7 - The "Master Mentor" Himself on Public School Productivity (w/Toby Johnson)

"Master Mentor," School Administrator, family man...

Toby Johnson makes his first guest appearance on The Make it Snappy Productivity Show.  Toby and I sit down at his desk at Coleman Middle School, where he works from bell to bell, to find out what productivity looks like in our Public School system. 

"Either you get consumed by the moment and allow it to direct your day or take charge of that moment and utilize it to be productive" -Toby Johnson

Clear-headed and deliberate, Toby Johnson knows exactly how to work on what’s important, each and every day, while still making time for the urgent...and by “urgent,” I’m talking about dealing with the needs of 1,000 11- to 13-yr old kids per day! 

He’s the laser-focused Assistant Principle at Coleman Middle School, who puts his unique spin on a purpose-driven career.  

Toby’s been in his high-level position since he was in his late 20’s, which is REALLY impressive to me. 

Ever since I’ve known Toby, I’ve admired the clarity he brings to his career goals, but more importantly, his execution strategy for being the FATHER and HUSBAND he wants aims to be each day.  He’s dedicated to getting both pieces of his life right.

The beautiful Johnson family

The beautiful Johnson family

To give you just a little more on Toby, he graduated from Jackson State University in ’02 with a BS in Elementary Education; he also earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College.

Toby taught 6th and 7th Grade Math in Mississippi, but fooled around and fell in love (that’s a song, right?)…

His bride, Jasmin Johnson was the catalyst that brought him to stunning Tampa, FL, where he began building his career with the Hillsborough County Public School System.  In Hillsborough County, he’s served as not only as a Classroom Teacher and Assistant Principal, but also as a Master Mentor (whoa).

I can say with confidence that Toby truly lives the productive life we’re all after.

Thanks again to Toby for being my guest on the show (he told me he hates the way his voice sounds so this was probably a bit for him to listen to, but I thought he did great)!

I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the fantastic students, teachers, and staff at Coleman Middle School for giving me such a warm welcome for the day, and to Toby’s wife, Jasmin Johnson for being such a strong supporter of the Make it Snappy Productivity Show

In fact, Jasmin is actually the voice of our show, she’s the one you hear every episode who reminds you that we’re “executing your purpose, productively.”  

So be sure to give Jasmin some props because she deserves some accolades for kicking butt on my intro!

Much love to the Johnson family - thanks for all you do.

Show Notes

PART 1 (at Coleman Middle School)

  • Why did you decide to become an educator? [5:08]
  • How do you feel about the state of our education system today? [5:53]
  • What can we do to motivate kids?  Why aren’t kids interested in learning? [5:45]
  • The demands of education now vs. when we were kids [9:23]
  • Toby’s process for setting and achieving his goals [11:57]
  • Toby’s vision statement and impacting 1,000 kids per day [13:33]
  • Palm trees vs. oak trees [15:58]
  • The first 60-mins at work [19:55]
  • A process for outlining goals and outsourcing [21:49]
  • A process for learning [21:58]
  • Keeping kids safe is #1 [29:05]
  • How do you keep focused on a long-term vision when fires keep coming? [31:45]
  • Most important things get done in the morning & prioritization [33:57]
  • We sacrifice the lives of our own families for others - got to find that balance [34:37]
  • What is “productivity” to Toby? [35:07]
  • Working on the right things and not getting caught up with the noise? [35:57]
  • Living life from bell to bell [37:25]
  • Every time I walk the hallways, I create more work for myself and loving it [38:04]
  • How social media has affected educators’ roles [43:06]
  • “don’t do stupid...” [46:17]
  • What do you enjoy most? [46:44]


PART 2 (at the Johnson's)

  • Ethan’s Debut on The Make it Snappy Productivity Show [47:05]
  • Have you found a way to be productive with that balance? [50:14]
  • Do you find it harder to communicate at work or at home? [52:50]
  • Adding context to a calendar (for work AND home life) [54:24]
  • What’s next for Toby? [55:10]
  • What is it about middle school? [55:33]
  • Your ability to be content with your situation [56:21]
  • If a homeless guy…[58:10]

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