MaryKate Hughes’s Together Tour: Issue #104

Feb 20, 2024

Together Friends!

The days are getting a liitttttle tiny bit longer, my youngest kiddo turned 11, and I’m gearing up for a long weekend Reading Vacation over spring break. And I don’t know if you have heard, but a lot of my favorite authors, friends, and authors-I-want-to-be-friends-with have books coming out. . . I urge you to: Pre-order Elena’s newest! Get my former boss Jeff’s new one! And Cal Newport has a good one coming. . . I plan to follow him right over to People’s Book (an educator-founded independent bookstore) to talk with him about translating his work to the school and nonprofit space.

Amidst these too-often-gloomy February days, I’m being intentional about spreading some glitter around the nonprofit and school space, so as you have inspiring stories to share, like the one we featured a few weeks back, send them to me here. I was super happy to see my former colleague Denniston shouted out in this impressive article.

Today we are back with another behind-the-scenes peek at Togetherness. Did you see Dr. Juarez’s Together Tour last month? Anyone else using AI to keep themselves more Together? Write me here with any Together Tips!

Want more Together Tours? Nominate yourself or others by clicking here. Fine print: We will not be able to showcase all nominations, but we will read them all in depth and reply!

Together Tour: MaryKate Hughes

I’ve known MaryKate Hughes for over a decade – from her work in DC Prep’s home office to her current work in the classroom as a 5th grade teacher for the past six years to her mom life! Additionally, I’m a keen fan of her monthly book round-ups on Facebook and eagerly take notes about whatever she is reading. MaryKate enters everything with fun, enthusiasm, and Togetherness. Can’t wait to take a deep dive into how she stays Together!

Why is Togetherness essential in your role? 

I am a teacher, as well as a wife, mother, sister, friend, and legal guardian to my older brother. There is a lot of life coming at me all of the time, and the needs of others are front and center. Togetherness is vital to make sure I am meeting my own needs and living my one wild and precious life with purpose and intention.

What are your Top Two Together Tools and why?

The first is my trusty Weekly Worksheet.

The second is my annual Priority Plan that spans across my entire life. I can see each aspect of what matters to me most. (Editor’s Note: I love that Fixed Column for annual happenings! And we have always said Togetherness helps with budgeting, so check out the Anticipated Major Expenses.)

And, if I might add a third, the last is my Marriage Meeting – which my husband, Adam, leads. (Editor’s Note: We have discussed our own meeting here AND featured Bill and Katie’s Weekly Meeting. We also love the books Drop the Ball and Fair Play to help with the Chores part of what we call The Family Meeting.)

What is the first and last thing you do at work each day?

When I arrive, I put my things away and make sure the classroom is ready to welcome children, with the morning routine screen projected and music on.

Before I leave, I always rehearse my afternoon responsibilities to make sure I have what I need to be present for my family.

How do you use Togetherness with colleagues, students, managers, board members, etc?

I am not sure there is a short answer to this question. I work at a decidedly less Together place now (frankly!), but my team and my classroom are together, and we are trying to influence broader operations.

Examples: all families get a consistently formatted newsletter Friday at 4 PM. The whole team uses the same format and revises only for content that is not shared. This helps our team get on the same page and is immensely helpful to families in their planning. Our team meeting agendas are always sent in advance, and are created through consistent collaborative processes. We have naming conventions and norms for sharing curricular materials. We use email taglines with one another. We believe in Togetherness! We are part of the revolution.

(Editor’s Note: Hmm, I see a new newsletter topic coming: how to survive and thrive in situations that are less than Together!)

Some areas that you are NOT Together and fine with this are. . . 

I strive for a semblance of Togetherness across the board without it becoming its own false god. I can’t think of any place I have totally given up, but there is definitely room for improvement most everywhere.

When you are at your most Together, your lunch at work is _________!

Kale salad and a delicious soup like this one.

If you could recommend one purchase from an office supply store, it would be . . .

I mean, I love a good school supply but honestly…a trash can and recycle bin. Seriously – so much paper. LESS STUFF PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

MaryKate, thank you for sharing your take of how you move others toward Togetherness. Anyone else find themselves working to influence others in the direction of Togetherness?

We’ll be back in March with another Together Tour. Who should I feature next time? Could I ask Beyonce how she stays Together? Taylor?


Together Treasure Box

  • How do you organize your tasks? If you or your organization is Team Microsoft, Planner might be the planning tool for you!
  • Spring and summer prep time is here! Now is a great time to protect your time (maybe with some flair) to do the deep work you need to do.
  • Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. Sometimes life gets in the way of what we had planned. When that happens, you’ve got to call it and get it Together tomorrow.