100 episodes

Join Barbara Bray in her conversations with inspirational educators, thought leaders, and change agents to define their WHY and reflect on how they learned from their experiences and challenges. Each conversation is complemented with a post on her site that includes images, videos, links, and more that illustrate the stories of their lives. Join Barbara and her special guests as they share their personal journeys that will inspire you, touch your heart, and might even touch your heart.

Rethinking Learning Podcast Barbara Bray

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

Join Barbara Bray in her conversations with inspirational educators, thought leaders, and change agents to define their WHY and reflect on how they learned from their experiences and challenges. Each conversation is complemented with a post on her site that includes images, videos, links, and more that illustrate the stories of their lives. Join Barbara and her special guests as they share their personal journeys that will inspire you, touch your heart, and might even touch your heart.

    Episode #161: Being a Part of Better with Dr. Amy Mathews-Perez

    Episode #161: Being a Part of Better with Dr. Amy Mathews-Perez

              

    Dr. Amy Mathews-Perez is the Director of Special Programs in a public school in Texas. She coordinates multiple programs: Special Education, 504, Homeless, Foster Care, MTSS, and Dyslexia. Amy has a great sense of humor and loads of experience, strategies, tips, and stories to share especially about being a part of BETTER. 

    Your WHY 

    My WHY is relevant contributions and meaningful experiences that empower others to see and be the progress it takes to be a part of BETTER. I believe when (not if) we get past egos, attitudes, and comfortable perspectives, we can make choices and decisions that serve the biggest purpose: student progress. I refuse to give up on the power and value of effective communication; I refuse to give up on the impact and ability of educators and families as authentic collaborators who share the priority of a child.

    Background

    I started teaching Speech, Theatre, and Physical Education at a Junior high school (grades 6, 7 & 8) and went to graduate school at night and in the summers. I graduated with my Master’s in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Baylor University. I moved to South Texas where I worked at a county Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) as the Education Coordinator before returning to my passion of serving public education, this time as an SLP in a local school district.  I then continued to work as an SLP, then Lead SLP, and then a Special Education Specialist (Supervisor). It was amazing to work and serve in the district that educated me from first grade to high school graduation. I served as Principal at a Professional Development magnet campus for fine arts for 5 years. It was a blast!!!! 

    The picture below is of 5th graders on the USS Lexington ship in Corpus Christi, TX during one of our overnight field trips when I was their Principal.



    Making Education Special for All (M.E.S.A) 

    M.E.S.A. means everyone is involved in either the processes of special education, 504, or any area of education. The emotions that bubble to the top when you think of something or someone special are what I want to transform public education into. Not all ooey-gooey goodness, but a sense of satisfaction, meaning, and purpose. I’ll focus on special education because that is the easiest example, but know that I believe this can be the case for all arenas of special education – for all stakeholders. https://dramyperez.com 

    My SPED example is this: “SPED” can evoke a sense of “extra” – extra work, time, energy, effort, paperwork, meetings, etc – all of which are true. HOWEVER –  I am willing to go out on a limb and say that we all like to be treated special….I’ll even go so far as to say that we all expect to be treated special to some degree. 



    Does anyone ever need a deadline extended? 

    Does anyone have reminders/alarms on their phone? 

    • 51 min
    Episode #160: Shaping the Future of Education Technology and Leadership with Jennifer Womble

    Episode #160: Shaping the Future of Education Technology and Leadership with Jennifer Womble

              

    Jennifer Womble has been nationally recognized in educational technology for over 30 years of leadership as an NBCT teacher, technology integration specialist, technology trainer, grant writer, and district and state professional development leader. Jennifer believes in the value of education and leadership in today’s technological world. Her vision for transforming education includes creating high-quality professional development for education in the technology space.

    Jennifer is the Conference Chair for the Future of Education Technology Conference and leads the FETC community year-round with informative webinars and FETC newsletters to continuously acknowledge and highlight emerging technologies and best practices for teaching and learning. Whether teaching, advocating for education, volunteering or leading, @JenWomble spreads her energetic spirit and inspires others to invest in our future—our children!

    Your WHY



    I believe that we have the power to shape the future through teaching the children of today. It is our responsibility to nurture and encourage children to be curious, innovative, creative, playful  and collaborative to build productive and inclusive environments. Public education is the economic engine that propels our nation forward on a mission toward fostering success and happiness for all citizens in the digital age. I am driven to ensure every child and teacher gets the resources needed to support effective teaching and learning infused with technology to be engaging and student-centered. I love to learn and build partnerships that impact students! As a continuous lifelong learner, I am always trying to learn more about pedagogy, brain science, technology, and the human capacity to embrace new skills and knowledge to improve life for all.

    Background (What it was like for you as a student)



    I was lucky to attend the Developmental Research School (FSU DRS), a K12 lab school at Florida State University, and learn to value the role of research in improving learning. Educators were an integral part of my life growing up as teachers, encouragers, coaches, and role models. My mother was a teacher, coach, and guidance counselor. My father was one of the first to build statewide computer networks and systems for the State of Florida and private enterprise. We lived in a passive solar home and spent summers exploring the national parks. 

    I dream that every student would have the type of education and upbringing that I encountered. I was encouraged to think outside the box, design with my hands and heart, and participate in meaningful extracurricular activities that build character and serve others.

    I earned a Bachelor of Science, in Criminology and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Social Science (Economics and Political Science) from Florida State University and a Master of Science, in Criminology, from Florida State University with the intent of attending law school to practice environmental law.

    • 41 min
    Episode #159: Nurturing Social-Emotional Learning for a Brighter Future with Cara Zelas

    Episode #159: Nurturing Social-Emotional Learning for a Brighter Future with Cara Zelas

              

    Cara Zelas is an early childhood educator, social and emotional learning expert, and curriculum creator. Cara founded Big World of Little Dude, an educational platform that focuses on teaching social and emotional skills to children aged 3-6 through a captivating book series and comprehensive “humanKIND Curriculum.” Through dog therapy and the focus on embracing kindness, Cara’s goal is for children to thrive and have a brighter future. 

    Your WHY

    My WHY is to empower children with the essential social and emotional skills they need to thrive in today’s world.

    Background

    With a Bachelor of Media and Bachelor of Education degrees from Macquarie University, along with an Early Childhood Montessori (AMS) teaching certification from West Side Montessori School, I bring a strong educational foundation to my work.

    After relocating from Sydney, Australia to New York City, I actively engaged with The Good Dog Foundation. Together with my dog, Little Dude, we underwent training to become a therapy team, visiting hospitals and schools across the city. 

    The Good Dog Foundation

    The Good Dog Foundation harnesses the dog-human bond to ease human suffering and support learning with Animal Assisted Intervention. 

    The oldest love affair on Earth has been going on for 30,000 years.

    It’s the bond between dogs and humans.

    Big World of Little Dude was born out of a transformative experience I had while volunteering with Little Dude, my therapy dog, through The Good Dog Foundation. During this time, I discovered the incredible power of kindness – that even small acts of kindness can have a profound impact on others. Inspired by this realization, I started bringing Little Dude into an early childhood classroom to teach children about the importance of kindness. This experience sparked a deep interest in social and emotional learning for young children, leading me on a journey of research and exploration.

    Big World of Little Dude

    At Big World of Little Dude, we are driven by the belief that nurturing the social and emotional well-being of children is paramount to building a brighter future. We have created this platform to make social-emotional learning accessible to every child and family, as a guiding light for parents and teachers alike. Together, let’s forge a path where every child thrives, learns, and flourishes, equipped with the indispensable skills of resilience, empathy, and limitless potential.

    Our mission is to spread kindness and provide support to those in need. This experience of fostering kindness within my community inspired me to teach this invaluable concept to young children.



    “humanKIND” Curriculum

    I created engaging and free activities suitable for the classroom, homeschooling, or even the kitchen table. These hands-on and enjoyable activities are designed for children aged three to six,

    Episode #158: Empowering Students through Financial Literacy with Brian Curcio

    Episode #158: Empowering Students through Financial Literacy with Brian Curcio

              

    Brian Curcio is the visionary behind Rapunzl, an EdTech game-changer reshaping financial education. Brian’s inspiring journey, from launching Rapunzl in a college dorm room to securing a 3 million dollar investment from the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, exemplifies his unwavering dedication to empowering students through financial literacy.

    Your Why

    I believe that students from underserved communities face an opportunity gap. With Rapunzl, we aim to fix that with educational content accessible to anyone. By ensuring that all of our programming remains permissionless, we can provide every student with equitable access to high-quality financial literacy materials that foster independent learning and outstanding student outcomes.

    Your Background

    I was raised in Chicago by two investment bankers who emphasized the importance of community and financial literacy at an early age. Throughout high school, I volunteered at a school for at-risk youth, tutoring students and gaining firsthand experience with the institutional and systemic barriers facing students from underserved communities. I began interning in finance in 2011, my junior year of high school, and it transformed my world. I was hooked. When I arrived at Amherst College in 2013, it was shocking to learn more about the disparity between what was being taught about finance in school and what I had learned at home and through various internships.

    A fire had been lit: how could we make a high-quality financial education program equitable, sustainable, and accessible for all students? I reconnected with my long-time high school friend, Myles Gage, and Rapunzl was born in my senior year.



    What Is Rapunzl?

    https://rapunzlinvestments.com/ 

    Rapunzl is a gamified education platform transforming how we teach kids about money. Rapunzl allows any school to implement a robust, standards-aligned financial education program. Students simulate real-time portfolios, access an integrated curriculum, and compete in a national scholarship competition. Rapunzl, recognized as a 2022 Yass Prize Finalist, has already impacted 100,000 high school students nationwide and distributed over $300,000 in scholarships. This past year, my partner and I were recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 and we’re rapidly growing to more schools.

    The name Rapunzl, is an analogy borne from the reality that many people view the world of investing and the returns of Wall Street as something inaccessible. That’s where Rapunzl comes in: rolling down the hair and providing equitable access to financial markets and scholarship opportunities.



    Your Ah Hah Moment!

    When we launched Rapunzl, we spent a month driving to over 150 high schools, teaching more than 2,000 students during the day, and coding the app at night.

    We knew we were onto something when our first scholarship winner, Destiny Davis, was invited to ring the opening bell at Nasdaq’s ...

    • 42 min
    Episode #157: Growing Learners in Challenging Times with Kevin Honeycutt

    Episode #157: Growing Learners in Challenging Times with Kevin Honeycutt

              



    Kevin Honeycutt is a technology integrationist, staff developer, musician, and songwriter. He has worked with teachers and learners in 49 states plus Puerto Rico and delivered keynotes to audiences around the world in places such as Norway, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barcelona, New Zealand, London, Manila, Canada, and Australia. In 2021 he partnered with his wife of 31 years to start his own company, Honeycutt Consulting, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Kevin has some opportunities for you. Make sure you keep listening.

    I think of my networks as a jar of lightning bugs. Each person I connect with flashes their light occasionally. If I collect enough of these luminous people I can always find my way forward, even in the dark.

    Your WHY



    I am a reluctant warrior. As a child, I found myself on a battlefield created by my father’s choices that led to poverty, poor nutrition, and assignments to the lowest strata of the social constructs of whatever school in whatever state I ended up in. As I grew up, frustration and determination germinated in me led me to be the first Honeycutt to go to college and the first person in my family to become an educator.

    Building Real Relationships (making kids feel seen)



    Background

    I grew up in poverty, living on welfare and being sent to foster homes and occasionally robbing the Goodwill Box looking for clothes. I attended school in more than 20 states before becoming the first high school and college graduate in my family. I taught K-12 art, and summer art camps and wrote and directed high school plays for 13 years. During that time I was nominated for Sallie Mae Master Teacher, Kansas Master Teacher and won the Making IT Happen Award and published in art education journals. I then transitioned to a role as a staff developer and keynote speaker at an educational non-profit service agency for the next 17 years. There, I conceived and developed multiple research-based programs in the areas of project-based learning, trauma/poverty-informed instruction, SEL, STEM/STEAM education, and Creating Your Digital Legacy presentations for teens.

    My Space Capsule Project 

    Launching into creative STEM/STEAM learning!

    Musician, Songwriter

    How I started

    I started sketching a Steampunk Guitar way back in 8th grade, that dream finally came true!

    Stop Bullying and create Kinder cultures in Schools



    The event that started a movement

    What happens when your kid gets bullied by the popular kids and all of his friends either join in or remain silent while they are systematically destroyed? How do we create kinder cultures in schools? 

    • 46 min
    Episode #156: Rethinking the Why of Teaching and Learning with Erik Francis

    Episode #156: Rethinking the Why of Teaching and Learning with Erik Francis

             

    Erik M. Francis, M.Ed., M.S., is an international author, educator presenter, and professional development provider with over 25 years of experience in education. He is the owner of Maverik Education, providing professional development, guidance, and support on how to plan and provide teaching and learning experiences that are standards-based, socially and emotionally supportive, and student-responsive. Erik is also consistently ranked as one of the World’s Top 30 Education Professionals by the international research organization Global Gurus and the Top 25 Thought Leaders.

    Your WHY 

    My purpose is to ensure teaching and learning are standards-based, socially and emotionally supportive, and student-responsive so that the experience is academic and effective for all.

    Your Family and What You Love

    I live in Scottsdale, Arizona, with my family. I enjoy football (Go Arizona Cardinals!), basketball (Go Phoenix Suns!), working out, Peloton (#Maverik70), playing guitar, classic rock music (I’m a huge Van Halen and Led Zeppelin fan!), and watching films (The Godfather saga, Jaws, the Star Wars saga, the Rocky films (including the Creed movies), and Marvel’s Infinity War saga are my favorites).

    Your Background

    I received my Master’s in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University and my Master’s in Science in Television/Radio/and Film Production and Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication and English from the University at Albany. I have over 25 years of experience working in education as a classroom teacher, a site administrator, an education program specialist with a state education agency, and a trainer who produces and provides professional development for teachers and school leaders.

    Maverik Education

    Maverik Education provides professional development, guidance, and support on how to develop and deliver teaching and learning experiences that are standards-based, socially and emotionally supportive, and student-responsive. Learning opportunities that:



    provide continuous onsite and virtual professional development, guidance, and support for schools and their staff.

    specialize in professional development on Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and how to use the DOK Levels accurately

    offer professional development on how to develop and deliver inquiry-based learning experiences driven by good questions.



    Your Books 

    I am the author of Inquiring Minds Want to Learn: Posing Good Questions to Promote Student Inquiry (Launched April 2024) and Deconstructing Depth of Knowledge: A Method and Model for Deeper Teaching and Learning...

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

AlwaysLearning AlwaysEvolving ,

✨Deep conversations with education thought-leaders✨

Barbara is an amazing host guiding thought-provoking conversations in a very natural, engaging way!
✅Subscribed

mskerrygraham ,

This podcast connects me to others

Thank you, Barbara, for these conversations and connections. Especially in these isolated and lonely times, I’m so grateful to come to know other educators.

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