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Redefining Leadership with Paige Kepner

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“We were only closed for two weeks when the pandemic started, but I swear it felt like we were closed for four months.”

This is what Paige Kepner, Glen Allen, VA center owner, told me during a recent conversation.

I find this is such a common experience for school leaders when they’re in the midst of a crisis. 

The sheer amount of pressure, communication, decision-making, and information-gathering that happened in March, 2020 (and beyond), was overwhelming for school leaders. Not to mention the amount of energy they had to give to protecting their own families.

Paige had a five-year-old, a seven-month-old, and an empty center. She lost 60-70% of their enrollment in just a few days.

It was so stressful, she was literally having nightmares about drowning.

That’s when we met. She joined the Schools of Excellence Owner’s HQ in 2020 for coaching support, and we started with bite-sized actions to help rebuild her center and her confidence.

One of the lessons that really stuck with her was the analogy of the lobster, which gets uncomfortable as it grows into its shell. The bigger it becomes, the more miserable it is, until finally the old shell molts and it emerges with a fresh, new shell.

In the same way, we have to sit with discomfort as we are stretched by the unique challenges that come with school leadership. But if we can persevere, we can come out on the other end transformed.

In this week’s podcast episode, hear directly from Paige about her experience of going from drowning to soaring. 

Join us for a conversation about:

  • Why Paige chose to invest in her team during a surprising time
  • Her system for storing valuable information for future challenges
  • How she has shifted her mindset around school culture and become a stronger leader
  • The value of like-minded community for Paige


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

If you’re craving community, resources, and leadership skills in a supportive environment with other school owners or directors, I encourage you to apply for the Schools of Excellence Director’s Inner Circle or Owner’s HQ membership program. Inside, you’ll receive tools, coaching, and a like-minded community that will help you work towards building a school of excellence.

Do you see yourself in Paige’s story? I can help you take the next steps out of survival mode into thriving mode during a Leadership Day Intensive. You’ll get a full day of on-demand, in-school training with me, plus various accountability check-ins, to help you and your center thrive.

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Non-Apple Devices

More about the show:

If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.

Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.

In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!