Tomorrow morning I will be introducing George Couros at the Southern Alberta Teachers’ Convention. For me, this has meant spending time reflecting on who George is, how he has influenced me and why I so eagerly embraced the idea of welcoming George to my city and to some of the most amazing teachers in the province. What I quickly came to realize, however, is that I’ll only have about 90 seconds to introduce him and the audience isn’t there to listen to me ramble. My role is to simply set him up by sharing with the audience some of his background and accomplishments, not to deliver a tribute or share how connecting with George has helped me grow.
Even though I have never met George in person, I feel like I know him well enough that I could deliver a keynote session on him. I’d like to tell the audience that his ability to connect with people and make them feel valued is most certainly a trait he acquired from his parents who as George describes made everybody not just feel special, but know that they are special. George has the ability to challenge your thinking and make you question your own practices all the while still making you feel very respected, accomplished and trusted. It is perhaps his greatest strength and his father’s legacy certainly lives on.
I emailed George over Christmas thanking him for writing the Innovator’s Mindset. I shared that It gave my motivation to learn a rejuvenation that was needed. As an educator and administrator I’m not sure if anything is more important than fostering that love of learning and trying to get someone to do their best and for that I am grateful. That is what I strive to accomplish in my career.
I am Todd Samuelson and I’m an administrator for school division 76. I am very excited to be with you this morning and to have the opportunity to introduce our keynote speaker, George Couros. George is the division principle for Parkland School Division and an innovative teaching, learning and leadership consultant. He is the author of the recently published book entitled The Innovator’s Mindset, has a powerful Twitter presence with over 107 000 followers, is author of the influential blog Principle of Change, and is the founder and creator of the blog Connected Principles.
I first heard George speak on the radio as he was being interviewed by a couple of local Calgary radio hosts and was immediately struck by how effective he was at pushing my thinking, challenging traditional educational practices and at the same time making the audience feel like they could stop in for a visit at any time. About a month later I followed up with that feeling and reached out and connected with George and we’ve been communicating back and forth ever since. George has made me a better educator and continues to challenge, influence and inspire me today and although I have never physically met him feel comfortable and confident in saying, “I’d like to introduce you…to my friend…Mr George Couros.