An E-newsletter on EXCELLENCE in Leadership

How Can I Really Take Care of Myself?  NAD Principals’ Handbook Excerpt

The principal needs to find the balance between the demands of personal and professional life. Few individuals would say that they wished they had spent more time at the office. The “to do” list is never completed. Working long hours robs you of personal and family time. Love your family by spending quality time with them; love yourself by maintaining your health; and love God by staying connected with Him.



Walking around your school gives you the opportunity to interact with students and staff, shows that you care about what is happening, and reminds you why you’ve chosen to be the principal!

Escape your office and enjoy the good things happening in your school.

March 2024 | Volume 12, No. 6

My Top 4 Principal Survival Kit Tools

By Evelyn Fordham-Goodman
Principal—Columbus Adventist Academy



I am no poster child for self-care. It is 7:22 p.m., and I am just getting home. I have a slight headache, I still need to make dinner, and to be honest, I am exhausted.

I am learning, however, what tools work for me in helping me to survive and even thrive in this role.

I do not promise these will automatically revolutionize your workflow or transform your schedule. Still, they are essential to my sanity, helping to keep my head above water and allowing me to breathe.




Quiet Time

First and foremost, I absolutely, positively, MUST have time by myself before I interact with others. Call it introversion or whatever you wish, but I need my time. I feel thrown off and scattered when I skip this step. I need time to think, feel, and process. I need time for reflection and gratitude. I need time to plan. I need time!

For the last 10+ years, I have made it a practice to get up early, Monday through Friday, at 5:45 a.m., and do just that. I spend time alone, with myself, and, most importantly, with God. In this space, I give God my heartfelt burdens and receive from Him the strength I need to face another day.





Journaling has been a significant lifeline in my journey as principal. "My Principal Journey" journals are filled with whatever is in my heart. The contents: Everything from a daily log of what is happening during the day to venting about an unreal staff interaction to seeking wisdom for a parental concern or crying out to God for a much-needed breakthrough. Whatever the case, having a safe space to write allows me the freedom and sanctuary to release my emotions. Five journals later, there is no way I am parting with this lifeline.





I wish I could say I consistently get a scheduled massage every two weeks or that I get my nails done on a regular basis. I am not quite there yet. Honestly, in this season, my self-care goals are much more basic: Eat breakfast. Bring my water bottle to school and drink. Take my vitamins. Go to bed. Following these basic guidelines helps guard against anxiety, depression, and burnout.




Stay Connected

In the busyness of this job, it is extremely easy for close relationships to wane. I must intentionally schedule time for conversations and interactions, or they will not take place. Although it is so hard to make time, when I do, the dividends are great! I am gifted with strength, love, and a reminder that I belong. This time serves as a reset, allowing me to reenter work with joy and greater purpose.

I pray some of these tools prove beneficial.

Create a Spiritual Connection

Worship provides a means for individuals to connect with God on a deeper level. Through prayer, meditation, singing hymns, and studying the bible, individuals can cultivate a sense of spiritual intimacy and communion with God.



Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Designate specific times for work-related tasks and ensure you make time for relaxation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.



Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it's okay not to be perfect—practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer others.



Make your physical and mental health a priority. Get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and engage in regular exercise to maintain your energy levels and overall well-being.



Don't hesitate to reach out for support when needed. Whether confiding in a trusted colleague, seeking guidance from a mentor, or accessing professional counseling services, having a support system can help you navigate challenges more effectively.


Set Realistic Expectations

Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself by setting realistic expectations. Understand that you can't do everything perfectly, and it's okay to prioritize tasks based on their importance and feasibility.



Schedule regular breaks throughout the day when you can rest and recharge. Even short breaks can help improve focus, productivity, and overall well-being.


Engage in Continuous Learning

Stay curious and engaged by pursuing professional development and lifelong learning opportunities. Whether attending workshops, conferences, or reading books related to your field, investing in your growth can reignite your passion for teaching.


Find Joy in Teaching

Focus on the aspects of teaching that bring you joy and fulfillment. Celebrate successes, no matter how small, and cultivate a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact on your students' lives.


and Adapt

Take time to pray and reflect on your experiences, both successes and challenges, and use them as opportunities for growth. Be open to feedback and willing to adapt your teaching methods to better meet the needs of your students.

Remember, taking care of yourself isn't selfish—it's essential for your well-being and the students who depend on you. Trusting in Jesus and having faith in His teachings are foundational to living abundantly. Believing in His promises, such as eternal life and forgiveness of sins, provides a sense of security and peace. Take the time to pray daily and ask God for his guidance. You won’t regret taking those moments with him.

Ten Educator Self-Care Tips

By Paula Sanders Blackwell

Principal—Ramah Jr. SDA Academy

AS ADVENTIST EDUCATORS, our organization's mission is to enable learners to develop a life of faith in God and to use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity. We believe that what we do here on earth matters.

We say this, but many of us do not live like we believe it. God has a plan for each of us. He shared this in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." His plan is for us to prosper; we cannot prosper if we do not live according to his plan.

If we are not eating well, exercising, or resting, how can we prosper if we do not take care of our bodies? Here are a few tips I have learned on caring for myself while in the ministry of education.

Educators play a crucial role in shaping the future, and it is essential to prioritize taking care of our bodies to maintain our well-being and effectiveness in fulfilling the mission of education. Here are ten tips for educators on how to take care of yourself:


In His Presence

By Elisa Maragoto
Superintendent—New Jersey Conference

Weary from journeying with stubborn and stiff-necked people, Moses was ready to give up on them. Daily, he endured their selfish demands, self-entitlement, and obstinate unwillingness to heed counsel. Although insecure of his abilities and doubtful at first, Moses had stepped forth and accepted God's command to lead His people out of Egypt. He had witnessed God's miracles and heard from God's lips the confirmation, "I will certainly be with you…" But the Israelites' latest perversity was the last straw that was about to break the camel's back.

He was tired from the long days. He was spent by the never-ending multitasking that did not leave him room to breathe. The people's constant criticism and complaints were wearing him out. He was drained by their persistent demands and conflicts as day in and day out he refereed their disputes. Their lack of faith and trust to visualize that the journey was not the final destination was depleting his strength. If that was not enough, his soul felt the sting of discouragement as he realized that His own brother and sister had been a part of the problem. This was just too much to bear. How much more would he have to endure? He felt alone.

 With genuineness of spirit, Moses went to his only Friend, Jesus, opened his heart, and said, "You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight. Now, therefore, I pray, If I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." Exodus 33: 12-13.

 God, the Creator of the heavens and earth, the One that molded him out of the dust, gave His servant not just a response but an eternal promise: "My Presence will go with you, and I will give rest."

 As educational leaders, we, too, walk a journey that often makes us weary, exhausted, spent, and, yes…alone. Discouragement and disappointment often knock at our door, and we wonder, is this worth it, God? Dear educator, I remind us that we do not walk this road alone, for the promise given to Moses is for us too: "My Presence will go with you, and I will give rest."

 That promise encompasses every aspect of our lives. His rest is perfect and complete. Therefore, in His Presence, daily seeking His face, away from the people, in prayer, and intimate communion with our Friend we too find rest.

 When 24 hours are not enough to complete the tasks ahead, if necessary, the sun will stand still, and the moon will pause its rotation as it did for Joshua.

 When we have exhausted all resources, and the budget still does not balance, the Eternal One, in full, will fill our vessels with oil, as He did for the widow.

 When criticism arises and complaints point the finger at our sincere efforts, in His Presence, we will find rest, for He promised:


"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn…" for that "is the heritage of the servants of the Lord."

Isaiah 54:17

When physical strength is maxed, and the heaviness of our feet makes it hard to take another step, remember, In His Presence, you find rest, for "those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…; They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31.

 Dear educator and weary traveler, our journey is not the destination. Rest in His Presence. He will suffice our every need. Like Moses, His glory will reflect in everything we do as we aim to light the path to redemption for the children entrusted to us. For He promised, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." That is an eternal promise.


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Robin Banks


Richmond Academy