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Stories of Resilience with Kerstin Brinson

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.

In this second episode of my 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.



The first positive COVID case in Seattle Washington was announced in February 2020.  As the rest of the nation went about their regular lives, Kerstin Brinson – the executive director at Kids Center – felt disbelief and shock as she bore witness to people going about their regular lives while it was already wreaking havoc on her 2 locations. 

As a leader of 50 teachers, over 100 families, and 150 children, she holds great responsibility for their well-being. On top of that,  Kerstin is wife to Jimmy and mother to Jenna who is 22, and Cassidy who is 6, who both come to the centers every day. 

Kerstin shares her experiences as the news began to spread throughout America, and even as the pandemic overstayed its welcome. 

In this episode, Kerstin discussions: 

  1. Why her survival instinct are so high and how the muscle memory of survival served her during those critical moments
  2. The kind of leadership skills that came in handy as COVID transferred how schools operated
  3. How to trust your decision-making capabilities and some of the critical decisions that Kerstin had to make
  4. Some of the mental health challenges that the pandemic brought forth, and how Kerstin and her team handles them
  5. Self-care tips that helped Kerstin stay afloat amidst a pandemic that wreaked havoc to the world’s economy
  6. The stigma associated with burnout, and how to change this narrative
  7. Why the decision to involve  managers in the decision to lay off some of her teachers was one of the best decisions she made
  8. How being vulnerable to her managers helped them open up and share some of their greatest concerns

…and so much more!

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

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

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

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#4: The Four Types of Inter team Conflict

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

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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!