Jeff Zoul did not like school. In fact, he said it sucked. Today, he is a lifelong teacher, learner, and leader. His daily post on Twitter reads: "Work Hard...Have Fun...Be Nice...Today!"
What I loved about our walk is how open and honest he was about his journey as an educator and the trials he faced growing up. Fully transparent, he takes us on his journey from the struggles as a young boy and adolescent who never felt he fit in, to his troubled days as a teenager who never found that connection with a mentor in high school.
Then in his senior year, that all changed. One couple, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, both educators who never had children of their own, gave him hope and validation.
"They were magnets for troubled teens," said Jeff, "just good people." Mr. Campbell looked past the labels and destructive behavior and took him on as his own. Both heroes in his eyes, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell were role models Jeff looked up to. They saw something in him no one else did at a time he needed it most.
While he didn't have the ideal experience as a student is an extreme understatement, the positive influence his mentors had on him inspired him to enter into education. His goal was to do better, to provide a better experience for students by incorporating fun and laughter into teaching and to not be satisfied with simply checking off a "to do" list, but to commit to being all in and seek collaboration to help students solve their problems.
He found a way and we are so lucky to have him as a resource.
During Jeff’s distinguished career in education he has served in a variety of roles, most recently as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning with Deerfield Public Schools District 109 in Deerfield, Illinois. Jeff also served as a teacher and coach in the State of Georgia for many years before moving into school administration.
Zoul has taught graduate courses at the university level in the areas of assessment, research, and program evaluation and has been recognized as a local Teacher of the Year and as an outstanding principal in the State of Georgia. He also served as principal at a national School of Excellence in Illinois.
He is the author/co-author of more than a dozen books. In 2015 he founded Connectedd with long-time friend and respected colleague Jimmy Casas. Two of the most recent releases are Handle With Care: Managing Difficult Situations in Schools With Dignity and Respect, as well as Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms: Preparing Learners for Their Future.
Other books include What Connected Educators Do Differently; Start. Right. Now. - Teach and Lead for Excellence; Improving Your School One Week at a Time; The Principled Principal; and Leading Professional Learning: Tools to Connect and Empower Teachers. Zoul has spoken at conferences and school districts in more than thirty states. Jeff has earned several degrees, including his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and his doctoral degree from the University of Alabama. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys running and has completed over a dozen marathons.
You can follow Jeff’s blog at: jeffreyzoul.blogspot.com
Connect with him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Jeff_Zoul
E-mail him at email@example.com
Connect with him on Linkedin at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffzoul
Visit his website at: https://www.connectedd.org
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