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Building a Culture of Excellence with Kathy Gray

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In 2019, Kathy owned three ECE centers near Richmond, Virginia. 

She felt a lot of empathy for the dedicated women who worked in her school. 

They always were the kind of people who would always give, give, give without receiving in return. 

They were burning the midnight oil and without inner peace. That meant burnout was on the horizon.

Kathy knew she couldn’t guide them as a leader just yet, because she was exactly the same.

She was running herself ragged wearing all the hats in her school.

When she reached her breaking point, she realized that work can always come and go, but family and her own health can’t. 

She needed to prioritize her well-being.

This caused a culture shift at her school. “If I’m going to make time for my family and myself, I need to give my staff time for their family and themselves too,” she said.

Today, she owns five centers. Despite the expansion, she’s gained more balance, self-care, and boundaries than ever, allowing her, her colleagues, and her school to thrive.

In this week’s podcast episode, I speak with Kathy about her leadership journey over the last three decades, and how she has completely transformed herself and her school.

Join us for a conversation about:

  • What Kathy wishes she’d known thirty years ago when she entered the field
  • How she improved time management and productivity with systems and technology
  • Why compassion and community are integral to Kathy’s leadership growth
  • How she’s thinking about the future as she and her husband build their legacy
  • How she got the most out of her coaching experience with Schools of Excellence


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

If you and your leadership team are wearing all the hats, and you know you need to shuffle your company culture, allow me to help. During a Schools of Excellence 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 team work through obstacles and build a stronger, healthier center that values self-care.

 If Kathy’s story resonates with you and you suspect you’d go farther with a like-minded community and laser-focused personal mentoring, I encourage you to apply for our Owner’s HQ and Director’s Inner Circle membership programs. As a member, you’ll gain access to tools, resources, coaching, and community that will help you as you work toward building a school of excellence.

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!