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On Educators Lead, Jay Willis interviews some of today's most effective, engaging, innovative leaders in education. Dave Burgess, Amy Fadeji, George Couros, Dr. Jenny Grant Rankin, Joe Sanfilippo, Todd Nesloney, Kim Marshall, Peter DeWitt, Eric Sheninger, Theresa Stager, Dr. Robert Dillon, and Jon Corippo are just a few of the 80+ guests to date. This show is for you if you are interested in educational leadership as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, superintendent, or someone who h ...
 
Innovation catalyst Kirsten Richert, and career and leadership coach Jeff Ikler help leaders and schools think differently about change. They look broadly at change in education and ask: • Who is leading it? • What are they trying to accomplish on behalf of their students and why? • What obstacles are they encountering and overcoming? They’re intensely interested in who is trying to move education from its current and traditional “normal” toward something that is more meaningful for students ...
 
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show series
 
This week I talked with Connie Liu and Jordan Mareno of “Project Invent,” an organization that brings innovation, design thinking, and community problem solving into the classroom. "Project Invent" is all about helping students maintain their curiosity and sense of discovery — what a ZEN master would call their "beginner's mind." This approach isn'…
 
Teaching kids 21st century skills is not new news. Fortunately, most school systems have instruction in place that addresses the 4Cs or variations of them along with life & career skills and media skills. How schools develop the skills, however, does vary. Do you teach these skills in discrete lessons? Or do you weave them seamlessly into project-b…
 
This week we talked with Sunny Summers, the Founding School Leader of New Harmony High School in New Orleans. Our conversation centered on how one goes about designing a new school, especially one that is place-based around the local ecosystem. That approach is unique, but what really defines New Harmony is its people – its faculty and students. An…
 
This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series. By "Unstuck," we mean our guest is leading or embracing a major shift in student learning, instruction, ongoing teacher professional development, community relations, or personal leadership. This week talked with Sunny Summers, Executive Director of New Harmony High in New Orleans. New Harmony High re…
 
This week we spoke with K12 social studies educator, Casey Jakubowski, Ph.D.. Our conversation dove into the debate about the purpose of teaching U.S. History. Is it about instilling patriotism, examining the promise of America versus its practices, or teaching critical life skills? A mixture? Teaching skills is where we go with this week's "Worth …
 
The teaching of U.S. history and civics is in the news a lot these days. We’re seeing controversy and divisiveness around the approach we should take with our students. Stress what's good about the U.S. and where we're making progress toward meeting our goals? Focus on where the promise is not yet being met? The discussions are leaving many teacher…
 
This week we spoke with Principal Michelle Pinchot who was asked to turn around a low-performing school. Rather than jump in immediately with a bunch of 'solutions," Michelle started asking a lot of questions and listening. And listening is where we go with this week's "Worth a Listen, Look or Read." We'll watch a TED Talk to learn about 5 strategi…
 
This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series. By "Unstuck," we mean our guest is leading or embracing a major shift in student learning, instruction, ongoing teacher professional development, community relations, or personal leadership. This week we talked with Michelle Pinchot, Principal of the Heritage Computer Academy in Garden Grove, CA. Her …
 
In this week's podcast, we talked with Mike Matsuda, Superintendent of the Anaheim Union High School District. Mike's focus has been to build a three-part framework that brings greater alignment between what happens in the classroom and the world of work. One of those elements speaks to developing student voice. We dug into that idea by watching a …
 
This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series. By "Unstuck," we mean our guest is leading or embracing a major shift in student learning, instruction, ongoing teacher professional development, community relations, or personal leadership. In this episode, we talk with Superintendent Mike Matsuda around his singular vision — to bring better alignmen…
 
This week we chatted with Yasmeen Robbins, an Instructional Review Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Instruction. Her role takes her from one end of the state to the other where she engages with many administrators. And she hears from many of them how isolating the work can be. So, like the great change agent that she is, Yasmeen deci…
 
This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series, which focuses on school leaders who are not just getting unstuck, they’re already "unstuck." And by "Unstuck," we mean they are supporting a major shift in education that will increase the potential for administrators and teachers to achieve desired outcomes. Yasmeen Robbins has spent 16 years in publ…
 
This week we chatted with an Assistant Superintendent of the Mesa Arizona Public Schools, Dr. Randy Mahlerwein. Randy believes that educators need to create different types of learners with a different skill set from what they have typically produced in the past. Doing so is imperative if they're going to create learners who can thrive in the evolv…
 
If school leaders want staff to feel comfortable designing and initiating changes to benefit students, they have to create a culture of psychological safety for experimentation – and failure. Dr. Randy Mahlerwein, the Assistant Superintendent over Secondary Schools in the Mesa Public Schools explains how to do just that.…
 
This week on "Getting Unstuck," we chatted with Principal "Missie" Patschke on the need to build leadership capacity with all staff. The necessity of building the capacity of others to lead is not a new idea. It’s not universally practiced, though, because leaders typically get stuck trying to build capacity in one of three ways. We'll investigate …
 
In this conversation, we hear from elementary school principal Dr. Melissa "Missie" Patschke, a leader who instinctively gets how you build capacity in others. This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series, which focuses on school leaders who are not just getting unstuck, they’re already "unstuck." They’re doing things better, not just differently…
 
This week we chatted with Assistant Superintendent Constantino “Costa” Aquilar regarding his district’s now six-year shift to broaden its students' post high school opportunities. The district’s shift is remarkable not only for its scope, but also because of the extensive communication that fosters it. We dug deeper into that idea of communication …
 
In this interview, "Costa" Aquilar, Assistant Superintendent of the Merced Union High School District details the shift his district started six years ago. This interview is part of our “Unstuck” series, which focuses on school leaders who are not just getting unstuck, they’re already "unstuck." They’re doing things better, not just differently, no…
 
This week we enjoyed getting an update from Principal JoAnne Duncan. JoAnne first appeared on our show last October. She impressed us with how she tried to simplify her staff's approach to managing COVID by keeping them focused on what they could control. We extended the idea of simple through the work of Carl Richards, a certified financial planne…
 
We aired our first interview with Principal JoAnne Duncan in October 2020. With that challenge staring this young principal in the face, we focused our conversation on leadership. If her leadership could be boiled down to one word, it would have to be “caring.” With the challenging year of COVID somewhat in the rearview mirror, we caught up with Jo…
 
Today we welcome someone working on the frontline of education. Elementary school principal, JoAnne Duncan, is a big-hearted, inspirational leader – just what her staff, kids, and parents need as they labor under the cloud of COVID-19. Before she became a principal, JoAnne served as a first grade teacher, kindergarten teacher, and reading specialis…
 
This week we talked with Dr. Deb Gustafson on how she is again applying Jim Collins' flywheel principle, this time as an Assistant Superintendent, to develop a district office staff that relentlessly focuses on supporting its teachers so that they can in turn relentlessly focus on supporting their kids. We extended that idea of having a disciplined…
 
We first spoke with Dr. Deborah Gustafson in December 2019 about how she had applied Jim Collins’ principle of the flywheel to her work as an elementary school principal. She wanted to focus on those practices that would move the dial for her kids. Academically, yes, but even more important was the need for her kids to believe in themselves. Theref…
 
One of the problems that plague most organizations is when and how to change. For many, the process looks like fruit-of-the-month club: they try “this” until a new “this” comes along. Jim Collins wrote about this behavior in Good to Great. To avoid this phenomenon, great organizations employ something Collins called “the flywheel” process – a proce…
 
This week we talked with three guests on the idea of unstructured play for children. One of our guests, Hannah Beach, describes “unstructured play” as invented activities from the mind of a child. Unlike adult-organized activities or technology-driven entertainment, unstructured play gives kids the opportunity to digest and make sense of their worl…
 
When COVID first impacted education over a year ago, one of the messages we heard from educators is that “we need to address the social and emotional needs of our students.” That message was driven by the concern that kids were increasingly isolated. Strong relationships that had existed began to fray. COVID also uncovered disparities in access to …
 
Innovating in education can be challenging because of red tape, limitations, and a constant lack of funds. But this week's guest, George Couros, cautions that constraints shouldn't stop innovation. We can choose to look at a problem and the constraints that surround it, and be frustrated, or we can work with what we have to find a solution. One of …
 
A recent guest on our show remarked that "The discussion in education has moved beyond the question of ‘Do we need to transform education to make it more responsive to the needs of students in the 21st century?’ That train has left the station. The debate now is over how.” Today’s guest, educator George Couros, answers that question in part by poin…
 
In this week's episode of “Getting Unstuck”, we talked with Dr. Deborah MacNamara, a school counseling psychologist on why it’s important for leaders to establish a healthy culture based on relationships. Interpersonal relationships are critical, but their success may be dependent on the relationship we have with ourselves. Those relationships can …
 
Given what school leaders may face this fall — > lingering exhaustion brought on by managing the last year and a half under the cloud of COVID, and > the relentless academic push which manifests itself in the fear of students’ loss of learning — how can they help teachers nurture a culture of collective strength, of sustaining relationship-based ri…
 
This week we reintroduced you to Jamahl Hines, an Assistant Principal and the founder of the Future Educators of Diversity, a program that creates a pipeline for developing teachers of color. Jamahl’s story inspired us to look for other educators who are trying to reshape schools. Here we found Emily Pilloton-Lam, the Executive Director of the nonp…
 
We first aired this interview with Jamahl Hines last November. His story continues to inspire us as an example of an effective change catalyst. It starts with him realizing a need – in this case that students of color need to see someone like themselves standing in front of the classroom – and then by taking action to develop future educators of di…
 
In this week's "Worth a Listen, Look or Read,” we enrich the theme of external partnerships through a story that recently aired on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” The story details how five school districts on Long Island, New York confronted a growing mental health problem among their students. The solution that the district leaders and parents came up w…
 
What can we learn about leading transformational changes from someone outside of K12 education? In this episode we talk with Rich Razgaitis, co-founder and CEO of FloWater to learn: • the importance of having a succinct mission statement. • how to change behavior by first understanding human behavior. • why you should look outside of your space for…
 
In this weekly mini-feature of Getting Unstuck, we provide you with a new way of thinking, some unique content, or a critical skill that speaks to our mission of helping leaders wherever they are get unstuck and achieve their desired outcomes. I this week's episode, we introduce the concept of "resistance" as it potentially relates to students deve…
 
One of the most fundamental shifts we're seeing is a move toward greater student agency. When educators and educational systems focus on students as active navigators of their own learning and development, great things happen. And while we want to support student agency, we may not have a clear picture of how to develop it, or have the day-to-day h…
 
We know that writing as a life skill is made even more necessary as the business world increasingly demands workers who are critical thinkers who can articulate points of view and make persuasive arguments. As we think about the deeper purpose of school, we'll also discuss how writing can engage kids and help them develop agency. Aaron Pribble, a h…
 
When is the right time to make changes to K-12 education? Now? Later? Today’s guest, Dr. Kim Fleming, President of Core Education, a consulting firm specializing in teacher effectiveness initiatives argues that the best time is now. Kim then reviews changes that are already taking place in four critical areas of schooling: professional development,…
 
In this episode, Jeff takes a nostalgic trip, and social studies educators Larry Cuban and Phil Roden discuss the state of social studies education today, wrestling with both the purpose of social studies education: Is it to develop patriotism, citizenship, or critical thinking? And the best instructional method: Chronological? Thematic? Skills? Ex…
 
"How do we create and spread better models of learning for young people, so that they can truly thrive in the world? asks Jenee Henry Wood, Head of Organizational Learning with Transcend Education, a not-for-profit organization that supports school communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments. And when we say mode…
 
"How do we create and spread better models of learning for young people, so that they can truly thrive in the world? asks Jenee Henry Wood, Head of Organizational Learning with Transcend Education, a not-for-profit organization that supports school communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments. And when we say mode…
 
What’s considered when creating a school experience for today’s students facing tomorrow’s world? A unique combination of design principles and ethos explains Tom Woelper, the founding head of the New England Innovation Academy. "The founders really thought that our educational system needed to evolve and change. It was not preparing students for o…
 
Students must be able to drive their own learning to fully reap its benefits explains teacher Ben Pendarvis. If we want active citizens, reflective thinkers, and confident leaders to compete globally, we must give students more experiences to inhabit these roles. The results of these experiences empowers students to remember what they learn and tak…
 
Students must be able to drive their own learning to fully reap its benefits explains teacher Ben Pendarvis. If we want active citizens, reflective thinkers, and confident leaders to compete globally, we must give students more experiences to inhabit these roles. The results of these experiences empowers students to remember what they learn and tak…
 
Do you confidently sing your life song? Or is it still waiting inside of you to be played? Educator Barbara Bray helps us understand the importance of those questions as they apply to today's students. Barbara is an author, speaker, keynoter, and consultant. She is the host of the Rethinking Learning podcast, founder/owner of My eCoach and co-autho…
 
Do you confidently sing your life song? Or is it still waiting inside of you to be played? Educator Barbara Bray helps us understand the importance of those questions as they apply to today's students. Barbara is an author, speaker, keynoter, and consultant. She is the host of the Rethinking Learning podcast, founder/owner of My eCoach and co-autho…
 
Want to help improve race relations? You can start by understanding what’s going on in that 3lb weight sitting on your shoulders. Jason Greer, the Founder and President of Greer Consulting, Inc., a labor management and employee relations consulting firm, explains. Jason is known for his work in the area of racial reconciliation based on his experie…
 
Want to help improve race relations? You can start by understanding what’s going on in that 3lb weight sitting on your shoulders. Jason Greer, the Founder and President of Greer Consulting, Inc., a labor management and employee relations consulting firm, explains. Jason is known for his work in the area of racial reconciliation based on his experie…
 
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