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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 4/1/24 - This may be the best suggestion I’ve seen this year for school leaders.

“One of the most important lessons I have learned in my family and work with schools, is to listen, communicate clearly, work it out, and forgive each other. Be kind and respectful with each other knowing that every person has their own story that has shaped them into who they are at this moment. Often, we don’t know what the other person is going through, so seek to understand first, then show compassion and kindness. Every day we are given is a fresh start!”


-Annette Cozort

This may be the best suggestion I’ve seen this year for school leaders.  Building skills and capacity with adults is not easy.  A leader must overcome an inclination to “tell” others what to do and, instead, listen and build trust.  Annette spent 35 years as teacher, school leader, Time Change Coach and Leadership Specialists in Missouri. 

She passed away unexpectedly last week.


Annette was a remarkable person who consistently gave more than she received.  Annette became part of the SAM family in 2017 as a Time Change Coach.  She was a key member of the DESE MLDS team that created a seamless set of supports for school leaders in Missouri, arguably the best professional development and support system for principals in the nation.

If you knew or worked with Annette, you remember her joy, expertise, and commitment.  At the last conference, she presented at four breakout sessions with her friend and colleague Kevin Freeman.  Their sessions were the best attended and among the highest rated. 

You can access the materials they shared in their breakout session, Difficult Conversations:  A Leader’s Toolkit for High-Stakes Converations here: 



You can read more about Annette, and access information about the scholarship fund her family has established, at this link: 



Last week we featured Board member Dave Sechler in the SamTastic Weekly Tip.  Today, meet Board Vice President Paul Katnik, below.

Paul Katnik, Board Vice President

Paul is the assistant commissioner for the Office of Educator Quality for Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He has been an educator for 35 years. In his work for DESE he has garnered much experience in education policy and has been instrumental in bringing SAMs to Missouri for over a decade. SAMs is a part of a large, comprehensive leadership development system that is available to all principals in the state.

He has been on the board of NSIP since 2011 and has served as vice president since 2018.

Paul spent over 12 years as a school principal. In that position, he was charged with managing and controlling all aspects of the school and making sure all students were learning what they should be learning—when they should be learning it. Given the fast-paced and often chaotic nature of the job, he felt very challenged to control all of the details that were required in order to have a successful school. Although SAMs was not available to him when he was a principal, he is very supportive of anything that helps an individual do the job of school principal as well as it can be done. Serving on the board is his way of continuing to support school principals in the challenging work they do.

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