10 episodes

21CLRadio recognizes educational leaders from the international teaching world and beyond. Listen in as we interview great thinkers, review products and services while offering an opinion or two.

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    • Education for Kids

21CLRadio recognizes educational leaders from the international teaching world and beyond. Listen in as we interview great thinkers, review products and services while offering an opinion or two.

    Striving For Excellence with European Golf Tour Veteran Simon Dyson | Run Your Life #104

    Striving For Excellence with European Golf Tour Veteran Simon Dyson | Run Your Life #104

    In today’s episode, I feel very fortunate to have interviewed Simon Dyson. Simon, who is from England, was a 17-year veteran of the European Golf Tour having won 6 times in Europe and 3 times in Asia. Simon played in 20 majors over the years, having made the cut in 9 of them. Anyone who knows and understands the game of golf, knows just how hard it is to qualify for a major, let alone make the cut. 

    Simon played in 2 Masters, 4 US Opens, 9 Open Championships, and 5 PGA Championships. His best showing in a major was in the 2009 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club where he finished 9th place. 

    His best world ranking was in 2012 when he was ranked the 26th best golfer in the world. 

    One can only imagine the hard work that a professional athlete has to put into their game in order to develop the physical and mental skills necessary to compete at such an elite level. 

    In this episode, Simon digs deeply into his own journey and the mental framework that he developed and applied that not only helped him achieve great success but also helped him to get through the lower points in his career.

    Simon’s journey with golf began by his father taking him to a nearby school along with his brother to hit some golf balls at the age of 10. Simon was captivated by the game right away and would go on to become a scratch player by the age of 15 and represent England in the Walker Cup in 1999. 

    Simon began his professional career in Asia and through a very hard work ethic and the support of his coach Pete Cowan, he was able to have a breakthrough year as a rookie, winning three times in his first season. This led him back to Europe and a spot on the European Golf Tour. He would go on to play 17 seasons on the tour. 

    Unfortunately a serious wrist injury sidelined him in the 2015 season and upon returning to the game, Simon had difficulty getting back on track. However, in knowing his career as a tour player was coming to a close, Simon wanted to redefine his purpose and to find new meaning in his life. This led Simon to change career paths and become a coach. Simon now wants to give back to the game by mentoring others and working with them to unlock their potential with the game of golf. He not only works on the physical skills necessary to play the game but also the mental skills required to to bring on peak performance. 

    In this conversation, Simon shares his authentic self, his ups and his downs, and how he has always been able to stay focused in order to fulfill his purpose and the vision he has for the future. Simon also discusses the work he is now doing with his Elite Golf Performance School which is also known as the Simon Dyson Academy.

    I really enjoyed this discussion and hope you find takeaway value that you can apply in your own life. With that, let’s jump right into this discussion with Simon Dyson. 

    About Simon

    Simon’s golfing career began to flourish in 1999. He was runner-up in the English Amateur Championship, won the Finnish Amateur title and was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland side which won the Walker Cup at Nairn. He turned professional in September of that year.

    The Englishman won the Asian PGA Tour Order of Merit, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2000, clinching three titles along the way. His breakthrough on the European Tour came in 2006, with victories at the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open and the KLM Open.

    Tour wins


    KLM OPEN 2011



    KLM OPEN 2009

    THE KLM OPEN 2006

    Simon sustained a serious wrist injury which sidelined him for the 2015 golf season. On returning to the game in 2016,

    • 1 hr 3 min
    The Creative Pursuit With Cartoonist Matt Smith | Run Your Life #103

    The Creative Pursuit With Cartoonist Matt Smith | Run Your Life #103

    In todays’ episode, I sat down to have a face to face conversation with educational consultant and cartoonist, Matt Smith. 

    Matt has a great story and is genuinely a person of the world. He is a third culture kid. If you haven’t heard this term before, this is what the actual definition is:

    Third culture kids (TCK) are people raised in a culture other than their parents' or the culture of the country named on their passport (where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years.

    As a young person, Matt lived in Germany, Thailand, and Malaysia. Having attended international schools, Matt was constantly exposed to a multitude of different cultures and experiences and it is during these very formative years when he began to develop an identify that was deeply rooted in a love of film-making. 

    After graduating from high school in Malaysia, Matt attended the Vancouver Film School then ultimately went on to get a degree in education. 

    Matt jumped right into the world of international teaching at the American International School of Japan which is located in Tokyo. From there he went on to teach in Kuwait as well. 

    What I appreciate about Matt’s story and what you will learn from listening to this episode is his ability to take initiative in his life and to follow his passions. As a very creative person who enjoys writing and story telling, Matt began to develop himself as a cartoonist in order to pass on his love of story-telling and creativity to young people. 

    Although he had a short stint in Cartooning school, he is very much self-taught. You’ll hear about Matt’s journey as a cartoonist and how he uses cartooning as a means to develop student’s literacy skills in the classroom. 

    Matt now travels and presents at many different international schools around the world. 

    He’s a man who continues to take action in his life to not only be his best but to live a life of purpose and meaning through his work. 

    Matt’s Bio

    Matt Smith is a Canadian/British cartoonist, filmmaker and educator. He has lived all over the world in countries like Malaysia, Japan and Kuwait. He currently lives in Glasgow, Scotland where he continues to create comics and facilitate comic workshops. Matt has taken his comics workshops to schools, comic conventions and art galleries in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In May 2018, Matt facilitated a panel on creating comics at the Vancouver Comics Arts Festival with fellow cartoonist Ryan Howe. 

    He is best known for his humorous autobiographical Smith vs Smith comics, which can be found online at SmithvsSmith.com, on the Tapas app and in the Comixology and ComixCentral online stores. You can also buy Smith vs Smith comics in book stores across Canada and the UK. Matt's comics typically focus on travel, the ups and downs of modern relationships, and the joys and frustrations of cat ownership. 

    Matt also appears at comic conventions across Canada and the Middle East where he sells his books and runs workshops for future cartoonists.

    While Matt is best known for his humorous autobiographical Smith vs Smith series, Matt has branched out to the horror genre, creating Gruesome Comics, horror stories written by Matt and illustrated by a host of international artists.

    Connect with Matt

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/SmithvsSmith

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smithvssmithcomics/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smithvssmithcomics

    Email: matt@smithvssmith.com

    Website: http://www.smithvssmith.com/about

    Themes Discussed:

    Creativity, Cartooning, Literacy, Purpose, Culture, Teaching, Gratitude, Initiative

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Being Relentless | Run Your Life #102

    Being Relentless | Run Your Life #102

    In today’s episode, I sat down with Hamish Brewer. Anybody who has seen Hamish in action can immediately feel his presence, his passion, his zest for life and learning, and his desire to make a genuine difference in the lives of the teachers and the students he serves. 

    Hamish is the principal of Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia. One the the very first things you can notice about genuine difference makers in this world is their ability to clearly articulate their purpose in life. 

    Without question, Hamish knows and understands that his purpose in life is to serve others and to bring out the very best in them. Although every decision he makes in his role as an educational leader is about students, Hamish has a very strong commitment to supporting teachers on their autonomous journeys of personal and professional development. 

    Having grown up in New Zealand, Hamish felt, from an early age, that he was meant to use his talents in a way to change the world. It took him some time to figure out what those talents were and how he could use them to make an impact, but he quickly realized that it was going to be through teaching and educational leadership. 

    Hamish is all about creating a deep sense of belonging in the schools that he leads and continually builds a very strong community base that all stakeholders feel a part of. 

    In this episode, we dive into how Hamish was able to overcome the obstacles he experienced as a young person and how he dealt with a dysfunctional family environment. He openly discusses what his hopes and dreams were when he was young and how he was destined to leave New Zealand in order to travel the world and learn about different people and cultures. Hamish has deep gratitude for these experiences.

    It was this life of travel that ultimately led Hamish to America and to the current path he is on in the field of education. 

    Hamish pours his heart and soul into the work that he does as he feels strongly that serving others is a noble gift that can help to change the world, one person at a time. 

    Through the Dave Burgess Publishing company, Hamish released his first book a couple of months ago which is entitled ‘Relentless’. This book has taken the world of education by storm and is a very honest and open narrative about Hamish’s life and an unpacking of the educational philosophy that guides the amazing work that he is doing with the students and with teachers he is responsible for leading. 

    Although much has been written about Hamish being the skateboarding, tattooed principal, we don’t discuss his tattoos or his skateboarding at all in this episode. Instead we dig deeply into who Hamish is as a person and what continues to drive him forward in his life in order to create his own dent in the universe. 

    I want to thank Hamish for his time and energy. He’s a gem of a person and I’m so happy that our paths crossed. 

    Hamish's Bio

    Hamish Brewer, the relentless, tattooed, skateboarding principal in Northern Virginia isn’t your normal principal. Hamish is high octane, constantly calling on his students to “Be Relentless. Mr. Brewer has become known as an educational disrupter and game changer who transcends the status quo and typical educational norms.

    Known for working with some of the most at risk students in America and getting results! Its not often you find an educational leader who not only inspires the world but does it while getting results and changing the outcomes of entire communities.

    Hamish was recognized as the 2017 NAESP Nationally Distinguished Principal, the VAESP School Bell Award, and ASCD Virginia Impact Award. In 2018 Hamish was named a Northern Virginian of the year by Northern Virginia Magazine and the 2018 Principal of the year for the national publication Education Dive.

    • 1 hr
    Woke The Monster | Run Your Life #101

    Woke The Monster | Run Your Life #101

    In today’s episode, I had the privilege to interview Shawn Livingston. Shawn is a 10-year military veteran having served in Iraq during his time in the military. Having sustained a serious back injury while serving, he required long term use of narcotic pain killers to get through each day due to the intense pain he was experiencing as a result of the back injury. 

    Over the course of two years, military doctor’s continued to prescribe these meds to Shawn which resulted in him developing a severe opioid addiction. This is when everything began to unravel for Shawn in his life. After finishing his time in this military, Shawn’s life spiraled further downward. Feeling lost and displaced, he turned to heroin to ease his physical and emotional pain. It was this heroin addiction that led to his arrest and landed him in prison for a period of time on drug possession charges.

    Almost three years ago, Shawn was facing a 15-20 year prison sentence for drug possession charges, but in that very dark and desperate moment, he had the internal strength to turn his life around. 

    You’ll hear about his extraordinary journey and how physical activity, in particular running helped to transform his life. Shawn is now an up and coming ultra marathoner, motivational speaker and has devoted his life to serving others. It’s this service to others that has given him a clear sense of deep purpose in his life. 

    Shawn opens up about his life and his struggles in this episode, but also shares the amazing work he is doing with disadvantaged youth and with other military veterans who also struggle with opioid addictions. 

    Shawn’s struggles with heroin addiction and his transformation through ultra running will be featured in an upcoming documentary which is called Woke the Monster. You can find links to Shawn’s work and the documentary in the show notes of this podcast. 

    It was a genuine honor to interview Shawn. I hope you enjoy this episode with the inspiring Shawn Livingston. 

    Shawn’s Bio

    After the tragic events of 9-11, right out of high school, Shawn joined the air force. He felt so young and naïve at the time. After a tour of 4 years, he found himself sliding down a very slippery slope. After receiving several cortisone shots and opioid pain due to a back injury sustained in training, Shawn developed a severe addiction to narcotic pain killers. He knew that these powerful drugs were masking more than the physical pain he was suffering from. 

    After almost bring imprisoned on drug possession charges, Shawn turned his life around through ultra-running and now devotes his time to serving others. Although he doesn’t consider himself to be a motivational speaker, he now finds himself front and center on many stages sharing his story in order to help others. 

    He is passionate about the community of people he has met through running and has found a sense of belonging to this running community.

    He understands the need to step outside his comfort zone.

    He understands that addiction doesn’t discriminate.

    He now lives in Austin, Texas and serves others through his work with disadvantaged youth and other military veterans overcoming addictions of their own. Shawn’s life is being featured in an upcoming documentary entitled Woke the Monster. 

    Connect with Shawn

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shawn.livingston.566

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iam_shawnlivingston/

    Website: https://www.wokethemonster.com/

    Themes Discussed: 

    Addiction, Emotional Trauma, Physical Activity, Purpose, Service to Others, Connection, Community

    A trailer to Shawn’s documentary can be found here: 


    • 48 min
    4X Mindfulness: Mindful Musings From Athens | Run Your Life #100

    4X Mindfulness: Mindful Musings From Athens | Run Your Life #100

    How habitual is it for you to take out your cell phone when waiting in lines or when in the company of strangers? How often do you strive to stay present and mindful in difficult situations? Is chaos more easily embraced when we practice mindfulness? How does practicing mindfulness help you to produce the best work possible? How does being present and truly listening help to improve the quality of relationships in your life? 

    These are some of the questions that we explore in this installment of 4 X Mindfulness. Neila Steele shares a recent difficult situation that she found herself in, but how employing mindfulness allowed her to diffuse the situation and make a genuine connection with a complete stranger. As well, Neila shares a great mindfulness strategy that can easily be applied in very little time in our own life. This strategy helps us to stay present and focused and to better observe our surroundings. 

    Andy shares a story that he recently learned about the amazing jazz musician Keith Jarret. The story takes place in 1975, but the lessons learned from the story transcend time and place and can easily be applied in the work that we do both personally and professionally. As well, Andy shares how simply rephrasing a common question that we ask can help to spark more meaningful and authentic conversations with other people in our lives. 

    It you are a listener of the 4 X Mindfulness episodes, let us know your thoughts about what might have resonated with you in this episode and your own experiences applying mindfulness in your personal and professional life. Thanks!


    Neila Steele and Andy Vasily are international educators who have worked at fully authorized IB schools in 5 different countries over the past 18 years (Japan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China and Saudi Arabia). Andy is a pedagogical coordinator, consultant, workshop leader, presenter, and speaker.

    Neila presents and leads multiple workshops in the area of mindfulness. They have devoted themselves to sharing the powerful effects that mindfulness has on promoting greater mental, social, emotional, and physical well-being.

    Neila Steele

    Twitter: @neilasteele

    Website: www.mindfulandpresent.com

    Andy Vasily

    Twitter: @andyvasily

    Website: www.pyppewithandy.com

    Themes Discussed:

    Habits, Connection, Empathy, Embracing Chaos, Observation, The Power of Questions

    • 59 min
    Empowered Learning With Alfie Kohn | Run Your Life #99

    Empowered Learning With Alfie Kohn | Run Your Life #99

    In today’s episode, I had a chance to speak with renowned lecturer and author, Alfie Kohn. Alfie writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. He has published 14 different books since the late 1980’s and has been described by Time magazine as being America’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.”

    As well, Kohn has been featured on hundreds of TV and radio programs, including the “Today” show and two appearances on “Oprah”; he has been profiled in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, while his work has been described and debated in many other leading publications.

    There were so many questions that I wanted to ask and themes that I wanted to discuss with Alfie in this episode, but I mostly focused in on the areas of self-efficacy, agency, feedback and assessment, as well as individualized learning.  Alfie and I also dug into the key factors necessary for teachers to feel empowered in their own professional learning journeys.

    Alfie is extremely passionate and very knowledgeable in many areas of education. His efforts to make research in human behavior accessible to a general audience have also been published in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Parents, and Psychology Today.

    It was an honor to have Alfie Kohn on my podcast and he left me thinking more deeply not only about the work that I do in regards to coaching teachers around best educational practices, but also the importance of empowering my own children to better drive decision making in their own lives.

    I hope you find this episode useful and that Alfie’s insight helps you to look at your own teaching a little differently.

    Alfie’s Bio

    Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The most recent of his 14 books are SCHOOLING BEYOND MEASURE…And Other Unorthodox Essays About Education (2015) and THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting (2014).  Of his earlier titles, the best known are PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993), NO CONTEST: The Case Against Competition (1986), UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING (2005), and THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE (1999).

    Kohn has been described in Time magazine as “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.” His criticisms of competition and rewards have helped to shape the thinking of educators — as well as parents and managers — across the country and abroad. Kohn has been featured on hundreds of TV and radio programs, including the “Today” show and two appearances on “Oprah”; he has been profiled in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, while his work has been described and debated in many other leading publications.

    Kohn lectures widely at universities and to school faculties, parent groups, and corporations. In addition to speaking at staff development seminars and keynoting national education conferences on a regular basis, he conducts workshops for teachers and administrators on various topics. Among them: “Motivation from the Inside Out: Rethinking Rewards, Assessment, and Learning” and “Beyond Bribes and Threats: Realistic Alternatives to Controlling Students’ Behavior.” The latter corresponds to his book BEYOND DISCIPLINE: From Compliance to Community (ASCD, 1996), which he describes as “a modest attempt to overthrow the entire field of classroom management.”

    Kohn’s various books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Malaysian. He has also contributed to publications ranging from the Journal of Education to Ladies Home Journal, and fr

    • 38 min

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