IE74: Laurie Roberts. #FlyHighFri.

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Happy Friday!  We are back in Idaho to celebrate our victory in education with #FlyHighFri!  Our unsung hero is Mrs. Laurie Roberts, an AP English teacher who has found passion in teaching and guiding motivated students for the past 28 years strong.  Listen to one of the shining examples of what personal and professional commitment is all about, in and outside the classroom.  Join Inspiring Educators as Laurie helps us celebrate education and shares her key to creating a stronger bong with students.

Contact Laurie:

Twitter: @lauriedroberts

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IE73: Tammy McMorrow. #FlyHighFri.

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It’s Friday and time to celebrate individual success in education.  Joining us to share her #FlyHighFri moment of the week is Mrs. Tammy McMorrow of Kuna, Idaho.  Tammy has been teaching first grade for 22 years in Idaho and while first grade has its challenges, she feels the rewards are greater.  Tammy can’t imagine teaching anyone but six-year olds and be forever in first. An avid reader and runner, Tammy joins us today with Inspiring Educators to share her victory for the week.

Contact Tammy:

Twitter:     @TammyMcMorrow

Blog Site:  Forever First

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IE72: Simon Miller. #FlyHighFri.

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Simon Miller

It’s Friday and time to celebrate individual success in education.  Joining us to share his #FlyHighFri moment of the week is Mr. Simon Miller of Kellog, Idaho.  Simon is a technology coordinator, a Google certified educator, a Star Wars geek, and an avid runner.  After spending some years as the technology director for his school, Mr. Miller recently returned to the classroom settings. A lifelong learner and a progressive educator, Simon joins us today with Inspiring Educators to share his victory for the week.

Contact Simon:

Blog Site:  Simon Miller

Twitter: @LeadEdTech

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IE71: Jim Burson. A Coach’s Coach.

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Dr. James (Jim) F. Burson is a sought-after basketball coaching consultant and motivational speaker. He is known as a “coach’s coach” (Sports Illustrated) for his lifetime commitment to improving the quality of the game at all levels and his passion for working with coaches to help them become the best they can be.

Jim’s second book, The Daily Nugget: Motivations for Basketball Coaches and Everyone Who Loves the Game, was published in April 2015 and launched at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) annual convention held during the 2015 Final Four tournament.

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IE70: Amy Fadeji. #FlyHighFri.

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It’s Friday and time to celebrate individual success in education.  Joining us to share her #FlyHighFri moment of the week is Mrs. Amy Fadeji.  Amy is the Principal of Penngrove Elementary in Penngorve, California and always knew she wanted to be a school principal to guide and work with motivated teachers and students.  A tech savvy and people centered leader, Amy recounts her journey from teacher to administrator and celebrates this week’s moment of victory in education with Inspiring Educators.

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IE69: Todd Schmidt. #FlyHighFri.

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It’s Friday and time to celebrate individual success in education.  Joining us to share his #FlyHighFri moment of the week is the Principal of Harbor View Elementary in Corona Del Mar, Dr. Todd Schmidt.  Dr. Schmidt is a born educator and always knew his passion was to teach and credits great role models in his teachers for paving the way to teaching.  Determined to share his vision, Dr. Schmidt, became an administrator to better guide and work alongside his teachers.  A true teachers’ Principal, Todd joins Inspiring Educators to share his celebration in education for this week.

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IE68: Allison Kerley. Flipped and Blended Classroom.

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When you have lived abroad, you can never return home as the same person.  All your preconceived notion of your home and the world is broadened and enhanced with real life experience.  The ability to bring such valued lessons in life into the classroom is unique among the very passionate teachers who lead by example.  

Our inspiring educator, Allison Kerley, has lived in Belgium and seven states before settling, for the time being, as an elementary teacher in Atlanta.  Miss Kerley represents the vanguard of a new generation of educators who are tech savvy, progressive, and worldly.  

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IE67: Paul Erickson. #FlyHighFri.

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It’s Friday and time to celebrate our success in education with #FlyHighFri!  Joining us to share his moment of victory for this week is Paul Erickson from Hutchinson, KS.  Paul has been selected as the 2014 Kansas Elementary School Principal of the Year and after six years as principal of Inman Elementary School, Paul has already left a legacy of leadership that is benefiting not just his students and school but the entire community. Using the DuFour Professional Learning Community model as a school improvement framework, Mr. Erickson was able to greatly increase collaboration among staff and create a tiered system of intervention and enrichment that has resulted in unprecedented levels of student achievement on benchmark tests.

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IE66: Tracy LaFreniere. Rhode Island 2016 Teacher of the Year.

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Tracy Lafreniere teaches reading and writing as a Reading Specialist at North Smithfield Elementary School.  At the time she was recognized as Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, she had been teaching for 17 years.  Although she has always loved to read and to teach reading, she credits her training as a Reading Recovery teacher as her most significant inspiration because it changed her view about what was possible for struggling readers.  She believes that children need to develop a love for reading early and that teaching children to read is the greatest gift we can give them.  

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IE65: Chris Longo. #FlyHighFri.

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Chris Longo

It’s Friday and time to celebrate our success in education with #FlyHighFri!  Joining us to share his moment of victory this week is Dr. Chris Longo from New Milford, Connecticut.  Dr. Longo started his educational career as a biology teacher at a middle school, and his passion to lead dedicated teachers and students has led to his current role as an assistant principal at Schaghticoke Middle School.  Dr. Longo participates frequently on twitter with other inspiring educators and you can find and follow Chris on twitter by his handle @DrChrisLongo.

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IE64: Todd Irving. Leadership and Transforming Failing Schools.

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Transforming a failing school should be ranked up there as one of the most difficult tasks a person can undertake. Reenergizing, motivating, and instilling confidence in the teaching and support staff for the marathon school year is no easy task, and we haven’t even begun to mention about disruptive students and non-participation from parents.  The depth of the problem becomes so deeply engrained in the school culture and problems so varied, hope is often blurred and buried in the daily struggle to maintain any sense and normalcy.  

There are no easy solutions to such deeply rooted problems.  

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IE63: Victoria Curry. #FlyHighFri.

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Victoria Curry

It’s Friday and time to celebrate our success in education with #FlyHighFri!  Joining us to share her moment of victory this week is Mrs. Victoria Curry from the great state of New York.  Victoria’s passion and enthusiasm for education first led her to teaching.  She has since moved on to the challenging role of school administrating and now helping and guiding her staff to better facilitate students.  Victoria has found great support in twitter and encourages other educators to find innovative and positive ideas through engagement found via twitter.  

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IE62: Travis Sevilla. An Art Teacher’s Work in Progress.

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An opportunity to share one’s passion as a teacher and help students reveal their talents, is a privilege and honor all educators share on a daily basis. Travis Sevilla is an artist and an educator who has recently found home as a multi-media/art instructor at Canyon Crest Academy.  An avid outdoorsman participating in surfing, cycling, bodysurfing, rock climbing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Travis has a passion for learning from many of his endeavors.  His lesson plans frequently translates life’s pursuits and activities by introducing realistic and dynamic projects to students, incorporating the arts and design thinking.  

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IE61: James Sturtevant. #FlyHighFri.

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We are celebrating our weekly success in education with #FlyHighFri moment.  Sharing his defining moment of the week is our past guest, James Sturtevant.  A motivated and inspiring high school teacher from Ohio and the author of “You’ve Gotta Connect”, James is always full of wisdom and wit.  

James’ past interview with Inspiring Educators about making valued connection with students can be found here.

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IE60: Maria Kisner. #FlyHighFri.

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TGIF! So, let’s celebrate our weekly success with #FlyHighFri.  Joining Inspiring Educators today is a school counselor from Warren County, VA, Maria Kisner. Maria is all about instilling values and teaching life lessons to her crop of young ladies and gentlemen.

Maria participates with her #FlyHighFri at her school site as well as on twitter.  Join in and share your victory of the week and finish the week strong with a sprint to the weekend!

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IE59: Laura Sullivan. 900 Voices.

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Laura Sullivan is a GRAMMY® winning composer and recording artist. Her original music has been included in the score of two Emmy winning documentaries, as well as in many popular television programs and advertisements for Fortune 500 companies.   

Her recordings consistently receive more than 4 million spins a month on Pandora alone, among many other stations around the world, resulting in broad international airplay. Her albums have charted in the top 2 on The Zone reporter, the internationally recognized New Age and ambient radio chart.   

Her music publications are represented by Performing Rights organization BMI which holds more than 500 of her original compositions in her prolific Composer/Songwriter catalog.  

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IE58: Penny Sturtevant. People Centered Leadership.

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The role of a school administrator is arguably one of the most challenging positions for any individual in a leadership position.  The ability to provide personal attention to daily details of individual student, parent, or staff member while orchestrating the mass to a cohesive common goal requires a level of competence and patience very few perfect during their tenure.  The clear difference between a leader instilling and providing a vision for the school and a manager merely maintaining the status quo, is the difference between a thriving and vibrant school of learners and an average school focused on percent gains on standardized tests.

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IE57: Justin Birckbichler. #FlyHighFri.

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On Friday, we celebrate!  We celebrate our success in and outside the classroom.  #FlyHighFri is catching on and joining us to share his moment of triumph this week is Justin Birckbichler.  Justin is an elementary teacher in Virginia.  Inspiring Educators interviewed Justin this year in episode 43.  A tech savvy teacher, who’s all about celebrating and sharing success, Justin is one of the co-founders of the #FlyHighFri movement and today, he has the mic!  

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IE56: Mark Barnes. Brilliant or Insane.

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Brilliant or Insane publisher and Hack Learning creator Mark Barnes has written six books on education technology, student-centered learning, using mobile devices and social media in the classroom, global learning and 21st-century assessment, using his revolutionary SE2R system. Mark Barnes is a recognized thought leader and one of education’s most dynamic speakers. A prolific content curator, Mark’s social media shares reach more than three million global educators every month.

As founder and publisher at Times 10 Books, Mark collaborates with some of education’s brightest authors and content creators, in an effort to re-imagine teaching and learning.

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IE55: Mari Venturino. #FlyHighFri.

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It’s Friday!  The week’s work is done, but we know, the work is really never done.  There are essays or labs to grade while catching some football games over the weekend and lessons to be planned for the upcoming week, but today is Friday.  First, we are going to celebrate our victory in the classroom, however big or small.    

Mari Venturino is teacher in San Diego and has started a movement at her school to share the positive experiences between her colleagues every Friday.  She and her digital colleague in Virginia, Justin Birkbichler, opened it to the world via Twitter with a hashtag #FlyHighFri.  

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IE54: Jonathan Wai. Recognizing Spatial Talent In Students.

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Jonathan Wai, Ph.D., is a research scientist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program and a visiting researcher at Case Western Reserve University. He did his postdoctoral work at Duke University, holds a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and graduated from Claremont McKenna College.

He researches and writes about the development of talent, broadly conceived, and its impact on society. His interests focus on the role of cognitive abilities, education, and other factors that contribute to the development of expertise in education, occupation, and innovation. Additionally, he is interested in policy implications of developing (or failing to develop) talent, and connecting his work with the larger global conversation.

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IE53: Teaching Outside the Classroom. Just As Important.

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Some of the most meaningful dialogues I’ve had with students occurred outside the class time.  The opportunity afforded me to get to know my students on a one to one level, especially the more introverted ones.  Free from peer pressure and the the urgency to complete the lesson plan for the day, the calm of the morning and the afternoon was the perfect time to discuss all things important in life.

There’s a side to a student who volunteers to come out to play a sport or joins a club, teachers are fortunate to be part of.  

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IE52: Stacey Lindes. #PodcastPD.

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Stacey Lindes is a Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology (an exceptionally long title for a tech integrator/innovator/coach) in Central New Jersey (yes, it really does exist). In her current position, she works in a 4th and 5th grade school supporting the 1:1 GAFE program.

A two time graduate from The College of New Jersey, Stacey earned a her MAT in Elementary Education. Since that time, Stacey has taught 2nd, 3rd, and, most recently, 1st grades and has experience in preschool and 4th and 5th grades.

Stacey is also the founder of #PodcastPD, a weekly Twitter chat that takes place Sunday evenings 8:30 eastern.

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IE51: Burned Out Teachers. Doing the Right Thing.

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At some point in an educator’s career, he or she is bound to sail into the doldrums of teaching. Some will manage to find new inspirations and sail on, while others will remain trapped indefinitely. Burned out teachers can easily throw in the towel and relegate themselves into doing the minimal work. Some do, yet others don’t. Why does one group give up, while others stay in and continue the good fight?

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IE50: Fear of Public Speaking. The Power of Words.

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Fear of public speaking rates at the top of all fears in the US, more so than the fear of flying, heights, spiders, and even clowns.  For a new teacher, the anticipation of delivering her first lesson to a classroom of students can keep her up all night.  Seasoned veteran teachers may have perfected his craft or his delivery has become predictable and dull over the years.

One year, to improve my public speaking skills, I signed up with an acting class.  It was one of the most fun and enjoyable classes I’ve taken.  

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IE49: John Linney. School Transformation Specialist.

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John Linney (M.A.) is an international speaker, trainer, podcast host and author. As a “climate specialist,” he has provided services and training to over 400 educational institutions, foundations, community partnerships, and organizations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, & Northern Ireland.

John has worked in public and private schools and colleges and as a youth development and organizational climate educator. For over a decade, he has worked on improving school climates, integrating full service community schools, youth engagement, and bullying and violence prevention for staff, students and parents.

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IE48: One Year of Inspiring Educators.

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Time flies when you’re having fun!  It’s been one year since the launching of Inspiring Educators.  After 47 episodes, downloads in 98 countries, and 48 states (come on Alaska and Rhode Island), I’m looking forward to the great promise of what season two holds for IE.

The process of building a podcast has been a steep learning curve, but all the effort has totally been worth it.  I’m still learning and it’s more than just a work in progress, but it is just that–a progress.  I had all the initial squadron of butterflies flying out of formation in my stomach, but looking back, I shudder at the thought of never taking that initial step.  

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IE47: Brian Sztabnik. Talks With Teachers.

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Brian is a veteran English teacher and former basketball coach in New York.  His dedication to education extends beyond the final school bell and the confines of his classroom.  By day, a mild manner English teacher and by night, Brian is a husband, father, Twitter chat host, podcaster, and blogger.

Brian’s firm belief, great ideas should be shared and celebrated, is the keystone foundation by which helped his students outperform the world on the AP Literature and Composition exam.  His passion to share great ideas in education has helped catapult his podcast, Talks With Teachers to the No.1 in the K-12 category on iTunes.

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IE46: Andy Weir. The Martian Author Shares His Tale.

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Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

In this episode of Inspiring Educators, I talk with Andy about his upbringing and how he gained interest in science fiction and writing.  Among other topics, Andy provides his viewpoint on education in society and his unique journey into publishing success.  

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IE45: John Andrew Williams. Academic Life Coaching.

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John was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the rural South Hills and spent his summers between academic years working on a farm picking corn in the morning and tomatoes in the afternoons. He also wrestled and played football, being captain of the Varsity football team and placing 3rd in State his senior year. He attended Brown University and graduated with a degree in Classics in 2003. He taught Latin at Wheeler High School from 2002 to 2004. Summer 2004 he and his newly-wed wife, Amois, moved to southern Oregon to be near her family.

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IE44: Jessica Lahey. The Gift of Failure.

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Jessica Lahey is an educator, author, and speaker.  She writes the bi-weekly column “The Parent-Teacher Conference” for the New York Times, is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and a commentator on Vermont Public Radio.  Her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, will be published by Harper Collins and available August 11, 2015.

Jessica joins us today on Inspiring Educators to discuss her new book and the unintentional consequences of over-parenting.  Gift of Failure provides a wonderful historical chronology of change in parenting role and societal expectations from our adolescents.  

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IE43: Justin Birckbichler. Closing the Tech Gap in the Classroom.

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Justin Birckbichler’s goal is to bridge the technology gap for his students at an early age.   His creative, project based, tech implemented lessons, provide his students with a high level of autonomy to instill confidence and experience based outcomes.  However, it’s not all about technology.  Students sitting and bouncing on yoga balls for seats and implementing “Hunger Game” for test reviews provide a window into a vibrant learning atmosphere this young educator has created and shared through his popular blog.

Our inspiring educator today is an energetic 4th Grade Teacher from Front Royal, Virginia.  

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IE42: Jennifer Gonzalez. Cult Of Pedagogy.

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Jennifer Gonzalez is a National Board Certified educator and the creator of the popular education website, “Cult of Pedagogy.” Having taught and inspired her students for eight years, Jennifer eventually left teaching to raise a family.  Once a teacher, always a teacher.  Jennifer continued to pursue her passion in teaching by guiding future educators at the collegiate level, ensuring her expertise is continued in good hands.  An educator who has always been reinventing herself, Jennifer’s talent and knowledge would eventually reach far greater audience.

If you build it, they will come!  

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IE41: Tom Henderson. The Physics Classroom.

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Our Inspiring Educator today is a high school physics teacher at the Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois.  Mr. Tom Henderson has been teaching physics and chemistry since 1989 and a pioneering developer of an online tutorial guide for students and educators.  As the creator of the popular physics site, “The Physics Classroom”,  Tom has been working tirelessly on the development of the website since 1996. When not teaching and not working on The Physics Classroom, Tom enjoys time with his family, gardening, home projects, reading, and outdoor activities.  

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IE40: Gap Year

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In 2006, I took a leave of absence, a gap year, from teaching to travel and explore the world.  It was a pause in my teaching career to reassess my life and to this day, the single most important decision I have made for myself in my adult life.  

In this episode, I discuss my reasons for pursuing a leave of absence, the process with my district, and life on the road.  

It’s “between classes” and time to shoot the breeze!

The blog link of this episode can be found here.

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IE39: Joe Rivera. The Power Of Silence. Lessons From Teaching The Deaf.

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As a high school student, Joe was already assisting his teachers in communicating with the deaf students through sign language, often filling in for the interpreters running late.  Even with his limited knowledge of the American Sign Language, Joe played a pivotal role in bridging the communication gap for his fellow students and teachers.  His passion for the silent language and strong desire to empower the deaf students would lead to his current position as a teacher.  

Mr. Rivera is a middle and high school teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at Los Angeles’ one of a kind school for the deaf, the Marlton School.  

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IE38: Henry Mulzac. One Isn’t Appreciative Until He Sees Less.

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As educators, we are responsible for having a diverse range of knowledge that goes beyond our subject matters.  We have to be open to accommodate the increasing number of cultures and ethnic backgrounds in our students yet strive to always find and solidify the common bond in all of us.  

What if, you were placed in one of your student’s country?  How would you acclimate to the language, culture, their unique daily routines, and deal with the possible shortcomings in the infrastructure?  It’s a real gut check as an educator.  

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IE37: Paul Smith. Lead With A Story. A Tale From A Master Story Teller.

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As educators, we seek to motivate our students, provide perspective, and draw the big picture to make sense of sometimes the obscure concepts that is at times lost to a population of students lacking the vital experience based knowledge.  Experience is the best teacher and the next best thing is sharing lessons through a story.  The ability to have students hang on every word spoken, at the edge of their seats, and move them to be inspired and to action is an art form.  The art of story telling has been adopted by major US firms such as Nike, Proctor & Gamble, and others to motivate and empower its employees. 

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IE36: Kyle Gurkovich. Be Comfortable Getting Uncomfortable.

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How do you compete as a teacher with Youtube, Facebook, iPads, smartphones, and all other distractions influencing your children and our students in the classroom?  How do you get students to put down their smart phones, stay focused, on task, listen, and work together towards progress?  Visualize teaching math to eight graders.  That’s a daunting task for anyone, and it takes a very special teacher to inspire and lead a group of 13 and 14 year old teenagers to succeed in and outside the classroom. 

Our inspiring educator today is Kyle Gurkovich, a middle school math teacher at  Quibbletown Middle School in Piscataway NJ. 

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IE35: Rick Hanson. Happiness, Love, and Wisdom in Education.

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Our inspiring educator today is Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuro-psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture.  Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. 

Dr. Hanson joins inspiring educators today and shares his journey as an educator and researcher.  A prolific writer and speaker on the topic of modern brain science discussing stress, happiness, inner strength, and confidence, Dr.

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IE34: James Sturtevant. You’ve Gotta Connect With Your Students!

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Remember the scene from “The Dead Poet’s Society”, when Robin Williams character Mr. Keatings guided his students out to the trophy case in the hallways, had his students lean in and stare into an old black and white photo of the bygone football team of the past and hauntingly whispered in slow crescendo,”carpe diem…seize the day…”  Who in the audience wasn’t moved by the powerful yet humble and touching scene between an inspiring teacher and group of teens navigating through life?  Sitting in my reality between consuming popcorn and contemplating life, I have watched the movie as an inspired college student and later shared the scene literally 100’s of times with my students and the effect, year after year, class after class, has demonstrated the importance and value of making a connection with our students. 

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IE33: Seth Sherwood. Reinvent. Take Risks. Push Past Your Comfort Zone!

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Our inspiring educator today is a professional keynote speaker and a certified facilitator with Premier International Training Company.  Mr. Seth Sherwood is a former elementary and high school teacher and once a Peace Corps volunteer in South America.  Seth holds an MBA from the University of New Haven and recently published his first book, “Trains Make U-turns”, 5 Simple Steps to get your life on track and empower others.  Among Seth’s many accolades, he was once a first place winner of a Spanish variety entertainment television.  Seth is fluent in Spanish, a musician, and his ability to constantly reinvent himself, take risks, and push past his comfort zone has inspired many in and outside the classroom. 

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IE32: Carlos Granthon. Revolutionizing Music Education In Peru.

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Making a difference.  Providing an opportunity.  Inspiring!  Our inspiring educator today is a Peruvian Music professor.  An instructor at a high school and the highly regarded Universidad Catolica Del Peru, he was the founder of the first College Big Band in Peru.

Professor Carlos Granthon is self-educated and grew up in a tough economic condition with few opportunities.  Now an advocate for reaching out to the needy community and some of the poorest neighborhoods in Peru, Carlos provides a hope for Peruvian children to pursue music and a possibility for music to become a passionate profession of choice. 

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IE31: Michael Chisolm. Eagle Flight Squadron Giving Wings To Dreams.

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Who hasn’t once dreamed of flying?  Flying is beautiful, practical, and above all poetic.  Perhaps none has captured the grace of flying better than John Gillespe MaGee Jr. in his poem “High Flight.”  There exist no such thing as a single pilot without passion for life!  Flying is passion expressed unbounded.  Yet, flying for many is grounded by the self-imposed mental gravity denying their dreams.  For many, it’s lack of exposure or an opportunity.  Eagle Flight Squadron is a nonprofit organization who’s mission is to fulfill the dreams of many inner city youths who would never have had the opportunity to be exposed to the field of aviation.

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IE30: Andrew Matthews. Inspiring Through Words and Drawings.

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Johnathan Livingston Seagull, The Little Prince. To Kill A Mockingbird.  Tale of Two Cities.  Being Happy!  We have all had books that were especially meaningful to us as teenagers trying to find a direction in life, and even to this day the many lessons learned about character, grit, the spirit of adventure, and appreciation for our place in the world through our readings have become more relevant as adults.  Just words, yet they continue to swirl and occupy the deep recess of our minds and continue to shape knowledge, laughter, and guidance along with added books to the library of our souls.Read more

IE29: Holly Dixon. Teach First New Zealand’s Call To Action.

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Teach First NZ works to reduce educational inequality by developing talented individuals into highly effective teachers and inspirational leaders.  Inspired by the prestigious Teach First program in the UK and similar to the US Teach for America, Teach First NZ’s mission is to find and place talented individuals in the classroom for two-year leadership development program and effect positive impact on student lives.

Our inspiring educator today is a Campus Marketing Manager for Teach First NZ, Holly Dixon.   Holly is tasked with generating interest in teaching among university students and recruiting top talents to work with TFNZ. 

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IE28: Massimiliano Tomba. The Big Picture. A Philosopher’s Thoughts On Education.

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As an educator, it’s always important to look at the big picture and question where our lessons in the classroom will take our students?  We are the messengers from the past and the gatekeeper to our students for their future.

Our Inspiring Educator today is Dr. Massimiliano Tomba.  His job is to constantly question the impact of our thoughts and actions as related to the outcome and how we process our social and political surroundings.  It’s Dr. Tomba’s passion to challenge his students to do more than merely regurgitate facts, but to question their very own conception of self and society.

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IE27: Jim Prothero. On Inspiring Teachers.

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Suggest a topic to cover to a group of educators to teach and you’ll end up with multiple lesson plans as unique as the number of teachers in the room.  Each instructor will inevitably include their personal experience and design their own unique lesson plans.   Ask educators about the essence of teaching and you’ll get an answer as diverse as the population, but through it all, among the inspiring educators, there’s always a common bond, a common mission, and a common passion.  We are all subversive conformists.

Today’s inspiring educator is Dr.

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IE26: Alyssa Carson. Thirteen Year Old Training for Mission to Mars.

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Teachers, parents, and mentors all find ourselves in a critical role to influence and provide guidance for our children and students.  We sometimes forget that our children and students have valued lessons to teach us a thing about life.  Our inspiring educator today is a young lady who has her sights beyond the confines and limits of our planet. 

Her goal is to shoot for Mars and she just may become the first person to leave her footprints on the Red Planet.  It’s not just a passing interest, but she’s highly dedicated to her passionate pursuit and with an enthusiastic support by NASA and support from her father, she’s certain to see her reality exceed her dreams. 

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IE25: Marvin Callahan. My Students Were Going Hungry. I Had To Do Something.

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We often hear about teachers making personal sacrifices to ensure student success.   Perhaps, opening the class early in the morning to provide last minute help before a big test or staying late after school to assist with a science project before the weekend competition.  It may also be helping to pay a deserving student’s way to his or her senior prom. 

Sometimes, the problem might be so fundamental in need, it shocks the community and the nation.  Food, clothing, shelter.  The very basic necessities you and I might take for granted are the very problems some of the students in our nation face.

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IE24. Ricardo Silva. NFL to Teach for America. Inspired and Inspiring!

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Many educators, prior to standing in front of the classroom, have held different occupations.  For some it was all part of the master plan and a natural progression to pursue their passion as educators.  For others, it was a chance meeting that would become a lifelong love and duty to serve their students and the community.  Regardless of prior experiences or backgrounds, all educators are greatly defined and shaped by their unique developing years leading up to those initial days in the classroom. 

So what if your previous background was part of an elite group of athletes?

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IE23: Megan Callaghan. Renewed Hope for the Incarcerated Through College Education.

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We continue our discussions about the innovative Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) to provide a college education for the incarcerated.  Through BPI, inmates are given opportunity to study college courses and earn associate and bachelors degrees.  BPI has facilitated a unique opportunity for its graduates to reinvent their lives and provide renewed hopes for their future.  The rate of success and contribution by BPI graduates reinforces the value of a college degree and the ability to transform individuals.  Since its inception in 2001, BPI has grown and operates six satellite campuses throughout New York. 

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IE22: Donnell Hughes. Bard Prison Initative. A Second Chance.

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What do you take for granted?  What is the value of education?  What role does liberal arts play in our civilization?  If you were given a clean slate in life, a second chance, how might you live differently? 

Our guest today has lived through a life of hell.  Incarcerated when 17 and having spent 20 years in prison for 1st degree manslaughter and dealing drugs, his life took a dramatic change in course when given the opportunity to study and earn college credits while serving his sentence.  Having earned a scholarship to study under Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), he was able to study and with each class and book consumed, the opportunity to pursue his dreams became a reality. 

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IE21: Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega. The Timeless Beauty and the Gift of Music.

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Heinrich Heine stated, “Where words leave off, music begins.”  There simply are no words to describe how music completes a large part of our life journey.  Music is universal, personal, magical, powerful, subtle, and romantic; music has the capacity to move and change us.

The world of music is a central part of our guest and inspiring educator, Maestra Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega.  Through her lifelong passion, Sonia has introduced and touched the hearts and minds of children and their families in struggling neighborhoods in Los Angeles. 

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IE20: Amanda Washington. Continuing the Legacy of Booker T. Washington’s Fight for Educational Equality.

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Amanda Washington

As the great great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, Amanda Washington’s contribution to education remains very personal through her past work as a Spanish teacher for Teach for America.  Her current challenge is to define and produce a more diverse educational opportunity for all children.  As a graduate student at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College and as an intern with the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA), the legacy of Booker T. Washington continues through Amanda.

Join us and find out how the influence of her educator grandmother and family friend and civil rights attorney, Oliver Hill, have helped shape and form Amanda’s calling in education. 

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IE19: Julia King. Marshmallows and Character Building is Part of Her Students’ Success!

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“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” -Teddy Roosevelt.

The quote appropriately describes many dedicated educators.  Our task is to share and rebuild hope, our situation is never ideal: logistical challenges, lack of supplies and funding, staff shortages, but what our schools can depend on are innovative, dedicated, and passionate individuals who stand in front of her class every single day, and staunchly demonstrate and encourage our children to overcome their own inhibitions and say, “You can do this. 

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IE18: John Pipe. Part 2: The Many Adventures of A New Zealand Teacher Sharing How Kiwis Get the Job Done!

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We continue our discussions about education in New Zealand with Mr. John Pipe in Auckland.  In this episode, John discusses the state of educators in New Zealand as well as the integration of Maori culture and new immigrants in the educational curriculum.  John further shares his role as an administrator and reflects his position outside the classroom.  Finally, John continues to share his wisdom and anecdotal lessons after 39 years as a teacher. 

Contact John:

John Pipe
Deputy Principal Staff Development
Mt Albert Grammar School
Alberton Ave
Mt Albert
Email: jpipe@mags.school.nz
Ph 09 8154038 DD
Ph 09 8462044 Ext 8139
Fax:64 9 846 2042
Cell: 021 2864660

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IE17: John Pipe. Part 1: The Many Adventures of A New Zealand Teacher Sharing How Kiwis Get the Job Done!

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Many have admired Robin Williams’ charismatic and transformational character Mr. John Keating in the heartwarming film “The Dead Poet’s Society.”  Who can forget Mr. Keating commanding his students to rip away the introduction to the class poetry text, kindling the power and the beauty of poetry within the hearts of his students to follow their passion, or leaning in with his students at the black and white photos of once strong young men behind the glass case as he whispered, “…carpe diem…seize the day…”  We should all be so fortunate to have a Mr.

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IE16: Albert Kamara. Making a Difference Begins with One Hope and A Long Memory!

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I would like to take you to a place where your worst 1st world problems become meaningless and absurd.  Located on the NW part of Africa, Sierra Leone is a nation rebuilding itself after a bloody rebel war from 1991 to 2002.  How do you rebuild a country and provide for basic necessities?  How do you provide a future for its children and how do you teach your children to provide a future for a recovering nation?  In a land where there is a teacher shortage, lack of infrastructure,  listed on United Nation’s 50 most Least developed nations, below Afghanistan and Haiti…where average life expectancy listed by the World Health Organization overall is 47 yrs compared to 79 for the US, the recovery is a daunting task. 

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IE15: Marie Claire Siddall. A Scenic Route to Education and Happiness.

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Some of us are fortunate to have a sense of direction at an early age; we have a goal and passionately pursue our dreams.  Few are lucky to find life’s calling at such early childhood.  Some of us are adrift in a vast ocean of life, in a boat without a rudder.  There are few brave and determined souls who dare and eventually find a direction to boldly leave their comfort and safety zone, navigate through uncharted waters, and make a difference in their lives while impacting others.

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IE14: Paul Yingling. “Aim of Education” Speech. Moderation of Appetites.

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What should the role of education be in our society?  What obligations do we have as educators for our students? What missions and challenges must our students take on towards progress rather than the inevitable change?

There are many compelling and thought provocative commencement speeches given from the well known: Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford, JK Rowling’s at Harvard, the “Wear Suncreen” speech that Kurt Vonnegut never gave, and others.  Then there’s Mr. Yingling’s “Aim of Education.”   Ninety-nine percent of you have never heard of this speech and as a messenger, my aim is to make sure his eloquent speech on education, duty to humanity, and life is not assigned to obscurity. 

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IE13: Mary Liu. Those Who Can, Teach!

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The beginning of every school year is a meeting of nervous energy, excitement, and undiscovered dreams to be fulfilled for each educator and her students.  The end of every school year is a bitter-sweet goodbye for each class and its unique group of students who will meet in that hour, together, for that last time.  The rewards of an educator is as many as her students and a priceless commodity that is individually gift wrapped; one that provides a timeless joy.

A teacher is many things. She is also an artist.

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IE12: Vic Braden. Coach, Teacher, Humanitarian, Tennis Ambassador.

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Altruism is a virtue shared by the most passionate and dedicated educators and coaches.  To be a great coach, you have to be a great teacher and to be a great teacher, you have to be a great coach.  “Show me your worst kid, says Braden.  Then tell me, is he learning? Is he having fun? Is he getting better? That makes you the best coach I’ve ever seen.”

Celebrated tennis coach Vic Braden’s approach to tennis is much more than winning on the courts, but winning off the courts, and in his game of life, the more love you have, the better the game. 

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IE11: Dr. Laz. Touching Lives Through Music and Education.

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Our knowledge is ultimately limited and no one truly has a privileged vantage point to define a child’s accomplishment and what defines student success.  Blind and deaf, Helen Keller went on to receive a university degree from Radcliffe College.  Along her journey, social/political causes and international recognition, by Helen’s side was her inspiring educator, Ann Sullivan, the Miracle Worker.  Great educators are many things: mentor, leader, activist, humanitarian, a friend.  Dr. David Lazerson or simply “Dr. Laz”, has been providing hope for his students and parents where such outlook was in a short supply, and helping the many neglected to find their laughter once again. 

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IE10: Alma Ward. A Mother Opens Up Her Purse. I Can See the Handgun. My Son Will Pass.

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Courage is defined in many ways in our society.  Many might think of a brave solider in the battlefield, a firefighter rushing into a burning building without regards for his own safety, or a bystander risking it all to rescue a stranger in harms way.  Real courage is also defined by a caring classroom teacher stubbornly holding her ground, against all odds, to ensure society doesn’t lose hopes and contributions of a child’s future.  Courage is demonstrated on a daily basis by an educator who will provide comfort and offer opportunity to a child when seemingly all else have abandoned hope.

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IE9: Suney Park. Turning Humble Upbringings and Personal Struggles to Her Students’ Success!

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Suney Park is standing among other teachers in the White House being recognized by President Barak Obama.  The President of the United States is teaching Suney how to properly fist bump!  The recognition and laughter shared by those present on that blizzard day in Washington DC is a culmination of one incredibly dedicated educator and her personal sacrifice for her students.

Suney has taken her humble upbringing and personal struggles growing up to empower her students.  Always putting students first, Suney has worked closely with Khan Academy to redefine her role in the classroom and has paved a way to provide a more individualized service to her students. 

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IE8: Stephan Anagnost. From Brooklyn, to the United Nations, to the Classrooms. All the World’s a Stage.

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Imagine having a world citizen for your history teacher to allow you to witness and feel the utter horrors of the Holocaust, enable you to empathize with the nameless victims of the distant past, and provide an opportunity for you to apply and act on lessons learned.  Our inspiring educator today provides more than mere facts to his students.  Each class session is a time machine into the past and his students are more than casual observers of history.

Stephan Anagnost’s journey is as fascinating as the class he teaches. 

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IE7: Gloria Montiel. Education Is A Vehicle To Do Something Positive.

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The inspiring story you are about to hear is a journey filled with promise fueled by optimism, passion, and resilience.  It’s a personal journey and mission of an unlikely hero, in her words, “…using education to do something positive.”

Our guest today exemplifies the very best of intellectual curiosity tied with social responsibility and determined to use her love and lessons from literature as a conduit for progress.  Gloria Montiel is a Harvard graduate and currently pursuing a PhD in education policy, evaluation, and reform at Claremont Graduate University. 

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IE6: Clint Smith. Using Words to Move Students.

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The ability to touch the hearts and minds of our students and inspire them to move to action is a challenge every educator has to face in his or her career and must succeed. The ability to do so, simply with words, is what all educators strive to master, and perhaps none has done so with such eloquence, beauty, power, honesty, and from the heart as Mr. Clint Smith.

Passion to teach born from his experience in humanitarian work in Senegal to Soweto, South Africa to finishing up his commitment with Teach for America at Parkdale High School in Maryland, Clint ties his classroom lessons intimately with social justice and obligations. 

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IE5: Ioana Stoica. Education Was Our Escape and Salvation.

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If there is one undeniable strength and the creative nature of education in the US, it’s in large part due to the very diverse and talented population from which we can draw our teachers.  These inspiring individuals bring and share their many priceless and unique first hand experiences and knowledge into our classrooms.

Ioana Stoica is a multi-talented young teacher in DC who has never forgotten her humble roots or the influence of her strong family bond.  She and her family had to endure living under a very rigid cold war era communist rule undergoing a violent and chaotic revolution. 

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IE4: Bill Roberts. 3000 Students Later, Memoirs of a Retired Teacher.

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37 years of dedicated service.  What are the thoughts of a retiring teacher as he wishes best of luck to his final graduating class and closes his classroom door for the last time?  3000 students who have come and gone.  What is an educator’s legacy?  What does life hold for a retired teacher?

Join us and enjoy the often hilarious adventures of Mr. Bill Roberts as he shares his wisdom and his “Two Rules in Teaching.”  Then, find out about his final unexpected gift from a former student. 

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IE3: Craig Brandenburg. Staying in Teaching for All the Right Reasons!

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Sometimes, we get ourselves involved with a project without too much of expectation; just passing through.  Then something magical happens.  You become absorbed and engrossed with the task at hand.  You find out, it’s no longer just a job.  It evolves into a calling, a passion, and before you know it, you rise to the top of your field!  Such is the adventure of once a reluctant teacher, Mr. Craig Brandenburg, who found his love and mission in life within the walls of his classroom. 

Awarded Teach for America’s 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, Craig shares how teaching found him and shares his important mission and the opportunity it provided. 

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IE2: Paul Yingling. From the Battlefields to the Classroom!

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Mr. Paul Yingling served three tours in Iraq and retired as a Colonel in the US Army.  With impressive credentials in leadership and management, Paul is a prolific publisher and has written numerous articles on international relations and military affairs.  He has also taught future Army officers at the US Military Academy at Westpoint, prior to serving along side his former students in Iraq.

What compels a retired Colonel with distinguished service and a wealth of knowledge and unique experience to pursue a career as a high school teacher? 

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IE1: Sung Lee. Welcome! My Vision and Mission.

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Hello and Welcome to Inspiring Educators!  My name is Sung Lee.  In our inaugural episode, I share my mission to recognize the many talented educators in our global community.  We’ve all had amazing teachers that have made a compelling difference in our lives.  Inspiring Educators’ mission is to share these moving memoirs from our unsung heroes in education.  Each week, episodes will feature eclectic range of teachers of various backgrounds and nationalities who are passionately dedicated to helping our students succeed in and outside the classroom.  Their journeys are varied, but their bright hopes and visions for their students are their common bond. 

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