A Passionate Superintendent Inspires with Positivity

Joe Sanfelippo fires up his staff and kids

The legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi is arguably considered one of the greatest motivators in the history of sports. As the saying goes, he could get his players ready to run through a brick wall for him. Just 160 miles west of Green Bay in the town of Fall Creek, Wisconsin, Joe Sanfelippo, the superintendent of the Fall Creek School District, is following in the spirit of Lombardi. Joe is known throughout education for his inspiring keynote addresses and, as you’ll see in this interview, his passion for kids and education.

brick wallJoe puts a positive spin on everything, encouraging and inspiring greatness among his teachers and students. He says it stems from getting tired of listening to people in the community telling negative stories about the school that happened 25 years ago. People were retelling stories that no longer had any relevance to what was going on today, but couldn’t seem to let it go.

Joe wants to tell positive stories about his school, his teachers, and his kids. He recounts his positive message in interviews, keynote addresses and on social media. Taking advantage of social media has given Joe a platform to connect with other superintendents around the globe, and the results have been astounding. It's even carried over into engagement with students, staff and the community. Joe enjoys tagging the local media when posting positive stories about district activity. He’s tired of the word only getting out when people mess up. There are a lot of positive things happening in Fall Creek, and he wants everyone to know about it.

I hope you feel as lifted as I did from listening to Joe Sanfelippo. He is one of the most inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing all year — in fact, so inspirational; you may just find yourself willing to run through a brick wall.

About Joe Sanfelippo

Joe SanfellipoDr. Joe Sanfelippo is the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, home of the Fall Creek Crickets. The Fall Creek School District was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Joe holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, a MS in Educational Psychology, a MS in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in Leadership, Learning, and Service.

Joe co-hosts the Hacking Leadership Podcast and co-authored The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story, Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age, and Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love. He was selected as 1 of 117 Future-Ready Superintendents in 2014 and 1 of 50 Superintendents as a Personalized Learning Leader by the US Department of Education in 2016. He attended summits at the White House for both distinctions.

Follow Joe Sanfelippo on Twitter.

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