SPEAKING OF EDUCATION PODCASTS
Book Review of The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller with Guest Maria Piantanida, PhD
In this episode we experiment with a different format. Co-host Dr. Maria Piantanida offers a review of The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller a professor of history at the Catholic University of America. Dr. Piantanida highlights key ideas in the book and recommends it as useful reading for anyone concerned about the inappropriate and oppressive use of narrow performance measures. It can serve as a starting point for conversations among educators, the public, and policy makers as they strive to create realistic and meaningful systems to evaluate the quality of educational endeavors.
Exploring Health Issues of Native Americans with Guest Josie Barnes
This episode features our conversation with Josie Barnes who is beginning her junior year in high school. The school Josie attends structures its calendar so that students are able to take a multi-week intensive course a couple of times a year. We talk about Josie’s experience during January 2023 when she chose a course on global health. She focused her writing project on health issues of Native Americans and efforts by some individuals in the Seattle area who are working to reclaim their knowledge of healing plants. We talk with Josie about her interest in the topic, what she learned, and her talents as a writer.
Wedding Work and Learning to Pursue a Career Interest with Guest Duncan Barnes
From an early age, Duncan Barnes has had a passionate interest in animals. Emerging from this passion has been a desire to pursue a career in veterinarian medicine. During this episode, we talk with Duncan about his interest and what he has been doing to prepare himself to study veterinarian medicine. Now entering his senior year in high school, Duncan shares how he has begun to pursue this career path, including his work at a clinic and his participation in a special summer program at Amherst University.
Remake Learning: Thinking Boldly About Education with Guest Tyler Samstag
This episode features Tyler Samstag who jointly is the director of Remake Learning and also leads transformED, an initiative at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit that supports schools in starting, scaling, and sustaining transformational change. During our podcast Tyler discusses the mission of Remake Learning and also provides information about the Moonshot Grants and the Tugboat Grant and much more. Their work encourages educators to think radically, dream big, and inspire a better future.
Tyler started his career as a special education teacher in New York City, implementing research-based literacy interventions in both traditional and alternative academic settings. Later, while living in Boston, Tyler completed an internship with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), a nonprofit education R&D organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning and was a member of the IDEO Bits + Blocks LAB at the Harvard Innovation Lab, a program to develop new ventures around the technologies inspired by Bitcoin and blockchain. Interested in applications of human-centered design in education and nonprofit sectors, Tyler has facilitated an array of interactive workshops on design thinking and rapid prototyping at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and MIT.
Tyler is a Pittsburgh Public School graduate, an AmeriCorps alum, holds a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in English Education, and graduated from the Mind, Brain, and Education program at Harvard University, where he was an Urban Scholars Fellow.
For additional information about Remake Learning as well as the Tugboats and Lighthouses report visit https://www.remakelearning.org.
Advocating for the Educational Rights of Children with Special Needs with Guests Mary Hartley and Cindy Duch
This episode features the work of the PEAL Center, a statewide organization that provides support for parents of children with disabilities. Through a wide array of resources, training, a helpline, and advocacy, PEAL Center staff and volunteers work to educate parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs as well as professionals who work in these fields.
During our conversation, Mary Hartley, the Executive Director, and Cindy Duch, the Director of Individual Assistance, discuss issues facing families, the educational rights of children with special needs, transition services, and the value of educational inclusion, not just for children with disabilities but for all children.
For additional information about the services and resources available through the PEAL Center, visit https://www.pealcenter.org
Black Girls Education Justice Initiative with Guest Paige Joki
This episode features Paige Joki, a staff attorney at the Pennsylvania Education Law Center. After graduating from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, Joki was selected as an NAACP LDF Earl Warren Fellow and a Temple University Beasley School of Law Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellow. In recognition for her notable contributions to public service at Temple University and for pursuing a legal career in social justice, Joki received the Beth Cross Award.
Since joining the Education Law Center in 2017, Joki has focused on eliminating individual and systemic barriers to quality education for students experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia region as well as providing “Know Your Rights” training for students, parents, providers and organizations serving students experiencing homelessness. Most recently, she has led the Law Center’s Black Girls Education Justice Initiative. In collaboration with a number of groups advocating for more just social conditions for Black girls, the Law Centered conducted five focus groups with students attending school in the Philadelphia area. Emerging from these group discussions were eight principles for ameliorating the individual and systemic racism faced by Black girls. A copy of the report generated through this initiative can be accessed from the Education Law Center’s website: https://www.elc-pa.org/black-girls-education-justice-initiative
Schools Where Teachers Thrive with Guest Susan Moore Johnson, EdD
This episode features Dr. Susan Moore Johnson, author of the book, Where Teachers Thrive: Organizing Schools for Success. During the conversation we explore features that contribute to successful schools, even in socio-economically distressed communities where many think improvements are not possible. Dr. Moore Johnson is the Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor in Education at the Harvard graduate School of Education. A former high school teacher and administrator, Dr. Moore Johnson studies, teaches, and consults about teacher policy, organizational change, and leadership practice. She served as academic dean of the Education School 1993-1999. From 2007 to 2015, Dr. Moore Johnson was co-chair of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP), a collaboration between Harvard’s Education and Business Schools. Since 1998, she has directed the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, where she and her colleagues have examined how best to recruit, develop, and retain a strong teaching force.
Pennsylvania’s Education Law Center—A Resource for Equitable Schooling for All Children with Guest Deborah Klehr
This episode features Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Education Law Center (ELC). During the conversation we explore the founding and purpose of the ELC, who can access resources and assistance from the Center, and ways in which individuals can support the Center’s work. Klehr is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law school. In addition to her work at the ELC, Klehr currently serves as a member of The American Law Institute and co-chairs the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Legislative Liaison Committee and the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Education Law Committee. She is a member of the Forum of Executive Women and in 2022, was named to Pennsylvania’s Law Power 100 and Metro Philadelphia’s Education Power Players List.
Additional information about the Education Law Center and its resources can be found at https://www.elc-pa.org.
Navigating the Political Landscape: Implications for Educational Policy and Practice with Guest Mary Esther Van Shura, EdD
Currently an Associate Adjunct Professor in the School of Education of the University of Pittsburgh with a particular focus on social and political dynamics of education, Dr. Van Shura has coordinated presidential, U.S. Senate, state legislative, and municipal campaign activities. She served as the Teller for the 2020 Electoral College for President-elect Joseph Biden and as an Elector for President-elect Bill Clinton in 1992. Dr. Van Shura served as the Director of the State Office for United States Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA), as the Assistant Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of Pittsburgh, and as a Director for a non-profit serving individuals with disabilities. Other professional experiences include serving as the Director of Community Affairs in the Office of the Allegheny County Executive, interfacing on issues of education, human services, ethnic constituencies, and international visitors. Dr. Van Shura currently serves on the Remake Learning Council; the Board of Directors of Chatham Village Homes, a national landmark; and the Board of Directors of Bender Leadership Academy, which empowers students with disabilities. Recently, Dr. Van Shura presented at the Superintendents Forum of Western Pennsylvania, South Hills Area School Districts Association (SHASDA), and Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and other educational groups.
School After COVID with Guests Ryan and Camden Banks
This episode features returning guests, Ryan and Camden Banks. In April 2022, these students shared their experience of learning when school closed due to the COVID pandemic. From the end of their third grade and all during their fourth grade they learned remotely from home. During their first podcast they offered many important insights about what it was like to live through and learn during COVID. They join us again to talk about what it was like to return to in-person school. They also discuss their experiences of being in middle school.
Team Teaching at Corbett Prep—A 20 Year Perspective from the Classroom with Guests Dr. Helen Hazi and Samantha Borosh
This is the third of a continuing conversation about team teaching at Corbett Prep, a non-profit, private preK3 -8 school. During the last episode we heard from a number of teachers about the rewards and challenges of teaching with colleagues in the classroom. One teacher, Samantha Borosh, was not able to participate in that conversation, so she joins Dr. Maria Piantanida and Dr. Helen Hazi to share her perspective. Borosh began her teaching career at Corbett as a novice member of a teaching team. Now, 20 years later, she is the senior member of her teaching team. With the benefit of two decades of experience, Borosh describes the benefits of team teaching in terms of instructional synergy, personal growth and development, and benefits to students in her multi-age classroom.
Teaming at Corbett Prep—Teachers’ Perspectives with Guests Ashley Davis, Michael LeBlanc, Marla LeBlanc, John Palmer and administrator Jennifer Jagdmann
In this episode we continue our conversation about teacher teaming within the context of Corbett Prep, a non-profit, private preK3-8 school. In the previous episode we heard the story of how team teaching came to define Corbett’s structure and heard an administrative perspective on the value of teaming. In this episode, we hear directly from teachers what it is like to work in close collaboration with colleagues in the classroom. Participating in the discussion are teachers Ashley Davis, Michael LeBlanc, Marla LeBlanc, John Palmer and administrator Jennifer Jagdmann.
Teaming: The Energy System for Sustainable Schooling with Guests Helen Hazi, PhD, Karolyn Snyder, PhD, Kristen Snyder, PhD and Mike Johnson
In this episode we explore the concept of teaming within the context of Corbett Prep, a non-profit, private preK3-8 school. Dr. Karolyn Snyder offers a brief history of teaming as developed in collaboration with Dr. Robert Anderson. Dr. Kristen Snyder describes how the school’s culture of collaborative teaming allowed for a rapid and effective response to the COVID pandemic. She also explains how Corbett is now providing a context within which to understand behaviors and work processes that are important in launching and sustaining a culture of teaming. Mike Johnson offers an administrative perspective on the synergy generated through teaming and its contribution to the dual goals of wellness for all school members and academic achievement for students. Dr. Helen Hazi offers an outsider’s perspective as she has been studying the nature of instructional evaluation within a relatively non-hierarchical structure.
Faith-Based Leadership & Life Coach Training for Women with Guests Sisters Roberta Campbell, Evelyn Dettling, Susan Merrie English
This episode features our conversation with Sister Roberta Campbell, Sister Evelyn Dettling, and Sister Susan Merrie English three Benedictine sisters of Pittsburgh who are the Founding Directors of Benedictine Coaching of Pittsburgh which includes the “Leadership and Life Coach-Training for Women in Faith-Based Ministries” program. This program is accredited by the International Coaching Federation. Their mission is to provide interfaith, international professional coaching programs that promote personal, spiritual, and professional growth.
Sister Roberta is a seasoned educator and administrator with over 50 years of experience which includes teaching at the elementary, secondary and university levels. She has held several leadership positions including being Prioress of her Benedictine Community. Her zeal in coaching is to encourage women to use their values of refection and communication for promoting a more peaceful world-community.
Sister Evelyn has focused on ministry to others in education, social justice work, and various forms of administration within her religious community and in senior centers. She earned an MA in Sacred Studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN and is a life-long learner. Evelyn is excited about helping women flourish in their coaching formation.
Sister Susan Merrie is a Master Certified Coach through International Coaching Federation (ICF) Global, co-founder of two coaching training programs and co-editor of the book Professional Coaching: Principles and Practice. She holds a doctorate in education and considers herself a “womb to tomb” educator who has worked in public, private and prison settings. Her special interests are community building, mentoring and supervision for coaches.
To learn more about the Leadership and Life Coach Training for Women in Faith-Based Ministries visit their web site at https://benedictinecoaching.org
Fighting for Equitable Education in Pennsylvania with Guest Maura McInerney
This episode features Maura McInerney, Legal Director at the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania. Attorney McInerney provides a detailed overview of a landmark lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Commonwealth’s approach to the funding of education. She paints a compelling description of the inequities between high wealth and low wealth school districts. The latter districts face inadequate facilities, materials, and staff needed to provide children with a quality education. As Attorney McInerny points out, education of children is a basic human right that contributes not only to the well-being of individual children but to the overall Commonwealth. For more information about the work and resources of the Education Law Center visit https://www.elc-pa.org
Teacher Inquiry and Curriculum Matters with Guest William Schubert, PhD
This episode features our returning guest, curriculum scholar Dr. William Schubert, Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at UIC, Dr. Schubert has served as Chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Director of Graduate Studies, Coordinator of the Ph.D. Program in Curriculum Studies, and Coordinator of the M.Ed. in Educational Studies. His extensive body of scholarship is housed in the Special Collections Department of the Zach S. Henderson Library at Georgia Southern University.
Among Dr. Schubert’s honors is his designation in 2005 as a University Scholar at UIC. In 2004, he received The Lifetime Achievement Award in Curriculum Studies from the American Educational Research Association, in 2007, he received The Mary Anne Raywid Award for Distinguished Scholarship to the Field of Education, and 2023 the Society of Professors of Education established the William H. Schubert Award for Curricular Speculation in his honor.
During this conversation, we explore the ideas that Dr. Schubert has laid out in his 2023 monograph, Curriculum Matters: What Teachers Should Know and Do (#35 of the Education Practice Series published by the International Academy of Education.)
Drawing from his personal experiences and his knowledge of the history of curriculum and teacher research, Dr. Schubert elaborates on his view that teachers’ experiences are crucial in understanding the complexities of curriculum.
Professional Education of Genetic Counselors with Guest Robin Grubs, PhD
This episode features Dr. Robin Grubs, Associate Professor of Human Genetics in the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. During our conversation, we discuss the nature of genetic counseling and how the field is expanding. We also explore the decision by the genetic counseling profession not to institute a doctorate as the entry-level credential. This decision is quite unlike that made by many health related professions, so we explore how and why they came to this decision.
Promoting Healthy Racial Identity Among Young Children with Guest Aisha White, PhD
This episode features Dr. Aisha White, Director of P.R.I.D.E., a program within the Office of Child Development, which is part of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. This organization promotes positive racial identity development in early education. The program helps parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders learn about the many ways race impacts young children, as well as helping them understand the importance of discussing race with young children. They provide them with various learning opportunities, including trainings for educators and artists, Parent Village sessions for Black children, and art festivals created to immerse young Black children in a space designed to celebrate them. To learn more about P.R.I.D.E visit the website: https://www.racepride.pitt.edu/about-pride.
Improvement Science & the Preparation of Scholar-Practitioners with Guest Deborah Peterson, EdD
This episode features Deborah Peterson, Emerita Professor at Portland State University. Dr. Peterson received the 2022 David G. Imig Distinguished Service Award from CPED. CPED is a consortium of universities that has been working to establish the EdD as the highest quality professional practice doctorate in education. Improvement science is one of the key, founding principles of CPED and Dr. Peterson has written extensively about this concept. During this conversation, we explore Dr. Peterson’s perspective on the ways practitioners can contribute to the knowledge base of the profession and improve the quality of education. Among her publications are
Improvement Science as a Tool for School Enhancement: Better Educational Solutions and Improvement Science: Promoting Equity in Schools.
Teacher Evaluation & the Issue of Feedback with Guest Helen Hazi, PHD
This episode features our conversation with long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Helen Hazi, Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. Through extensive reviews of literature on the role of feedback in teacher evaluation, Dr. Hazi challenges the persistent assumption that feedback, when properly given, will lead to the improvement of teaching, and in turn, to improved student outcomes. She contends this is far too simplistic a way of thinking about education with all of its complexity and uncertainty. Through our conversation, we catch glimpses of the scholarly thinking that earned Dr. Hazi the 2019 Distinguished Research Award from the Supervision and Instructional Leadership Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association. Although she has officially retired from life at the university, she commented, “I now have time to really study the research literature. This is something I enjoy and want to find ways to share the wisdom I’ve accumulated through a professional lifetime.” For us, this exemplifies what we consider to be stewardship of the profession.
Global to Local, An International Service-Learning Initiative with Guests Jacqueline Hesse and Christine McCartney
This episode features Jacqueline Hesse and Christine McCartney, co-founders of Global to Local, an international service-learning program for high school students. Jackie is the founding English language arts teacher at a Pathways in Technology school in Newburgh, New York. In addition, she serves as a teacher consultant with the Hudson Valley Writing Project. Christine began her teaching career as a volunteer writing tutor at an all-male, maximum-security prison in New York. She has been teaching high school English for over a decade, has served as codirector of the Hudson Valley Writing Project, and is a Fulbright alumna. Inspired by their love of travel, Jackie and Christine began to imagine taking students to the Galapagos Islands where they might engage in a service project related to environmental issues they were studying at home. This vision became a reality as they and students raised the money needed for the trip. Before COVID put the program on hiatus, they had taken students to Ecuador, Thailand and Cambodia where students gain not only a sense of satisfaction from their volunteer efforts, but also a deeper understanding of different cultures. During the conversation, Christine mentioned Fund for Teachers where she was able to obtain funds for professional travel. For additional information about this program visit
Empowered Writing—Teachers as Writers, Learners, and Leaders with Guests Tom Meyer, PhD and Maya Projansky
This episode features Dr. Tom Meyer and Maya Projansky and their work with the Institute for Leadership in the Teaching of Writing, a program offered under the auspices of the Hudson Valley Writing Project. Dr. Meyer is a full professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz and co-founder of the Hudson Valley Writing Project. Maya Projansky taught 5th grade for 20 years at the Earth School in New York City. After completing the Leadership program as a participant, she joined Dr. Meyer as a co-facilitator of the year-long program. Together they have worked with cohorts of teachers who engage in writing about their professional beliefs, values, and concerns. Structured in three segments, the Institute program invites teachers to reflect on themselves as writers, as learners, and as leaders.
For additional information about the Hudson Valley Writing Project and the programs offered under its auspices, visit https://www.newpaltz.edu/hvwp.
The Hudson Valley Writing Project is part of the National Writing Project which as centers throughout the Unites States. To learn more about NWP and locate a program near you, visit https://www.nwp.org/ https://www.nwp.org.
Descriptive Inquiry—At the Intersection of Philosophy and Practice with Guest Cara Furman, PhD
This episode features Dr. Cara Furman, Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of Maine at Farmington and member of the Graduate Faculty at University of Maine. Dr. Furman’s scholarship focuses on integrating qualitative data and philosophy at the intersection of teacher development, descriptive inquiry, asset-based inclusive teaching, and progressive literacy practices. At the heart of her work is a form of in-depth, descriptive writing that fosters philosophically-informed teacher inquiry. Such descriptive inquiry allows teachers and educational leaders to care for their ethical selves and to develop practical wisdom.
In the book, Descriptive Inquiry in Teacher Practice: Cultivating Practical Wisdom to Create Democratic Schools, Dr. Furman and her co-author Cecelia Traugh offer an in-depth portrait of Descriptive Inquiry as it was integrated into four urban, public schools. Readers gain insight into the power of this process to foster a more collaborative school culture, address the needs of students more substantively, and engage teachers in practice-embedded learning. Particularly noteworthy is the confidence with which teachers and school leaders were able to resist mandates that would be detrimental to students and to work with outside agencies to adapt mandates to the schools’ mission.
In addition to publishing in an impressive range of journals, Dr. Furman co-hosts Thinking in the Midst, a podcast that brings philosophical thinking to bear on contemporary issues. She is currently working with Tomas Rocha, on her second book, Teachers and Philosophy: Essays From a Contact Zone. This edited collection will explore what it means to think and write from the contact zone that is philosophy and practice.
The Sky’s the Limit for Student Learning When Respect and Trust Are Shown with Guest Joseph Stewart
Our guest today is Joseph Stewart. We invited Stewart to join us on Speaking of Education to hear his perspective as an educator with many years of experience within different contexts and age levels. He taught high school History and Social Studies for close to 15 years in Florida and Ohio. Stewart served as an assistant principal for six years where his responsibilities included Director of Curriculum and Instruction, supervisor of all IEP/504 plans, twelfth grade principal, and summer school principal. Currently he is a High School Principal in a school district in Ohio where he oversees the many complex aspects of schools today.
Understanding Critical Aspects of Immigration with Guest Sister Janice Vanderneck, CSJ, MA
Our guest today is Sister Janice Vanderneck, the Founding Director of Casa San José. She is a Catholic religious sister with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. Sister Janice has worked in Latin America, educating and organizing community members to think critically about power structures, oppression, and political engagement. In the United States, she worked for decades as a religion teacher and principal at Catholic elementary and high schools in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Altoona-Johnstown in Pennsylvania and the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida. Sister Janice is currently the Director of Civic Engagement at Casa San José
Sister Janice has received numerous awards for her extraordinary service. They include: the Michael McGrady Award for Service at the Art Rooney Awards Dinner in 2017, the OHTLI Award for 2017 given by the Secretariat of the Mexican Government for service to the Mexican community in the United States. OHTLI is a word in the native Aztec language that means “path”. The intention is that the recipient of the OHTLI award opens a path for others. Sr. Janice also received the 2016 El Sol Award from the Hispanic Attorneys Committee of the Allegheny Bar Association and the awarded by the School of Pharmacy of the University of Pittsburgh. In November of 2022, she was recognized as one of the recipients of the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors of Hispanic Ministry 30th Anniversary Regional Recognition Awards.