John Eller

John F. Eller, PhD, has served as director of a doctoral program at St. Cloud State University. He is a former principal, director of a principal’s training center, and assistant superintendent.
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Trauma-Informed Teaching


Becky is a ninth-grade student at Mills High School. Her parents are divorced, and she is living with her mother. Becky’s mom is gone a lot with her job and dating. Becky is responsible for her two younger siblings. She makes them dinner most nights. Becky’s mom comes home late and sometimes brings home her newest boyfriend. It’s during these times that conflicts can arise that cause Becky and her siblings to get scared and have to hide. The fighting usually ends up with Becky’s mom getting hit, pushed, or beaten in some way.

In the mornings, Becky helps quietly get her siblings ready for the school bus. She also rides a bus and has to get herself ready. All of the children leave quietly so they don’t wake the boyfriend or their mom.

When Becky arrives at her school, she hears a lot of noise and chaos. This noise can be overwhelming and sound similar to the chaos she experiences at home. Luckily, Becky’s homeroom teacher Ms. Lennox understands the stress some of the children are under and has put strategies in place that make her room calm and welcoming for all students. Becky looks forward to going into Ms. Lennox’s room. Read more

Is your school culture toxic?

School Culture: The Essential Element of Successful Schools

Categories: School Improvement

In our book, Working with Difficult and Resistant Staff, we talk about the importance of addressing problems and the people causing these problems in order to nurture a productive school culture. We also share strategies for strengthening the positive people in the school so they can stay strong when facing negative colleagues and situations. So, just what is this element called school culture, and what does it have to do with the success of the school? Read more

Teacher performance evaluation is only the first step in reaching professional teaching goals.

6 Steps to Empower Collaborative Teams to Learn New Instructional Strategies

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

Sharing the Burden of Professional Growth and Development between Principals and Peers

One of the challenges facing 21st-century leaders is helping teachers to grow and learn. Identifying the most promising, research-proven teaching strategies is not the problem. Recently, books such as Visible Learning for Teachers (Hattie, 2012), Teach like a Champion (Lemov, 2010), and Classroom Instruction That Works (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2010), and others have provided us with research that enables us to know which teaching strategies hold the most power to improve student learning. Helping teachers to adopt and use these strategies, however, can prove challenging for school leaders. Read more