Episode #155: Tar’kesa Colvin
Tar’kesa Colvin is an Award-Winning Publishing Coach & Consultant, wife, mother of 4 (including 2 fur babies), and a Bestselling Author who can be seen in The Huffington Posts, Thrive Global Medium, and the SBA’s SCORE – Birmingham Chapter.
She worked in Healthcare Management for 10 years completing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, then a Master of Business Administration in operations management, but she knew she was designed and purposed to do more. During this time in corporate, she also nurtured her passion and natural talent for writing and storytelling by writing and publishing fiction and nonfiction works both traditionally and independently. Then using her formal business education and the experience she gained from publishing 19 books in 6 years, she began to help people write and publish transformational books. To date, she has helped over 80 authors achieve their goals of writing and publishing their books, and these well-positioned books have been instrumental in increasing their visibility, credibility, authority, global reach AND profitability.
Working with her clients in 1:1 and group settings, their book projects have help them to become featured authors at the NAACP National Convention, secure TEDx Talks, create multiple income streams, gain access to larger stages and multi-national platforms, garner the attention of daytime television producers, get them featured in well-known magazines like Cosmo, and expanded their businesses by leveraging their finished books.
Her goal for the work she does is to help people write books that “say something”, books that are not only positioned for bestseller status, but that also change mindsets, lives, businesses and more by delivering powerful transformational messages to the masses!
Trenches story: Has tons to share. Story is about starting on her writing journey. Everyone has grand dreams of wanting to become a writer. She had her manuscript looked at by big writer. Hammer fell, they said she needed to write to “trend”, at the time it was Twilight. Had writer’s block for 2 years. It was depressing for her. She’s been writing since she was young. Her best friend got her to crawl out of the trenches. Asked her some questions that woke Tar’kesa up. What were her options other than traditional publishing? She started researching. Found out how to self-publish. Amazon had million-dollar circle of self-publishers, they sold eBooks for $.99. They were all fiction writers. She looked at the process they used to “churn out” books. She did end up publishing that first piece. Learned to design a cover, took the time to self-publish. Learned how to get in the right communities. Got to know epic writers in a writer’s group. It fueled her fire. Tar’kesa realized there were 5 elements to writing a book- starts w/ pre-writing. 1) where do you want your book to show up. If I am a reader, what other books will align w/ this? You shape the language of your book during the pre-writing. Then u have writing piece. She’ll speak to non-fiction piece. Important piece is “don’t head your paper”. We’re often trying to write to support the title. Outline using questions. It’s easier to answer those questions. It’s important to keep reader in mind. Ask yourself “is this a detail I want to share/do they really need that info?”. What’s helpful for the reader to know?
How did you go from author to a 6 figure business owner? She is a contributor for Thrive & Medium. you can make what you want to make. it’s your mindset. She wants to kill the myth of the starving artist. Ppl have bought into “If I’m going to write, I’m going to be broke”. In her research, she’s learned if you have a strategy & plan to generate ppl who will by. She takes authors through process. good understanding of marketing. Just like a lesson plan. What do ppl need after the publishing- seeing you speak, mentor, it’s a lot more expensive than buying the book.
The 5 ‘P’ method that makes you the media’s ‘Go To’ expert in your field pre-writing. she’ll break it down. get pen and paper. take notes off recording. news anchor needs to find it. 1. prime prospect. What movies/tv shows would they watch. 2. p. oven product. clear msg. same thing w/ fiction. not just a concept. 3. purchase path. make it easy to find/buy. supply links, don’t bury it. 4. price to value positioning. don’t make it too cheap. 5. promotion process. you need to talk about it on social.
Why launch another educational publishing company (in terms of setting themselves apart)? Don’t be afraid to niche down. Specialize. Whether you’re an author or company, you see yourself as a business. language to 2nd graders via zoom f. ex.
Can authors REALLY make $254,000 per book? You can generate $254K from one book. It’s about having a strategy. it’s a formula. she talks about it on social a lot. modelling piece. If people are thinking about creating a publishing company specific to t’s. It’s cause t’s feel like they don’t have a voice. They have lots of skills/tools. If they’re given an ultimatum that doesn’t fit their family- they need to come to a publisher- it’s going to be tremendous. So many ppl still have those skills- my ? would be how can a teacher use their skills in making enough $ to generate an income. She can talk about a 7th grade math teacher friend who is now a business coach. She worked as a consultant before. you must have an author business model. it can be challenging to make this just selling books. speak, consult, etc.… speaker fees. require buying of books from audience.
The ‘Get THAT Book Done™’ process to write a book in 60 days or less for t’s who want to get a book done over the summer. (don’t give away all your secrets), she goes back to helping a friend who she went on a retreat with who wrote her book in 4 hours- did the prewriting process and outlined with questions. Your book is a conversation w/ your reader. Each question will be a chapter. Easy way to do it is talk it out. Record your answer on your phone. In every chapter give HW. You want reader to get results. How can reader get an easy win out of what you just told them? How will you execute what they just learned? Knowing the structure of the chapter. Summarize. That will get 1st draft done. You can’t write & edit at the same time. Don’t do both at same time. You can get an editor many places.
The #1 thing most people get wrong that keeps the media from finding their book: she says it’s more than sharing on social media. You want a keyword rich title that makes sense to ppl. Media doesn’t know where to fit it if they have to work too hard to figure out what the books are about. If you have steps- put # of steps in title. Great soundbites. You want to remember your reader. Search Amazon & find out what populates. Going to dr, getting a diagnosis, often it’s a long-winded name. Use language of your reader.
A little-known secret most people overlook to get their books seen a lot of people use social media. It’s about prewriting. We’ve seen it with movie trailers. “if you love x, you’ll love z”. Tie your item to something that’s already out there. Use audiences that are already available. go where the people are. How are your results similar to what’s out there? Be aware of where you’re audience it hanging out. Work what’s in your wheelhouse. #1 way is having the right title.
Out of everything…I would rather fail forward than fail standing still. take action, step. Give self grace. You can make another decision tomorrow. Type in word in amazon of what you want your title to be.
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/D9HhrEMvbfA
Episode #156: Bill Renner
Bill Renner is principal and chief storyteller of The Amazing Spencer Elementary in Brighton, Michigan. He serves his elementary school with a daily focus on relationships by laughing together, focusing on success, and learning from failure. Whether serving lunch, helping his staff reach their goals, or offering to assist a student with a task, it’s daily servanthood for Bill.
In addition to leading, he’s the creator of a weekly parenting podcast, A Dash of Salt, where he shares his insights as a principal and his other favorite title, Dad. Bill’s no stranger to the rigors of the classroom as he’s taught as a kindergarten, first grade, fourth grade, and fifth-grade teacher. He holds a BS in science and early childhood education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University.
Trench story it can be however he looks at it. Principal’s job of jack of all trades this year. Has to step up & do lunch crew. Not all trenches are bad. When haven’t I been in a trench? IS product of 2 teens. Found male role models in family, church leaders, etc. Joined the military. Questioned after 3 days in. Wasn’t a great student. Found it easier to quit. Girlfriend gave an ultimatum. They closed the kindergarten building. Got shuffled to another building. Shifted to yet another grade. Major learning shift going from K-5th grade. Was approached by a super in another district. Left Brightton. Saw things like low enrollment, ppl moving. They needed to save $. They closed his school. Got a position in hometown. This year his lunch crew moved on. He had to serve lunch. Brought in son from college break voluntold. A parent though he was the cook. Custodial staff decided to leave. Subbed for t’s. Keeping the lights on, signing papers. Evaluating t’s. They have a therapy dog. Buckley & shadow they’re always w/ Bill. Worked w/ kid yesterday on ninja moved, kid had trauma. What are your core values? It’s not so much a balancing act. If wasn’t serving lunch wouldn’t be able to connect w/ students. Lots of learning that occurs. It can’t occur unless you’re in the trench. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Just be you.
Journey to finally joining the BLBS Mastermind (incl. his path to ES leadership): He had younger kids before, didn’t want to add 1 more thing. He talks about when he grew up & what he hangs his hat on. His life wasn’t “planned” because he is product of 2 teen parents who divorced. All the unexpected has made him a well-rounded leader.
He wants to take elements from Principal Center & Robin Jackson about getting into the classroom and build school culture. He was once asked about priorities during an interview- kids, t’s, parents. If you can help staff get better so they can influence the kids. Started #500classrooms in previous district. “You should be better than you were a year ago”. R. Jackson says “use your vision statement” … He uses his school’s vision statement and makes sure 100% of staff is on board. He uses SIBME. The notes pop up on the video. This year, he wants to have staff record self & record the video. The teachers look at their teaching first. They reflect again w. Bill’s notes. They’re reflecting. Is a better admin because he’s invested in it. He kept hearing “when is it going to be the right time?” We need to invest in ourselves to get better in the short/long term.
Work/life balance. He has a HS sophomore, 1 in college. He does a podcast for families at his school as well. He wanted to share insights with parents. Just sharing his story. Came from stories during the pandemic. He has a calming voice. Through Buzz Sprout “A Dash of Salt”. Talks about importance of growth mindset. Talks to parents of junior K-4th grade. He has to use core values- think of pendulum swing. Make sure core values are intact.
Key quotes: You got what it takes. At an interview is asked “is this your dream job” let it be. Push up that mountain. Always assume the best intent in folk. Give thanks to God, for the people he works with. Find glimmers of hope. Prays every day about Lord bringing him closer.
Find Bill online? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @rennerbill
Insta: @theamazingspencerelem Podcast: A Dash of Salt www.buzzsprout.com/1131905
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tDJxdWYG_kk
Episode #157: JoAnn Nocera
JoAnn Nocera is an Educational Leader, Creativity Enthusiast, and Author with over two decades of experience helping children reach their highest learning potential and teaching parents strategies to assist in the process. In short, JoAnn helps students be SEEN, HEARD, and UNDERSTOOD.
JoAnn has changed the culture of school and home life to help those find success academically and emotionally. She has spent years researching and developing techniques that have been successful in helping students in all facets of education.
She has worked with The Geraldine Dodge Foundation, MindPop, Mind-Aligned, and the Grunin Foundation as well as in corporate partnerships with Toys R Us, Ocean First, and Home Depot. She is also a sought after speaker and workshop leader.
JoAnn holds multiple certifications in Elementary and Middle School Teaching, Principal and Supervisor administration licenses, and has been featured in WeAreTeachers.com, WebTalkRadio, and other national outlets within the industry.
Her book Give Me Back My Crayons, companion planner Give Me Back My Creativity, and companion children’s book series Katherine Grace are available wherever books are sold.
Trench story: While in HS/MS changed paths. Studied the arts, was ready for college. She went to a 2 year secretarial school then spent many yrs. Got on the trading floor of Godman Sach’s. Got a job on Foreign Exchange Trading Floor. Stayed because of the $. Was unhappy. Was going to night school when had kids & a husband to get B.A. and M.A.. Was exhausted. Lit the spark in students.
Why arts integration is the key to learning in a deeper way-she gives examples of lessons teachers can do. Visual learners. Wrote grants to get music in school. Not only did she heal but also students as well. This led her to write her book Give Me Back My Crayons. She had kids reenact piece from social studies curriculum. She felt like she was in trenches. Curriculum doesn’t always match students learning. Currently curriculum, supervisor, she gets arts into schools.
She wants to ignite the spark of kids who are passive learners/staying curious in terms of this year with teacher burnout. (i.e. How teachers can get their students to become curious and enjoy learning again). She has “Ignite the Spark” mentality: In her book pg. 4, you find out what kind of learner is in front of you. Plan something that’s fun. Put fun back into teaching. It’s not about standards/rubrics. It’s about kids becoming curious. Think of it as SPAPA could be movement, not necessarily the arts. Talking about math, intersecting lines. Kids can bring in light sabers, let them move. R-reflect, K- keep going, continue, we forgot how much fun learning could be. We forget about learning through play. “Wow, someone gets me”. Survey learners to find out what kind of learner they are. We need more avenues to show students those tools. Tap into who they are & how their brain unlocks info. They wait, pause, etc. You want to invest in finding out how they learn. Kids finished piece of writing was portholes inside the Titanic. Let them be seen, heard, understood.
How setting up a Parent Academy can lead to academic success and emotional well-being while building community bonds. She built a math night. STEAM night, HS robotics. Vertical articulation. Kids are getting inspired because older kids are helping the younger. MS/HS kids are lost these days. W/ parent academy, they’re coming together with their family. It can be a fun night centered around a health theme, for example. One side of gym was the makerspace. Other side was robots, etc. HS kids showed coding. Vertical articulation. They got to see possibilities for STEM projects. They did some zoom parent academy nights.
What inspired you to write Give Me Back My Crayons? How would that help educators? It’s a narrative, prescriptive book with mindfulness, cues, it’s written like a menu. It’s about the past 23 years of her experience. Created a road map for them. Little bit of stories/instructions. Creative cues. Maker moments.
When you were a classroom teacher, how did you create curiosity in your students? Can talk about the ES classes she taught. She showed something new to them and had them question things. Put bird feeder outside CR, tracked migration. Designated a little notebook, they recorded details, drew diagrams. Cornell’s ornithology lab- collects info on birds that migrate to your feeder. Kids wanted to read/find out more. Took kids to a park, Sam the bird man took 2nd graders out on bird watching excursion. Kids knew names of all the birds. Sam expected they didn’t know as much. Bring a field guide to a park.
What is something parents can start doing to get their kids to put the phone down and get creative (MS & HS level)? Make a family commitment we’re not going to take our phones. Make a tech agreement & sticking to it. Tough area we all struggle with. It’s important to fill dinner w/ quality convos. Spend hours together. Have kids draw. They were able to use a flip camera for a video blog. Becomes creative process. At school, kids should get into groups, have them rely on others for info. They need to articulate w/ each other. It becomes meta-cognition.
To the adults out there that want to dive into being more creative what do you recommend? She recommends doodling, drawing squiggly, and neurographic doodling. Wherever you see a sharp corner, smooth those out. Way of transforming fear & chaos of our world into something more peaceful. Scientifically proven to help your brain. Helps disable the perfection myth. It’s about the process not It comes about when we’re still. It can be as easy as walking in park among nature. DaVinci wrote 7K notebook pages of what popped into his head. Keep a notebook of your thoughts.
Key quotes… art washes away from the soul. Be OK with trying something new. Take your kids at home on an adventure.
Find JoAnn online: www.joannnocera.com IG:@joann_nocera FB: Joann Nocera7
Episode #158: Dr. Jill Siler
In her first months as a superintendent, Jill Siler faced a financial crisis along with many other challenges that leadership brings. In 2015, her school board was named a TASA Honor Board as one of the top 5 school boards in the state and one of her campuses was named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School. Jill served as the Chair of the Future-Ready Superintendent Leadership Network (FRSLN) Design Team where innovative leaders across Texas gather to learn, share and grow together. Jill has a passion for helping others reach their goals and is the leader of Texas’ Aspiring Superintendent Academy and leads Texas’ First Time Superintendents Academy. Jill speaks at leadership and teacher conferences across the country. Her first book, Thrive Through the Five was published in 2020 and talks about how to thrive in the most challenging times.
Trench story: financial crisis has been para-teacher-coach. Entire career in trenches. Most recently as super. First year/last year as superintendent were end-capped by financial crisis. She came in as a new super. Not aware of what was happening. Hated challenge. Laid groundwork- struggled with questions/doubts if she was prepared for it. It revealed who she was as leader. Aligned with core values. In process, walked them thru. Led with heart. Is proud of way she led through
Ask about rising thru the ranks in education: Went to college to study politics/philosophy. Wanted to go on into govt/intl. affairs. Coached at a camp and wanted to work with kids. Alt. certified as teacher. Never saw leaving cr. People encouraged her to go into leadership. AP, but never principal. Had to make the hard decisions. Became pregnant, went to central office instead. Picked up doctorate along the way. Ppl poured into her. In central office ppl encouraged her to go into superintendency. 1 year ago, she wanted to be a superintendent until she retired. State organization is a branch of AASA. Leads professional learning state-wide. Primary focus is new supers. Works with Future Ready Schools as well.
Book Thrive Through The Five She is reading “Lead from where you are” by Joe Sanfelippo. We’re all leading from where you’re at. It impacts people in multiple roles. Loves her job most of the time (95% of time). We don’t talk about how work is difficult. Mantra is “how do we get thru this”? How do you thrive in the midst of crisis?
Recent TASA conference/upcoming PD: They have the compliance agency. AASA is the natl. parent. They had the mid-winter conference. They were nervous. Did John Maxwell as headliner, George Curos. 7K attendees. 2 perspectives- with TASA state conf is one of the best. Have enjoyed supporting educ. Is partnering with School Board assn. for conf in the fall. Is excited to help people in the trenches. Quote from Brene Brown about people in the arena doing work. We get feedback from people outside the arena. On a personal side- in current role- she gets to write, speak, impact others. Has travelled around sharing her message. “Your in the arena just not in the ring”, her friend said.
Dealing with fear and failure. As women, we operate around notion of fear and doubts will pass. How do I get around it? Tips for women trying to break thru moving to the principalship. We go into teaching as women, but when we step into leadership, there’s a little judgment. What does that mean for your ability to be a good mom. Society judges women for what they do. We need priorities- especially for those called to have an impact on others. Failure isn’t something we endure, it’s a finite event in nature. Fear can be ever present. She said previously she’d wait for the fear to pass… It doesn’t happen. Women don’t apply as easily to position. Fear doesn’t always equate to not being ready for something. You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s good to have fears around balance. It shows you care about people you love and organization you serve. Fear is part of it. We need to act & lead in the midst.
Key quotes…what we know & what we do is important. We have deep pedagogical expertise. Leadership/expertise is important. How you do the work is important. Our actions matter. it’s not just about being nice. We need to maintain dignity. Financial crisis was one of the best things. We need to realize it’s a privilege to serve others. She hated the crisis district went thru. Thankful to have to seat to lead.
Follow Jill on IG & Twitter @jillmsiler and visit her website: www.jillmsiler.com
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IjUCHKyetkc
Episode #159: Joshua Stamper
Joshua Stamper initially used his artistic talent, creativity and original ideas as a professional graphic designer. He then transitioned to inspiring students to utilize their imagination and creative expression in public education. Being unsuccessful as a student growing up, Joshua never expected to be back in the classroom as a teacher, athletic coach or administrator. His struggles as a student spawned a passion to change the education model, push the boundaries of traditional learning, and explore new innovative ideas. Joshua has been a middle school Assistant Principal in North Texas for the past eight years, where he’s served at four campuses in two school districts.
In addition to his current administrative position, Joshua is the host of Aspire: The Leadership Development Podcast, an author, leadership coach, education presenter, and Podcast Network Manager for the Teach Better Team.
Trench story? he addresses his1st year as Dean. Suspended kids constantly. He talks about them in the book. Had an amazing admin mentor who gave him lots of opportunities. New campus had many more needs than previous school. Title I, large. Drugs & fights. Previous school was affluent. He still observed t’s, in charge of safety & security. Send kids to juvenile school. Pushed them into community to get into more trouble. In same timeframe, wife & him decided to foster to adopt. Went thru training. Was in a bad mood when had to go thru the training. Full day TIP training. Kids even have had trauma in utero. Wondered how to utilize info as admin. Dug into alt strategies- restorative practices. Promoted to be AP at a new campus w/ ½ the issues as prev. school. Honed in on RP. Changed the outlook at that school. He’d seen the top-down directive fail before. Grades/discipline lots of push-back on. Created “relationship action team”. Invited staff who would like to be part of it. 7 ppl when started, 40 ppl in group when done. Staff could see to their neighbor that it’s working for them. Not just theory. They had actionable steps. Became a campus initiative the following year. Took until Year 4 to be implemented, and had PBIS model. They all intertwine together. Pro-active vs. re-active strategies.
Joshua and his wife Leslie have co-written the following blog posts to help and support other educators and parents with Trauma Informed practices:
The Language of Behavior he highlights how MS kids emotions are everywhere. They don’t know until you let them deescalate finding out if there’s something going on with peers. Look at behavior, find tools to understand what’s going on. Writing with his wife they’re able to write about the parent & educator pers
Talk about what you learned through adopting your foster children and writing these blog post with your wife?
Empathy chapter/RJ practices chapter in his book: characteristic needed to be successful. Both adults & students have gone thru a lot during pandemic. Lots of death/divorces in communities. Areas of trauma- when there’s high levels of stress, bad things happened. We can’t have the expectation ppl can’t be perfect in situations. If u don’t take the time to share w/ person you care, then you understand how to help them. Sticking them in ISS does no good. He needs to have the empathy to discover what’s going on. If all things happen night before, it’s hard to learn next day. What can you do as a school to make sure you’re helping kids be able to learn.
Writing Aspire, manuscript took a year. He went into memory banks. Did fall from some blog posts. He relates book to seeing what feedback is. Don’t get answer until put self out there. He says, if helps one person, he’s happy.
Podcast-episode #178(?) he has been doing it for 4 years in May. Mostly started interviewing ppl connected w/ on Twitter. Didn’t expect ppl to say yes. Built program w/ principals in district called “Leadership Cadre”. Took them thru 8 sessions, ppl from all over the district did mtgs w/ them. Build program w/ new leaders. Todd Nesloney did Kids Deserve It podcast. Josh peppered him with a lot of podcast questions. At time, Josh only listened to sports podcasts. 6 months later he started. There are so many leadership positions- any educator is a leader- premise of his book. He does Aspire mailbag. Mostly himself and guest.
Becoming podcast network manager with Teach Better. Did the aspire mailbag. Started network with Jeff Gargas. Now up to 39 podcasts. been running the engine for 1.5 yrs. Community with other podcasters. Excited about potential & TB conference in Oct.
Out of everything? He wants ppl to dig into RP piece more. It’s not in place of a consequence. It’s building a plan as a teach piece. It does take additional time. New campus brought RJ with him, current campus 4th year. Your admin support in terms of RJ circles. Relationship circles as part of restorative piece. This can be on the homeroom. Teachers do check-in in morning. Those aren’t in a circle. Teacher constructs survey. Autonomy for t to read survey. Check boxes if they need to see counselors, etc. They sometimes share a cat meme to gage where students are. They can communicate using the emotional colors (green, blue, orange, yellow, red). Teachers don’t need to think they have to solve all the issues in CR.
Find Joshua online by following @Joshua__Stamper (double underscore) on Twitter and Instagram, or by visiting his website www.joshstamper.com. View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/MAZllyrZWo4
Episode #160: Dr. Canute White
Dr. Canute White is a Jamaican scholar who has his own philosophical perspective of life and social settings. He had coined the concept of Self-Aweirdness to describe individuals who are comfortable with their weird behaviors and own those behaviors. Among other books, he had written weird people started to explain this concept.
Dr. White has a background in psychology but hold a doctorate in education with concentration in organizational leadership. He has a BSc. in counseling, MSc in psychology with educational psychology emphasis, and a MSc in organizational studies.
Dr. White believes in education as a means for upward mobility and often question academic concepts in the realm of his philosophical mindset. He is a very critical thinker. He is a podcaster and host of the Canyouth’s Exploration podcast.
He used his knowledge and skills gained through a diploma in radio and television broadcasting to channel his educational, social, and cultural philosophies.
Dr. White had served in the Jamaican military for over 25 years and as a lay magistrate/Justice of the Peace in Jamaica before becoming a Notary Public in Florida. He is considering running for political office in the USA; hence, his pursuance of another masters degree in Public Administration.
Trenches story: He was in the military so he talks about the “trench” concept. Two-fold, familiar and communal trenches. Dad was alcoholic. Community- violence in community. Jamaican military wasn’t like in the U.S. going to war. “Trenches” as going out there and fighting wtih gunman in the community. Started at age 20.
Being a servant leader using adaptive leadership in education. Did dissertation in Jamaican HS. Most of his work in Jamaica was at HS level. Lectured at post-secondary. Adaptive leadership for HS level- was the thesis he also published a book. Critical in education. External environment ppl operate in. School admin need to try to adapt to environment. Your students and where they come from in community. In traditional HS it wasn’t practical to mobilize teacherss. Teachers are resistant to changes. It’s not only about the community, it’s about the type of families these students have.
Organizational leadership and culture & how to improve it. He recommends adaptive leadership in terms of training principles. Has lived in the U.S. for 5 years. He doesn’t see much disparity b/w HS in the U.S. and Jamaica. Leadership is a universal principle. Many leaders don’t “learn” to lead, it’s natural. Leaders have a similar approach to leadership. Important that you adapt to the environment.
Overcoming Adversities is Possible: Self-Aweirdness: Owning your weirdness how you coined that terms, he just coined it recently, 2 years ago. He sat down with friends said “I’m weird, you’re weird”. he went on a FB group and ask “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done”. Consciousness of your strangeness, being comfortable in your own weirdness. As you get older, you’re more aware of self. Children usually have no care about what’s weird.
What kept most men from academic pursuance in terms of when you were growing up in Jamaica? He looks at it from a holistic view. He can talk about his research from M.S. in psychology. You have to give them a “why”. Picked up a lot of data from inner city. Many men said they’d die, so why pursue education? I have a family, so why?
What has driven you to achieve academically? The adversity he grew up in drove his towards achieving. What was life like in the ghetto? He stayed in the ghetto to get an education. His family was dysfunctional, he experienced crises & was searching for peace. Found peace in edu. Continuity. It’s something we take with us to our grace.
Tell us about your book Soaring through Turmoil. How can this speak to ppl who work w/ kids in inner city? He wants people to understand they want to find peace & opportunity. There is a bias that needs to be broken about inner city boys. People need to understand they need help. Once they don’t feel threatened, they’re ok. Canute was an “insider” person. Joined the military but wasn’t a “way out the ghetto”. It was a way out of poverty. Sort of a stepping stone. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1641113456/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_glt_i_XAHB66FSVM9Z1MVTJCN3 Amazon description from back of book: Each of us has episodes in life that are worth putting pen to paper. I have penned Soaring through Turmoil to drive personal growth and development for readers. It will give readers an opportunity to stop, think, and write their thoughts after each chapter. The book allows for experiences to be used for readers to learn about the persistence and courage of an individual’s struggles through his early lifespan of turmoil but continues to accomplish his dreams. Therefore, it was written for the readers’ encouragement through all challenges. The book will be beneficial to a wide cross-section of demography, including children. Adolescents struggling with poverty and domestic violence, would also benefit. As a mental health professional, I would recommend it to be used in therapy and self-empowerment. “…there was a flip side to the boarding school that scared me, as I had to experience the tyranny of dorm life. It was a dorm sin to sleep when the boys dorm was lively, and games were being played. I had succumbed to sleep one night during a dorm party and was beaten with several belts in my sleep. The perpetrators apparently counted to three, then released the belts simultaneously before running through the doors, pretending to be innocent.
What are the three types of lies you have coined? It comes out of his “weird” thinking. F.ex. celebrating birthdays. It’s his philosophy, way of thinking. It came out of his self-awareness. While writing his book, he decided deception is part of our weirdness, it’s a “lie-joke”. “The joke is on you”. Escape lies, “I didn’t do it”, from kids. Tell lie to escape the punishment.
What got you started with Canyouth’s Exploration podcast, what kind of guests you interview: tries to encourage & empower adults, especially in the inner city. What they bring to the table. He always asks guest to tell him about their childhood. People can subscribe on Canyouthmedia on YouTube also on FB & Twitter. He started to lecture solely recently on the podcast.
Key quotes: “We have something inside of us to share to leave w/ the world. There should be a tangible representation of us in the world”. Share YOU with someone.
Find Canute online on Amazon – (Search for Canute White)
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/P2Vbr4LZeTc
Episode #161: Dr. Chad Lang
Dr. Chad Lang is the Director of School Improvement and HR in Glenwood CSD, Glenwood, IA. He is a current author and researcher of grading and assessment; extracurricular participation in schools; school leadership; school improvement.
He graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a BA, Social Science Education. He was a High School Government and American History teacher 2005-2013 and at William Woods University-MA, He also served as a Secondary School Administrator and District Activities Director and Assistant Middle School Principal-Lawson, Missouri 2013-2019. He received the State of Missouri AD of the Year-2018 He completed his doctorate at the University of Missouri- Ed.D. 2018-Dissertation research: impact of multisport participation and academic achievement in rural settings. Chad is currently co-authoring book for 2023 publication, A Parents’ Guide to Grading and Reporting: Being Clear about What Matters with Dr. Matt Townsley. He is the host of the Learning with Interesting People Podcast, seasons 1 and 2.
He tends to jump right into work when there’s tough times. Has learned a lot about self during pandemic. Discussions w/ peers & colleagues. He has revitalized philosophy around HR, has sort of taken on HR director role. Is recruiting currently. edit out crackle sound on his end if possible. His first year as school admin grades 5-8. Also was an AD. Difference of day & night job. In fall of 2013. Learned a lot. Wasn’t prepared for balancing act of wearing more than 1 hat. Master of prioritization. Was able to reach out for support from prior AP. Interesting was that he was the youngest faculty member in building. Slogged way out of trench over time. He sped by that part before. Deep hole out of his strengths. Going back to balancing- had to figure out what the job looked like. He had to have a lot of convos with people about what they liked “when”. Asked lots of questions. He was the only intersection point for many staff/stakeholders.
Work as Director of School Improvement and previous positions leading up to this, also as AD: Allows him to allign t & learning philosophies more than mission/vision on piece of paper. Is b/w principal/superint. Navigates alot of relationships. Diff. rings on ladder. Ferris wheel effect. School leadership is that way as well. We all get off, but don’t debrief what they thought. His position is to focus on curriculum & instruction for district. Grading philosophy. Clear learning expectations for staff who are current & new to district. 153 t’s in district. 21 next fall ‘21. Chad provides a lot of PD in-house. District is on a continuous improvement cycle. Trying to reduce initiative fatigue, reducing us vs. them mentality. Difficult to do over course of Covid. Battle trying to balance. Many ppl feel it shouldn’t be a priority. Help schools hire the right people- Jim Collins mentality. Tremendous staff in district. Work w/ instructional coaches. District has 2K students 330 FT staff members.
He has a contract to write a book on grading for parents. Wants it to come out by fall ‘23. A parent’s guide to grading…what matters. It turned into a book because Dr. Matt Townsend is an expert on it. They wrote a peer-reviewed article last yr about it. (open resource article) He’s supported a lot of schools in having conversation. Book came to light because it’s a learning niche that hasn’t been filled in yrs of research. Most parents went thru a traditional grading environment lens. Districts that are moving towards evidence-based grading practices. As a parent practitioner wrote a book that came from their expertise. Leveraging one to help the other. Matt had a book on SBG published in 2020 by Solution Tree, he is a professor of school leadership. It has a positive vibe to writing. Practices that help parents have better conversations. Making it like a guidebook. They have also written about the pandemic lens. Some PTO organizations are opposed to SBG b/c they don’t understand it. Points, %, cheating. Equity issue and districts not having connectivity. We need kids to demonstrate proficiency from a lot of different ways. Brings to light the perils to traditional grading. We assume because we’ve done it so long that it’s the best way to go about things. IT took 3 yrs to implement t’s being on board. IT will be better for st’s. He is also working on a school synergy book. Didn’t want to change to meet a publisher’s narrative & style. Hasn’t picked up & wrote a while. Framing it around 7-10 quest. around districts going thru grading changes. Questions to ask child & teachers.
He is in the process of starting a consulting firm called Recalibrate Educational Services LLC. He will begin to offer consulting services in: program evaluation, school leadership, culture and climate audits, strategic planning; curriculum and assessment alignment, and transitioning to 21st century grading practices for schools and districts. His writing hobby has consumed a lot of his time but is in the process of putting together this firm. Can help districts understand program alignment, designing action plan to move to diff grading practices. Has done this via zoom. 3rd arm will be to talk about/work with district coaches in how to move forward helping teachers within the framework of your own curriculum. How do we plan out whole SEL lens? Often it’s just another initiative. Your job as leadership team is to explain why initiatives fit together. He can take a bystander approach thru the services. Takes vision/vetting to look outside your “snowglobe”. Getting synergy around holistic growth. Don’t teach initiative in a siloed approach.
Idea to start Learning with Interesting People podcast: it’s a hobby. Came about b/c of pandemic. Was tired of hearing negative narratives. He wanted to interview ppl so others would know how great they are. He has a dry humor. Reached out w/in his network, ppl he really respects. Develops an interview script. Not K-12 driven. It’s all about how learning works within people’s organization, family. If people listen to episodes, they should see themes they can apply to their own life. Have I surrounded myself by people who push me, etc. Themes like this show up. Organic convo & ideas.
Key quotes…communicate with people you really value about what your goals are. It’s amazing how life works. Make sure you have that convo. Butterfly effect. Be vocal. When he coached basketball, he asked players to identify who the 5 players you’d want in your circle are. If you have 3-5 names around you- have you told them “What is it I’d like to get better at, goals I’d really like to do?” Chad has been direct in telling ppl about wanting to be an author. Life’s to short. Daniel Pink, new book about Power of Regret (just released). It starts w/ one person. Grow it into more. James Cleary’s work on Atomic Habits. Writing goals on the mirror- talk to ppl as well.
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