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 #140: Cultivating Compassion through Creativity with Erika Sandstrom

    Episode #140: Cultivating Compassion through Creativity with Erika Sandstrom


    Erika Sandstrom is a Digital Learning Coach and Digital Media Teacher specializing in Green Screen and Video Production. Dubbed “Green Screen Gal”, Erika shares her creative media and mindfulness passions as a featured speaker at conferences, provides district professional development, hosts online webinars, created and co-hosted the 2nd annual Green Screen Summit in July 2022, and recently was featured on the cover of the of Ed Tech K12 Magazine. 

    Erika’s enthusiasm is so fun. I know it firsthand by creating the video below together and participating in the Green Screen Summit plus spending time with Erika at ISTE in New Orleans.

    Your WHY 

    My Green Screen Fever is hopefully contagious as I believe every educator would benefit using this technology in their schools for curriculum but most of all Mindful SEL as it is so powerful!

    Overview of YOU

    I am in my 32nd year as an educator including grades 3-8 in several subject areas. My experience includes 8 years of teaching in Missouri and I am currently in my 21st year in the Peabody Public Schools teaching grades 6th-8th as a Digital Media Teacher and was the Yearbook Manager for 3 years.  I also serve on our district Technology Team and recently became a Mindfulness Coach for Peabody as well where we are launching my Mindful Super Hero Club district-wide. I am also a Delegation Leader for People To People International and have traveled to 16 countries with students.

    I truly enjoy teaching and traveling with students as they are always so enthusiastic about seeing new places and meeting new people from all walks of life…plus we alwaysget great footage for our Green Screen! In my free time, I am also a Yoga/Pilates Instructor and own a paint and sip company called The Painter’s Pub.

    Share your story of what it was like growing up

    I have ADHD but didn’t know it back then, but always creative ideas flowing so fast I would get overwhelmed, much like today! (lemon story) During my childhood I needed to be creative and take over my 3 year old sister’s birthday parties in the front yard while Mom had a party planned in the backyard already. Is it a coincidence I am wearing green in my childhood phones?  I think not!  Ha!

    Share the creative YOU

    Additionally, I am a Green Screen and Video Production PD instructor for MASSCUE and for https://www.pdcollab.org/ who provide PD for educators and administrators that services 160 school districts in Massachusetts.

    • 50 min
    Episode #139: Raising Kids to be Brave, Smart, and Kind with PJ Brady

    Episode #139: Raising Kids to be Brave, Smart, and Kind with PJ Brady


    PJ Brady started “Brave Smart Kind” as foundational core values and as a way to teach English to his daughters. He wanted to redefine the word, “beautiful” to mean something that described how people feel on the inside, something to help them develop confidence, something they could control.

    Your WHY 

    To help people find their own courage, critical thought, and kindness so they know they are worthy of love and belonging.


    I am American by birth, Belgian by marriage and Global by choice; and live just outside of Brussels with my wife and three daughters. In 2017, I established The Brave Smart Kind Company, to coach leaders, teachers, parents and organizations to work towards their goals with greater purpose. Since then, I have delivered keynotes for and coached leaders at organizations across 26 countries, including TEDx Brussels and TEDx Ghent, Ernst & Young, Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), LinkedIn and Viking

    Ocean Cruise. I just published my first book, “Raising Kids to be Brave, Smart and Kind.

    “I just started writing a journal for my eldest daughter, and it somehow turned into a book! I’m also not a parenting expert; I am a leadership guy who just realized that parenting is EXTREME leadership. I am a father first, and professional second.”

    Growing up 

    I moved around a lot due to the nature of my father’s work. I lived in NJ, Florida, California, back to Florida, Western NY all by the age of 10. My parents were divorced at the age of seven and that is when I first started giving thought to the father that I wanted to become. A great deal of my Brave Smart Kind framework came from trying to reconcile my own worth in the wake of my parents’ divorce and the lack of presence of my father in my own life.

    Your family 

    I lives in Overijse, Belgium with Violaine, my wife of 16 years and my three daughters; Alexandra (12), Emmeline (10) and Josephine (6). We also have a 100 lbs. Bernese Mountain Dog, Bernadette, who is every bit a member of the family.

    Living in Belgium 

    Working for a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs, I was the VP of Europe, Middle East, Pakistan and Africa. This organization focused on the importance of leadership skills to transform individuals who would then go on to lead their companies. Much of my work was understanding values and how they came to life in individual actions and within team dynamics. 

    I traveled the world working with incredible leaders who taught me about the importance of values. I made two incredibly important, and not surprising, realizations while traveling. The first is that values shape our thoughts and actions.

    • 45 min
    Episode #138: Engaging Inclusive Environments While Empowering Learners with Melisa Hayes

    Episode #138: Engaging Inclusive Environments While Empowering Learners with Melisa Hayes


    Melisa Hayes, a 2nd grade teacher at Hilliard City Schools in Ohio, knows how to engage kids in project-based learning so they build confidence in themselves. Melisa is a two-time cancer survivor, ambassador for Flip, Night Zookeeper and Wakelet, Global teacher of 2020, Teach Better Ambassador and shares amazing projects with educators worldwide. 

    Your WHY

    My WHY has really never changed but evolved more and more each year. I am extremely passionate about inclusion.I feel every child no matter the age or ability must be included within their classroom family. This includes projects, hall displays, and more. It’s our job to make sure every family member feels loved and successful within their family. I also am very passionate about engagement and making memories. It is my job to make each and every year the most memorable for each of my kids. A child’s enthusiasm and laughter is the best gift a teacher can ever have! It’s the most rewarding. Knowing our kids are loved, feeling successful and belonging is so essential. I want to know that if my kids had a choice whether to come to school or not they wouldn’t even hesitate. They would be so elated and curious as to what we would be learning each day.   

    What it was like growing up

    I grew up in a rural community where everyone knew everyone, doors were never locked and we had one gas station. I walked to elementary school which was K-5. Back then (yes, I’m that old) you were constantly in your seat and the learning was directed by the teacher. There was worksheets and little to no collaboration. As a learner I struggled and was even in title reading. I wasn’t thrilled with school but loved the sports: basketball, softball and kickball at recess:) I was a vocal learner who always had something to say which is why in 1st grade I was constantly told to go to my corner. Yep, I had my own corner since I was unable to work quietly. It wasn’t until 3rd grade with Mrs. Evans where my learning changed and I started to like school.  I felt heard and that my voice mattered. It was then that I was introduced to collaboration, engagement and projects. Mrs. Evans was so creative and really made school memorable. From that moment on I knew I wanted to change the school narrative and be the type of teacher that pushed the boundaries.

    Loving life even with challenges

    I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, the good & the bad. It all started about 5 years ago, 2018, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiation.  During radiation they found a lump in my thyroid.  Due to all that was going on I put that on the back burner.

    • 42 min
    Episode #137: Collective Intelligence and Human-Centered AI with Johannes Castner

    Episode #137: Collective Intelligence and Human-Centered AI with Johannes Castner


    Johannes Castner works for several consultancies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine Learning (ML) and Human-Centered Ethical AI as an important sense of collective intelligence. Johannes pivoted CollectiWise as his consultancy around collective intelligence and the Capability Sensitive Design framework for AI. 

    Your WHY 

    As a descendant of European Jews as well as Germans, growing up in Germany, I grew up in the shadow of a particularly evil dystopian episode that we are all too familiar with. This episode of history and the great hopes of mostly secular Jewish social and reform thinkers from the 19th and early 20th centuries Germany are the building blocks of my why. We need to consciously build our society towards a utopia of our own making or we will end up being manipulated and stripped of our human dignity. 

    Your Background 

    My life story is hard to believe if I hadn’t lived it myself; I went from being a social outcast of sorts in Austria (having been raised in Northern Germany but moved to Vienna as a 12-year-old boy) to being the world’s happiest homeless camper in Los Angeles, to being an Ivy League student graduating magna cum laude from Columbia University in economics and cultural anthropology to working at the Federal Reserve Bank to working in Silicon Valley. All of it is part of a series of ethnographic studies in a way. This is, of course, a very crude bird’s eye view of my past life that only is meant to serve as a backdrop for what I’m doing now: I’m a freelance consultant as a machine learning engineer and data scientist.

    Growing up and Moving On

    When I was 6, I was sent to a dormitory in southern Germany for troubled kids. I had no education for the six years I was there. My mother took me out of there when I was 12 to Vienna. She homeschooled me in the manner of Summerhill schools in the US. When I was 14, I became an apprentice as a stonemason. I wanted to go to the US so I flipped a coin to choose between New York and Los Angeles. Los Angeles won.  

    I came to the US as a 19-year-old boy seeking the adventure of a lifetime, and I was not disappointed. I hardly spoke English at the time, and I ended up homeless for some time; the happiest homeless person in America or the world, I believe. After singing in a band and acting in various independent movies as well as being a small-time actor in various TV shows you might have watched for about 5 years. 

    Your Education

    I started studying at Santa Monica College where I took up cultural anthropology and eventually went to Columbia University graduating with a degree in economics. I became a research assistant to the economist Chris Foote at th...

    • 58 min
    The Art and Science of Designing Inspirational Learning Spaces of the Future with Robert Martellacci

    The Art and Science of Designing Inspirational Learning Spaces of the Future with Robert Martellacci


    Robert Martellacci is the founder and president of the International award-winning MindShare Learning Technology. He’s a champion for igniting student success to help all students thrive through innovative solutions and partnerships in Canadian schools. Often referred to as the ‘connector,’ Robert specializes in forging mutually beneficial partnerships between education and technology solution providers. 

    A passionate lifelong learner, Robert pursued a transformational learning journey earning a master’s in educational technology from Pepperdine University Graduate School of Psychology and Education. His Pepperdine experience inspired the creation of the MindShare Learning Report—Canada’s Learning & Technology eMagazine.

    Robert’s innovative spirit and desire to see an accelerated pace of change in education led to the creation of C21 Canada–Canadians for Learning and Innovation. A not-for-profit he co-founded and currently serves as its CEO.  


    Your WHY

    “My WHY is really about connecting industry and education, and finding the best products to make the greatest impact to support student success.” 


    Your Journey to your WHY

    I didn’t find my passion until my 3rd year at York University when I changed my major from Economics to Sports Administration. I discovered my passion when playing hockey for the school team. My skills as sports information director doing PR game management and promoting team travel challenged me in every possible way. It instilled in me a growth mindset and I still play lunchtime hockey focusing on healthy living.  I’ve been fortunate to have many role models and mentors along the way. 

    One of my mentors, my coach, asked me to interview a star athlete so I interviewed the legendary Johnny Bower, Hall of Fame Goalie. I didn’t realize that was going to be the start of my podcast career. I asked him if he ever thought he was going to make it since he started playing at 35. He said, “I always believed I was going to make it.” One of my teachers wrote in my yearbook, “the only sign in life is growth.” and she drew a little flower. Teachers don’t realize the power of their words and the impact they make. It was all about having a growth mindset. We remember those teachers and mentors that cared for and challenged us.

    I challenge myself to stay in shape. I rollerblade. One tip to stay in shape, rollerblade, don’t run. Running pounds the joints. 

    One big focus that changed my life was working with Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank, who started SoftKey Software Products as an opportunity to aggregate many companies under the Learning Company.

    • 49 min
    Episode #135: We Learn From Everyone with Celeste Endo

    Episode #135: We Learn From Everyone with Celeste Endo


    Celeste Endo is Computer Science Lead Learner and an HSTE Board Member in  Honolulu, Hawaii. She is a @tinkthinktank coach, leads the way with CODE dance parties and Cosplay was the 2020 Kaimuki McKinley Roosevelt Complex Area Teacher of the Year and is a 2022 Hawaii KidsCAN Legislative Champion. Celeste shared “whenever we get over the rainbow creative in our work and play, we encourage our learners to do the same.”

    Your WHY 

    Every interaction, every moment, and every step we take is an opportunity to be better than we were before. These are chances to improve ourselves and become the people we wish to become. As time ticks away, what if we don’t think of it as a fleeting moment? What if we think of each moment as another opportunity to better ourselves from the version before? We have so much to learn, grow, and share with each person we are lucky to cross paths with. We can truly learn from everyone. 

     Let it grow!

    Your Background

    Born and raised in Honolulu Hawaii, I had an amazingly supportive family. I was lucky to be born into a loving family of educators who did everything they could to nurture and help me grow. The school was a stark contrast to my home. I remember being pulled out of the homeroom with two other children every day to what I thought was a Special Ed class. It was so embarrassing for me and every time a little bit of my soul shrank. Years later, in my 40’s I spoke to my mom about that Special Ed class. She told me that it wasn’t Special Ed, it was a Reading class, like English Learner classes of today… but I had no excuse not to know English. I came from a family of English-speaking educators! Haha, I can laugh about it now, but it sure hurt back then.

    Let’s not erase or throw away the tough times. They are an embedded part of us and help us appreciate the good. Life challenges make us more empathetic to the people we get to teach. Let’s try to be more understanding when learners don’t quite get it… yet, and try to find new ways to spark deeper learning.

    I graduated from the University of Hawai‘i with a Bachelor’s Elementary Ed in 1996 and a Master’s Educational Technology in 2000. I’m currently a Computer Science Teacher for Preschool-5th grade at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Elementary, where I have found a home away from home, an ‘ohana. I love my school, admin, teachers, and growing lead learners! I drew this picture and wrote this chant that students lead us in, to start our Computer Science classes.

    Why did you become a teacher?

    My grandpa once told me, “Celeste, I think you will be a good teacher.

    • 41 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!

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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