The idea for this podcast originated with the MASA Professional Development Committee and the Board of Directors, who indicated a desire to “hear from our members.” The podcast format was chosen specifically to be presented in manageable time increments, available on-demand, and would represent all members throughout the state (including all regions and component groups). The podcast is an audio platform, giving you flexibility in how and when you would like to listen. We will engage the region leaders in identifying topics and thought leaders to insure statewide representation. MASA is grateful to our online convener and podcaster, Dr. Jane Sigford, who has volunteered her services for this initiative. Jane is an MASA retiree and loves nothing more than challenging us (and herself) to think, create, and share ideas.
Episode #39 Zoom, Masks, JANUS by Jane Sigford | Published: January 2021 Click Here to Listen For the past year my life, like yours, has been dramatically different. We have all been inundated with uncertainty, changes, fear, scarcity, (such as toilet paper and Lysol wipes). Routines and practices we expected as givens, were no longer there. Nothing was quite the same. One just couldn’t pick up and go to a movie or go out to lunch or pop into the grocery store without wearing a mask or maintain a social distance. However, even with the promise of vaccines on the horizon, it’s doubtful that society will return to exactly what was in place before. The uncertainty isn’t over and we can use this time to reflect and create our own better future. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 38: Race, The Achievement Gap, and Schools Part 2 by Jane Sigford | Published: July 2020 Click Here to Listen Race, The Achievement Gap, and Schools are the first of two podcasts about education and racism. This podcast consisting of 4 parts of a discussion about what has happened currently because of the killing of George Floyd, how the idea of race is not biologically sound but is a social construct, how our thinking patterns reinforce our beliefs, and how education can move to eradicate our racist ideas and practices in structure, measurement, and curriculum. The second podcast is an audiobook-like airing of an article called “How Real is Race? using Anthropology to make sense of Human Diversity.” CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 37: How Real is Race Part 1 by Jane Sigford | Published:July 2020 Click Here to Listen This podcast is like an audiobook production by reading the article "How Real is Race? Using Anthropology to Make Sense of Human Diversity" by Carol Mukhopadhyay and Rosemary C. Henze. The article addresses race as a social construct, not a scientifically proven biological fact. They offer ideas to help change our thinking and practices for education. It's read by Jane Sigford. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 36: Covid-19 through the Eyes of 18-year old Audrey Thibert by Jane Sigford | Published: April 2020 Click Here to Listen “COVID-19 Through the eyes of an 18-yr-old” by Audrey Thibert looks at how this pandemic affects one of our students on a very personal level. High School graduation, prom, etc. are cultural and emotional markers of a transition from relative dependence to the next part of a young person’s life. This virus has changed us drastically as we hear from Audrey. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 35: Dr. Joe Gothard, Superintendent of St. Paul School District by Jane Sigford | Published:January, 2020 Click Here to Listen Dr. Joe Gothard is superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools, the most diverse district in the state. Throughout our conversation, one can hear his emphasis on achievement, relationships, communication, and trust. Under his leadership, the district adopted a strategic plan entitled SPPS Achieves which carries the message that the work is about learning. One of my favorite quotes of his says it all, “This is not solo work.” CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 34: A Reflection with Dr. Gary Amoroso, Executive Director, MN Association of School Administrators by Jane Sigford | Published: December, 2020 Click Here to Listen Gary Amoroso, Executive Director of the MN Association of School Administrators [MASA] is retiring at the end of June. I asked him to reflect upon what he has learned during his tenure, and to suggest what he sees in the future for education and the role of superintendent. He talked about the political nature of his role and that of education. The importance of relationships at all levels was a current that flowed through our conversation. He talks about the issues facing public education and the positive nature of the work we do. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 33: The Value of Relational Skills in Being a Positive School Leader by Jane Sigford |Published: December, 2019 Click Here to Listen Amy Ernst, special education director for the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District, demonstrates the value of relational skills in being a positive school leader. Relationships are key to listening, building trust, and collaborating as professionals work together to design and implement learning experiences for students. As she would say, if you have a big belief in people, you will have big outcomes. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 32: Changing the Conversation #2: Deeper Teaching by Jane Sigford | Published: October, 2019 Click Here to Listen To change the conversation from an accountability mindset, we must focus on other fundamental aspects of education. First of all, education is about deeper learning for all which was the subject of the first podcast in this Changing the Conversation series. To have deeper learning, one must have deeper teaching which is the subject of this podcast. The third in the series will be about Learning Leaders. This particular podcast describes a deeper teacher and what they do differently. Reinstating deeper teaching gives us permission to once again marry the art and skill of effective teaching which means that all students have deeper learning. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 31: Curriculum & Instruction: Wearing many hats by Jane Sigford |Published: September, 2019 Click Here to Listen CariJo Drewitz is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the West St. Paul Public Schools. In her role she wears many hats. You will hear how her job is partly defined by the accountability mentality as described by Michael Fullan. You will also hear of the efforts to increase deeper learning for students by reinforcing pedagogical strategies. The curriculum role varies among districts both in job responsibilities and in placement on district organizational charts but it is a role that is at the heart of what we do in education—creating effective learning practices and environments for students. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 30: Changing the Conversation: Redesigning schools through deeper learning by Jane Sigford | Published:September, 2019 Click Here to Listen To redesign schools, we must change the conversation. It isn't about accountability; it's about learning. We must refocus on effective pedagogy and deeper teaching. Deeper learning--deeper teaching--deeper leadership. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 29: Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, an African-American educator, who has a unique perspective on culture by Jane Sigford | Published: August, 2019 Click Here to Listen Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, retired superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools and currently a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, has had a rich and varied career. She completed her dissertation on resiliency strategies of African-American women superintendents. As an African-American educator, she has a unique perspective on cultural bias, gender concerns, and leadership strategies, in addition to sharing her personal wisdom. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode
Episode 28: Valerie Dosland, Lobbyist for MASA by Jane Sigford | Published: August, 2019 Click Here to Listen Valerie Dosland is a lobbyist who works for MASA, and other educational organizations to continue to make our state a leader in education. The work of a lobbyist is built upon relationships, dialogue, gathering data, and being in tune with where we are and where we should go. Her work illustrates the quote from Robert Kennedy Jr. “Democracy is messy and it’s hard.” CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 27: Wisdom with Consultant and former Superintendent Patty Phillips by Jane Sigford /Published:July 20, 2019 Click Here to Listen Patty Phillips is a retired superintendent is currently a consultant for a search firm. She uses the wisdom she gained in 30 years of experience to talk about the superintendency, to look at male and female leaders, and to give advice to those who aspire to become superintendents. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 26: Women Superintendents of the North (Minnesota, that is) by Jane Sigford /Published: June 14, 2019 Click Here to Listen There is a cluster of women superintendents in the northeastern part of Minnesota. Including the superintendent of ARCC, Arrowhead Region Computing Consortium, there are eight women who serve over 8000 public school students over a large geographic region. In addition, ARCC serves over 30,000 students. Six of these women met to share their enthusiasm for their job. They also talked about some of the challenges. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 25: Where are the women—superintendents that is? by Jane Sigford / Published: May 2, 2019 Click Here to Listen Where are the women—superintendents that is? Over 70% of teachers are female, but in Minnesota only 16% of our superintendents are women. This number has stayed the same for a number of years. Why aren’t there more women? Contained in MASA’s Strategic Directions is an action step in to examine this issue and look at ways to support diverse leadership. This podcast poses questions, sometimes, difficult ones, for us to explore around this issue CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 24: Personalized Learning, Standards-Based Grading, Redesigning Professional Development... by Jane Sigford / Published: April 19, 2019 Click Here to Listen Steve Jones, Superintendent of Little Falls Community Schools, talks about their work toward personalized learning, standards-based grading, redesigning professional development, and offering different career pathways for students. In addition, Steve has a working relationship with community businesses that profits both businesses and the schools. His educational philosophy has led him to concentrate on relationships with students, families, and the community. It seems that there is a climate in Little Falls that encourages innovation and yet keeps what has worked in the past to create a new future. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode. Discussion Paper
Episode 23: Renee Corneille, Superintendent, St. Anthony-New Brighton School District by Jane Sigford /Published: April 4, 2019 Click Here to Listen Renee Corneille is a first-year superintendent at St. Anthony-New Brighton School District. She had several positions in the district, including middle, and high school principal, before being hired as superintendent. She shares her experience of what it was like to be an internal candidate. In Minnesota only 16% of the superintendents are women; Renee is one of the few. Her excitement and passion for the work she gets to do is contagious. Plus, she has a great sense of humor. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 22: Personalized Learning in a Rural School District by Jane Sigford / Published:April 4, 2019 Click Here to Listen Bill Adams, Superintendent of Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton or JWP, is spearheading the creation of a district, which has incorporated personalized learning to meet the needs of all students. His work in a rural district is different from that of a large system. His leadership style of using “failures” to improve a system is demonstrated throughout his conversation. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 21: MN Senator Steve Cwodzinski by Jane Sigford / Published: January 12, 2019 Click Here to Listen Senator Steve Cwodzinski, former Government teacher, is currently a Minnesota state senator, serving on the education committee. He shares thoughts about current and future issues with possible ideas as to what administrators and teachers can do to help legislators make informed decisions. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 20: Reconfiguring a High School by Jane Sigford /Published:January 12, 2019 Click Here to Listen Shaping the learning of the 21st century high school student requires a change in the physical setting. Sartell-St Stephen high school has been in a several year process to design and build their new high school using some ideas from The Third Teacher. The school will open this fall. Kay Nelson, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services, and Brenda Steve, Principal, talk about the design process and the involvement of all the constituents. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Epidsode 19: The "Design Thinking" Process by Jane Sigford / Published: November 4, 2018 Click Here to Listen Jen Hegna is the Director of Information and Learning Technology for Byron Public schools. As she says, she "loves technology" particularly if it can facilitate learning. She brought a Design Thinking process to her district after attending and Innovation Conference. The work with students and staff is just beginning. Listening to her process gives a lot ideas of how this could be implemented in many ways and places. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 18: Life Space Crisis Intervention with Danielle Theis by Jane Sigford / Published: November 4, 2018 Click Here to Listen Danielle Theis is a trainer in Life Space Crisis Intervention which is a method to disrupt the usual punitive pattern in dealing with students whose acting out behavior keeps them from being successful. The intervention is utilized when the crisis happens, not in retrospect so students learn about the impact of their behavior and lets them experience an alternative strategy. She is principal of New Dominion School in Austin,MN. Her website is DanielleTheisConsulting.com. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 17: Neal Nickerson, Co-founder of the Ed. Ad Programs at U of MN by Jane Sigford / Published: October 30, 2018 Click Here to Listen Dr. Neal Nickerson has been a professor at the University of Minnesota since 1964. He is a "founding father" of the Educational Administration Program which has been replicated in surrounding states and provinces. In addition, he is known for his concerted effort to bring and support under-represented groups, such as women and people of color, into the programs. His influence has contributed greatly to the high quality of administrators in the state of Minnesota. Plus, he lets all of us share his wisdom, dedication, and, most of all, his sense of humor. His focus on creating high quality principals has led to the creation of high quality superintendents.
CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode. In addition, we are pleased to announce that our podcast convener, Dr. Jane Sigford, has recently published a book about Neal. I’d Do It All Again is Neal’s story, describing his work developing leaders, and how he and his peers created a culture at the University that worked to recruit, train, and retain women and students of color into the profession of educational administration when this was not a widely accepted focus. He is one of the top three professors in the United States for the sheer numbers of advisees who completed their doctorates successfully. Plus, he taught and advised hundreds more. This wonderful book is available on Amazon:https://amzn.to/2LlzIsO
Episode 16: Retired Superintendent John Thein, Roseville Area School District by Jane Sigford / Published: September 26, 2018 Click Here to Listen John Thein has had an interesting career as a superintendent. He was superintendent of Roseville Area Schools for the longest time, for a length of 17 years. However, he has had short term positions and interim positions in a variety of districts from rural, to suburban to integration districts, to urban. John Thein could have published his quotes, from which we can all learn, as an almanac similar to Ben Franklin, but you can listen to them here instead. Enjoy! CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 15: Superintendent Chris Mills, Stephen-Argyle School District by Jane Sigford / Published: September 26, 2018 Click Here to Listen Chris Mills, Superintendent of Stephen-Argyle Public Schools in the northwestern corner of Minnesota, will tell you that being the superintendent of a small district has many advantages—getting hugs from kindergartners in the hallway, being a community leader, advocating at the legislature for equity in funding and treatment of small schools, and in creating a school community where all are welcome. Are there disadvantages? Some but the community works hard to utilize area resources in every way possible. He believes in being involved, networking, and building community to meet the needs of his students, staff, and community. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 14: Superintendent Denise Pontrelli, Stillwater Area School District by Jane Sigford / Published: September 04, 2018 Click Here to Listen Denise Pontrelli, Superintendent of Stillwater Area Public Schools, talked about the community collaboration process by which that area has designed a multi-faceted, multi-prong approach to providing mental health services to students and families. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 13: Executive Director of Education Services Jason Berg, Farmington Area School District by Jane Sigford / Published:August 30, 2018 Click Here to Listen Jason Berg, Executive Director of Education Services for the Farmington Area Public Schools, shared thoughts about change in the schools and the dynamic use of their strategic plan. Teachers and students are given more flexibility, responsibility, and ownership of their learning and time. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 12: Superintendent John Landgaard, Worthington School District by Jane Sigford / Published: August 28, 2018 Click Here to Listen John Landgaard is the Superintendent of Worthington Public Schools in southwestern Minnesota, one of the 27 districts in the state where white students are the minority. He sees this increasing diversity as a real asset to his community and to the rest of the state. In fact, he is establishing a “Grow Your Own” program for teachers who emulate the student body and solve some of the teacher shortages. Plus, he has ideas about what we need to stop doing and how we can change our high schools. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 11: Superintendent Janey Blanchard, Chisholm Public Schools by Jane Sigford / Published: August 24, 2018 Click Here to Listen Janey Blanchard, superintendent of Chisholm Public Schools, has experience in dealing with cultures not her own. She has experience working with our Native American students and now she is learning the culture of the Iron Range. She discusses the importance of listening and relationships. Her excitement about doing good work for all students is readily apparent. Besides, she's fun to listen to. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 10: MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius by Jane Sigford / Published: August 24, 2018 Click Here to Listen Dr. Brenda Cassellius is the Commissioner of Education in Minnesota. She talks about the accomplishments of the past 8 years and shares a wish for the future. She is the second longest serving state officer in the United States, which has provided some continuity and stability in educational leadership in Minnesota. Her closing words were a wish for our superintendents. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 9: Superintendent Deb Henton, North Branch Area School District by Jane Sigford /Published:July 28, 2018 Click Here to Listen Deb Henton is the superintendent of North Branch Public Schools. In addition, she was named as Superintendent of the Year and is currently president of the MASA Board. She shares her experience in dealing with a district with declining enrollment. In addition, she discusses the political nature of education. As she says, "She is a common leader devoted to service." CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 7: Superintendent Sandra Lewandowski, Intermediate District 287 by Jane Sigford / Published:July 06, 2018 Click Here to Listen Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski of Intermediate District 287 discusses the rise in mental health issues among children and discusses the increasing violence we see in schools. She talks about innovative practices that 287 is using to address these issues. CC - Closed captioning is available for this episode.
Episode 5: School Shootings by Jane Sigford / Published:March 28, 2018 Click Here to Listen Several school shootings recently that have spurred student walk-outs and protests in Minnesota and across the nation. The voices of young people have risen to challenge our current practices. Click Here for Script
Episode 4: High School Proposal by Jane Sigford / Published: March 22, 2018 Click Here to Listen Today’s discussion is the next installment in looking at what a high school could be that allows “public school boards the flexibility to determine the course work and experience necessary to meet graduation requirements”, which is one of the items that is currently a part of the legislative platform of MASA. Because legislators wanted to know what that might look like, we get to explore this rich topic. Click Here for Script
Episode 3: Possible Vision of an Innovative High School by Jane Sigford / Published: March 22, 2018 Click Here to Listen This is the second podcast in a series, which evolved from a discussion at the MASA spring conference in March 2018 about a legislative platform item, “provide public school boards the flexibility to determine the course work and experiences necessary to meet graduation requirements.” Our first broadcast talked about the current perception of pubic education. This one continues the discussion by focusing on high schools to perhaps suggest ways to flesh out the legislative platform.
There are several sections to this podcast: What is the purpose of current high schools? How does one earn a diploma and what does high school graduation mean? Is a high school diploma relevant to today’s world of work? What is the purpose of a contemporary and futuristic high school?
Episode 2: Message about Public Education by Jane Sigford / Published: March 22, 2018 Click Here to Listen Today’s podcast is the beginning of a series developed in response to an item on the legislative platform of MASA. At the recent spring convention in March, I was invited to address the MASA Board to introduce them personally to this new benefit, our podcast. At that meeting, I solicited some ideas from the Board members about what topics would be interesting and beneficial to them. The answer was that people wanted to explore topics that often get put onto the “back burner”, such as the purpose of public education, how to change the public message about education, and how to shape our high schools into something more flexible and responsive to the needs of our students, to name a few. Too often we do not have time to talk and think about such topics because of the daily demands of our jobs. Yet these topics are what help shape our purpose and vision for what we do. So they are very important.
Episode 1: Immigration by Jane Sigford / Published: February 21, 2018 Click Here to Listen What Are The Issues You Deal With Around Immigration? How Are You Dealing With Them? What Is Our Role In Creating A Pluralistic Society? How Do We Educate Involved, Participatory Citizens In A Democracy? What Literacy Skills Are Mandated For All In This Time Of Rapid Change? What Curricular Changes Would/Could You Make?