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Stories of Resilience with Nicolene

Today, tomorrow, and for an indefinite future

We face the challenges of the ever-changing landscape of education.

Our schools have seen hard times before

In each of these cases the school leader’s character, values, resilience, and mental strength have been put to the test.

I’m excited to release a 6 part podcast series, The Stories of Resilience, where I share the stories of 6 school leaders who came together with their parents and teachers and made it out on the other side.


I believe in the power of resilience to stand back up again.

These stories are one of loss and grief yet consistent progress and inspiration.

The past isn’t a perfect guide to the present or into the future but to know that there are school leaders who have walked through difficult passages before, can help arm us against despair.

These stories are vast and sometimes contradictory

That’s the dichotomy of leadership

There is no single answer

However, when leaders speak truth to the lies and excuses

When compassionate leaders embrace the pain of the grief-stricken teachers and parents

These moments shape the concepts and perceptions of the future leaders — our children

Our schools will always be complex

There will always be challenges and obstacles

And there is always a place for joy and for gratitude

I’m excited to introduce to you the Stories of Resilience series.

I had the opportunity to sit down with my first guest, Nicolene Santomartino.

Nicolene is the mom of two, school leader of 10 teachers and 65 families.

She holds great responsibility for the people in her care

Many remember Italy as one of the largest hotspots for the chaos due to COVID.

Nicolene walks us through her experience during this time.

In this episode, Nicolene discusses:

  • The strength she found from keeping promises
  • Holding difficult conversations with teachers to maintain accountability during a difficult time
  • How to effectively communicate with parents during difficult times
  • How to show empathy without having negative information tear her down
  • How she recognized burnout and how she built herself back up.
  • How being vulnerable with staff empowered them to open up while feeling safe and realizing self-care is important

And so much more.

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

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Join Build to Last Workshop, a FREE 4-day Sprint on June 1-4, 2021


The Build to Last Workshop is a FREE 4-day sprint on June 1-4, 2021 to help you remove overwhelm and interruptions to building a calendar and life that serves your personal and professional leadership goals.

What You Will Learn in Build to Last Workshop on June 1-4:

#1: How to create a sustainable calendar that has priorities and projects that move your school forward

You deserve to have more time for family and the quality of life you want.

#2: The habits for a culture of excellence

So you build a rhythm for how to design culture every day and you don’t wait for problems to happen.

#3: How to create boundaries and finish your to-do list

So you can leave work every day confident that that day’s work is done.

#4: The Four Types of Inter team Conflict

So you have the tools and scripts to navigate difficult conversations and have positive results.

Sign up for the Build to Last workshop



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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 insides knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

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