Strategy 1: Hardwire Authentic Appreciation

In March 2020, as COVID-19 sent home the staff, teachers, and students in her district, Dr. Lisa Hagel, superintendent of Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) in Flint, Michigan, knew she had to do something. The community she served was still reeling from the consequences of long-term lead poisoning of the water supply. Her hardworking staff were scared about the virus, their jobs, and how they were going to educate their students who had already suffered so much.

Lisa knew they needed an uplifting message of hope and solidarity. She drafted an email that acknowledged the fear and ...

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