Tips from Administrators on Finding Work-life Balance

October 5, 2020 Staff Writer

Educational leadership is a demanding career, often blurring the lines between different parts of our lives. We asked our 2020 Administrators of the Year to share their best strategies for maintaining a healthy balance between work and everything else. Celebrate these administrators during ACSA's Leadership Summit, Nov. 5-6, 2020.

“Cultivate relationships with family and friends — they will be there long after your career is over, and find a hobby that allows you to rest, relax and recharge.” — Margaret Nichols, Middle Grades Principal of the Year 
“Work hard, play hard!” — Chris Christensen, Elementary Principal of the Year 
“Being a mom, an associate superintendent, and a wife can be overwhelming, so I try to maintain perspective. Instead of striving for perfection, I strive for excellence. To balance work and life, I learned to prioritize my time, set realistic expectations for myself, and focus on what I love.” — Jennifer Burks, Technology Administrator of the Year 
“This is something that I have struggled with during the years since I became a manager. It is easy to fall into the 'always working' routine. In the last couple of years, I have become more conscious of needing to balance work and home. I try to make sure that the time I spend with my wife and three sons is quality time and that I dedicate my attention to them when we are together. — Hector Gonzalez, Classified Leader of the Year 
“I find that having fun things to do after work motivates me to complete my assignments as quickly as possible so I can get to the fun stuff. I seldom take work home. Being able to mentally disconnect from work tasks allows me to enjoy my other roles: husband, father, son, friend, cousin." — Nick Taylor, Business Services Administrator of the Year 

“Get your work done at work. When I come home, I put on my fuzzy slippers (which tells my body that I’m home and it’s time to let down) and I rarely check emails. It keeps home separate from the stress at work. Shelter in place really messed me up for a bit as I felt the stress of work at home.” — Matt Bell, Secondary Principal of the Year 
“Family time is family time; work time is work time; exercise time is exercise time; golf time is golf time.” — Roberta Cheney, Confidential Employee of the Year 
“Finding balance starts with doing things you enjoy for your body and mind. Make time for family, friends and health. Work will always be there and get in the way, but the important things in life may not be. I focus on prioritizing the things that matter. At some point, I have to disconnect from work.” — Anthony Ortiz, Special Education Administrator of the Year 
“Make time for yourself and include your loved ones in your activities. Take care of yourself so you can help others.” — Jose Sanchez, Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year   
“Love your friends and family: they are the secret to life. Take care of yourself: eat well, exercise, enjoy the outdoors. Travel: there are amazing people and places that restore the soul.” — Craig Helmdstedter, Superintendent of the Year 
“Establish boundaries. Take care of your health—exercise. Nurture your family/relationships. Make time for you. Leave work at work. Work smarter not harder. Know when to ask for help.” — Blanca Rochin, Adult Education Administrator of the Year  

Don’t miss out! These awardees and more will be honored during ACSA’s 2020 Leadership Summit, a virtual event designed to create maximum impact for all educational leaders. Engage in discussions, networking and live programming on Nov. 5-6 with on-demand access to recorded sessions all week long. Register today at

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