The Trusted Adult

I am the Director of Student Support Systems for the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School District. It’s my second year in this role, and I absolutely love my team, the work, and our focus on the whole child.

We have a laser-like focus on creating the best conditions to engage, enrich, and equip students every day in every experience, and one of the best ways to do that is for each of us to be a trusted adult for at least one student.


Trusted adults provide psychological safety, so students feel safe, procedures as consistent, and routines and behavior are predictable. When that occurs. students thrive!

In the movie Man of Fire, Creasy (played by Denzel Washington) was a down and suffering officer who lost his purpose in life until he met Pita. Pita was a young girl who lacked confidence and was a bit timid. Together, they formed a bond that allowed Pita to improve her self-esteem, gain confidence, and improve her performance as a swimmer. One of my favorite scenes is Pita’s swim meet. To prepare Pita for the meet, Creasy identified what she needed and used specific strategies to help change what she experienced in the water and life.

Watch the video clip below and focus on what the nun says to Creasy and what you notice about the relationship between Creasy and Pita. We don’t have to be our students’ world to have an impact; we just have to show we care for them, believe in them, and want the best for them.

How will you establish trusting and positive relationships with your students this year? How will you do the same with your colleagues? Better relationships lead to a more profound commitment to the work and more positive outcomes.

I discuss the importance of positive relationships and other guiding principles in my latest book, Be GREAT: Five Principles to Improve School Culture From the Inside Out. Get your copy today!

Be Great,