Exploring and envisioning what education could be.

All Episodes

In the final installment of our mini-series on equity, belonging, and inclusion we chat with Dr. Patti Hess, the Director of Pupil Services for a school district in Connecticut. Patti's past work as a school social worker helped inform and prepare her to oversee all of the special education services in her district. Our co-host team chats with Patti about this work, what high quality inclusion looks like and why inclusion is directly tied to both belonging and equity. Plugs include HomeByMe and all the amazing special education teachers out there, or as Patti says, all "Inclusion Champions". Music by Ketsa.

Nov 9

59 min 11 sec

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage school experiences for teachers and students around the world, questions of belonging in classrooms become increasingly critical for educators and administrators to grapple with. In this episode the co-hosting team chats with Shahrzad Missaghi. Originally from Iran, Shahrzad's life story is a fascinating example of the importance of belonging for all students. This is the second episode of our series on Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion. Plugs include Mason's Greatest Gems by Chelsea Lee Smith and Elaheh Bos, The Lighthouse Effect by Steve Pemberton, Cultivating Genius by Gholdy Muhammad, a new translation of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, and singer/songwriter Tim Ward, Jr. Music by Ketsa.

Oct 26

56 min 52 sec

In our first episode of a mini-series on Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion, our co-host team chats with Dr. Antonia Johnson and Dr. Ken Simon of East Carolina University's Project I4. Antonia and Ken are working with school leaders to make classrooms more equitable around the country, and we dive into what educational equity means, what evidence we might see of equity in classrooms, and some tangible tips on how teachers can pursue more equitable practices. Plugs include Avoiding Racial Equity Detours by Paul Gorski, Coaching For Equity by Elena Aguilar, Rethinking Ethnic Studies, and Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. Music by Ketsa.

Oct 19

52 min 33 sec

Dr. Antonio Boyd is the Executive Vice President of Future of School (FoS) and a columnists for Getting Smart. He met our co-host team at Northeastern University as all of us pursued our doctorates together. In this conversation we chat about equity, school change at both the macro- and micro- levels, and how intermediary organizations like FoS can shift the education landscape. Antonio shares a bit about his journey as an education activist and lots more about the future of school. Plus include the FoS Resilient Schools Project, the FoS Resilient Teachers grants, Street Data by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan, Five Practices for Equity Focused School Leadership and Antonio's forthcoming book The Booker T. Blueprint (TBD!). Music by Ketsa.

Aug 24

46 min 6 sec

Located in a small town in rural Appalachia, Springhouse Learning Community was founded by Jenny Finn and an amazing team of educators to center vitality in the educational experience of young people and adults. Since its founding, Springhouse has pushed underlying assumptions around what school should and could be all about for its learners and community. Centering ideas such as vulnerability, connection, and resiliency, the community is leading the way in generating school that is responsive and meaningful for students. This episode also features H Leopold and Sarah Merfeld, two of the community's dynamic team, who lend important depth and dynamic to the conversation. Plugs include The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, Monoculture by F.S. Michaels, The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, Letters To A Young Poet: A New Translation, and Heat Wave by Glass Animals. Music by Ketsa.

Aug 3

1 hr 15 min

Gary Schoeniger has been working to build entrepreneurial mindsets in schools for more than 15 years. He is an international speaker, author, founder of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Institute (ELI). In this conversation, our co-host team dives into what it means to be an entrepreneur and what implications this has for schools. We talk with Gary about ELI, his book Who Owns The Ice House: Eight Life Lessons From An Unlikely Entrepreneur, and ELI's initiative Icehouse. Plugs include Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman and the Entrepreneurial Mindset Imperative. Music by Ketsa.

Jul 20

54 min 2 sec

Canada-based Xello was founded over 25 years ago by entrepreneurs Matt McQuillen and Jeff Harris. They saw the need for a unified approach to consistent college and career readiness curricula in schools and developed a CD-ROM (say whaaa?!?) as an initial solution. From this early effort, has blossomed a comprehensive platform that helps schools engage students in purposeful thought activities around their futures. But is the secret sauce really in the platform? Listen up as Matt and Jeff share their insights. Plugs include Blaze's Party Rentals and Bovine Math. Music by Ketsa.

Jul 6

59 min 36 sec

In our final episode of our DiP series, our co-hosts interview one another about their research projects. From a technology professional development cohort, to collaborative leadership, to personalized learning, to an examination of change agents, this episode features a wide range of topics. We also explore some tips for those considering pursuing a doctorate while still maintaining full-time employment. We hope you loved this DiP series as much as we did! Music by Ketsa.

Jun 22

1 hr 9 min

In the next installment of our dissertations in practice series the co-hosts launch into the episode with a conversation about how to balance the work of being a scholar practitioner with their day jobs, family lives, and personal time. We then hear from researchers Dana Huff and Amanda Wild, colleagues of our co-hosts at Northeastern University, as they talk about the challenges they face as an English department chair, and as a special education teacher. Considering entering a doctoral program? Email us for a conversation. We'd love to chat. Music by Ketsa.

Jun 8

56 min 59 sec

In our second installment of the DiP series, we sit down with Laura Walker-Andrews, Jeff Cheng, and Katelyn Goodington, three of our amazing colleagues from Northeastern University. Laura and Jeff talk about some of the challenges they experience working with community college students, and Katelyn talks about how her work has been supporting teachers of some of our youngest students. All of the researchers share some of their implications for scholar practitioners. The co-hosts talk about what a dissertation in practice is all about. Music by Ketsa.

May 25

1 hr 1 min

As our co-hosts move toward the completion of their own dissertations, we are using our platform to feature other researchers in our cohort and the amazing work they are doing. In this first episode of our DiP mini-series we are highlighting the work of Nicole Willard, Rebecca Murphy, and Kathy Dilks who are doing great things in the fields of early childhood education, international credential evaluation, and higher education. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did. Music by Ketsa.

May 11

1 hr 6 min

Penn Pritchard is the Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at AIM Academy and has been working on centering traditionally minoritized voices in curricula, helping teachers build their capacity to make classrooms more equitable and inclusive, and constructing spaces that allow student voice to be heard and valued for more than a decade. In this conversation we chat with Penn about experiencing change as a teacher, crucible moments, and inclusivity in schools. Plugs include André Robert Lee's film Equity in Action Grant: Pushing for Progress in Our Communities, Outwrite, Threadit, Releasing the Imagination by Maxine Greene, We Will Not Cancel Us by Adrienne Maree Brown, and the Your Body Is Not an Apology Workbook by Sonya Renee Taylor. Music by Ketsa.

Apr 13

1 hr 23 min

Author and consultant Emily Liebtag has been working in education for more than a decade supporting schools, teachers, and education leaders to unleash the potential of young people around the world. In this conversation we talk about Emily's recent book and how building connections with others can be a way for teachers to get support for the efforts they're trying to make in their everyday classrooms. We are also joined by special guest Chris Unger. Plugs include Difference Making at the Heart of Learning by Emily and Tom Vander Ark, Sankofa Farms, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, What School Could Be the app, Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron, and the One tablet by Wacom. Music by Ketsa.

Mar 30

59 min 5 sec

In this episode our co-hosts chat with Terwill Tomino and Maria Gallastegui, two amazing bilingual educators who have spent their entire career promoting the value of language-learning, literacy, and dual language schools. We explore the topics of language immersion, the impact of growing up in a bilingual household, and why everyone should drop what they're doing, put on a Selena song, and dance for 3 minutes everyday. Plugs include Señorita Spanish, Later by Stephen King, and Braver Angels. Music by Ketsa.

Mar 16

50 min 33 sec

In this special episode, Mike sits down with 5 students and fellow educator Jane Shore to explore opportunity in this moment of challenge and division. Part of the 100 Days of Conversations About School, this episode seeks to add to the national dialogue around what school could be. Visit the 100 Days website for more details about how to set up your very own community conversation. Music by Ketsa.

Feb 25

1 hr 1 min

As educators, we often push for teaching and learning to happen in engaging, 21st century ways. Dr. Sarah Pazur's work with CS Partners and FlexTech Education around the state of Michigan supports educators and schools as they transition to more authentic, project-based classrooms. With a fascinating background in progressive teaching and leadership, Sarah offers a terrific perspective on what opportunities and challenges exist for schools as they emerge from the pandemic. Plugs include How to Citizen with Baratunde, 100 Days of Conversations About School, the Human Restoration Project, and Real School Budapest. Music by Ketsa.

Feb 16

46 min 45 sec

Sociology professor Jen McGovern has been working with students at the higher ed level for more than 20 years. With roots in student affairs, and a deep appreciation for the value of sports in the lives of young people, Jen gives her perspective on the challenges and opportunities for K12 institutions from her unique position. Jeannine, Julie, Matt, and Mike ask Jen about cultivating curiosity, promoting self-directed learning, and the personalization of curriculum at all levels of education. Plugs include three other awesome podcasts: Nice White Parents, Heavy Medals, and Forward Progress. Music by Ketsa.

Feb 2

1 hr

Our newest series is called Perspectives and in it we have conversations with individuals who might not always be at the center of the education dialogue. In this episode we talk with entrepreneur, standardized test prep expert, and dynamic thinker Justin Menda of the company Rocket Prep. Justin talks about his experiences with test preparation and his work to empower students to set goals and make decisions in their lives. He also illuminates some aspects of education that he sees as requiring change, particularly as we approach a post-pandemic work. Music by Ketsa.

Jan 19

1 hr 4 min

After a brief fall / winter hiatus, the team is back in action with some intriguing insights into their experiences this fall. Jeannine talks about curriculum changes in the virtual classroom. Julie elaborates on the recent declaration of future DOE nominee Miguel Cardona. Mike shares his insights into the impending teacher shortage. No plugs this week as we get back into the swing of things, but check out our upcoming episodes for some interesting guests and thoughtful dialogue. Music by Ketsa.

Jan 5

35 min 9 sec

Executive Functioning (EF) has quickly become a buzzword in the educational landscape over the past five years. Elizabeth Hamblet has been doing work with college-aged students to address EF skill deficits and help these young people find success at what can be a particularly tumultuous time. In this Knowledge Drop episode, Mike chats with Elizabeth about EF, her book about transitioning to college, and what implications a focus on EF could have for K12 educators and schools. Plugs include Elizabeth's website and her book From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students With Disabilities. Be sure to used the code RETHINKINGEDU for a special discount on Elizabeth's book. Music by Scott Holmes.  

Sep 2020

1 hr 4 min

Ulcca Joshi Hansen is an educator, consultant, and mom who has dedicated her entire career to understanding the intricacies of what hinders and supports school change. In this episode, we unpack Ulcca's three buckets of schools idea, talk about how we have set up an educational system that we could actually change, and get some insight about her upcoming book. Check out Ulcca's consultancy at Educating Potential. Plugs include A Revolution in Education, Mark the Shark, SoundTrap, The Divided Brain, and "College-Educated Professionals Are Capitalism’s Useful Idiots". Music by Ketsa.

Aug 2020

1 hr 3 min

The learner-centered movement is pushing the boundaries of what school should be for so many young people. It's fundamentally asking teachers, administrators, parents, and student to rethink what might be possible in school. In this episode, we explore some of these ideas with Kelly Young, the President of Education Reimagined, and Grace Kiboko, a recent graduate of Iowa BIG and a participant in SparkHouse, a learner-centered convening of Education Reimagined. Plugs include New Ed Tech Classroom, Rich Blocks Poor Blocks, Community Share, Canva, Procreate, and @SoYouWantToTalkAbout. Music by Ketsa.

Aug 2020

1 hr 3 min

With some schools already back in session, and many reopening task-forces looking at Labor Day in the not too distant future, the daunting task of reopening schools is upon us. Join our co-hosts as we break down some of the fundamental issues surrounding the reopening of schools. We talk about mask wearing, CDC guidelines, our system's complicated relationship with childcare, and much more. Plugs include the Multitude podcast collective, Great Battles For Boys (but, really, anyone) by Joe Giorello, Nepris, and Full Focus planner. Music by Ketsa.

Aug 2020

48 min 42 sec

Jenny Delacruz is an author, publishing company CEO, YouTube channel star, and counselor. Her Philadelphia-based publishing company, Cobbs Creek Publishing, specializes in children's books that "promote emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills." In this episode, co-host Matt Downing talks with Jenny about her work and how things have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation touches on Jenny's newest book: Momma, Can I Sleep with You Tonight? Helping Children Cope with the Impact of COVID-19, her Story Time With Ms Melange YouTube channel, and how being of Haitian descent launched her work as an author and storyteller. Music by Scott Holmes.

Aug 2020

31 min 15 sec

Listen as co-host Mike Dunn sits down with Henry Fairfax, the Head of School at the Revolution School in Philadelphia, PA. Revolution is a boutique school serving a diverse group of Philly-based students. It was founded as a way to radically transform education. With this goal in mind, Henry and his team have showcased what's possible with a nimble, thoughtful approach to rethinking eduction. Plugs include Most Likely To Succeed by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith, Range by David Epstein, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, and your local bikeshop like Keswick Cycles. Music by Scott Holmes.

Jul 2020

1 hr 3 min

Listen in as our co-hosts have a conversation with Eva Mejia, the Chief Program and Strategy Officer at Big Picture Learning, and Zelia Gonzales, a recent graduate of the Met Sacramento and a current Cornell University student. Our conversation uncovers some of the power of Big Picture for young people like Zelia, how BP students students are known, given opportunities to connect learning to their interests, and set on a future trajectory that is unique and bountiful. Plugs include Big Bang Summer Fest, Books With Brothers, Rebel Ventures Network, The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, Education Elements, and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Music by Ketsa.

Jul 2020

53 min 46 sec

In this episode, our co-hosts sit down with three amazing guests doing great work with rural schools, teachers, and policy. We talk with Gary Funk of the Rural Schools Collaborative, Allen Pratt of the National Rural Education Association, and Hailey Winkelman of the I Am A Rural Teacher Campaign. Listen in as we uncover some of the work the groups are taking on to address the issues rural teachers face, while also bringing to light countless success stories. Plugs include American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, Bandlab, Common Sense Media, National Novel Writing Month, Pleistocene Park, Audible, and Defunctland. Music by Ketsa.

Jul 2020

52 min 42 sec

As we approach mid-summer, talk across the country has focused on the logistics and inner-workings of reopening schools amidst a pandemic. In this episode our co-hosts talk about some of the conversations we've been part of and how we are all trying to wrap our brains around the intricacies of reopening in the next couple of months. Plugs include Headrush Learning, the Black Scholars Podcast, Equity by Design, and Rewiring Education by John D. Couch. Music by Ketsa.

Jul 2020

1 hr

As an educator, finding people that you resonate with is critical to your mental health and ongoing efforts. On a long walk in Australia, Stephanie Howell and Lance Key decided that a collaboration would be fruitful endeavor and haven't looked back since. Stephanie and Lance are Google Certified Innovators, Tech coaches, and hosts of the podcast Get Inspired and Innovate. In this episode, we talk with Stephanie and Lance about engaging with like minded educators and the importance of building one's network to continue to inspire and innovate in your work. Plugs include, TED's podcast Pindrop,, Global Dignity, myViewBoard, Edulastic, Global Google Educator Group, and Music by Ketsa.

Jun 2020

1 hr 2 min

Podcasting has become a groundbreaking medium for sharing stories and information on a range of topics. In this episode, we talk with the founder of the Education Podcast Network, Chris Nesi. Chris is the host of the House of Edtech and the co-host of Podcast PD. The conversation touches on the value of the podcast as a platform for sharing ideas, and a space for educators to come together to reimagine their schools, practices, and ideas. Plugs include GoSynth, EdPuzzle, Voice Record Pro, and Black Owned Philly Restaurants. Music by Ketsa.

Jun 2020

51 min 4 sec

In our second Knowledge Drop episode, co-host Matt Downing sits down with Raj Lewis, the director of a residential men's program. Raj and Matt dive into the impact our systems of education has on those experiencing poverty. They talk about meeting individuals where they are on their life path, encouraging quality of life assessments in social work, and how these ideas might impact K-12 education. Plugs include Iowa BIG, Trellis For Tomorrow, Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich. Music by Scott Holmes.

Jun 2020

37 min 55 sec

In one of the best conversations yet, the team drops some tough questions into the lap of Getting Smart's Tom Vander Ark. Tom shares his thoughts on schools opening this fall, the wide range of work he's involved with, and a treasure trove of schools to check out in the world. Plugs include Chris Emdin's IG, Tom's vegetarian cooking IG, the Green School in Bali, Slidesyearbook, OERcommons, How to Be Heard by Celine Coggins, and so much more. Music by Ketsa.

Jun 2020

54 min 14 sec

In our first Knowledge Drop episode, host Mike Dunn chats with fellow College Counselors Chris Horne and Kevin Parsons about the state of college admissions. They talk about how COVID-19 is impacting their work, some of the struggles they've encountered with students doing school at home, and the potential impact of the current state of standardized testing on the future college admissions. Plugs include Compass Test Prep's College Profiles, Washington Monthly's College Guide, and Chris's awesome Instagram account @HorneAdvising. Music by Scott Holmes.

Jun 2020

1 hr 9 min

As the country grapples with racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Mike, Julie, Jeannine, and Matt sit down with CEO and Founder of the Brothers Brunch, Kevan Turman. We talk about Kevan's struggle with being diagnosed with COVID-19, the impact of Floyd's death on him and his work, and the network that the Brothers Brunch brings together to dig into challenging topics that we all struggle with. Kevan gives insight into his most recent Youtube episode called "Deep Breaths: What are we to do when the air we breath becomes too heavy". This episode is timely and a critical conversation for all of us rethinking education in the midst of our current reality. Plugs include Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes,, Global Oneness Project, and Texting Story. Music by Ketsa.

Jun 2020

1 hr 4 min

The episode features the homegrown work of the co-hosts: The Education Entrepreneurship Incubator (EEI). EEI was facilitated by Mike, Matt, Julie, and Jeannine if the fall of 2019 as a way to bring educators together who were struggling to bring their idea, project, or plan to reality. We spent the day with a cohort of ambitious people who incubated their ideas, developed action plans, and took the next step to making a difference in their classrooms and lives. We catch up with these folks in this episode, featuring Beth Santangelo, Brandon Reichart, Devon Lavery, Laura Ward, Ryan Ward, and Trina Kraus. This episode's plugs: Cutting Edge Decks, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Explosions of Joy by Trina Kraus and Paul Yin, EY's Ripples Program, Killer Snails, Nothing But Purpose, Tinkergarten, World Bicycle Relief, and World of Work. Music by Ketsa.

Jun 2020

1 hr 3 min

Mike, Julie, Jeannine, and Matt strike up a conversation with EL Education's Ron Berger. Ron gets into EL's purpose, its core values, and some of the reasons why it's held back a bit in growing its network, despite calls for more EL schools around the country. Ron talks about EL's free resources, including their notable literacy curriculum and his own path as a teacher in a small rural town in Massachusetts. This week's plugs include: Maverick Teachers by Dave Baugh and AJ Juliani, Wide Open School, Rivet- a free reading practice tool, and Better Together by Tom Vander Ark and Lydia Dobyns. Music by Ketsa.

May 2020

46 min 34 sec

Dive into the network designed specifically for Middle School Teachers, as co-hosts Mike, Jeannine, and Matt share a conversation with Joy Rosser and Bruce Vosburgh. With more than 50 years of combined school experience, Joy and Bruce give insights into the Association for Middle Level Educations (AMLE) and more specifically its Pennsylvania affiliate PAMLE. Lots of plugs in this episode, including: Joy's recent book Sharing Mindsets, AMLE's National Schools to Watch, Ted Dintersmith's book What School Could Be, Online Voice Recorder, and Education Reimagined. Music by Ketsa.

May 2020

52 min 31 sec

Join us as we explore the power of networks with Northeastern University professor Dr. Chris Unger. Chris talks about the value of building one's personal network and plugs a number of different individuals and schools pushing the envelope of education. Plugs include: Blue Valley CAPS, Iowa BIG, One Stone, Tri-County Early College, the Charlotte Lab School, Getting Smart, Tacoma School's iDEA, Upper Valley Educators Institute, Lyndon Institute's J-Term, Go Boundless, and, of course, Northeastern University's NExT initiative. Music by Ketsa.

May 2020

55 min 57 sec

This is our first installment in our series on school networks. This episode features special guest Deyonne Jackson of the Woods Learning Center in Casper, WY. We talk with Deyonne about the 100+ school network of Teacher Powered Schools and how they're making us rethink education. Music by Ketsa.

May 2020

44 min 27 sec

Join our co-hosts as they hash out what's in store for our upcoming season on the power of networks. We'll talk about formal and informal networks, how technology impacts networks, and some potential guests for our next few episodes. Music by Ketsa.

May 2020

23 min 31 sec

In our third episode, co-hosts Mike, Matt, Jeannine, and Julie are joined by Founder of The Educators Room Fran Warren. We talk about Teacher Self-Care, a critical topic in the time of constant video conferences and working from home. Our focus on work/life balance is timely when balance seems increasingly elusive. Music by Ketsa.

Apr 2020

45 min 29 sec

The COVID-19 pandemic has required teachers and schools to rethink their relationship to technology. In this episode, Julie, Mike, Matt, and Jeannine talk about their approach to technology use, their student's responses, and some thoughts for our future use of tech in education. Music by Ketsa.

Apr 2020

46 min 59 sec

In our first episode, join our podcast's co-hosts Mike Dunn, Julie Cook, Jeannine Dunn, and Matt Downing as they talk about their experiences as teachers in the time of COVID-19. Under stay-at-home orders, all our co-hosts talk about their new normal, balancing family priorities, and what this pandemic has meant for their schools and their practice. Music by Ketsa.

Apr 2020

45 min 40 sec