We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Nesloney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead For decades this has been my favorite quote. Every time I read it I get chills. Just knowing that it really does only take one or a few of us. Change doesn’t only happen when those in charge or when large groups get together. Each of our voices matter. We can change the world with what we put out into the world. This quote has been a guiding force for me to always be thinking about how if what I’m doing is making the world better or not. Though I still often find myself doubting my own gifts and abilities, I hold onto the belief that what we do matters. That even if it’s one life we’ve impacted and changed, that could be ripples that are felt decades down the road.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I look back on my career I’m often overcome with shock at the all the things I’ve been able to be a part of and accomplish. I knew I wanted to be an educator because I wanted to be someone in that child’s life who reminded them that they mattered. Little did I know that the work I began to do in the classroom would lead to me gaining a worldwide twitter following, multiple awards, and recognition from President Barack Obama. Moving into my role as a school principal was equally rewarding as I was able to utlize different innovative ideas to transform a campus culture and create a unique atmosphere. From implement a Harry Potter type House System, to Dinner with a Gentleman, Hot Dog Cookouts, and even giving all 800 students funds to purchase books to go in their homes. But never did I see myself as someone who would also have the titles of “author” and “speaker” in my repertoire. When I was approached to write a book I was convinced that I had nothing to say and no one would care. After much prodding, the idea of #KidsDeserveIt was born and led to my first book being a runaway smash. It’s still wild to me that since then I’ve been able to write 4 additional books, including my newest release “When Kids Lead” that I wrote with Adam Dovico. Becoming a speaker was a completely different journey for me though as I learned to find my voice. Being an introvert I never imagined I could be on a stage in front of thousands and actually put together a succinct and complete thought. But over the years I’ve come to learn that I love sharing stories and ideas with others. Two TEDx speaking engagements and thousands of keynotes and presentations world-wide have shown me that people love connecting and hearing great stories and ideas. Obviously throughout the years I have faced many challenges, failures, set-backs, and more. I dealt with the loss of my mother unexpectedly right after the release of my second book. I had ideas crash and burn. But if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that in those difficult and challenging moments, we come to find out who we are and what we’re made of. This road has never been easy, and never will be, but I wouldn’t want it to be. I’ve always said that if we’re not uncomfortable I don’t believe we’re learning. I just work to surround myself with people who will hold me accountable, lift me up, and pour truth into me. I hope through my work I can lead others to a place where they also see the power in their voice and their ideas. Where they see how much of an impact they can make in this world and that they are reminded of just how valuable they are.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love visiting the Houston area and getting to take people around. When it comes to food, I love visiting The Original Marini’s Empanada House in Katy, The Rustic in downtown Houston, and Star Pizza in Houston. The Houston Zoo and the Museum of Natural Science are FANTASTIC as well. I love dinosaurs and the exhibits at the Museum are some of the best I’ve ever seen. My wife and I also love attending concerts so often find ourselves at different venues across Houston seeing our favorite artists.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I think about my own journey, I can pinpoint people and organizations along the way who played a role in each part. One of those organizations is Classroom Champions. I still remember randomly coming across an ad on Skype in the Classroom about an opportunity to connect my students with Olympic Gold Medalist, Steve Mesler. Little did I know the snowball effect that would cascade down. After getting selected to do the “Goal Setting” Skype with Steve, that led to me applying and becoming a Classroom Champions teacher, where my students were able to learn all year from Paralympian Gold Medalist, Joshua Sweeney. We even had the pleasure of having him spend a day with my students that school year! Over the years I have really gotten to know the people behind the organization and see their heart and passion into connecting students and teachers with top performing athletes, to do good! But even more so the people behind the curtain at Classroom Champions have an incredible love for others. As a principal, I was able to bring the program to my entire campus, and now I’ve been able to host different online conversations with the organization, attend meetings to help them develop their platform and curriculum, and even have some of their athletes on my own podcast. They taught me that even though I was “just some educator” from Texas, they valued my voice. They continue to remind me how much every voice at the table matters, even if you’re not an award winning athlete. The CEO, Steve Mesler, will never truly understand the impact he has had, and continues to have on me to this day.
I, or my wife, took all photos.