My Podcast: Show Notes

The Out of the Trenches


Episode 10: Phyllis Fagell

Phyllis is the author of “Middle School Matters” and a journalist.

Phyllis Fagell has worked in both public and private schools with students in grades K-12. She currently works full time as the school counselor for Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. and provides therapy to children, teens and adults in private practice.

Phyllis is the author of “Middle School Matters” and a journalist. She’s a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, focusing on counseling, parenting and education, writes the Career Confidential weekly advice column for PDK, Intl. for educators, and “The Meaningful Middle” column for AMLE (Association of Middle Level Educators). She also has written for Psychology Today, Working Mother, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Your Teen, and her ideas have been shared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune, among many other outlets.

Key quotes from the episode: “The more you expose yourself to fears the more capable you are at assuming those risks.” “We’re all in this to turn out good people. We have to be authentic, be ourselves, we have to own what we’re good at and can contribute to”.

Find more about Phyllis on her website: or follow her on Twitter @pfagell  Youtube of the podcast recording is at:

Episode 11: Diana Graber

Diana Graber is the author of Raising Humans in a Digital World

Diana Graber is a digital literacy educator, advocate and author of Raising Humans in a Digital World, a tool for educators and parents in helping kids build healthy relationships with technology. Her Cyber Civics program has been adopted by schools in 40 U.S. states and many other countries. Founder of the CyberWise website, which is a huge resource for parents on digital literacy. She lives in Southern California.

She’s been teaching Cyber Civics almost 10 years in 6th + 7th grade. The final level of the program is media literacy and analyzing digital media (for 8th-9th graders). Her curriculum was designed to be taught online. It contains activities parents could do with students at home.

Key quotes: “We want to be humans in a digital world, empathy, kindness are developed offline.” “We need to give kids time to develop skills online and offline.”

You can find Diana online at Her curriculum can be found at: Her website with resources for parents is found at : Watch this episode on Youtube at

Episode 12: Jessica Holloway

Jessica Holloway instructional coach and ASCD 2019 Emerging Leader from Tennessee.

Jessica Holloway is an instructional coach, ASCD 2019 Emerging Leader and STEM policy/leadership fellow for her local Chattanooga Public Education Association. She and her family live in the Chattanooga area. 

What got you involved with ASCD? She wanted to be involved, but it’s been an unusual experience without conferences due to COVID-19. Her cohort didn’t get the full Emerging Leader experience with in-person conferences.

What led you to become an instructional coach? She taught 8 years as middle school Language Arts teacher. Her first role having a coach was while in a teaching role. That coach taught 1 class and was her collaborate partner. It is powerful having a coach, you get immediate feedback. She loves to learn, and learns alongside her teachers. She loves the power of collaboration, growing within your school building. The seed was planted for her. She wanted to move into the role in order to help teachers. She’s been an instructional coach role for 7 years in the same school. The school transformed from a traditional to a STEM school (spring 2020). Jessica is a professional development seeker, she wanted to grow, learn and have growth conversations with colleagues. Her husband was in army, so she’s taught in different districts, some were at high military enrollment school. Active deployment- she was teaching students whose parents were deployed and learned a lot about compassion. She had students who lost parents. She has learned a lot about compassionate conversations. She learned to be a partner with parents. High performing teachers need someone to help them move forward as well as the lower performing teachers. 

One day she decided to join a Twitter chat, after lurking on Twitter for a while. She connected with more and more people. It broadened her realm of building educational resources.

Jessica stresses the importance of building relationships. With new teachers, she’s started saying “Tell me about your day” instead of “how are you doing?”. That way they will be willing to share struggles. Take off the mask. We’ve all been there.  Just tap into resources, can have those conversations and find it’s normal to have a bad day.  It’s OK to “fail forward”. If you never take a risk, there’s no reward in the growth. Relationships with people will keep you grounded. Things we can learn about education in general during COVID-19 can be best practices that we can carry forward. We find out things that work. 

The thing that ties all her experiences together is relationships. 

Key Quotes:Work smarter, not harder.” “Value the importance of learning to connect, then connect to learn.” “Every interaction is an opportunity to build a meaningful relationship.” “Every relationship you have is an opportunity to grow and learn alongside someone else.” “Go out and find the ones who will rekindle your joy in education.”

View this episode on YouTube at

Follow Jessica on Twitter @holloywayreader

Are you an educator who has been in the trenches and has a story to share? Sign up here for a pre-recording planning interview to be a future guest on the podcast!

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