Episodes #177-183

Episode #177: Tom Hierck & Chris Weber

The Out of the Trenches Podcast – Episode #177: Tom Hierck & Chris Weber | Free Listening on Podbean App

Tom Hierck has been an educator since 1983 in a career that has spanned all grade levels and roles in public education. His experiences as a teacher, administrator, district leader, department of education project leader, and executive director have provided a unique context for his education philosophy. Tom Hierck is one of our profession’s leading authors and consulta nts, with 39 years of experience in education. He’s author of more than 20 books. 

Chris Weber, EdD, A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Chris flew C-141s during his military career. A former high school, middle school, and elementary school teacher and administrator, Chris has had a great deal of success helping students who historically underachieve learn at extraordinarily high levels.

As a principal and assistant superintendent in California and Chicago, Chris and his colleagues have developed systems of Response to Intervention that have led to heretofore unrealized levels of learning at schools across the country.

Chris presents internationally to audiences on important topics in education such as math and RTI.

Trenches story (Tom then Chris): First years teaching. Said job’s up after 1 year. Didn’t say in which job. Did 0 training in sped. Learned so much about teaching & learning. Really springboard to everything he writes/present. Chris-last principalship. Curveball, was secondary teacher & admin. Had to go to elementary school. 8% of students only read at grade level. 8-40% in 1 year. Changed his life. Accepted possibility/hope. 

Why The Road to Success with MTSS: A Ten Step Process now? Was this a work in progress for a while. Book themes (they write) are generally the same. Positive learning environments. Practices don’t always indicate it. Noone got into education to be marginal or ineffective. Tom doesn’t think pre-service teacher training has adjusted to the needs we see today. For Chris- 13th book. Practicality. approach. You’ve heard of it, tried it, it’s not gone exactly as hoped. Behavior skills. attributes. We can teach, st’s must possess them. We often use same systems for behavior & academics. Imply there’s a road to this work. Self-checks along the way. Have to add & subtract. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. 3-5 years. We felt before it was softer schools. Kids missed ppl/interactions, etc. during pandemic. What do we need to do in large arena.

How has your work with schools led to your development of this roadmap, and how would it have looked differently if it had been published, let’s say, 10 years ago?  Pyramid of behavior interventions was written then. Chris says 10 years ago it was called RTI and now MTSS. Why is there a diff term? On one hand, nothing has changed. RTI was developed by Bloom in 1960’s. They wrote article in Ed Leadership in 2010 about RTI being around since ‘60s. It shouldn’t represent a shift. College/career life exacerbated it. Chris is doing work daily- is director in a district. Books 10 years ago aren’t terrible different. Increased status we give to behavior is that basic work has core foundations. There is more research/guidance than 10 years ago. 

Case study work that has helped- Chris- k-8 school- focused on tier 2 academics. It’s the forgotten tier. here are 3 tiers, 3 sets of student needs. Common sense in action. What’s missing? Chris says a true commitment to tier 1 behavior. 36 week commitment to model tier 1 behavior after tier 1 academics. Tier 2 has a diff. purpose. Many schools have Tier 1,3 and Tier 3 light- master learning what Bloom called. Tom- tries to go into schools/districts for an extended period of time. high-lows/disasters. 

What are some schools/districts doing wrong in terms of the MTSS process? What have you seen has been left out in the process in places? Bypass of critical Tier 2 work. Often schools give them Tier 2-3 lists. Don’t give designations of students. Core instructions hasn’t been aligned w/ this. As they go around the work, they’re looking for instant fixes. It’s not worth the time that’s devoted. 3-5 year journey. You got to dig in to make sustainable change. Alignment is by looking at policy, procedure, practice. 5% increase in grad rates is worth celebrating. If grad rates are low, you need to look at reasons. What are they doing wrong- over documentation. This isn’t the gateway to sped. It’s not a permanent label. They don’t require permanent intervention. Bloom believes 95% of kids could achieve mastery learning. We’re still in pandemic. Perhaps some of their diagnoses are off. Not even distribution of the impact. Chris- we over complicate/over document. He says documentation serves as a gatekeeper. We need to know the need exists and how to provide/serve it today. We have to be prepared to know every kid gets it. Don’t opt them out if things because of tier 3.

Key Quotes: Chris: Embrace/commit to that behavior matters. Non-cognitive factors. More important than academic skills. We must model them. Create CR, assign that support them.  Tom-every school is populated with kids who will widely successful adults. We have 13 years to prepare them to do that. 

Find Tom & Chris online: Visit Tom’s Website, TomHierck.com thierck@gmail.com @thierk on Twitter

Visit Chris’s Website, ChrisWeberEducation.com chris@chriswebereducation.com

Follow Tom on Twitter @THierck

Follow Chris on Twitter @webereducation  

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ZIOJupV-Vdc


Episode #178: Stephanie Ryan, Ph.D.


Dr. Stephanie Ryan, Ph.D. is a chemist, a boy mom, and a social media influencer who enjoys using her background to create superior educational products and content. Although an academic at heart, Dr. Stephanie is passionate about learning through play. She can be found helping young kids explore the fascinating world around them. Over the years, Dr. Stephanie has taught science to all age groups, both in and out of the classroom, helping toddlers learn about their world and college students define theirs.

She is an active member of the chemistry education community and is currently a committee member of the International Activities Committee for the Division of Chemical Education. Dr. Stephanie earned her Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences and her M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Mary’s College.

Trench story: When she was taking time off to have her son. Revisited concepts from a diff. age group-complicated to explain things to a toddler. found out how to simplify tricky concepts for adults to little kids. Sometimes kids give her answers that have her think a different way. It’s not a set lesson plan. She feeds off students.    

Learning Together with Your Family, Kitchen Chemistry/Kitchen Science tips for families: that was another trench, during pandemic, what she could do w/ son. Rigid science experiments thought it wasn’t fun. Approach it from their lens. If the kid likes bugs, approach it from that lens. Diff. b/w spiders and insects. Themed packs. Use items already around the house. Baking soda/vinegar. It’s part of natural curiosity. To an older kid, ask “What’s happening?” A garden is science. Put seed in sunny vs. shaded areas. W/ young kids, not necessarily doing experiments. Teach them to make better observations. She likes to make parfait patterns ABAB. Can use popcorn in yogurt. Kids make a ratio with popcorn. It is math. Kids can recognize patterns. 

Tell us about some fun activities parents can do at home with materials they likely have in their home already? Give some examples of materials. She spells them on social. Yeast with sugar, reaction that occurs, produces gas. Time Lapse video. Ballon comes up, how does it apply to baking? Qu’s can get more pointed depending on the kid’s age. Freeze baking soda paste. Drop vinegar on it. Theme- bugs ones shaped like caterpillars. Food color, oil, water. lava lamps.

What if I don’t know the right answer or how to explain something? Should I correct my child if they have an incorrect understanding of something? Generational difference. Teachers have access to google today. Let’s ask Siri. Show them you don’t know the answer. They need to see that adults collaborate. Look it up together. She has a series on Tik Tok about this. In terms of a kid’s incorrect understanding- you want to correct; it may shut them down. Instead, say “let’s try it”. Kids can tweak their own mental model & apply in diff way, like rain turns to sleet. Find a contrasting case for MS/HS that shows the real facts. 

How can I incorporate reading into my Science and math activities, point to specific books, she said it depends on the content. She has some for small children. For older kids, you can pull in science news. Dependent on grade level. PreK-K “Very hungry caterpillar”, you could tie in purchasing toy caterpillars. Could do hole punches thru food the caterpillar is supposed to eat. As SS teacher, you can do a lot with your scientists. ELA- you can write about scientific discoveries. Math- exponential growth. Working with teachers at same grade level. X-collaboration important. ELA t’s may have misconception.  

How old do children need to be to learn about STEM concepts? Touch base on even Pre-K. Her pre-k son did a soil experiment. How STEM can be more interactive for students who need to be challenged. How can the child advocate for themselves? Even before pre-K. Kids in highchairs throwing food are learning about gravity. They can read science books, watch science cartoons. Designing experiments. Looking for patterns.  

How did you get the idea to write your book “Let’s learn about science”? Talk about the publishing process. By the time it came out, her son didn’t recognize characters. Talk about her initial desire to write it. In her day job, writing standardized assessments, while son was playing, she realized we sort in toddler years. We know solids are something we pick up. She started when he was 1. Came out when he was 3. She uses real toys in her book. “Which isn’t like the other?” You could answer “these three are red, the other’s blue”. Some kids were having trouble deciding what a solid is. Published right as pandemic hit. Massive online push.  Blessing for her- gave him something to do during the pandemic. She has follow-up ideas for chemistry. Activity book she is working on. 

Key quotes: Science doesn’t have to have fancy chemicals, roll with the punches. Even scientists make mistakes.

Where can ppl find you? For great learning activities in the sciences, book recommendations, and more, follow Dr. Stephanie on FB, Tik Tok, Instagram at @letslearnaboutscience

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1b_kDx9dT8s

Episode #179: Matthew Taylor

Episode #179: Matthew Taylor (podbean.com)

 Matthew Taylor leads the Noble Story Group, a consulting firm that brings an emotional intelligence-based approach to leadership development in education and non-profit organizations. Matthew recently published The Noble School Leader, a practical guide for school leaders and managers seeking concrete strategies for professional improvement.

He has extensive experience teaching in and leading schools, having worked in urban neighborhood, urban charter, international, private, and magnet schools.

Trenches story: will tell rock-bottom moment as a principal. Was a turning point in his life- burnt out, had 2 kids under 2. Had no time for self-care. In mindset of doing everything everyone told him to do. Didn’t delegate. Said he’d make it work outside the box. Gave himself permission to try something different. Gave self a year to delegate- more opportunities. A lot of teachers find themselves in this situation too. His was closing the opportunity gap. Culture of self-sacrifice. Was worried ppl would judge. “Not giving enough”.  Was reactive. Guilty for not being proactive. Took on other ppl’s tasks. Looked for a different way to do things. Permission allowed him to start looking for things. Heard people’s stories differently.    

How can school leaders leverage emotional intelligence to make ​​transformative growth happen in schools, give an example or 2- connect it to the trench story. His coaching applies EI to self-management, social awareness, balance, sustainability. It leads to decisions one makes about self-sacrifice. Locus of control. Where do I have influence over things outside school? Building strategies, relationships, advocating, influencing, managing ppl week. EI is 4 dimensions. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, how can I engage with others in order to meet my goal? Standard is core values & context. He needed a coach. He was an “unintended enabler/Doer” in his trenches. Also “untended enabler”- shied away from conflict. Couldn’t apply it in real life. What can I do to self-manage? What stories did he tell himself? He helps ppl shift their inner narratives. Other people were enabled. Understanding/knowing where others wanted to be. How could he engage them? Challenge while maintaining a connection. He builds a learning plan for leaders. Mindset work. 

Why did you decide to write the book, The Noble School Leader? Why now? Talk a bit about the book (published in April). What stories do I need to believe to shift to? He developed this approach in school. Saw everyone in school needs this. Every org needs this. It was about having this impact. Saw suffering in this kind of work during pandemic

How school leaders can apply the core domains of emotional intelligence and become a more inclusive leader and create personal growth plans. How you work with principals in creating the growth plans. Top 3 things-using EI, helping leaders see their own blind spots connected to identity. Their identity in terms of cultural norms. Obstacles to being great listeners. Helping them see the impact of when they’re not doing inclusive practices. Leveraging empathy. Where are these folks in terms of their values, hopes and fears? It comes down to creating conditions for learning for adults/kids. 

Leveraging Emotional Intelligence to create the social-emotional conditions for teachers to thrive post Covid Educators are in need of deep healing/repair. They’ve been running at break-neck speed. Start w/ base of Maslow’s triangle. How do you create a culture of self-care in your school? How to create a culture where self-care is a prerequisite. We’ve just been trying to survive during pandemic. How can we rebuild conditions for our learning? It’s not just for t’s it’s for the kids. 

What are school leaders’ 3 greatest challenges today in school? Most existed before the pandemic. Tension b/w balancing SEL needs and academic growth. Political pressure. Culture wars. Loneliness of leadership/chronic burnout. Leader retention is poor as well. How do we adequately support & grow leaders to have good conditions for leading? 

What can we do about teacher and school leaders feeling burned out, disconnected, and underappreciated? What can we do about having the appreciation last all year instead of just the week in May? Substitute appreciation with care. Care for/of. What competencies are we focusing on? Going after holistic competencies.

How can a school district divert resources towards helping leader’s EI? Investing in coaching. Helps them get a clear-headed look. Setting that’s not evaluative. Books like The Noble School leader lay out a path. Leaders/teachers can pick a chapter. They can also create some space for this kind of work. Noble story group has a team self-care check-in. 1 hour every month. 

Key quotes: “Our job as educators is to create conditions for learning”. Largely emotional- roadmap grounded in EI he can give listeners.

Find Matthew online: www.noblestorygroup.com LinkedIn @noble-story-group

Facebook: @noblestorygroup

Twitter: @noblestorygroup 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Hm23H7WwY78

Episode #180: Will Mc Donough


Recently named one of the Global Forum on Education and Learning (GFEL) “Top 100 Visionaries in Education” for the year 2020, Will McDonough is an educator, author, diversity practitioner, speaker and thought leader who was raised in a one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of northern New Hampshire. As the child of a street performing juggler/storyteller and a teacher of the deaf and blind, Will combines stories and joy with the educational experiences of those around him.

Educated at Middlebury College, Will focused his history and education studies on Black revolution, as well as the role of Puritan ministers in their racist vilification of native peoples. Will earned his M.Ed. from University of Illinois in Global Studies in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership. His Master’s Thesis examined the post-Apartheid Citizenship-based education movement in South Africa.

A longtime Program and Leadership Director at YMCA Camp Belknap (Wolfeboro, NH), Will founded and directed Standing Rock Camp, which provided a faith-based model of manhood for young men in need of mentorship. Focusing on the model of a “tender warrior,” Standing Rock Camp centered the importance of accepting responsibility, rejecting passivity, and leading courageously. Will is the author of four books, including The Things We Shared in the Time We Had: A Letter to my Students, and Pause Together: a Handbook for Humans.

Currently, Will works at The Country School (Madison, CT) where he is Director of Community Engagement, as well as a 7th and 8th grade history teacher, advisor, and Cross-Country Coach. Will loves maps, running, and spending time outside with his family. He and his partner Nicole have three children and live in Guilford, CT.

Trench story: when he thinks about role as a teacher and educator, he thinks about how teachers gave him good role model Has thought that being a t is a beautiful practice. No competition like on sports field. Nature of being in field of educator is immersed with goodness. Immersed in messiness of being human. Overcoming own struggles. Overcoming own ADD. Creating systems that he has to figure out how to teach executive functioning skills to 7-8th graders. Asking self- was I positive role model, good listener, did I foster a sense of belonging in the classroom?  Trenches is getting done, closing door to the classroom.

Talk about your experience learning from your parents who teacher of the deaf/blind, how did that lead to you wanting to be an educator yourself? No one does it become famous. It makes sense to start at beginning of his journey. Parents were curious people. Pursuit of learning was paramount. Lowered barriers made connections. When dad was street performer, he was attuned to spirit of engaging w/ others. Used humor, laughter, improv. Mom taught deaf & blind- there are ppl who are both. Mom’s experience, degree was in deafness. Will has spent time w/ them- so much of education is experiential. PBL, walking through the woods. Young 7 y.o. boy felt thunder, saw lightning. Asked “was there a sound”?  He asked, “what sound does a rainbow make?” He had so much inquiry, fascination. So beneficial to Will differentiating for LD/ opportunities to engage with learners who learn other ways. 

How he got involved working at the camp-Standing Rock Camp. Focusing on the model of a “tender warrior,” He grew going to camp in NH. Worked there 10 yrs. Fell in love with pace of education. You’re so tired at the end of the day. Fulfilled. Took break, spend 1 final year, took summers off, then missed it. Kids didn’t get evolution of what’s next for me as a young adult. They started the camp, Was first director. Created an atmosphere that felt like a brotherhood. 1 campfire, classroom, diversity of ages. Started in 2015, was tuition-free. Invited those who didn’t have male role model. No application processes. Word of mouth. 1st session, 5 nights, 15 boys. Throughout the process talked about being a tender warrior. Wanted to talk about parts that are hard. Lasted for 3 years- couldn’t commit to being FT camp director. Put pause on it. Now have network of volunteer staff, young men. It wasn’t a $-making investing. Experience in creating a camp, trainings, etc. without long-term gain was a thrill & bolstered confidence. Saying yes to something, saw it into fruiting. Is Director of Comm. Engagement. He loves meeting with people outside of school. Don’t limit self to what you’ve seen previously. Edu philosophy- connections between humans. Relationships with others. Has transitioned to a new school this year. so not the same school as when was in the camp. Is a “rookie” in the community. Underestimated how much he’d transformed in 15 yrs. You forget how much you change during that time. He’s prioritized convos.   

You’ve been writing a blog/process of writing, has been writing on Medium as well (last updated fall ‘20)-switched jobs, so with own time management will get back to it. Publication from Medium.com featured on his website. He’s very improvisational. Created systems to be organized. Doesn’t come naturally. With writing was missing self-reflection. He needed a way to process what he was learning from students. They’re our greatest teachers. He wanted to reflect back on what students were teaching him. Every system wrote for 30 m, published after 30 m. Every week- thought about what was going to write about next Thurs. On runs, etc. Spouse is a life coach. She reflects a lot. Finding ppl who challenge him is important. He’s found it great when students model that same reflective process. Each day writes 2 letters to students. High five from Mr. McDonough. Wanted to hack writing into daily routine. For own time-management. Parents appreciate it. When he writes grade comments, child already know he believes in them. 

Key quotes? for so many people right now, it feels like there’s not enough time. Pace is quickening, he has to relearn that there is way to use time better. Centering ourselves. Asking ? is there time for me to reflect throughout the day? There is time, we think so much about Chronos time. Kairos- opportune time that you can do something. Schools are so built on schedule.

Find Will online on Twitter @mrmcdonough www.will-mcdonough.com 

IG @wsmcdonough 

View this episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/kCpESSt8eQc

Episode #181: Lorena Seidel

Episode #181: Lorena Seidel: Emotionally Intelligent Schools (podbean.com)

Lorena Seidel M.Ed. is a Social Emotional Learning {SEL} Consultant, a certified Montessori teacher, a trained Positive Discipline Educator, a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, and a mother of three. She helps adults create a more positive relationship with young children and a more peaceful home and classroom environments.

Lorena has helped thousands of parents and teachers stay strong, calm, and remain effective even under the most stressful moments. She has guided them to develop their children’s social, emotional, and life skills. Lorena has transformed the home-life and the parent-child relationships of hundreds of families- for life!

A sought-after speaker who has delivered keynote addresses and lectures at local, national and international conferences such as the American Montessori Association and British Columbia Montessori Association. Lorena speaks at libraries, organizations, and mom groups such as MOPS and Holistic Moms Network. Lorena gives talks at a variety of Montessori and independent schools, including Sacred Heart University. She has been interviewed for several online summits, including being featured alongside Simon Sinek for the Early Childhood Leadership Conference. Lorena’s articles have been featured at NYMetroParents, Motherly, Welcome Parenthood, and more.

Lorena is also the author of The Purposeful Child: A Quick and Practical Parenting Guide to Creating the Optimal Home Environment for Young Children. Lorena lives in Connecticut with her husband and three daughters.

Trench story: as parent are always. story goes back to when she came home w/ baby. Grew up an EI-unintelligent family. Grew up in S. Brazil. Best intentions. After a few years yelled, threatened, etc. First 2 kids 18 months apart. Felt like she was replicating her parents in parenting. She knew it was bigger than will-power, education, training. She came w/ blueprint to react. Figured out she wasn’t alone. It was a turning pt. Rewired her own EI. 

Emotional intelligence in students, in terms of how to do school after pandemic shutdown: For her, it’s simple. When we feel better, we do better. Tt’s kids aren’t happy there are disc problems. Kids don’t need to be aggressive, etc. If they feel good, it’s being happy. Focus on helping them feel good. Feel better=do better. Just like a plant, you need to create the right conditions for kids. 

Achieving win/win solutions, creating consistency in discipline, and adopting a unified and universal message within the community: How to implement this school-wide, there’s a lot of disconnect. Kids get mixed messages within a school. We often come with limiting beliefs. People are on different pages. Creating unified lang & approach. Everyone is sharing out how to understand each other. Sometimes t-t relationships can be tough. Mistrust, resentment. Eliminate the mixed messages. Create an environment of trust.

We can talk about how some schools have EI training for students so they understand their own behavior. Kids can reflect on their behavior w/ peers, teachers. Want to assert control over self. She tells a story- her kid got a cut, had to go to ER. Needed stitches. Husband wanted to have plastic surgeon come. Scar needed to be massaged every day. Felt like a lot of effort. What was Lorena doing to make sure daughter wasn’t left w/ emotional scar? She works w/ schools to shift the emotional mindset for schools. Pre k-grade 8. Same lesson- asks student s what do you do when you get hurt? Time alone doesn’t do the trick. Schools need to realize they need to actively work on EI. She asks “how do you take care of your emotional injuries?” Failures as Emotional injuries. They don’t know much about taking care of them. There’s a big deficit. You go thru emo injuries every day. Schools should create an emotional first-aid kit. Then they go deeper into brave space. For secondary school-it’s same idea of becoming aware that others deal w/these issues. Kids understand the progression. W/ HS kids go over bigger issues, anxiety, self-harm, etc. work with strategies on how we can cope. Parents/teachers step into bigger role of being kids’ SEL coach. Every adult in the building. Research tells us 80% of kid’s future sucess is mindset and EI.  

How to elevate parents’ emotional intelligence. (Emotionally stable, easy parents make your life easier as a school leader!). How to train parents/provide these resources: She has put together a program for parents. They know they should participate in these problems when enroll kids @ school. Families are working w/ kids S/E intelligence @ home. Have parent ed events, such as breakfast after drop out. We can talk about getting them to attend. Don’t just have someone come in for 1 hour talk without follow-up. Events need to be transformational. Need follow-up and follow-through. If they’re confident, happy it makes t’s, admin lives easier. Workshops for parents throughout the year. Schools have events, but attendance is low. It’s random, talk never goes deep, no continuity. Parents receive the same strategies t’s receive @ school. 

Key quotes: “We set the climate for our classrooms/homes; we have such power. Quote “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.”  It’s in her book. Her book can be found on amazon.

Where can ppl find you?

Please contact Lorena at hello@lorenaseidel.com  Link to free mini-class: 


Visit  http://www.lorenaseidel.com/

LinkedIn, IG @lorenaseidel 

View this episode on YouTube https://youtu.be/S_TyI8u_bVg

Episode #182: Matt Moyer

Episodes > The Out of the Trenches Podcast (podbean.com)

Matthew Moyer is a Nationally Distinguished Principal, and Pennsylvania Principal of the Year.  He is an elementary school principal with over 20 years of experience in administration, and over 25 years of experience in education. In addition to his job as principal, he is an Author, National Speaker, Adjunct Professor, and staff developer with Thom Stecher and Associates.

Matt started his career as a 5th-grade teacher in the Spring-Ford Area School District. He earned a Master’s degree and Principal’s certificate. He then spent 3 years as an assistant principal at Schuylkill Valley Elementary School in Leesport, Pennsylvania. From there he moved to his current position as principal of Rupert Elementary School in the Pottstown School District. He is in his 16th year as principal of Rupert, and absolutely loves it. He completed his course work for his letter of eligibility to be a superintendent.  For over last ten years he has been the district’s safety coordinator and certified CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention trainer. He has served numerous roles and on a variety of committees during his time in administration.

Trench story: Has thought a lot about it. Goes back to first year as principal. Chose an intervention, didn’t work, kid put hole in office wall. Reflected on it, got him to calm down. 10 years later, kids had moved away. Kid drove 1.5 hours to see him. He clearly had an impact on him.  


Matt won the Nationally Distinguished Principal of the Year in 2020. He didn’t do PD as part of it and had to wait to get the honor until 2021. PA assignment has a throughout process. Has to be nominated. Lots of writing. About all aspects of principalship. Committee decides on many things. They seek info about candidates. They weren’t able to do a site visit. Afterwards, committee selects winner. He’s now on the committee for future Principals of the year. At site visit, they interview teacher, superintendent, parent. No tour of the state. Usually, there is a huge celebration in D.C. All natl. distinguished principals do this. He did it in 2021. Everyone does a 2-minute speech. He did run an # of sessions of sessions. For this, ES & MS are combined. More than 50 principals- like Guam, Puerto Rico. Stories about how they got there. School change, or personal stories. 

PD at Natl. Principal’s Conference or other conferences he spoke at (PA principal’s conference early Aug.): topic was “hire for character, train for skill”. Main idea is you can train people, you can’t train ppl on everything. Comes down to core values. Hire based on core values. Build relationships with kids/colleagues, etc. You have the right mindset, or you don’t. 

Do you have any “Out of the box interview questions”?. No, he doesn’t- but it’s more the follow-up questions to a candidate’s answer. A “what would you do question” in terms of parents. He doesn’t claim to be an expert. 

Adjunct Prof of Ed. He teaches at Montgomery Community College (intro to communication class) & De Sales Univ (teacher prep program for ppl who already have a degree) and supervises pre-student teachers. Has been doing it for 5 years. Is there a challenge of recruitment in your classes? Yes, he’s seeing it there. Trends in teacher prep as opposed to when you did your teacher prep. Some t’s are actually working right now. It’s not fair to them. Some of them. We’re at a moment in time where t’s have to be better than ever. They have a lot of dialogue about what students have seen in their observations. He watches them do tidbits of teaching. B/c of lack of t’s you don’t need many credits- they’re paras or subs. Some already have their own CR. It’s concerning for the professions. They have a lot of hr they have to observe. Trend is more 1st degree w/ teaching degree- at Elementary level. 

Matt is an author, has written 3 children’s books. Are on SEL topics. He wrote them David on Donald books 2 are in a series. Hope is that teachers can pick up and use as a teaching tool. Theme behind it. Basketball Bewilderment, how to come up w/ fair teams. Using assertive voice. Illustrators are ppl he knows. Avail on Amazon-good teaching. Some with Tiara are for lower Elementary School. David & Donald are upper ES. Sunday night words of wisdom Journal type- for adults. 

Key quotes…point about as people in education, we have opportunity to impact kids in positive or negative way. Ppl will remember years later. 

Find Matt online on Twitter @moyermatthewd FB:fromtheprincipal’soffice w/ characture of his Face

 Twitter: @MoyerMatthewD       IG:@Moyersfromtheprincipalsoffice                          FB:     Fromtheprincipalsoffice

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/from-the-principals-office-mat/home?authuser=2  View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/D2siiqsC-S0

He is available for staff development with staff and administration. 

Episode #183: Erin Lebacqz

Episode #183: Erin Lebacqz (podbean.com)


Erin Lebacqz has been teaching writing for over 25 years. Her clients include business and non-profit organizations in the United States and around the world. Her new book High-Value Writing: Real Strategies for Real-World Writing helps business writers boost their confidence by writing clearly, concisely, and with intention. Empowering others to use their voice with confidence drives me to teach. Since 1998, she has worked with all levels of writers in both business and academic settings, helping learners take charge of their writing. In today’s remote work environment, we use our writing to both inform and connect. She finds joy in helping others build relationships and convey both information and empathy through clear, relational writing. Her classes and presentations are active, engaging, full of practical examples, and often humorous.

Trenches story: she taught HS then college. She taught multiple univ. sections. Decided to teach as a solo contractor. She went solo a few years before Covid, she taught face-to-face. She had 1 client she’d had on the side before. Main piece of advice is that many companies, non-profits have a dept named “Learning & Development” dept. 

How can writers at a particular listener’s school make purposeful writing choices to connect across cultures? ESL teachers- how much context is polite, tone, etc. Courtesy, hierarchy. With an ELL population, we have to think about cultural differences in writing, either direct or formal. 

Emotional stuff that comes through in work writing. How to use this in a day-to-day world with real people/relationships? It’s hard to balance all that. It’s hard to be direct & clear but also friendly. It’s adjusting how we can have enough emotion to not be personal. In workplace write objectively. You can express it in slightly different way. 

In terms of young people who have IT-business and want to get more clients, they should think about who their audience/goal is. Think about being agile. Image the person you’re writing to.  

How can writing be a valuable tool to use across the curriculum/courses at a particular listener’s school? WAC- Writing across the curriculum programs are expanding. If you teach woodshop, think about the business side. How to write to potential clients? What would that type of writing be?

How can students be prepared for post-secondary options and being able to present themselves well in a professional setting? In HS, we’re used to writing social posts, in class it’s just for 1 reason (what the t said). In HS you have the assignment, rubric. When kids are writing college essays, we have to think about it’s a different situation- think about the other person more than yourself. Structure it around their needs.

How can employers help educate and support staff through writing training-writing with clear & plain language- Many people enter the workforce without feeling confident about their writing. Potentially really worried about emails. Good ways to do it- #1 talk about our writing. Get together & discuss how to make emails easier to read. Think about realities they’re facing. Also include this training in leadership development programs. 

How can teachers help model writing with students? When we show rubrics, some included content, length, ideas, grammar. We don’t always consider the reader. Create scenarios as teacher that imitate real life. Mock experiential learning. Model thinking that goes into writing. That’s where it’s at. How to better communicate.

Self-empowering students through writing for various audiences and as a result helping them gain better Emotional Intelligence/workplace skills? She encourages ppl to learn the values of others. Relational writing/writing EQ. Analyze things like their generation/culture. 

What surprises people who are new in the workforce about what they may be expected to know in writing skills/experience of doing it? Almost every class she teaches- people say I was raised to write for a word count. Noone wants to read long descriptions. At work, we consider briefer, capture the attention of the client.

Role/reversal the reader hosting the writer- how can we be a good host? anytime we’re writing unless it’s our notes/journal it’s for others. Writer is host to the reader. Best case scenario writer does the work first. Navigation clues, headings, bullets, etc.

How can we write clear and actionable emails, getting to the point? Actionable- in school we rarely write about writing for action. Someone needs to do something with it in school. 3 easy steps, 1 sentence that says main pt. Jot down notes, who, what, when where why. 2- call to action sentence. Tell them their part. How to donate, f. ex. Strong verb. 3rd step- 2-part subject line- use colon. 

Key quotes? There is no 1 right way to write. No 1 authority. It’s the situation. Email, text, clients are different styles. 

Find Erin online: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlebacqz/   YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDdx6ZE7SgVCTG1t1KMDjeQ  https://www.instagram.com/highvaluewriting/ You can by her book on Amazon. Email her at:erin@highvaluewriting.com

On her website is a self-paced class www.highvaluewriting.com

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ddS420ReO2w

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

& Receive a Free Chapter of My Book

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Dana Goodier will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.