Episodes # 147-154

Episode #147: Mark Perna


 Mark Perna As an international expert on the millennial and Z generations, Mark has devoted his career to empowering educators and employers to unleash the tremendous potential of today’s young people, both in the classroom and on the job.

After successfully parenting two millennials as a single father, Mark has become a passionate advocate for bridging the generational divides that are contributing to America’s profound skills gap. Parents, schools, districts, businesses, and state organizations across North America have successfully used Mark’s insights and strategies to connect more effectively with the younger generations. In his work with educational and business organizations, Mark has pioneered many best practices for achieving more with today’s young people, including the Education with Purpose® philosophy and highly popular Career Tree® strategy, among others. Mark, who interviews frequently on radio shows, television, and podcasts, also serves on the Advisory Council for the Coalition for Career Development in Washington, DC. Mark enjoys inspirational movies, theater, travel, golf, wine, and time with his family — especially the latest Pernas, granddaughters Eleanor and Elouise. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mark, a graduate of John Carroll University, has many years of experience addressing industry leaders on the topic of expanding their reach in an increasingly global marketplace. Mark delivers more than 70 virtual and in-person keynote speeches annually at national and statewide events and spoke at Harvard University by special invitation. His genuine personality and warm sense of humor make him a fun and memorable communicator that people connect with immediately.

He regularly addresses both small groups and massive crowds in his capacity as a generational and performance expert, reaching thousands of educators, employers, parents, and young people each year with his powerful message of change and empowerment.

Trench story:  When he was 34 years old, he went thru bankruptcy & divorce. He weighed over 400 lbs. Dealt with a lot of adversity. He had to change to get better. Went thru maturation process. Being able to do all that, he pivoted and became what he is today. Shares this story in his keynotes. Important how failure is in your life. Being able to learn from failure.

Talk about book Answering Why about unleashing passion and purpose for youngsters because of different view, perspective of where they’re coming from, On Principal Center Radio Podcast episode you talk about your book Answering Why- We’re raised them to want experiences and to latch on to those experiences. Working for your goals looks different today. How do we balance supporting kids between the harder way work ethic earlier generations had? When we grew up, we learned a lot from our mistakes. Gen Z- they are currently 8-25 years old. It’s a challenging time for parents, educators, hard to see light at end of tunnel. The tunnel is end of educational career. Way too many kids stand still in tunnel. Could be fear, apathy, SEL trauma, so many people deal with extraordinary issues & the “covid learning slide”. It took Mark 32 years to become an overnight sucess. He calls it an active purpose. Tips- understand their lifestyle. Career is a lifestyle decision. Build the human connection that drives trust. Kids learn from mistakes- when we allow them to make them. He’s a big fan or allowing them to make mistakes. Collative purpose & static purpose. Kids show up every day- many kids are in static purpose- they view education as just another purpose they have. Need to transition to active purpose. We have to have human connection. Who are the teachers you remember the most? They were tough on him. Bandwidth with teachers admin, counselors, no one has the time. For Gen z, we have to have a human connection to move forward. It’s an impass. 

Talk about podcast interview on Develop This! podcast about The Great Resignation and how that applies to educators https://www.markcperna.com/the-great-resignation-what-is-it-really/ Also blog post Why Education is about to Reach a Crisis of Epic Proportions went viral 1.4 million people read it. He wrote it over Christmas holiday. Most people aren’t satisfied with ability to impact students. Noone’s enjoying their job. IT’s playing out in an after effect. Just in December 48% of teachers said they were considering quitting their job. Cataclysmic. We have got to take things off t’s plates. It’s about interacting and building relationships w/ staff. his advice is having PD asap about things they no longer need to do. What’s not mission critical? Build human connection. Kids won’t open their minds if no human connection is built. No bandwidth is there to inspire the flame. Gen z won’t allow you to fill the vessel if you haven’t kindled the flame.  

Talk about your upcoming live stream Call to Action, 2022 Education with Purpose & Employment with Passion: Call to Action. It’s time to shift the paradigm in education, workforce, and economic development—and make students career ready, period. It occurs Mar 9. 72 hour replay for diff. time zones. Did it already on Oct. 21. Extraordinary responses then. Everyone was at the table. 2 hours long-broke down who the young people are. Connecting people-connecting the dots to recognize pivoting. 2-4 pm EST. Anyone- not meant for students but for educators, employers, economic development.  

Key quotes…. it takes a human connection you can push people further, faster to push them to higher achievement. better relationship, push them towards light at end of the tunnel. It can’t be what adults want them to do. Too many kids are doing what their parent want them to do. 65%. It won’t lead to their overall happiness. Parents are sometimes TOO engaged today.   

Find Mark online via his website www.markcperna.com  www.ewpaction.com to sign up for his for livestream. He wants to make a bigger impact on shifting the paradigm for creating a competitive edge among youngsters. Go further than academic knowledge.

Twitter @markperna FB @markcpernaleadership, also on LinkedIn

Episode #148: Dr. Amy Moore

Episode #148: Dr. Amy Moore (podbean.com)

Dr. Amy Moore is a cognitive psychologist at LearningRx in Colorado Springs, CO at the headquarters of the largest network of cognitive training centers in the world. She specializes in cognitive rehabilitation training and cognition assessment for neurodevelopmental disorders, brain injury, learning disabilities, and age-related cognitive decline. As a cognitive psychologist, counselor, and former teacher of teachers, Amy has spent nearly 3 decades helping parents and educators meet the needs of the children in their lives while also caring for themselves. She’s also survived her own challenges. From raising neurodiverse children to being a military spouse with chronic illnesses and ADHD, she’s learned amazing ways to cope and thrive.

She also serves as VP of Research at Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research. Her ground-breaking brain training and assessment research has been published in peer reviewed medical and psychology journals and presented at conferences around the country.

Dr. Amy is a former child development specialist, education administrator, and teacher of teachers with a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in early childhood education. She has been working with struggling learners for more than 25 years. She is also a board-certified Christian counselor, the Editor-in-Chief of Modern Brain Journal, and co-host of Brainy Moms, the podcast for smart moms.

Trenches story: as educator, now psychologist it’s easy to give advice to others, but hard to think thru solutions as parent. Youngest son had low spelling grades. Asked questions of teachers, trusted the system. Son struggled with self-esteem issues that got worse. In 4th grade, son had written like a 1st grader, phonetically. Amy asked self if he’d been so busy she’d not helped her son enough. She specializes in rehabilitating cognitive skills. She put him in 9 m of brain training program. Is now in G/T, tested into college English in 8th grade. He had cognitive decoding issues.

The Promise of Brain Training for Struggling Learners (or ADHD or TBI). Beauty of her brain training research is it’s applicable to all issues: She’s talking about repeated engagement, repeated mental tasks repeated by a human. Work out w/ a cognitive trainer for the brain. We have many skills we use daily. If we have 1-2 that aren’t working in a team, they found that the human-delivered intervention it can deliver changes in score with ADHD kids, etc. 

What does your research show about brain training for children (or ADHD, or brain injury, or older adults)? She has published 12 studies. Research is on her website. TBI for adults- she gave a TEDX talk about “Lessons Learned from training 101 brains” Publications link. She spoke of a gentlemen who went thru 8-9 m of intense training, went back to same engineering job he’d been at before accident.

Tutoring Versus Brain Training there is a time & place for both- there’s what we know & learn and how we process what we learn. If child is struggling in more than 1 subj. maybe their processing skills need to be strengthened. Look at root cause at why the student is struggling to learn. That can be an endless intervention. If they’re struggling in 1 subject-only tutoring is a good choice. Go thru a cognitive training program. If they’re in older grades, they should have the skills. They train students young and old. 

The Myth of Learning Styles and What We Should Focus on Instead-They like to call it a “neuromyth”. Unless there’s a brain injury or deficit, we’re capable of learning visually, auditorily, etc. Teachers create curriculum to address learning styles unless kids have disability. Bigger predictor is creating curriculum that matches students’ prior knowledge. Like KWL chart. Give freedom that has students list how they want to learn. It’s important to make KWL assessment even in secondary. It takes pressure off teachers.

What does it mean to parent through a lens of connectedness? every decision we make as parent is thru if decision is strengthened or weakened. She is passionate about this. If child is neurotypical, it’s a simple idea of whether the next thing I say will strengthen or weaken connection with the child? We want our kids to learn appropriate behaviors. We paralyze young kids with “no”. Add what they can do as well. Give them choices/options.

Why does anyone with ADHD experience bigger emotions than neurotypical adults? link to WebMD podcast episode she appeared on recently. Amy also has adult ADHD, she’ll share that isn’t part of the diagnostic process idea of emotion regulation. Any type of neuro-imaging scan we can see this. Connectivity is weaker w/ ADHD. Amygdala highjacks the pre-frontal cortex. We often see floods of big emotions. Rejection-sensitive dysphoria, if someone feels like they failed, emotion takes over- they feel like they’re incapable of processing. Address w/ coping skills by strengthening connections w/ executive functions. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful.

In the absence of a disability, why do some children struggle more than others when it comes to school performance? School will take lead on conducting comprehensive assessment. Child getting average grades- not failing- getting C’s, D’s doesn’t send up red flag. They would benefit from an external evaluation. Cognitive skills. everyone can have that. Their skills just aren’t strong enough. The centers are paid out of pocket, just like tutoring.

Key quotes: We’re not stuck with cognitive cards we’ve been dealt.

Find Amy online at: www.amymoorephd.com www.learningrx.com @AmyLawsonMoore FB/LinkedIn @dr_amymoore

IG  Twitter:amylawsonmoore also co-hosts the podcast Brainy Moms 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AClxnBQ2OlU

Episode #150: Drs. Vicki Bautista & Gretchen Oltman

Episode #150: Drs. Vicki & Gretchen Oltman (podbean.com)

Dr. Gretchen Oltman @dr_Oltman & Dr. Vicki Bautista @bautista_vicki Authors of What’s your Leadership Story? A School Leader’s Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are. 

Bios: Gretchen Oltman is an author, attorney, and educator. She works as an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies at Creighton University, where she leads a program for graduate students pursuing degrees in leadership. Prior to this, she was a high school English teacher. She holds a law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, a PhD in educational studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an MA in teaching from the University of Louisville, and a BA in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author or coauthor of Violence in Student Writing, Law Meets Literature, The Supreme 15, The Themes That Bind Us, and Prepare to Chair. She regularly presents for ASCD, the Education Law Association, and the National Council for Teachers of English.

Vicki Bautista is an assistant professor at Creighton University in the department of interdisciplinary studies. She serves as the assistant director for the MS program in integrative health and wellness. She received a BA from the University of Texas–El Paso in health science with a minor in community health and her MA from the University of Nebraska Omaha in health education. She earned her EdD in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University, focusing on department chairs and well-being. Prior to working at Creighton, she was employed in a variety of health promotion settings including nonprofit, government, and research in the high school setting. She presents regularly on the topics of leadership and well-being, self-care, and personal leadership philosophies.

Trenches stories: Vicki-She was previously a contract employee. Once it said contract was under negotiation, don’t come back. Was at a crossroads. Had to get to know who she was again, did a lot of gardening. So, she took adjunct job at the local university. Contract offered ay Creighton-make sure you don’t forget who you are. Job doesn’t define you.

Gretchen-went to law school after teaching MS 1 year. Felt like needed to find a corporate job. Leaving govt. office job, realizing work environment she couldn’t work in cubicle. First job out of law school. Felt like she was in a trench. Good friend was in accident & died at 21. Realized that life is short. Wanted to go back to teaching. Taught HS English for 10 years. 

Story of how you all ended up collaborating on this book. Vicki was working on EdD. Worked on capstone requirements. Needed somethings for students to use as leader in the real world. Gretchen-you leave college w/ teaching philosophy. Shocking that other professions didn’t have this guiding piece. Talked to Deans in colleges. They didn’t have way to articulate why. Leaders in K-12 as well. They interviewed staff, asked leadership philosophy. Didn’t have way to quickly share leadership story. They played w/ idea. What’s useful to real people. Take away wall of who you are.

Since it’s the title of the book, “What’s your leadership story? wondered if should share with others at conferences. Did more. Had more content to reflect on. Tool for the classroom that has evolved & grown. Helped them develop staff. Their leadership stories are in the book. Continue to update/refine the process. Philo but also story. Stories connect them with people. Find your inner story to share with others not to be misunderstood. Assumptions made about who you are. People told what they value in life.

Leading in a school setting does not mean you need to lose your individual identity. You became a school leader by following your own unique path. How do leaders who are passionate about making positive changes forge ahead in spite of pushback?  Go back to beginnings. Responsibilities in first jobs. One was a piano player. Carried identify of playing piano. Can transition to diff settings easily. Mindful of what was going on around him. Principal who grew up on dairy farm. Did a lot of work tasks. Uses lessons from growing up. They evolve over time. Leaders have trouble identifying with the title. Tell what YOU bring to the table. You possess talents that set you apart from others. By working purposefully to share your personal leadership philosophy, you can create a new expectation of what school leaders should be and counter the unrealistic assumptions that others may hold. You can be more than your title.

Ask about how a leader’s personal leadership philosophy can help contribute to building one’s school’s/district vision and mission. As covid has hit, has it really served us? Stance takes away exterior shell we put up. Book is a guide on writing your own personal leadership philosophy. It’s a good way to capture how this helps the school. You can’t be an authentic leader without understanding where you come from. They ask people about their first jobs (even outside of education). Lots of principals hide those things. Embrace & articulate what your core values are. Then you can articulate how you fit w/in school mission & vision. It’s not the job of yesterday. Personal journal for school leaders. They discovered lots of “accidental” leaders in this process. Lots of ppl made it to AP position. Grey area of “who are you to do this and why?” Re-evaluate yourself in a leadership role. “How do you want the school community to feel as a result of you”. Use tools you already have. Get in other groups of like-minded leaders. Changes year after year. Otherwise, you get stuck. Share your leadership philosophy with others. Ask others if it demonstrates who you are. They believe everyone is a leader.

Describe an example of accidental leaders and how are we going to be prepared for well-qualified leaders to replace those who are burnt out. We’re going to see more of this happening. People who were the only ones to apply to positions. Embrace notion everyone is leader. Classified /certified. They need to make ethical & sound decisions. For example, the school nurse. They make a lot of decisions. Will bring up rank of ppl who will be more skilled for leadership. Can transition to other settings within a school. Neighborhood district called church to find subs. They’re doing a study on the “high achieving leader”.  Not 1 district in US had a burn-out plan for leaders. Crisis point we’re at. Their whole thing about burn-out is the structural piece. It takes planning & time at structural piece. We can run ourself ragged early in career and set dangerous trend for self. Have ppl reflect on their leadership skills.

Workshops they present/give: working with ASCD to do project with affiliate leaders on writing leadership philosophy. Walking people through crafting leadership philosophy. Taking place in the spring. Wants to promote Workshop after annual conference in Chicago Mar. 24, Mar. 31, Apr. 7 (virtual series). Exciting about process is doing it with others- PLC, leadership team, friends from other states. Value is finding out things about others. Time to interact. Revising/thinking about their stories. They find ppl know why they lead how they do but have never articulated it. Good way to make an elevator speech. Luxury many ppl can take part in. 

Key quotes? Vicki-everyone is a leader. Gretchen-everyone has a story. Someone on a TV show that used to be on CBS would throw a dart on map & go meet that person. Invest in others. People aren’t the facades they put up. 

Find Vicki & Gretchen online on Twitter & LinkedIn- look up names.
They would love to chat with listeners about revising leadership story. Share with them what you’ve done. 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SApl9LkN5bE

Episode #151: Myron Dueck

Episode #151: Myron Dueck (podbean.com

Over the past 22 years, Myron Dueck has worked as an educator and administrator in both Canada and New Zealand.  Through his current district position, as well as working with educators around the world, Myron continues to develop grading, assessment and reporting systems which gave students a greater opportunity to show what they understand and play a significant role in the reporting of their learning.  Myron visits schools, districts and organizations both in person and virtually to share his ongoing journey, ready-to-use tools and first-hand experiences.  Recently Myron’s presentations have diverged to include global education trends and broader socio-economic realities that impact learning. Myron has been published in EL Magazine, EdCan and other publications. His best-selling book, Grading Smarter, Not HarderAssessment Strategies that Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn was released by ASCD in July 2014 and in 2015 ASCD released a video project based in his own school district entitled ‘Smarter Assessment in the Secondary Classroom’.  ‘Ask Them’, is a three-part streaming series focused on student voice and empowerment and is available at www.ascd.org. ASCD has published his most recent book in January 2021, entitled, ‘Giving Students a Say‘! Check it out here. Myron and his family currently live in British Columbia where he is SD67 District Vice-Principal for Communicating Student Learning.

Trenches story: he mentions the current situation with British Columbia’s curricular & grading changes.BC is taking on reporting order. K-9 in BC will report on emerging, developing, proficient.  Curricular competencies. Other shoe falling. reporting on standards. He has taught grade 12 history. Plan is to launch next school year. Curricular docs in legislation. July 1.

Talk about current role- as of Feb. 1-is coming out of vice principal position. Has really been in trenches during covid. Since Aug ’ 20. Taught leadership class there. Will switch back to district role in terms of assessment. K-9 in BC will report on emerging, developing, proficient. We may/may not want to discuss. No letter grades. Component of report needs to be student-driven. He hasn’t had much choice but to dive into it. Will lead team in district. Assisting with elementary, middle, high. Will there a parent training piece involved? Parents are much more close to educational stage now. Is leaning on work from other districts. Did a parent video for them. Grade 12 students & letter grade applied to transcript. convert to a % or GPA.  They’re not shifting grades 10-12 right now. All students are being asked to self-report on critical thinking. st. goal-setting piece as well. Universities are shifting as well. 

 Talk about books Grading Smarter, Not HarderAssessment Strategies that Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn & Giving Students a Say- how are they similar/different, adapting with the changing times between ‘14 and ‘21? Takeaways/ he often gets this ? & answers that the first book’s genesis is that he tried thinks in the classroom, they worked for him & also for students. Every minute he spent writing he didn’t believe it would actually get published. Kind of wrote it only for him. Wanted a record of what he did & what happened. Written by a t for t’s. It eventually became a book, was supposed to be a shorter book. Had to carve down size of the book. Chronicling 6 years in the classroom. Stopped grading HW. Impacted relationships more. Students were outside of assessment process. 

Giving students a say represents his 2nd paradigm shift. We have to welcome students into this arena. 1st book is for teachers for their own practice. 2nd is going to root of assessment. “Asidere”- Latin “to sit beside”. He feels quite convinced that moving to standard-based isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be. Student writing their own objectives. Especially when you separate behavior from academics. Who is in the best position to weigh in on effort, participation, collaboration? In regard to HW, how can we measure effort? “The real world” if he & wife both paint kitchen, it would take him 10x’s more effort. How do you determine effort when 2 students submit the same thing? Ken O’Connor wrote piece about “work” shift focus toward learning more. What if group endeavor is part of the learning piece? Sometimes group endeavor isn’t graded at all. 

Talk about some of your most popular keynotes you want to highlight- He has one on Grading Smarter not Harder. Has lots to deliver & engage audiences with. “What can educators learn from advertisers. Why are some ads more annoying than others? “Ask them” is a popular one. He looks at NFL & how context matters. Asking students about their learning. “Failing IS an option”. About risk takers having failed many x’s.  “Beauty of constraints” during covid. Mainly freelances. Groups often bring him back over & over again. Has # of private school visits to Ecuador, CA, UT, ID.  Since pandemic, HS has rung a lot about HS Who want to change their grading practices. Mix of different levels/places.

Key quotes…If hadn’t gone to grading conf in Portland in 2013, told by principal to go. He found it laughable. Principal promised basketball tix & brew pub. Principal said he could go back to what did before. Sometimes teachers caught in a trap. He tells principals to pilot it at 9th grade level. Have confidence. Ask your students. With his consulting work, he’s worked with so many on an on-going basis. It isn’t a one-and-done.

Find Myron online on Twitter @myrondueck website https://myrondueck.wordpress.com/about/ email myrondueck@gmail.com 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/whid1yi6Il0

Episode #152: Paul Emerich France

Episode #151: Paul Emerich France (podbean.com)


Paul Emerich France, NBCT, is a keynoter, educational consultant. He is the author of Reclaiming Personalized Learning (2018). He is also a Literacy Specialist, keynote speaker, and author of Humanizing Distance Learning. In all of his writing and speaking, he aims to convey one central message: we must teach and learn in the pursuit of a deeper sense of collective humanity—and for no other reason. He pours his heart and soul into my writing, and you can find his work in a number of education publications, such as Edutopia, EdSurge, ASCD’s “Educational Leadership”, the International Literacy Association’s “Literacy Today,” and Learning Forward’s “The Learning Professional.” I have been featured at SXSW EDU, as well as in The New Yorker, WIRED, and The Atlantic. He currently consults with teachers, schools, and school districts, and offers educational support to families in pods and one-on-one settings. Most importantly, he is a very proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, husband to David, and dad to two dogs, Maya and Barley.

Trenches story: he talks about being a queer teacher working on coming out as teacher. Started in 2010. Tried to keep gay identity private. In Fall 2013, started coming out process; a colleague told him he should. Illinois had just legalized marriage equality. Had to come to terms with homophobia in schools. Moved forward with the lesson but got into trouble with the principal & district. People he worked with were not willing to stick up for him. Went into last teaching job interview saying he is proudly openly gay. Has taught transitional K-5th. Important conversation to have right now. They said to him “maybe in 5-10 years it will be ok”. Teachers are more readily avail to engage with work. Support of LGBTQ students even at elementary level. Kids in 3rd grade & younger- if they don’t have those role models they don’t know it’s an option as an identity. He wishes more schools w/ have a queer person to identify with. 

Work w/ ASCD, writing as a teacher: How long you’ve been writing for ASCD? Taught for 10 years, traditional classroom. Left in 2020 because of pandemic. Is publishing 2nd edition of 1st book and working on 3rd book. He sees self as storyteller, that’s what sticks. Human element of teaching & learning. Works now as a private consultant, private pod teacher, both virtual and online. Started writing for ASCD in April ‘21. His first book was published in 2019. Started own blog in 2013. Got published in EdSurge in 2015. Wrote for Ed Leadership starting then. Since then, has freelanced. Smattering of his work everyone.

Talk about Personalized Learning book-narrower focus, inspired by time working in Silicon Valley.  Worked for ed tech startup company. Was a tech developer & teacher. Spent 3 years there. Defined personalization wrong way. There are diminishing returns on isolation. Can create competition in CR. Personalized learning is about humanizing the classroom. Finding points of convergence & allowing for points of divergence. Reclaiming personalized learning- 2nd edition coming in March. He hopes it encourages people to look away from learning loss. 

We talk about his new book with ASCD on sustainable teaching. He interviewed many teachers on what they think needs to happen for teaching to become a sustainable profession. Started sustainable teaching work in the summer of 2021. Wasn’t right for him to position himself as expert. Only felt right to talk to t’s & admin about that they see as sustainable. His stance on personalized learning challenges the stance on personalized learning. He calls it “humanized personalization”. His next book will be out mid ‘23. Can talk about surveys he’s done for the book. It’s w/ ASCD.  Built off 6 mindset shifts. Pedagogies about mindset shifts. He would like to see an amplifying of t voices. something that’s come across strongly in sustainable teacher work is flattening hierarchy in districts.  Creating structures in school systems where people can be seen & heard. 

Webinars- He’s doing something with Imagine Learning about his Corwin book with Imagine Learning- was March 3- you can get the webinar retroactively. Corwin webinar on May 2.  South by Southwest EDU-conference he spoke at March 6. Currently consulting with a district in KY. 

Key quotes… idea of what remains from our time in schools is our stories. You’re part of the story your students are writing.

Find Paul online at www.paulemerich.com  Twitter & Ig @paul_emerich  

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/D96W5SQO6-0

Episode #153: Vernita Mayfield

Episode #153: Vernita Mayflied (podbean.com)

Dr. Vernita Mayfield began her career teaching elementary school which is when she discovered her love serving and supporting students who have been historically marginalized. Since then, she has continued to do so as an author and through numerous positions of service, including secondary school principal, researcher and lecturer, and educational consultant at state and national levels.

In 2012, Mayfield founded Leadervation Learning to support organizations seeking to build leadership capacity, particularly in marginalized communities. The company evolved into a vehicle supporting leaders at all levels to understand and dismantle inequitable systems and organizations by building the cultural competency of staff. Her focus as an author and speaker is course development and training and facilitating conversations on leadership, race and equity. 

Trenches story: there was a year she led a school with lots of students classified as homeless. She didn’t have great understanding of their personal lives. She shadowed students in the homeless shelter. Schools can create barriers for students who are highly mobile. Transportation needed to reroute. They didn’t have room in the locker for anything more. It was really in the trenches. They got out by offering extra curriculars in the morning. They extended breakfast hours. Created toiletry bags. Partnered with the local foundation. Had a field trip policy with at least 1 per year. 

Authored “5 Steps Toward Cultural Competence in Schools” (ASCD description): Cultural Competence Now provides a structure to begin meaningful conversations about race, culture, bias, privilege, and power within the time constraints of an ordinary school. The 56 exercises include activities, discussions, and readings in which to engage during each of the four quarters of the school year. School leaders will discover how to facilitate learning through the four steps—awaken and assess; apply and act; analyze and align; advocate and lead—as you and your colleagues

  • Increase your awareness of privilege and bias.
  • Adapt your professional practices to meet the needs of all students.
  • Examine policies and practices that inhibit opportunities for marginalized populations.
  • Align resources to eradicate inequity in your school.

She organized the book with interactive exercises for PLC meetings, follow-up to exercises. Topics such as colorism, implicit bias, lets ppl work in pairs, groups, deeper discussions.

Work with Leadervation Learning: around experiences she had in school, opening up thinking around ppl’s values, beliefs, keynotes, CRT, school improvement efforts, leadership coaching, surveys, site-based data.

Articles on website such as Five Keys to High Quality Instruction for Adults & Six Steps to a More Inclusive and Equitable Work Environment: (find links on her website) akin to secondary learning. how is it tied to how evaluated? What’s a process? Active engagement. adult learning needs to be fun. provide opportunities for self-critique. Evidence of time well spent. Am I making progress and to what DEGREE? They need

Key quotes: Cultural competency is important. Equitable discipline outcomes, belonging, fairness, academic outcomes, AP classes. Interactions with parents.

Find Vernita online: Cultural Competence – Leadervation Learning LLC: https://leadervationlearning.com/ Twitter @drvmayfield 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/VuLse7I5pw4

Episode #154: Alicia Ray


Alicia Ray is a veteran educator of 14 years from North Carolina. She has taught PreK-8th grade students and currently serves as a digital learning coach and media coordinator in a STEM magnet middle school in a rural district. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology and a Master Alicia Ray is a veteran educator of 14 years from North Carolina. She has taught PreK-8th grade students and currently serves as a digital learning coach and media coordinator in a STEM magnet middle school. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology and a Master of Library Science from East Carolina University.

Alicia is passionate about being a catalyst for change, lifelong learning, and inspiring others to be better than they were yesterday. She believes every event in life contains a lesson and seeks to discover those lessons (sometimes learning them the hard way). Alicia enjoys infusing technology into the classroom seamlessly and effectively. She is a firm believer that relationships with students and stakeholders are everything. Alicia uses virtual reality, blended learning environments, gamification, and game-based learning to engage & empower students while coaching teachers through co-planning and co-teaching. She encourages teachers to take risks by giving them a safe place to fail during these co-teaching experiences.

She began a journey of true introspection and implementation through blogging about the first 50 books published under the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc label during the summer of 2018, which she called #DBC50Summer. Never wanting to become stagnant again, she continues sharing her reflections and implementations at using the hashtag #DBCBookBlogs.

She blogs frequently about #DBCBookBlogs and education at aliciaray.com and is active on Twitter as @iluveducating. She and her husband, Chris, have two intelligent, spunky, beautiful daughters, Bailey and Sophie.

Trench story: Has one that goes back 12 yrs. Was hired as a 5th grade math teacher. Team went self-contained. In NC they had 3 standardized tests at end of 5th grade. She didn’t have clue about ELA- but grew partnerships with an ELA expert. Great PLC. Felt out comfort zone trying to teach ELA. Her partner helped develop Alicia as a reading teacher. Going from 2-3 subjects was harder. She was stressed out b/c humanities was outside her comfort zone. She & colleagues leaned on each other a lot. 

Talk about being the author of Educational Eye Exam: Creating Your Vision for Education- is it for both teachers and leaders?  For teachers, pre-service teachers, or others who have been in a long time. Allows to take a deep dive into practice. Really about personal vision, finding your own views on everything. Main hot topic issues on education. Big “E” on eye exam chart. Grading/standardized testing. How do you not just have vision but have it out loud. She read 50 Dave Burgess books in span of 50 days. Lots of ppl were saying thing she agreed with. She doesn’t have a differing view from what D. Burgess does. Took a min. to figure out what she believed. How do you live it out loud? How can you prove to ppl you’re student-centered by what your class looks like? Not just know your vision but live it. What do you do if you’re vision doesn’t align with PLC, district? 1 chapter is basically just questions. They’re ever-changing. You need to constantly get check-ups. Our vision changes all the time. There are chapter reflection ?’s for PLCs to work with. Space for writing in the entire book. “Corrective measures” end of every chapter. Large section in “Your Vision”. In beg chapters, she says ppl can stop at end of each chapter & reflect. It’s up to reader. Don’t be too near or farsighted. In interviewing for a teacher’s job it’s important to know those things. How are you gonna bring yourself? Your views will change over time. You need to pause, dig deep, reflect on what you believe. Find out “is this really still where I am meant to be?”

Blogging with #DBCBookBlogs– She started with “Teach like a Pirate” but realized there were other books about creative, innovative things in CR. she stopped at Book #85. She can’t figure out what she wants to say about her own book. She is still buying all the DBC books as they come out. She isn’t getting any deals/endorsement from DBC for blogging. She has lots going on right now. Teaching student’s survival stills. She had been blogging since June 2018 50th book was released. Twitter party- had met Dave at a conference. #DBC50Summer turned into the blog she has stopped. Presented at conf. The books helped her change her practice. Some of DBC authors came to her, because she wrote a blog about it. They said she should write. They accepted book in Feb ‘19. Her blog is an educational platform. It comes back to “how is this gonna implement my practice?”

Talk about your current role in education: 6-8 graders- has worked with kids on explaining to them they were out of school, now adv students are taking HS-level classes. Has worked at all levels K-8. IS in a STEM magnet MS. 2 ES feed into school. She serves as “Lead Digital Learning & Media Innovation Facilitator”, Library, G/T coordinator role. SEL role for 8th grade homeroom. She goes into ELA, math, science classes. She co-teaches with the other teachers. She is also math counts coach. They just won district competition. Works with teachers & have them implement their ideas. Sees homeroom class every day. Mini projects going on. Deep dive into curriculum. 

Out of everything? From Dave Burgess “inspiration w/o implementation is a waste”. Comes from “Teach like a Pirate”. Be inspired & share it w/ others. You’re a walking wealth of knowledge if you’re not making ppl’s life better. Share spark of inspiration with others. 

Find Alicia online @iluveducating Twitter/IG #edueyeexam website: www.aliciaray.com

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/a3NhVXLaHCg

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