Better Together: The Power of a Hashtag by Beth Houf, Co-Author of Lead Like A Pirate

Our Alaskan Schools blog

It’s hard to believe it has been three months since my visit to Alaska as I had the honor and privilege of speaking at the Alaska Principals’ Conference. I was forever changed after this conference for one reason…the people. I met incredible school leaders from all corners of the great state of Alaska doing AMAZING things for students and staff. No matter the overwhelming obstacles that may face each of them, it was evident that each person I had the pleasure of meeting was all about making the world better because of the influence of his/her leadership.

The enthusiasm for learning was another common bond that was evident throughout. Leaders were hungry for ideas that could be taken back to schools to make a difference. But then the conference came to an end and we all returned back to our respective homes. I worried that I would lose touch with those I had met during my time there. To this day, I stay connected and continue to learn with these Alaska leaders through the power of a hashtag. Yes, you read that correctly. A simple character with the ability to provide 24/7 professional development and to showcase the amazing things happening in education. (Shout out to #AKPrincipals and #NorthToTheFuture)

My Twitter career started in 2013. I went to a workshop on why I should use Twitter, signed up and followed everyone at the workshop and those 40 followed me back. Fast forward a year later and I still sat there, same followers and I couldn’t remember my password. I saw no value. I saw no purpose. There was no why for me. The summer of 2014 I attended a national conference for school leaders and it suddenly hit me…I have the power to connect to amazing leaders in our field of education…for FREE and I can connect to others doing what I do. I was immediately changed. I realized that my role as principal, it could get to be a lonely place, but with Twitter it didn’t have to be the case. I went back to my building and started highlighting all of the great things our students, staff and community were doing to my first hashtag community, #tlap (based on the book Teach Like a Pirate by @BurgessDave) The people I met in this hashtag changed my life as an educator. I was inspired daily and learned so much! I also found that hashtags typically had a weekly chat based on a topic. Questions were shared and people from around the world chimed in with answers and examples.

So my challenge to you to find your hashtag. Find a group of people that inspire and join in. Learn together, share together, reach out for support and know there is a world of ideas and inspiration waiting for you on the other side of a hashtag. There are so many to choose from and I’ve included a couple guides to get started here:

Getting Started on Twitter

Advanced Twitter

I’m also happy to be your Twitter navigator! Shoot me an email ( or a message on Twitter. You can find me there @BethHouf.

Thank you to the educators of Alaska for having a positive impact on my life. I look forward to our continued connection!

Have a story to share from your own school/district? You can either fill out this Google form, or simply send Sam Jordan content directly to work up a post.  We are looking for posts of no more than 500 words, accompanied by 1-2 pictures if available. If you need ideas, check out this doc