Episodes #169-176

Episode #169: Karine Veldhoen

Episode #169: Karine Veldhoen (podbean.com)

Karine Veldhoen the founder of Learn Forward™ and a creative force in education. As Chief Learning Officer at Willowstone Academy she created the first model Learn Forward™ school while simultaneously Founding and serving as Executive Director of Niteo Africa. She’s taught Teacher Candidates at both UBC-O and UNBC and served as an education consultant for Fresh Grade. In all of her roles, she considers herself a modern-day pilgrim who stands for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Learn Forward™ represents a lifetime of professional study, leadership practice, action research, and meaning-making within the context of education.

Learn Forward is a culmination of her work with dozens of EdLeaders, hundreds of teachers and teacher candidates, and thousands of children and their families in two states, two provinces, and around the globe.

Now, she dedicates her professional practice to championing EdLeaders to design thriving schools.

When Karine is not carving new paths for education, you’ll find her at the lake with a good book.

Her husband and three children are her heart-song. She lives in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

Trench story: is doing content, coaching right now. Still having things come occasionally. Misses working in a team, synergy, solving problem. Is a quick starter. Likes to be entrepreneurial. She is still figuring out how to effectively serve school leaders. Needs to cultivate good self-talk. Is slowly crawling out of the trench.  

Working w/ school leaders, how long you’ve been doing individual coaching: She wants to talk about Learn Forward, unpack. Talk about things you support school leaders with. In 2015 published her book. Memoir meets educational philosophy. What matters most. It would lower stress pressure and anxiety. 5 journeys of what matters most for children. She has been thinking about designing thriving communities. At Willowstone designed this in all sorts of ways. Core value- mobius strip- what’s inside is outside. How we manage our time, plan effectively all dimensions of leadership.  

Has her Time Management Goal Achievement masterclass series- will mention dates that’s happening. If you learn better being in a live environment, this is for you. It’s evolving. It’s based on Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. She is a FF Certified Pro. Principals become super successful at double win. Show up w/ quality/integrity in personal & professional life. this is her 19th year w/ the FF planner.    

 All-female BLBS Mastermind group: we can talk about barriers/challenges women leaders face/gender inequities, supporting women to level-up. Disruption of career/family. She has 2 groups at present. 27% of superintendents are women. Need to wrestle w/ ambition fallacy. We can have rich, balanced lives at any level. Instead of “balance” say “intention”. 

Talk about your work with Niteo Africa-it means to bloom, blossom to shine. Serves as a literacy education org in E. Africa. Some of the work has been on hiatus since the onset of the pandemic. Niteo relaunched. Conceptualized work w/ multilingual families, piloted community-wide literacy project. There are 12 literacy centers, there are partner org’s over in Africa. Newcomers in English-community-based literacy program. Personalized programming. Talking about literacy/equity, etc in general. Literacy level of the mother, what role that plays. It empowers them to change literacy outcomes for families. 3-5 years literacy gap when a newcomer family enters country. How to have them use library. Continue down path of literacy. Creates resources for the community.   

Can mention PD courses on family/nest building. Sits under Learn Forward platform. Was picking up pieces of shattered life after divorce. Her & hubs have visioning retreat every June. 4 questions: What is our truth? (what’s working & what’s not), What is our dream? (fun, you can choose 5-10 years out), What is our ritual? (around big values, what are we really about in our family?, What is our practice? (who is doing morning routine?,yardwork, etc, operational tasks). Nest Building retreats may pick back up in 2023. 

Keu quotes? She wants leaders to remember you have extraordinary potential. Reach out to her! Excited about hopeful place pushing past pandemic.  

Find Karine online: For more information about booking her for coaching, speaking, or media interviews, please contact us at hello@learnforward.ca. www.learnforward.ca www.niteo.org all over social @Learn_forward Twitter, @Learnforwardvillage IG & FB. 

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

Episode #170: Carla Meyrink

Episode #160: Carla Meryink (podbean.com)

Carla Meyrink is the director and co-founder of The Community for Learning, an international school in the Dominican Republic.  For the past thirty-two years, she has worked as a secondary language arts teacher, an academic coach, and school director.  She presents workshops on new initiatives in education, including restorative practices, student-led learning, coaching, and leadership skills. Her work on inquiry-based professional development has been highlighted in Edutopia. She has presented at AMLE 2020, the Virginia ASCD 2020 annual conference, the Equity and Anti-Bias Conference 2021, and others. Carla shares teaching strategies and innovations on her blog, The Teaching Experiment

Trenches story: When she began teaching. Taught English. Thrown into secondary Lang. arts classroom. Took textbook and divided it by 180 days. Principal wanted to see where she was at in textbook. She wanted creative freedom, plowing through textbooks. Son went into 1st grade then she saw in 1989 to start a school. Started with 11 students. Like a homeschool with 20-30 kids. Moved quite quickly. Taught without texts. No grades in elementary school. Activities, reading, writing workshops. Took her out of the previous trench.

Talk about Founding of your school in 1999:  Her friend & her started project. School background- she founded it with 2 friends. Dominican Republic system is very traditional, top-down. They started school 22 years ago. Strong philosophy. As interviewed parents, if they didn’t agree with the philosophy said they weren’t going to fight about it. Had no savings or $. They used after school programs, summer camps to pay for school. Had 20 kids for a while. Ppl were interested in coming. Didn’t take wages for 3-4 yrs. How to accredit your school. Learned as went along.  At the time, they were a little “out there”. Now less so. There was no twitter PLN so she moved forward on her own. What they were doing was illegal- they weren’t allowed to have a gradeless school but submitted grades to govt. Hid what they were doing. Got phone call from ministry of education. Son went to school. Kids have done well on national exams. Govt lady wanted them to help change the public school system. This was 12-13 years. Handed out report cards based on standards-based grading. Parents never say them, it was only for the Ministry of Ed. When got to 7th grade, needed to hand out transcripts to kids. Believed that kids wouldn’t care about grades. When they began getting #’s they weren’t excited about trying new things. St’s began to get labelled as “B” student, They lost their self-esteem. Pushing for student self-assessment. Got students by word of mouth. Some had severe learning disabilities. Children advanced. Teachers to be hired, word got around, if you want to try something different.

Student-led learning– area of passion. What they’ve learned from remote learning, was tough. They’ve learned about behaviors after returning from remote learning. They weren’t thrilled to get up early & come to school. Teachers try to get put back into the box they didn’t want to be in. They no longer saw it was relevant Focused on getting love of reading back. Teachers were frustrated because kids couldn’t focus on reading for more than a few min. They had kids read in class- 2-3 m first then added minutes. Ability to focus was transferring to other classes. She has talked with teachers about making education far more relevant. They’re making a student task force, 6 kids who will take leadership classes, look at how they can incorporate what other schools are doing in their school. She wants students to find out those things first. They will lead sessions with parents. Vision board. They need to think “out there” not just about lunch schedule. Need more time for integrated learning. Kids had learned a lot about time management. Some teachers started student-led learning. Kids doing content on their own. Flipped class style, 9th grade Lang. Arts teacher started. She got kids to work this way. Hum of motivation. She has a blog post “The Teaching Experiment”. Kids set goals for self- how they’re going to get there w/ Learning Targets. Fill out their own rubrics. Doing thru portfolios. Not being done with all teachers. 

Talk about Adedate Roy’s poem “The Portal”– she talks about the pandemic portal. We can leave it all behind and walk through lighter.  We can fight for a better world. Integrated into way they’re having kids lead their learning. When kids were remote a lot of damage was done. We have to empower kids. In January shared poem with teachers. What can we let go of and start doing as teachers. Started student-led think-tank. 7 students in 9-11th grade. Both genders, ability levels. Put together vision board for school’s future. Kids have interviewed all the classes. They will interview 16 parents, then interviewing teachers. Kids in think-tank will present to Teachers’ PD & community coffee. Kids are so motivated. Truly PBL in action. There will be info put out in her blog, school website.

We discuss her blog post Can Administrators go gradeless? How can admin do this confidently? When she was teaching, enormous amount of criteria behind t assessments. Teachers are hard on themselves. You give them 1-4, they only want the 4’s. We’re asking teachers to do so many changes. She didn’t like the way teacher evals were done or assessments. They have a reading/writing continuum, no matter what grade they’re in. They noticed when they opened 7th grade, kids needed to get used to what goes into grades. So used to learning for learning’s sake. They didn’t ignore the #’s- they asked if things counted for their grades. They’re not going totally gradeless, but it’s more self-assessment. She realized they need to do a top-down teacher approach. Worked more on coaching framework, focus on strengths and growth. They’ve grown with focus. So many teachers have it hard to look at their strengths. They always want to improve on 1000 things at once. Make it a self-assessment piece so teachers feel empowered. She didn’t like feeling of being judged. Doesn’t mean if terrible t, no assessment. She will continue to help teacher. They will still let t’s know changes they need to make to stay @ school. When she meets with teachers she asks, “What did you like about your class”, not “What do you need help with?” It’s hard for them to say what they think is good. They already have a long list of what they want to change. Set goal of what has the most impact on students. Her coaches like it. Convo remains private between them and the teacher. She’s not a SBG person. It takes away from learning. SB is better than grading and SB needs to come from students, not the teacher. Has a lot to write but has been busy at school. Was remote for 1.5 yrs. She has a lot of freedom to try new things. We need  grassroots movements to push things forward.

Key quotes-“If we empower our teachers, we can empower our kids. Self-assessment, student-led and teacher-led learning”. 

Find Carla online: www.theteachingexperiment.com

Twitter @carlameryd @The Teaching Experiment on FB. School website  www.tcfl.edu.do 

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

Episode #171: Barbra Bray

Episode #171: Barbara Bray (podbean.com)


Barbara Bray is a creative learning strategist, teacher, podcast host, author, coach, speaker, and difference-maker. She has been on a mission for over 30 years to transform teaching so learning is more authentic and meaningful. Barbara is the owner/founder of Computer Strategies, LLC doing business as Rethinking Learning and My eCoach, a coaching platform, past co-founder of Personalize Learning, LLC, and the co-author of Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning.

Barbara believed that it was the stories that connected all of us. In 2017, she started her Rethinking Learning podcast and the #rethink_learning Twitter chat to take stories and connections deeper. Barbara always believed the stories were all about defining who we are and why we are here. Barbara developed activities and presentations for participants to discover or rediscover their WHY.

Barbara collected the activities and stories from 25 inspirational educators and entrepreneurs for her book, Define Your Why: Own Your Story So You can Live and Learn on Purpose. She tells about her journey of why it’s important to own your story and not rent someone else’s story for your life.  Since the pandemic, she has been coaching and doing presentations, keynotes, workshops, and speaking on redefining and growing your WHY during uncertain times, creating courses on empowering learner agency, and disrupting the status quo.

  • Co-Author, Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning (link)
  • A big picture and “out of the box” thinker (actually there is no box)
  • Believes that all of us have a WHY but might need some help discovering or rediscovering it

Trench story: (told in her own words) “I fell off a deck & broke leg & neck, couldn’t get out of a hole- was in traction for 4 months. Have learned resiliency from that. Can talk about another story educational related. She taught dental hygiene at school. I truly was in a trench. I’ll tell the story of not knowing my career path and listening to a guidance counselor who told me I should apply for the new dental hygiene program. I did. There were 18 spots and out of 700 applicants, I got one of the spots. Became a hygienist and even taught hygiene at the local college for 4 years. Teaching touched my heart. It started at the cooperative preschool for her two children. That led me to get an adult learning credential so I could teach the Gifted program and even became a Chapter Leader for NASA’s young astronaut program while working part-time as a Dental Hygienist. My world changed when I saw the first computers. I had to get the first PC and take it apart and put it back together again. My family didn’t know who I was. I wanted to learn how computers worked, to learn DOS and any other language that made them work. That started my real journey. I wanted to learn everything about integrating technology, video, animation, everything. I still did DH because I loved my patients but I started teaching computers at the elementary school after school and on days I was off”. 

“At the same time, we were remodeling our house and went out to get my dog off the new deck and fell. That changed my life. I fell, broke my leg, hit my head, and hurt my neck. Literally in a trench. It got dark & she started screaming. I was laid up in traction for 4 months. I went back to dental hygiene but my hands were going numb and I was dragging one foot. I ended up needing surgery on 3 vertebrae in my neck. I didn’t want to let my patients down but I realized I might hurt someone if I couldn’t hold an instrument. I also realized I was doing a job that my guidance counselor told me would be good for me. I was renting her story for my journey and my career path. It was not my passion. Teaching and technology were my passion at that time. I was getting closer to my purpose. So I finally jumped ship, literally to pursue what I loved. Got out of that trench then. I went from Dental Flossing to Mental Flossing”. 

She has 2 different types of podcasts, one around the story and one around the topic. What got you started with podcasting? She wanted to share stories, they really matter. When you know story of the person, you connect. Started in 2017, used YouTube. She “gets” stories out of ppl. Try to make it like she’s on a virtual porch. She has 130 episodes. Reflections w/ just her during pandemic. Was vulnerable & cried on first pandemic episode. Touched ppl’s hearts. Has things about “myths” of personalized learning. Son introduces her. Hired her son to help her w/ speech issues from node in her larynx. He’s not on all but during pandemic did a lot.  

Is currently writing a course in Penn. around finding your why as an educator. Working on SEL learning strategies. In July will do the green screen summit. Was in region in 2019, did keynote & workshops. Was supposed to come back in 2020. Reached out again to do course & presentations. It’s about empowering learner agency. They’re presenting 5-23. Opening it up to many regions in NE. Possibly doing a deeper course. Green screen summit- a good friend taught her how to do it. Did blooper reel-basic stuff- how to make light better. Canva.

 I co-authored 2 books on personalized learning that focused more on the WHAT and HOW. All along I felt I needed to start with the WHY. Why are we teaching the way we teach? Why are we doing something that makes us unhappy? Why can’t we take more time to learn something deeper, maybe unlearn to relearn something? After I started my podcast and listened to the amazing stories from so many inspirational people, I realized there was a theme. Each person struggled in some way to find who they were and why they were here. Why aren’t we starting early to empower kids to discover their purpose and then redefine their purpose every year through passion projects? All of these questions were keeping me up at night. I visited schools around the country and in other countries. I talked to people from all over the world. I had to find the stories and eventually wrote my book, Define Your Why. I did research on Simon Sinek’s work and adapted some of the ideas to share with teachers. I had discovered ikigai, the Japanese concept for the meaning of life.

I applied the four elements of ikigai to my coaching: So many educator, retirees, teens are struggling. “What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need? and changed the last one to “What are you valued for?” When I shared ikigai with teachers, some struggled because they felt it was wrong to focus on themselves and not the kids. When t’s aren’t respected they need someone who helps them feel passionate about something. When I heard that, I knew I needed to do something. That’s why I wrote my book and wanted the WHY stories from educators and entrepreneurs. Asked t’s to write down “what do you love”? Ikigai… (get off recording)

I am now working on Growing Your WHY stories, a journal, and would love to write and publish children’s books as part of a WHY series. I feel everyone needs to breathe and pause to rediscover who they are and why they are here. I just tell them: “There is no one else like you in the whole wide world. You are unique. Your story is unique and people need to learn about it.”  Still in her head. Sarah Thomas at Edumatch says she can be her own publisher. Journaling is easy. 25 stories, would be their own chapter. Started children’s books, 1 should be out @ Christmas. In poetry form. Has been working with teachers in Hawaii “Yuki’s Imagination Quote”. She helps & coaches others with books.

One thing I would like people to remember Actively Listen It’s tough, esp. for adults. We lost the curiosity feeling. So much in brains. Many of us live life as it happens and don’t question WHY we do something, maybe go down the wrong path, or are the person we don’t even know that well. I coach authors, educators, and others who reach out to me about defining their purpose and why they are here. Don’t have your mind FUL, be mindful. Story exchange in her workshops. EI- 6 seconds. You listen closely to another person’s story, empty your mind. Get in someone else’s shoes, take your shoes off first. You’re not listening to reply. Feel what’s going on. During the pandemic, I heard from teachers, leaders, retirees, grandparents, and teenagers who read my book, Define Your WHY, who reached out to me to share they were struggling and not sure how to tackle the challenges they were facing. I’m not a therapist so I refer to professionals if I hear that someone might be in danger. Yet, I can listen.  I’ve learned how to actively listen using story exchange and point them to Narrative4.com for more information. I introduce the process to groups and individuals so they really listen to hear and feel the heart of the other person. Really listening is an art. Our minds are so full that it is difficult to turn off the noise. We may listen to reply instead of really hearing what is said and the story between the lines.  I started my Rethinking Learning Podcast in 2017 to get the stories to develop my listening and interviewing skills. I now have 132 podcasts and 18 reflections. More on the way. I love the stories. Especially when someone says to me “You know, I’ve never told anyone this before.” Then I remind them that I’m putting this podcast on the Internet. 

You can reach Barbara at her website https://barbarabray.net, follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @bbray27, join the #rethink_learning chat, 7pm EST every other Mon. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbarabray/  FB @RethinkingLearning

All her guests help create the posts. Alphabetically on her website. Reflections with a post they helped create.

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


Episode #172: Brannon Beliso

Episode #172: Brannon Beliso (podbean.com)

Professor Brannon Beliso is the owner and head instructor of One Martial Arts in San Francisco and Millbrae. His reputation and credentials span fifty years as an instructor, competitor, motivator and innovator of award-winning life skills education, cardio kickboxing, and martial arts programs. Brannon is an 8th degree black belt and has won over 100 trophies in major competitions. He has practiced Kenpo Karate for fifty years and has also trained in Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Arnis (Filipino Stick Fighting), Boxing, and Kickboxing. Brannon is certified by the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America. He has been a member of the Martial Arts Industry Association, the Professional Martial Arts College, the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, and the Martial Arts Teachers Association. Brannon has written a kickboxing manual and produced a series of Kenpo Karate instructional DVD’s. His award-winning martial arts and fitness programs have been featured on Evening Magazine, CBS Morning News, KRON 4 Health, Bay Area Parent Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, 7 x 7 Magazine, and Filipinas Magazine. Brannon has presented at and has done workshops for Tedx Talks, Microsoft, Barclays Global, UCSF, SF County Correctional Department, Raphael House, Century’s Martial Arts Supershow, TopKick Insights, Korean Martial Arts Association, the President’s Summit, and the Martial Arts School Owners Union to name a few. Brannon is also the creator of Kids Love Life Skills, an innovative character development system for children, in place in over 400 martial arts schools over four continents. Brannon is committed to being a student for life, and is a dedicated father, husband, and servant to the community.

Trench story: many stories, getting molested, growing up on welfare, having a son at 16. Can tie in story of growing up, 11 months old in a foster home. suffering is no greater than joy. If we suffer, we become a better version of ourselves. Has lost mom, 2 brothers, sister. Celebrates their lives, he is still here. Mindset he has learned. Growing up in the environment learned to fend for self. As an adult he chooses to be a better person. Doesn’t blame.  He can talk about experience in foster home, being molested and abused. He is a victor, not a victim. 

 Success Never Sleeps podcast: target audience, has been around 6-7 yrs. Did “car talks” on FB live. Started as a sponsored show. Started out as a talk about teaching martial arts. Then blossomed to a “how to” show esp. about teaching martial arts virtually. It’s about living for purpose. Is noted as a giver in his industry. We need to keep yourself healthy, mental, physically. His Ted Talk “Happy on Purpose”. Don’t believe materialism will make you happy. Be grateful for what you have. He manages $ well. 

It’s Time Live Event Aug. 13-16  Backstory: he was talking to a martial arts school owner in England. Brannon’s wife said, “stop giving away your time for free”. Event is working on people’s brand, systems, staff training. Personal development. Uniting personal self w/ goals. Unite purposed with passion. Limited to 20 people for 4 days. As of recording, 8 spots left. 

1 on 1 intensive Executive Coaching experience: wisdom- he’s worked with high end executives, small business owners. Recognizing wisdom for itself. We’re drowning in info, struggling for wisdom. Does it become a learned experience? It is his most ambitious work. It’s a 6-month cycle one-on-one. Will regroup over the summer. Is about to go global. With martial arts, it’s only a 3-5 mile radius with brick & mortar. He is big on service. He helps ppl discover their wisdom, not to tell them what to do but to guide them to what they should do. MJF: If a student doesn’t (get this off recording). IN SF, still teaching outdoor classes. Pivoted hard into virtual martial arts classes. Used many different camera angles.

Upcoming trips? In Aug. will be in VI, young entrepreneurs as well with Gaylord. Last year did 6 figures virtually, it’s helpful to be in “people’s homes”.  Took it and organically created a connection albeit virtually. Meta has asked for more leadership post-pandemic. He has people working from home, hybrid, in-person. Thing that connects all of them is “live your best life”. Leveraging tech but being an advocate for humanity. Wants to be in tune w/ that. Critical thinking/common sense. That empowers balance. He believes the true journey is inward. His book talks about family members dying. 

Creating Kids Love Life Skills, an innovative character development system for children, in place in over 400 martial arts schools over four continents. It’s in Meta. No kids are born with focus, tolerance, empathy. It can become a habit. Every day you negotiate. “Atomic Habits”, great book. Has been hoarded w/ a huge govt non-profit about it. Will be able to give it to the schools. Will become a legitimate non-profit. Balancing purpose. Love teaching children- it’s about saying “this will work” virtually. Both him & wife work for schools. Women’s empowerment classes as well. Says we need to create a mindset of empathy for teachers. 

A lot of teachers are reactive. He asks kids “can you say “focus”. Teach age-specific skills. Empowering & fun. Don’t do fear-based ways to get kids engaged. Kids.lifeskills.com scripted life talk, schools can do for morning meetings. Why is respect valuable? What he has witnessed is too many t’s yelling at kids, using fear-based communication. Instead, show how Suzy is looking at you. Promote positive attention. Spotlight kid who is paying attention. It starts at home with parents who step up & help school. Out of guilt parents feel, they want to pass the buck. Parents forgot they were once kids. Kids have to have mutual respect with teachers. Purpose is to lift each other up.

Talk about kids’ books you have authored. One of the books is out “Adventures of Bray & Tey: Focus” (2017) The Adventures of Bray & Tey Focus (1): Beliso, Brannon: 9781483599502: Amazon.com: Books. Immortalized his kids at 3 & 6. Kids are outside a lot in the book. He wants to do a series and is waiting on funding. Ask educator’s “what can you do every day that makes you the richest person in the world?” Critical thinking is about the why. Ppl need to rethink their purpose. How do we still impact, make a difference? Lack of parental involvement, although they want to complain. He wanted to do a hard cover. 

How do we help educators wake up in the morning- talk about your morning routine/ritual.

Tony Robbins talks about putting yourself in a state. He meditates, prays, and journals. 5 d/wk he sits w/ his kids for breakfast. For educators, understand it’s your purpose. Impact someone’s life. Put them on path of self-discovery. Don’t get into fight w/ kids who are on phone all hr. Pull them aside privately. Turn everything into a sense of learning. Sense of humility. How to create harmony in a CR so kids still want to learn? Pre-frame mentally, emotionally. 

Key quotes: there’s only 1 you in this world. It’s a huge responsibility. Why be part of the status quo? 

Find you Brannon online on his podcasts Success never sleeps and Mindful Mediation has a book, Live, Learn and Grow hard cover, audible, tedtalk. https://brannonbeliso.com/






View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1rJwrErsGnQ

Episode #173: Erin Austin



Erin E.H. Austin is a National Board Certified French teacher in Colorado. She began her teaching career in Minnesota in 2002, and she holds a B.A. in both French and Art Education, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction, and graduate certificates in French Studies and Gifted, Creative, & Talented Education. She was a NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow in 2018 and now presents nationally on global education-related topics. In addition to doing contract writing and curriculum consulting work, Ms. Austin is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Original World Language Resources: How to Open, Fill, and Grow a Successful Online Curriculum Store (Routledge, 2021). The book is based on her experience with her own TeachersPayTeachers curriculum store, and she leads workshops to show other educators how to make money from their original resources. In addition to the Out of the Trenches podcast, she has been a featured guest on the Leading Equity, Side Hustle School, Dr. Will Show, and Punk Rock Classrooms podcasts. Ms. Austin is currently the chair of the associate board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, an organization she has been involved in since 2005, and she sits on the board of the Abundant Yoga Community, a young non-profit in western Wisconsin whose mission is to bring yoga to those with financial or geographic barriers.



Trench story: first 12 years she taught in suburban Minneapolis, French was taken by many boys who wanted to play hockey. In the grand scheme of things, it easy. In MN, there is seniority district-wide. Everyone under her lost their jobs as a result of no $ and higher class sizes. Had French 3 class with 43 kids. Constantly worried about losing her job. Ultimately lost her job because of funding. Was in grad school. Had health issues. Found a job outside Minneapolis. Commuted 1 hr. Then got a job in CO. Breathed, went to dr. about her health, dr. said it was entirely stress. Didn’t have an issue getting enrollment, it was relatively steady in CO. It’s an IB school. Took $17K paycut. The job itself is better than what she had in MN.


Talk about your book The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Original World Language Resources. How long have you been selling your resources? In 2013 she opened a TPT store. Needed to supplement her income. In 2020 had grown her store to the point where she wanted to share her tips. Taught a class for her district about this. Book came out last year with Routledge, she talks about French teachers being assigned a section of Spa. For teachers who want to use TBT for materials, read the reviews so you can see what other teachers think about the product. Front-load customer service. Highly detailed product description. TPT is a network of sharing. She is on an island as the only French teacher at her school. 


2nd book- about global education working title: “Learn with the World, ideas, strategies and resources to support a global learning classroom”. For students to learn with & from the world not just about it. At CCFLT conference in Feb. she did 3 sessions, 1 about growing curriculum store, 1 about NBCT teacher certification process, 1 about new book. Has presented the topic at multiple conferences. Fernando Rymers-leader in global ed. It’s not learning about the world; it’s learning from the world. Will present full manuscript end of May, if passes review, will turn in manuscript early fall, next spring/early summer ‘23. Helping WL create a global connection plan.

NBCT process for WL teachers: it wasn’t on her radar until 2017. Met fellows in D.C. for NEA foundation who were NBCT t’s. These t’s just wanted to talk about education & growth parts. Took a 2 year cycle to finish. Had to do 4 components & ACTFL speaking & writing. only 40% of teachers pass the 1st time. She got financial help from district- process is $2K. Have to like a challenge, getting better at your job is a goal. There is a whole network of NBCT’s who can help you along the way. It can be great mid-late career to reinvigorate your teaching style. Can do 2 components per school year. Don’t do all 4 in 1 year. You can see your score breakdown on diff. components. CO WL teacher NBCT group FB. Have to register by Dec. 15.
Use summer to look at components.

National Endowment for the Humanities, you went to Lyon the same summer I went to Avignon-She talks in her 2nd book about how teachers aren’t globally ready as a teacher. The opportunities abound. You’re often in this network of people who have done the same thing. Branch out & encourage other teachers who don’t usually apply. The argument is “I can’t afford these experiences”. in 2018 she was a NEA global education fellow. Yearlong PD incl. a weekend in D.C.  Pretty competitive to get in.  Visited schools in S. Africa to find out more about them. Free travel is an opportunity that we can get out of these. Fullbright has tons of diff. programs. You can do 2-3 week programs, Natl. Geographic Teacher cert program is free! Cast a wide net! 

Travel with students- anything coming up? Has been doing trips with students since 2004. Has done between 12-20 trips.  Went to Paris & Madrid on May 31. Most kids signed up during pandemic. She is a little concerned about a student getting covid on the trip- she doesn’t have control. In terms of getting ppl traveling again-talk to someone who’s done it. It may be a little diff. If you’ve not taken kids abroad, do a trip w/ a colleague. Erin had a binder with tabs on all the steps. She doesn’t do fundraising. Gives families a doc with ideas to have kids fundraise on their own. Get interest 1-1.5 years before it happens. Group of 18 is the best. Equity-wise is best. You don’t need 3 leaders for 18 kids, use 3rd free spot to give a kid a scholarship. Or can divide up free spot over whole cost. Is doing Paris & Spain this year.


Key quotes: When you’re thinking about global opportunities for kids/t’s never ask to self or admin IF you can do something that’s good for kids or your PD. Ask HOW!

Find Erin online on Twitter: @Erin-EH-Austin She is sending NBCT presentation for YouTube:

LinkedIn: Erin (Hoffman) Austin (www.linkedin.com/in/erin-eh-austin)


The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Original World Language Resources (on Amazon)

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Original World Language Resources (on Routledge’s site)

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/w7M4wbo6GRU

Episode #174: Nina Parrish

Episode #174: Nina Parrish (podbean.com)

Nina Parrish has over 18 years of experience in the field of education where she has worked as a special education teacher, education center director, speaker, and educational consultant. Nina is the co-founder and chief academic officer of Parrish Learning Zone in Virginia and the author of The Independent Learner: Metacognitive Exercises to Help K-12 Students Focus, Self-Regulate, and Persevere. Nina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington, a teaching certification in Special Education from North Carolina A &T, and a Master’s Degree in Education for School Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Trench story: started teaching as a lateral entry teacher in North Carolina. They were having high turnover, was a sped teacher. Wasn’t licensed to teach, was just a college grad. Was a psych major. Taught MS sped. Title 1 school, quite a learning process. Almost 100% FRL. Most of t’s were newer teachers. Math, reading scores low. Many ELL’s. Also went to night classes to learn sped credentials. In 1st yr she wasn’t always sure what to do. She showed up. Was focused on learning, modeled learning for st’s. Felt like she was barely making it thru day. Was always putting out fires. Learned along w/ them. Made learning accessible, foster motivation. Taught emotional reg skills. It took a couple years to realize that. Issues she’s continued to focus on.

Info about her book: The Independent Learner-Metacognitive Exercises to Help K–12 Students Focus, Self-Regulate, and Persevere

Teachers will learn how to promote self-regulation in the classroom with research-based teaching strategies backed by evidence-based pedagogy—all while equipping students with crucial metacognitive models and the ability to take ownership of their learning. The audience for the book is both teachers and parents. There are a lot of templates. Was published May 20-what teachers can use for next year. Is generating publicity. Reason she wrote is b/c she was sped t in MS. The students didn’t have the metacognitive strategies they needed to stay focused, motivated. Tutored privately and saw many needs w/ frustrated/disengaged students. Started to think about ways to address issues she saw for metacognition, improving motivation, and critical thinking. We hear a lot about student agencies. Kids lacked creative thinking skills. It’s hard to have that when students don’t have tools to make an informed choice. They need those. Kids often just google facts these days. Teachers shouldn’t just teach facts. Has templates for each strategy. Can go to publisher Solution Tree so you can get a discussion guide for teams. Try similar strategies within different content areas. Scaffolding, for example.

Strategic Planning:  helps students design programs to make them more successful in school. Teach students strategies for metacognition. Once they have str, they can work with teachers to express agency in the classroom. Self-regulated learning in terms of metacognition. Model w/ kids already in K. In 3rd grade, they’re ready to start practicing this in a guided way. Over time, students develop their own toolbox of strategies that works for them. Monitor if strategy is working for them. Vanderbuilt study found that low-achieving students they did the exact same thing. The learners who were struggling always try to do same thing. High achievers, when they got more difficult passage, they stopped & reflected. 

Youth Development: meets with students in tutoring for the past 12 yrs. K-college. Meets with them everyday publicly or privately, to figure out where they are. Has a whole team of teachers working with Parrish Learning Zone. She also goes into their schools. Teachers take on a lot of responsibility for things that aren’t within their control. There was a study at George Peabody college where they studied students with easy or difficult tasks. Important to teach students different strategies to monitor their own learning. Then teachers can change their approach if it’s not working. Students will then be an active participant in creating their own learning. We want students to be actively engaged. Funny analogy from Judson Brewer-compared emotional regulation skills to having too many tabs open. Not able to process info. Brains are spinning & spinning. We have noticed in past couple years students got frustrated. Lots of stress in home, students needed more emo regulation strategies. Figure out how to keep going. We need to teach these things in school. 

Talk about your blog “The Learning Zone”, which is your favorite area of service? She needs to write things down in order to process. She’s done that when teaching, also when started Parrish Learning Zone. Blog for local parenting mag. Had one in Huffington Post. Currently writes for EduTopia. Community to share ideas. She thinks as a teacher, it’s important to have support. She feels it’s important to share ideas & get feedback from others.

Out of everything: She tends to be an overachiever. If she’s the one doing all the talking, doing, she’s the only one doing learning. Step back & let st’s participate in their own learning. Give them the tools/strategies.

Find Nina online: Links: website: https://ninaparrish.com/

Blog- The Learning Zone – Parrish Learning Zone blogs and Edutopia articles.

Book and free reproducibles

Twitter @parrishlearning Is on LinkedIn Instagram @ninaparrish

view this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3NFURRHwKRM

Episode #175: Dan Wolfe

Episode #175: Dan Wolfe (podbean.com)

Dan Wolfe has served in Pasco County, Florida for more than 20 years. During this time, he has held roles as a teacher, instructional coach and administrator. He is currently an Assistant Principal at Sunray Elementary. He was selected as Pasco County’s District Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012 school year. He is a part of the district’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Committee that recently established Pre-K through Grade 12 SEL standards.

For the past two years Dan has written a blog called Becoming The Change (formerly Our Moral Compass) which focuses on a different quote each day and how we can best apply it towards becoming the change through our own moral compass and the five areas in SEL. 

During his spare time Dan enjoys spending his time reading, listening to podcasts, and going to Disney with his wife and daughter.

Trench story: Was an AP at another school from 2005-9, had a young daughter so took a step back. Needed more family time. It was at school he worked at until recently. Then went to district-level position as math curriculum specialist K-12. He had to build up math chops for secondary level. Then was able to be an AP at Cody River in 2016 again. Came in out of the blue at beg. of year, it was full circle. Stayed true to what he believes in, values. He is going to a principal prep program starting this summer. He has been in multiple roles so he has had a vantage point many ppl wouldn’t. He experienced a recent transition from one ES to another.  

principal prep program You need at least 3 yrs as AP to apply for it, rec letters, had a group task with other aspiring principals. Then had individual tasks for upcoming year, focused on PBIS. Was going to do this task regardless. Had to do an “inbox” task also. Program is a yearlong. Will have a mentor principal, area superintendent. Lots of work, from what he’s heard. Nothing’s guaranteed in terms of principal position but he still needs to complete program to be in compliance for what the state wants. He had to convince himself when he was ready.

Upcoming book-” Becoming the Change: 5 essential elements to being your best self” Finished manuscript then reached out to publishers. When created preK-12 standards on SEL committee, started his podcast based on blog in Dec. 2019. Started manuscript during pandemic. Felt it was something that was needed, Becoming the Change was a better title than Our Moral Compass. It has a SEL component, Maslow before Bloom, also a self-assessment in the 5 areas. Each chapter takes a deep dive answering questions. It has the reader choose the path they want to go to next. He has a visual where self-awareness is at the center of the compass. They’re all interconnected. Compass will bring you back together. He hopes ppl will read it in 5 years, things have changed. It has compass checks around self-awareness, self-management, reference guide in their lives. He knew he just needed to get it out there. Had 4 different rejections. Cover of book is a butterfly. We evolve over time to be best self. Choose your own adventure type activities. At end of book, it says you have 5 different pathways.  

Podcast- currently him leading based on what he’s written for the blogs. If enough people are interested, they can follow him on Twitter. Recording his readings as a podcast. Maybe will eventually have guests on to talk about SEL and their own self-assessment. Guests can talk about how they’re being the change. Vulnerability and people’s strengths & what they’re working on. He wants to impact someone’s life and make it better.

SEL/leadership perspective: His principles are to serve, lead, inspire. Look at it through the lens of others. Magnifying glass, he has to remind himself. His mentor led that way.  Serve part- needs of staff & students. He saw ppl for who they were. It wasn’t just the data. He tries to live that every day. Be guide on the side.  He’s an open book, wants to be transparent. Inspire with words, positive messages of the day, puts out on social.

Key quotes: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”, “It’s a poor frog who doesn’t praise their own pond”. Even uses these with students. Never forget being grateful for those around you. They make you you. Having the attitude of gratitude. IT’s about how you make ppl feel. Don’t forget where you came from. admin need to remember what it’s like to be teacher.

Find Dan online:

Twitter @servleadinspire



Becoming The Change Blog

Becoming The Change Podcast 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jodFG4R23i0

Episode #176: Jamie Brown

Episode #176: Jamie Brown (podbean.com)

Jamie Brown has been in education for the past 21 years, mostly in NJ- ½ hour outside NYC. Went from teacher to peer leader t. Began doing SEL, peer character ed. St-driven leadership. Took an average school from good-great. Refocused on character & curriculum. For the last 4-5 years, he has done admin in building & district. Focusing on retention. Book is about building authentic relationships built on empathy. It’s about ups & down. Jamie is a champion of Social-Emotional care and Character Education. His passion for promoting student-driven leadership led to the development of the 1st District-Wide PEER Leadership program in NJ Public School education. Jamie earned a National Promising Practice from Character.org for ACCEPT University, a three-tiered SEL assembly series promoting inclusion, acceptance, empathy and citizenship in schools. Jamie’s career includes working at a State and National School and District of Character and a top 100 US News & World Report District. Jamie is a former Teacher of the Year, ASCD Emerging Leader Finalist and author for The Road to Awesome Publishing LLC. He is an author, speaker and coach.

Trench story: He spoke about a letter 10 years old he’d written to a graduating class. Letter read “I hope you learned almost as much from me as I learned from you”. Learned leadership qualities as professional. Was an Eng. t & peer leadership teacher for 17 years. Worked with seniors. They spent 3 years building a resume. Service learning-leadership program. Had been doing this since 2010. Focused on character, building relationships, so it would take care of chronic absenteeism. Used peer leadership as vehicle to collaborate w/ character.org Milestone for HS- 3500 kids there. Got accolades because of senior peer student leaders. He became complacent ½ way thru 30 year career. Stopped trying. Overnight peer retreat w/ build-up. Seniors would make class shirts w/ themes. Around Thanksgiving he felt like his class wasn’t performing. Thought it was the class. Had to say something. Felt like speech was good. Student said “that speech was meant for you”. Didn’t understand in the moment. Typically, students would wait for him to walk into classroom. This time, they were already there. They said, “you’re not the teacher we signed up for”. They went through a 3 week application process. Reality check of 17/18 yr olds telling him he wasn’t the t they wanted. Felt resentment when went home. Didn’t have an answer. Played it back in his head the next morning. Realized it was him. Felt humility. It’s a hard leadership quality to achieve. Walked in and said to this kids” you deserve better”. They were waiting for him to take responsibility. Worst days of professional career, what transpired for remainder of yr, great class, best moments that were hard to accept. St taught the adult something. He still listened to them; they didn’t forget that. They had lived up to empowering st voice, truly.   

Curriculum Development of ACCEPT got hooked up w/ Character.org in district was asked to spearhead initiative from ‘12. in 3 yr period they flipped the script to use character ed from MS to HS. Had 8th grade peer leadership program that was elective. Began to focus on MS. Had only taught in HS from 2002. Wanted to develop programs/concepts for kids before they reached HS. Built 3 step curriculum services. Everything from ES-MS and MS-HS preparing for ends & outs. Ended up earning natl. accreditation. Ppl are scrambling to find a curriculum for HS. These offer authentic relationship building among t’s, counselors, whole t, whole child. Had an incredible PEER staff in Albridge. Came up w/ concept for ACCEPT Univ. Accept yourself then everybody for who you all. CASEL’s competencies. Wanted to showcase the 90% we don’t show every day. Created 3-part programs w/ SEL competencies. Help from Tom Murray & Future Ready Schools. Program about self-discovery, not only kids, but adults too. Empathy. Created a culture of inclusivity, tolerance, respect. Everyone is vulnerable w/ each other. Does a follow-up 1 month later. Energy was different. Now he takes the silver lining from pandemic that we’re finally addressing. Mental health concerns w/ young adolescents. 2nd visit- schools had to say, “we need him to come back” That’s truly where buy-in is.  

Talking about the book you’re contracted w/ Road to Awesome (no official title as of recording!) “Leaving a Legacy/Accept University”. Works w/ Darrin & Brandon as coaches. It’s about his story. He hones in on resiliency, risk-taking, thesis is about chasing a varsity jacket he never achieved. It’s about putting something on a pedestal. It’s a piece of curriculum he’s building and taking out on the road. Your message you want to share. Compassion over curriculum, relationships over rigor. Teacher-teacher, student-admin etc. Book focuses on “whole teacher”. We need to model how to support & encourage educators how to have them be celebrated. Trifecta is whole community. Letting parents in. Focus on building relationships first. He wants to write it for book for students and adults as well. 

If people want to book you, what should they expect? Accept university can be catered towards whatever is needed. can be faculty mtg, keynotes. There for the day. Will help revitalize school culture/climate. 

Key quotes: how important it is to hear, see, celebrate not just your students but also your staff! Be visible, proactive as leader.

Find Jamie? To book Jamie, connect on social-twitter @leadership_JB by visiting www.JamieBrownLeadership.com is on YouTube, IG. View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/zsvbEGyPyHQ

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