The Early Link Podcast, brought to you by Children's Institute based in Portland, Oregon, highlights national, regional, and local voices working in the field of early care and education. Written, hosted, and produced by Rafael Otto.
Race and Racism in Education with Dr. Marvin Lynn
This is a special segment, because it marks the 75th episode of The Early Link Podcast!
Host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Marvin Lynn who most recently served as the dean at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education. He has served as dean and professor at universities across the country, and started his career as an elementary and middle school teacher. Also, he has conducted research that explores the work and lives of Black male teachers and the impact of teacher beliefs on Black students. He is an internationally recognized expert on race and education, serves on the board for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and is an elected member and vice chair of the Tigard-Tualatin school board. He is also an editor for the recently updated Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education.
For nearly three decades, Dr. Marvin Lynn has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher and has served as a professor and administrator in institutions of higher education for the last twenty years. He is a nationally recognized expert on race and the education of BIPOC learners. He has published dozens of research articles, book chapters, opinion pieces, and an edited book on these topics. He serves on several state and national boards including the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Providence Hospitals’ Oregon Community Ministry Board, the Oregon Educator Advancement Council, and the Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group.
Preschool for All Ensures High-Quality Early Learning for Children in Multnomah County
Leslee Barnes is the director of the Preschool and Early Learning Division at Multnomah County. In that role, she is overseeing the Preschool for All initiative, a program approved by voters in November 2020 that will provide tuition-free, universal preschool for 3- and 4 year-olds in Multnomah County. The program is being funded by a personal income tax on high income earners and has received significant attention regionally and nationally as a progressive, upstream investment in children and families.
Friendship on the Spectrum
This week, host Rafael Otto speaks with Jenna Deml, our producer at Portland Radio Project, and two of her lifelong friends, Kai Russell and Justin Semke. All three of them happen to be on the autism spectrum, and today we have a chance to hear their stories – about what it was like growing up on the spectrum, how they have remained friends for so many years, and their experience in the education system right here in Portland.
Jenna Deml (she/her) is a podcast producer and radio DJ currently studying for her Master’s in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Oregon Portland campus. Her undergraduate degree was in both Psychology and Theatre Arts from the University of Puget Sound. So it is safe to say Jenna has always had a love for the arts and storytelling. In her free time, she likes to play Dungeons & Dragons, flex her trivia knowledge on a website called Sporcle, create Spotify playlists, watch the entire Studio Ghibli catalog on repeat, pet every cat or dog she sees, or read classic sci-fi/dystopian literature.
Kai Martina Russell (they/them) is native to Portland, Oregon. They hold a degree in English Fiction Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and are employed in the retail industry. Their dream is to write and illustrate (and possibly compose for) an original fantasy/science-fiction extended universe, drawing inspiration from the many roleplaying games they and their friends have acted out over the years. Kai draws meaning in their life from stories, nature, and their beloved friends and family.
Justin Semke (he/him) graduated from the Art Institute of Portland, and has been looking to become an 3D Environmental artist. He is also quite the fan of Kamen Rider, and loves creating stories with friends. He is a staunch optimist and tries to make the people in his life smile whenever possible.
The three friends begin by recounting how they each met one another at different points throughout elementary school. They then disclose what lead to their diagnoses; what they remember about it, what changed for them, and any struggles they had at the time. The conversation shifts to their respective experiences in the education system here in Portland, and what the institution needs to improve on in order to better serve neurodivergent children. Since Kai identifies as genderfluid, they note and comment on the correlation between neurodivergence and gender-nonconformity, and how this ties in to their own personal journey. Closing out the conversation, the three each state what they would say to their younger selves, and comment on who and what makes them the most empowered to be their truest creative selves.
Building Relationships and Community Through Storytelling, with Dr. Johnny Lake
On this episode of The Early Link, host Rafael Otto speak with Dr. Johnny Lake about building relationships and community through storytelling. Dr. Lake is an consultant and trainer on community-building, equity, diversity and leadership with a focus on what youth need, and what our education systems need to better serve students and young people.
Cultivating Genius: A Conversation with Dr. Gholdy Muhammad
In this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, whose research has focused on the social and historical foundations of literacy in Black communities and how literacy development can be reconceptualized in classrooms today. She is associate professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, and is the author of a recent book called “Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.”
Montessori Group Serves Early Childhood Communities in the UK, Internationally
In this episode of The Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Leonor Stjepic; an award-winning social enterprise entrepreneur, whose career has spanned both the private and nonprofit sectors in the United Kingdom. In addition, she is currently the chief executive officer for The Montessori Group, an organization that provides training in Montessori education for early years communities in the UK and internationally.