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125: Bonus Edition – Interview with Bill Cecil
6th November 2017 • Always A Lesson's Empowering Educators Podcast • Gretchen Bridgers | Education Podcast Network
00:00:00 00:36:30

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Bill Cecil is a recently retired, 31-year veteran teacher for the Waverly Community Schools in Lansing, MI.  Bill believes every teacher is a leader with a team to lead, and he has created a program called “Best Year Ever!” that provides teachers with a clear vision, blueprint, and proven strategies to create a positive, safe, and productive learning environment where individuals strive for personal best while working together to achieve team goals.

Bill graduated with honors from Western Michigan University. While attending Western, Bill earned four varsity letters playing on the men’s soccer team and discovered his love of teaching while coaching youth soccer camps for the Broncos.  Not only did Bill discover teaching through soccer, he learned the potential power a group of individuals have when they work together with a shared purpose or set of goals.  He has incorporated those same teambuilding strategies into his own teaching with great success.

Bill was chosen Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2003-2004.  Bill spent that year on sabbatical working for the Michigan Department of Education setting an ambitious goal to meet with as many educators, legislators, community members, and teachers in training as possible to help spread an “epidemic of hope and determination” throughout the state of Michigan that now is still a great time to be involved in education.

In the Spring of 2013, Bill traveled to China as a member of a small delegation of professional educators and policymakers from Michigan to explore ways our two countries can work together in the future to enhance educational opportunities. The seven day trip included stops  in Beijing, Jilin, and Xi’an.

Bill continues to speak at various colleges and universities sharing ideas and strategies from the book he has written called  Best Year Ever! Winning Strategies to Thrive in Today’s Classroom and coaches new teacher– one-on-one and in small groups– on classroom management, team building (building relationships), and leadership. Bill has also created a free video series on his website ( called the “B.Y.E. Top 100” which is a collection of one hundred short videos (each under 5 min.) that focus on leadership, team building, and  classroom management.


  • There are times I am on the ropes like a boxer, absorbing blows thinking how much more of this can I take? I feel like I was knocked down.
  • Re-focus on your “why”
  • Come in with a positive attitude and look for things to get excited about
  • Make the fire brighter
  • The power of team- something larger than ourselves
  • Take a life-lesson bird walk
  • Don’t be glib
  • Think of yourself as an artist
  • Enthusiasm is contagious
  • Don’t let fear hold you back
  • I don’t hang around nay-sayers; it’s like second hand smoke

Bill’s Stamp of Approval

  • ‘Option B’ by Sheryl Sandberg
  • ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek
  • ‘Growth Mindset’ by Carol Dweck

Connect with Bill

Connect with Gretchen

  • Email:
  • Blog: Always A Lesson
  • Facebook: Always A Lesson
  • Twitter: @gschultek
  • Instagram: Always.A.Lesson
  • Linkedin: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Google+: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Book: Elementary EDUC 101: What They Didn’t Teach You in College

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