Allyson Apsey | Create school environments where staff and students thrive. Best-selling author of Leading the Whole Teacher.

Allyson Apsey

Create school environments where staff and students thrive. Best-selling author of Leading the Whole Teacher.

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Grand Rapids, Michigan

Allyson Apsey
Biography

Allyson Apsey has been an educator for over twenty years; a school leader for fifteen of those years. She is passionate about students and staff, and leads others through their strengths. She tries to be transparent, vulnerable, and supportive, and she doesn't ask questions unless she wants the answers. Despite the fact that she never wanted to set foot in a school again after high school graduation, there is nowhere else she'd rather spend her days than in classrooms. In fact, she doesn't even have a chair at her desk because she is moving around the school all day long. The challenges and delights of being a principal fill her days with joy. Allyson enjoys nothing more than helping others be the very best they can be. Allyson is so proud of her school district and the Zeeland, Michigan community, and she loves being the principal of Quincy Elementary. She cannot image a more dedicated, passionate and skilled group of teachers. They illicit wonder, excitement, and a love for learning in their students. Recognizing the significant impact trauma has had on many of our students, staff, and families, Allyson completed a program to become a certified trauma practitioner in education. The supports students affected by trauma need are beneficial to all students because they are grounded in a foundational core of strong, positive relationships based on trust. Allyson is also certified in William Glasser's choice theory and reality therapy. Allyson is honored to serve on the executive board of directors for MEMSPA (Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association) as the State and Federal Relations Co-Coordinator. Additionally, she is on the steering committee for MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) SIG-ADMIN. Allyson enjoys working with and learning from amazing educational leaders in both of these organizations. Allyson writes on a blog called Serendipity in Education, and this is her third book. She is also the author of The Path to Serendipity and the picture book The Princes of Serendip, both published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Allyson also loves speaking to passionate groups of educators as we work to be happy and effective people for the benefit of everyone around us. Allyson is married to Jim and she has two amazing sons with him, Laine and Tyson. She is blessed.

Allyson Apsey
Featured Video

Current: TEDx: Serendipity is Everywhere

Time 13:52

Finding Your Own Path to Serendipity

The origin of the word serendipity comes from a Persian tale, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” In the story, three princes tried to impress their father by traveling as everyday people rather than as nobles. During their travels, the princes saw the hardships people went through as well as the good in the world. They learned a life without hardships was a life devoid of valuable lessons.

Serendipity is a way of living, but not one that came naturally to me. When I was younger and trying to figure out how life worked, I thought life just happened to us. We woke up each morning, stuff happened, we dealt with it, and then we went to bed to repeat the same process the next day.

This presentation is about embracing all experiences, particularly our challenges, and allowing them to make us better. It is about stumbling upon the fortunes of life and looking at every experience as a treasure—those moments that bring us more pain than we thought possible, more joy than we feel we deserve, and everything in between.

Outcomes:

Five basic needs drive all behavior.
All behavior is purposeful, and all behavior is information.
We get to decide who we want to be and how we react to what life throws at us.
The only person who controls you is you.
We can’t always get what we want, and there are three things we can do when we don’t.
Respect means meeting our own needs without interfering with someone else trying to meet their needs.
Strong, positive relationships are essential to our well-being, and they take work!
This presentation is a journey of reflection and self-discovery. The interactive format features innovative technology tools. The participants will feel big, ask themselves important questions, laugh, maybe cry, and be compelled to improve for tomorrow.

Supporting Students, Staff and Families Affected by Trauma

Many of our students, staff and families have been affected by trauma, which makes becoming a trauma-informed educator an important part of setting our students up for success. In addition, the CDC discovered that exposure to trauma increases the likelihood of 7 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the United States. As educators, not only do we have a responsibility to support students affected by trauma, we must make sure that our school environments are not trauma-inducing for any of our students. Our staff may come with their own background of trauma, and are at risk for trauma-fatigue as they give everything they have to their student. The good news? The supports that are required for students affected by trauma are good for all students.

Outcomes:

Identify indicators of trauma
Understand the crisis cycle and how to support students through it
Learn strategies to support students who have been affected by trauma
Understand how the strategies are good for all students
Recognize trauma-fatigue in staff, and learn strategies to counter the impact of student trauma
Value taking care of yourself so you can serve others
This presentation is a journey of reflection and self-discovery. The interactive format features innovative technology tools. The participants will feel big, ask themselves important questions, laugh, maybe cry, and be compelled to improve for tomorrow.

Embracing Challenges

The true test of our character comes not from surviving through the hard times, but thriving because of the hard times. Challenges give us an opportunity to test the strength of our spirit. Embedded in every experience we face is a beautiful opportunity to inch closer toward the person we want to become. Allyson will guide participants on a journey to uncover the lessons the boulders in our path present, to allow ourselves to experience the great joys bestowed upon us, and to live in the moment because, as Gretchen Rubin says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Outcomes:

Understanding what is within our control, and what is not.
Reflecting on challenges we have faced and the beautiful lessons embedded in them.
Learn strategies to live in the moment so you can present your whole self to the people right in front of you.
Identify the boulders in our path and take action to crush them, avoid them, or allow the person who created the boulder to keep it for themselves.
This presentation is a journey of reflection and self-discovery. The interactive format features innovative technology tools. The participants will feel big, ask themselves important questions, laugh, maybe cry, and be compelled to improve for tomorrow.

Building Strong, Positive Relationships

Nothing is more important in an organization than strong, positive relationships built on trust. In this presentation, Allyson will share the components necessary for strong positive relationships, strategies to develop these relationships, and allow participants to reflect on their relationships in their workplace and their personal lives.

Outcomes:

Understand the five basic needs.
Self-evaluate the strength of your own needs.
Reflect on what motivates your own behavior and the behavior of others.
Explain what trust is and how it is developed.
Accept what is within our control and what is not.
Develop strategies to contribute to the important relationships in your life.
This presentation is a journey of reflection and self-discovery. The interactive format features innovative technology tools. The participants will feel big, ask themselves important questions, laugh, maybe cry, and be compelled to improve for tomorrow.

Allyson Apsey
Featured Books

Lead with Collaboration: A Complete Guide for Transforming Staff Meetingsby Allyson Apsey

Lead with Collaboration: A Complete Guide for Transforming Staff Meetings

by Allyson Apsey

Design Meetings Your Team Will Love

In the age of time-strapped teachers, shifting standards, and distance learning, how can educational leaders ensure that every staff meeting absolutely could not have been an email? Jessica Gomez and Allyson Apsey set the agenda for planning—and leading—meetings that are purposeful, impactful, and inspiring.

Lead with Collaboration serves as a meeting guidebook for educators who understand that leadership is a collective endeavor. Staff centered and outcome oriented, these carefully curated strategies are designed to serve the needs of any team in any situation. So, whether you’re helping new hires to build confidence, or you’re navigating a crisis with a group of veteran teachers, Lead with Collaboration can offer you the tools you need to make every meeting an opportunity for connection.

Endorsements

“Lead with Collaboration is a top-notch resource for all educational leaders. Apsey and Gomez share strategies that are purposeful and practical.”—Dr. Majalise W. Tolan, superintendent and author of She Leads: The Women’s Guide to a Career in Educational Leadership

“Apsey and Gomez provide experienced and aspiring leaders with daily guidelines for effective collaboration with colleagues, students, and families.” —Douglas Reeves, founder, Creative Leadership Solutions, and author of Fearless Schools

“An indispensable resource that emphasizes the power of human interaction and the art of engaging others.” —Jerry Almendarez, superintendent

Leading the Whole Teacher: Strategies for Supporting the Educators in Your Schoolby Allyson Apsey

Leading the Whole Teacher: Strategies for Supporting the Educators in Your School

by Allyson Apsey

What Can Leaders Do for Teachers?

Amid the growing teacher shortage crisis and the extra demands placed on teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, if there’s anything we’ve learned as educational leaders, it’s that some things are out of our control. But we do have agency in ensuring that our teachers are well supported and that we’re meeting their needs, and when teachers are nurtured, they are better able to nurture their students. As Allyson Apsey illustrates in her groundbreaking new book, every teacher brings their whole self to school: their dreams, their personal challenges, their hopes and fears, and their desire to be valued, to be connected, and to learn and grow. As school leaders, we have a duty to create an environment that can support every part of a teacher, that can help them stay connected to their why, and that can fulfill their servant hearts.

Changing a school culture takes careful planning and it takes time, and leading the whole teacher calls for a deeper level of systematic change than typical teacher appreciation efforts. Let’s dream for a moment about what school could be for teachers. How could school leaders create a school environment that nurtures the whole teacher? What impact could a school that sets teachers up for success have on student achievement? This book explores the six components of the whole teacher with strategies and ideas to create the environment that teachers need to thrive.

Endorsements

“Recognizing the emotional and psychological needs of classroom educators, Allyson Apsey gives leaders essential insights on how to improve teacher effectiveness, engage their hearts, and regain their commitment to our profession. At a time when many teachers are burned out and traumatized, Apsey offers hope.”—Douglas Reeves, author, Fearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Learning, Teaching, and Leading

“With deep credibility and an authentic voice, Leading the Whole Teacher will provide you a clear path to protecting the most important part of education—the people. This book will engage your heart and mind as you serve your staff and school in a manner that’s meaningful to them.”—Dr. Brad Gustafson, award-winning principal (MN), author, and speaker

“As a service-oriented leader, Allyson has created a resource that is a necessary addition to the field. Leading the Whole Teacher is a book you will keep close to your desk and return to throughout the year.”—Jessica Cabeen, principal of Austin Online Academy, author, and speaker.

Through the Lens of Serendipity: Helping Others Discover the Best in Themselves--Even if Life has Shown Them Its Worstby Allyson Apsey

Through the Lens of Serendipity: Helping Others Discover the Best in Themselves--Even if Life has Shown Them Its Worst

by Allyson Apsey
The Path to Serendipityby Allyson Apsey

The Path to Serendipity

by Allyson Apsey
The Princes of Serendipby Allyson Apsey

The Princes of Serendip

by Allyson Apsey

Allyson Apsey
Featured Reviews

Look Out for the Leader

Principals are responsible for the well-being of teachers, students, and themselves. As a principal, you focus on the whole child, making sure your students are engaged,...
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