Comedian and Use Humor: Whether you are the one making others laugh, or doing the laughing – you must be able to find humor in your mission as an educator.  One, it is healthy for the organizational culture of your school and individual classroom.  Two, it is healthy for your personal soul.  Being an educator is not a job or a career – it is a lifestyle, and very easy to get overwhelmed, stressed and burned out.  Often, the best remedy is maintaining a certain degree of humor.  Three – and most importantly, remember that kids have the most innate abilities to pick up on “vibes” from adults – and they immediately sense and know when we are angry and stressed, or focused and encouraged. Learn to Laugh.

Be an Architect and Understand Space and Design: Collaboration is such a key focus of the 21st Century, that if you are still teaching by standing in the front of the classroom with your students sitting in straight rows as the primary structure for delivering methodology – you are far behind the ball as a modern educator.  Sure, not everyone has flexible tables on wheels that breakdown and reshape like transformers – but how easy is it to assemble desks in clusters of three or four, perhaps a semi-circle or even a horseshoe. You can even take a field trip within your building or campus and use the shape of any physical space as a learning environment. Ultimately, collaboration should not be a special activity in your classroom culture that students get to do once every two weeks – it should be the norm. Challenge yourself to rethink how you are using furniture and space to strategically engage your students.

Be a Philosopher and Live In The Question:  Is it primarily due to mandates in testing that the craft of teaching has evolved into a culture of only asking questions where there is one specific answer?  As educators, have we lost the creativity and art of our profession? Are we are prohibiting innovation and limiting critical thinking in our schools and classrooms by not pushing students to live in the question?  Are we really empowering our students to challenge WHAT and WHY they are learning? During the first week of school we set the tone – and most educators present students with a syllabi, we tell them about our classes and our curriculum, and have students share something about themselves. If we changed this basic approach, would it send a different message and establish a redefined culture? What if we pushed each student to ask questions about themselves? What if students were encouraged to challenge the curriculum? What if during the first week of classes – we didn’t tell students anything?

By William T. Sprankles III

Princeton, 6-12 Principal


Special Shout-outs to the key leaders in my life that have pushed me to have a Breakthrough – and have challenged, encouraged and provided leadership – and ultimately, pushed the pendulum.

Igniting The Hope of Knowing – Randy Wilhelm speaking on S’mores

Check out the CEO of Knovation (formerly netTrekker), Randy Wilhelm – using the analogy of “s’mores” to discuss Igniting the Hope of Knowing… at the TedX speaker series hosted at Xavier University.

Randy is not only one of our country’s greatest advocates for student achievement and innovation, but he also “walks the walk.” Specifically, he models mentoring by having ove 30+ employees from his company travel to Princeton High School on a weekly basis to mentor students.