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  • Peter Miller

SGG episode #45: Art Rainwater led teams and schools with honesty


Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

Art Rainwater was the superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District from 1998 until 2008. He later served as a revered faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Art was formerly a football coach in Arkansas and Texas, as well as a school principal in Alabama. In this SGG episode, we discussed:

1.  His high school football and basketball coaches being “people I could talk to.”

2.  Starting a little league in his Arkansas hometown.

3.  Why he asked the coach of his college if he could join the team as a scout team member: “You really need to experience the things you’re asking people to do.”

4.  Keeping in touch with players he coached 55 years ago.

5.  The school administrator in Texas who first recognized his administrative potential, and the innovative way he prepared Art for a leadership role.

6.  In the coach-player relationship, “kids see through you… you can only be honest if you’re going to be successful with them.”

7.  “The ability to lead is based solely on trust and trust can only occur if you’re truthful.”

8.  Success stories of families he’s worked with, including the Flowers family at LaFollette High School in Madison.

9.  What he looked for in building a leadership team.

10.  Non-negotiable beliefs.

11.  Providing developmental and leadership opportunities for members of your staff.

12.  His daily routines as a leader, including detailed planning, early starts, and generous time allotted each week for individual team members.

13.  Carving out time for reflection.

14.  Being conscious of power in relationships.