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Empowered Learning Podcast

Education Podcasts

The Empowered Learning Podcast ignites inspiration through insightful dialogues on education and leadership. Host Andy Bennetts engages notable educators, administrators, and thinkers in discussions that illuminate best practices, overcoming adversity, and the transformational power of lifelong learning.


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The Empowered Learning Podcast ignites inspiration through insightful dialogues on education and leadership. Host Andy Bennetts engages notable educators, administrators, and thinkers in discussions that illuminate best practices, overcoming adversity, and the transformational power of lifelong learning.



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From the Coast Guard to the Classroom: A Conversation with Clay Cromer

Clay Cromer Summary Andy and Clay engage in a friendly conversation, discussing their backgrounds, military experiences, and callings to ministry. Clay shares his journey from the Coast Guard Academy to his time at sea during Hurricane Katrina, his transition from active duty to seminary and his current role in the JROTC program. They also discuss the transformative impact of the JROTC program on cadets' lives and the crucial role of dedicated instructors in guiding and supporting the students. The episode highlights the importance of mentors and the value of broadening perspectives, emphasizing the significance of guidance during formative years. Clay's journey serves as a testament to the impact of influential figures and the value of considering alternative paths. They also discuss the importance of a well-rounded education and the value of pursuing extracurricular activities, encouraging students to take advantage of these opportunities during their secondary education and college years. The conversation concludes with Andy expressing genuine appreciation for Clay's leadership and character, and they engaged in a rapid-fire question session, discussing the leader Clay most admires, impactful learning experiences, and empowering learning for future generations.


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Embracing Mindset and Financial Freedom: Clayton Sampson’s Inspiring Journey

Clayton Sampson Summary: Clay shares his humble beginnings in Trinidad and Tobago and reflects on the opportunities and success he found in the United States. He also discusses his retirement and how he now lives life on his own terms, emphasizing the importance of family and enjoying his passions. The episode then shifts to the critical role of mindset and personal development, stressing the need to break the cycle of misunderstandings and expose oneself to new perspectives. The two friends explore the "Good Life" seven-step challenge, delving into the significance of leaving a legacy and paying it forward, and how these principles align with personal growth and faith. Additionally, they touch on the impact of mindset training and the exposure to new ideas, emphasizing the transformative power of these experiences. Clay passionately addresses the lack of life skills education in schools, particularly focusing on the absence of teaching on money management and credit. He highlights the different financial mindsets of poor, middle class, and wealthy individuals, emphasizing the need for practical education in these areas. Andy agreed with the need to break the cycle of inadequate education and expressing the desire to teach these essential life skills. Finally, Clay discusses his achievements in saving people money using a system similar to what banks use and expresses confidence in reaching the goal of saving $18 million in five to seven years. Andy reiterates the legitimacy and 20-year history of United Financial Freedom and encourages individuals to approach research with an open mind when considering the company. He also mentions the availability of extensive information and weekly calls for further clarification on the Money Max Account. The episode concludes with a personal discussion between Andy and Clay, highlighting Clay's passion for making a positive impact and his belief in the importance of financial education for personal empowerment. Links: www.envySocial.grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/258318408127553/https://www.youtube.com/@thegoodlifewisdomwalks3425


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Education’s Uncomfortable Truths: An Honest Conversation with Dr. Justin Baeder

Justin Baeder, PhD Summary: In this episode, Andy and Justin discuss their backgrounds and experiences in education, highlighting their interest in leadership, learning, and technology in education. They also discuss the challenges in education, such as discipline reform, special education, grading reform, and the mass exodus of teachers. They emphasize the importance of thoughtful use of technology in education and the need for parents and educators to make better decisions for students based on their own experiences with technology. The episode also focuses on the need for a more scientific and student-centered approach to education reform, particularly in the area of discipline reform. They express concerns about the current trend of eliminating consequences for disruptive behavior and questioned the rationale behind this approach, emphasizing the need to prioritize the actual experiences of students over statistical outcomes. They also discuss the challenges and implications of 100% inclusion in education, particularly for students with special needs, and advocated for a balanced, student-centered model that prioritizes safety and personalized support for all students. The conversation also touches on the challenges faced in ensuring teacher safety and meeting the needs of students in educational settings. They explore the financial and staffing factors that influence the placement of students, particularly those with special needs, and the impact on the safety and well-being of teachers and paras. Finally, they talk through the complexities of progressive discipline and the dearth of data on student behavior in schools, stressing the importance of better data collection to establish a fair and rational relationship between behavior and consequences. The meeting also delved into the challenges and nuances of grading reform, particularly in the context of standards-based grading. They explored the potential pitfalls of removing traditional grading elements such as accountability for behavior and effort, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that considers both academic mastery and learning behavior. Additionally, they addressed the issue of grade inflation and the role of standardized testing as a metric for assessing academic abilities, emphasizing the need to maintain a focus on knowledge acquisition for all students, regardless of their performance on standardized tests. Bio: Justin Baeder, PhD is Director of The Principal Center, where he helps senior leaders in K-12 organizations build capacity for instructional leadership. A former principal in Seattle Public Schools, he is creator of the Instructional Leadership Challenge, which has helped more than 10,000 school leaders in 50 countries around the world: Dr. Baeder is the author of Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership, and the co-author, with Heather Bell-Williams, of Mapping Professional Practice: How to Develop Instructional Frameworks to Support Teacher Growth (Solution Tree). He is the host of Principal Center Radio, a podcast featuring education thought leaders, and the founder of Repertoire, the professional writing app for instructional leaders. He holds a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Washington and an MEd in Curriculum & Instruction from Seattle University, and is a graduate of the Danforth Program for Educational Leadership at UW. Links: https://www.principalcenter.com/https://www.youtube.com/@PrincipalCenterRadiohttps://www.linkedin.com/in/justinbaeder/https://www.tiktok.com/@eduleadershiphttps://www.instagram.com/principalcenter/


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From Introvert Pastor to World-Class Sales Ninja: Jay Lee’s Incredible Journey

Jay Lee Summary: Jay shared his personal journey from being an introverted, shy kid to finding faith and being called into ministry, despite challenges and resistance, particularly from his parents. He achieved significant success in church planting and evangelism, impacting thousands of lives. His story served as a testament to resilience, faith, and the pursuit of one's calling, even in the face of adversity. The two friends also discussed the broken educational institution and the need for a shift towards personalized, practical learning experiences. Jay emphasized the value of children learning while having fun and without realizing it and criticized the traditional education system for not providing this type of learning environment. The episode also touched on the importance of networking and strategies for building and maintaining professional relationships. Jay shared personal experiences from his role as a church planner, emphasizing the impact of community and the importance of loving oneself in addition to others. He highlighted the value of networking for personal and business growth, stressing the significance of surrounding oneself with supportive and growth-oriented individuals. They also provided testimonials for eGlass, emphasizing its role in enhancing virtual meetings and presentations. Bio: Jay Lee, a former introvert and pastor, is now a world-class high ticket closer and sales coach. He's also known as the Sales Ninja and helps high ticket coaches and entrepreneurs sell like crazy without sounding salesy, sleazy or making prospects sleepy with boring offers using the proven GLASS Selling Method. This GLASS Method has generated $25M+ in client revenue and continues to empower his clients to sell more to give more. 🥷His G.L.A.S.S. Selling Method is a 5-Step Framework That Closed $1M+ in 12 Weeks🥷 with close rates as high as 81% and cash collected rates as high as 96% for consecutive months. He was interviewed by Eli Wilde’s podcast amongst many others and helped a recent client scale from $0-$2.5M in 24 months. Links: www.gosalesninja.comhttps://www.facebook.com/jayleesalesninjahttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-sales-ninja-show-podcast/id1673152143https://www.linkedin.com/build-relation/newsletter-follow?entityUrn=7064417405774540800www.facebook.com/groups/salesninjacommunity https://pro.gosalesninja.com/igf-lp-fbhttps://pro.gosalesninja.com/igf-lp-lihttps://pro.gosalesninja.com/igf-lp-li


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Decoding Success: A Journey of Literacy, Growth, and Gratitude with Dee Larsen

Dee Larsen Summary: Dee Larsen and Andy Bennetts discuss a range of topics related to their professional experiences and interests. The two friends discuss their personal and professional journeys, expressing gratitude for the support and influence they received from each other and their colleague, Steve. They reflect on the changes and growth they've experienced, with Andy expressing how Dee and Steve were instrumental in guiding him towards a new career path. Additionally, Dee shares her diverse background, from her childhood in Northeastern Ohio to her aspirations in music and worship leading. She emphasizes her passion for literacy and her dedication to helping educators understand the importance of reading proficiency. The conversation also touches on the literacy gaps in education and the lack of uniformity in evidence-based reading programs across different states. Dee emphasizes the need for legislative support and discussed the potential impact of standardized science of reading knowledge for K-3 teachers and administrators. They also explore the science of reading, highlighting the essential components of decoding and language comprehension for achieving reading comprehension. Dee shares her admiration for Dr. Susan Hall and her commitment to understanding the challenges of dyslexia and improving literacy education.


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Unleash Your Inner Leader: Insights from Meg Stevens

Meg Stevens Summary: Andy and Meg engage in a conversation about Meg's professional journey, including her experiences in leadership development, consulting, and organizational change. Meg shares her insights on the importance of mental health in the workplace and the need to connect individual needs with business needs during organizational change. The conversation also touches on the concept of unconditional positive regard and its impact on interpersonal dynamics, as well as the nuances of effective leadership and the importance of staying true to oneself in leadership roles. The two also discuss the corporate response to the George Floyd situation and the importance of prioritizing humanity and open dialogue. Lastly, they explore the topic of fostering a culture of innovation within the organization and empowering learning for future generations. Bio: Meg Stevens is a leadership coach, consultant, and counselor. Shortly after college, after being a manager for several years, she went back to school to get a Master of Science in Leadership Development, knowing that there was an art and a science to great leadership and that she wanted to be a great leader herself. While this course of study left her with just as many questions as answers, she became even more passionate about working with and helping leaders so that workplaces could be better. Meg has subsequently spent her career helping leaders work through change and be the best leaders that they can be for their teams. She led small and large teams throughout her career. Working in HR consulting, organizational change management, leadership development, and as a Human Resources Executive, she helped leaders manage significant change as a key leader working with the C-Suite on a mega-merger and subsequent spin-off. After working with leaders through such intense times and watching the breadth of trauma that was occurring for folks during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Meg decided to return to school to work on additional credentialing to become a Licensed Professional Counselor so that she could continue to work deeply with leaders on their individual and organizational changes. Meg will finish this program of study in May 2024 and begin the process to become fully licensed. In March 2023, when Meg left her role in a Fortune 500, she started Meg Stevens Consulting where she has been working with leaders in a coaching and consulting capacity to support their individual and organizational change. She spends time coaching leaders who are managing personal and professional changes or those who are looking to achieve big goals in their professional endeavors. Meg has especially been able to support leaders who are looking for a more natural way of working or who need help finding their own natural leadership style. She’s hosted a “Natural Leadership Retreat” which is an experience where leaders can come together to support their professional development, restoration, and sense of connection, and to create new rituals for resilience. Meg expects that Meg Stevens Consulting will continue to host these sessions in the coming years. Links: https://www.megstevensconsulting.comhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-stevens-5640287/


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Money's Golden Cycle: From Principles to Precious Metals with Darrel Porter

Darrel Porter SUMMARY: This episode between Andy and Darrell focuses on various topics, including Darrell's military service, his journey to becoming a minister, and his experiences with Kingdom Wealth Group. They also discuss the history of currency, the Federal Reserve, and the life cycle of money. Darrell shares his insights on the importance of understanding God's principles for wealth and money management, emphasizing the significance of mentorship and family values in shaping attitudes towards finances and leadership. The two delve into the historical and biblical aspects of money, highlighting the importance of understanding and following God's principles for wealth. They explore the impact of significant historical events, such as World War I and World War II, on the value of currency and the role of gold in regulating the circulation of currency. The conversation also delves into the devaluation of currency over time, the concept of inflation, and the comparison between the limited availability of precious metals like gold and silver and the unlimited printing of money, leading to the devaluation of currency. Darrell provides a detailed explanation of the life cycle of money, focusing on the stage where people lose confidence in currency and revert to free market money, particularly gold and silver. He illustrates this with examples from countries like Venezuela, emphasizing the drastic devaluation of currency and the enduring value of gold and silver. He also discusses historical references, biblical principles, and the enduring value of gold and silver as essential assets for wealth preservation, with a strong emphasis on educating and encouraging people to invest in these precious metals. BIO: Darrell Porter was born in Kansas City, Kansas and is the eldest of three children. He graduated from J.C. Harmon High School in 1987 and joined the United States Army in June of 1988. He married Taria (Canty) Porter 32 years ago, on September 3rd, 1991. To their union they were blessed with two beautiful children, Shaneka (Porter) Mables and Darrell “DJ” Porter. Darrell Porter received his call from the Lord to be a Minister in 1991 while serving in Dessert Storm and in June of 2002 was licensed as a Minister in the Church of God in Christ, under the direction of Bishop Paul Watson Sr. The Stock Market Crash of 2008 was a wakeup call for Minister Porter and from that crash, he had a strong desire for financial knowledge from the scriptures. God gave him a vision of becoming a Kingdom Wealth Coach and a marketplace entrepreneur for the Body of Christ. In 2012, God gave him the name of his business, Kingdom Wealth Group. Minister Porter is becoming a champion for building wealth according to the scriptures. His knowledge of wealth as it relates to the scriptures and his understanding of our current economic system is second to none. Doors have been opened for him to teach these Kingdom Economical Concepts. He was asked to start a segment called “Kingdom Strategies” on the local radio station KRGN which was live every 4th Tuesday of every month. He has since started his own Podcast with the same name, “Kingdom Strategies” and he is receiving recognition from other CEOs for his knowledge of the scriptures in Kingdom Concepts. He has been called an “Apostle to the Marketplace.” Minister Porter’s mission is to help people understand their value in the Kingdom, to help them understand their purpose, to help them become financially free, and to claim their rightful place as leaders in the marketplace. Links: https://atcostmetals.com/join?code=empowered


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Discovering Purpose in the Classroom and Ministry with Gordon Duncan

Gordon Duncan Summary: Andy and Gordon cover their experiences as teachers, reflecting on the complexities of teaching multiple grades in challenging environments. They emphasize the significance of understanding and accommodating diverse learning styles to facilitate student progress. The episode includes a compelling anecdote about a student who initially struggled in the classroom but thrived in a different role in a class production, underscoring the importance of recognizing individual strengths and learning preferences. Andy and Gordon also open up about their unexpected journeys into ministry, sharing their initial resistance and the pivotal role of mentors. They delve into the struggle with the idol of security, recounting the challenges and rewards of stepping into the unknown. Their candid discussion sheds light on the complexities of answering a call to ministry and the profound impact it has had on their lives, emphasizing the importance of faith and trust in navigating the uncertainties of their paths. Bio: Gordon Duncan has been married to his wife Amy for 27 years and they have 3 wonderful daughters: Meredith, Landry, and Emma. In addition to being the president of Capitalize Marketing & Consulting, Gordon has also been an award-winning educator, salesman, podcaster, bestselling author, and pastor for 20 years. An epilepsy fighter, Gordon has run 28 marathons including the historic Boston Marathon. He loves enabling businesses to capitalize on what they do best so they can grow their revenue. Links: Learn more about Capitalize at www.capitalizeyourbest.com


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Unleashing Wisdom: Discipline, Communication, and Personal Growth with Billy Akers

Billy Akers Description: Billy shares insights into his early years, his journey from studying electrical engineering to his current semi-retired life, and his thoughts on communication skills in the digital age. The conversation also touches on the importance of discipline, high standards, and objective truths, as well as the impact of Billy’s time at the Virginia Military Institute and his respect and admiration of Ronald Reagan. Andy and Billy also discuss the significance of writing and the influence it can have on people. They shared personal insights on the most important lessons learned in their careers, the value of wisdom, and the importance of continuous learning and personal growth. Join us for this thought-provoking conversation that covers a wide range of topics, including personal experiences, career insights, and societal issues. Andy & Billy share valuable insights and perspectives, highlighting the importance of authenticity, effective communication, discipline, and continuous learning. Biography: I am 63, semi-retired in our beautiful small town of Cortez, CO with my beautiful wife, sheep, horses and dogs. I was raised in a Christian and Military home by both parents and with a younger brother and sister. My dad was in the Air Force and mom also worked outside the home. Dad was called into the ministry while TDY in Thailand in 1970 and we were raised with leadership principles along with Biblical mores. Because of both Military and Pastor Kid upbringing, I never went to the same school for more than two years so I had to learn to adapt. After graduating High School, I attended Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA majoring in Electrical Engineering. After VMI, I took the “sales” path after not getting the engineering job I wanted and have excelled at sales ever since in one capacity or another. I found the importance of Leadership qualities at an early age in sports and then in my professional career. I remember the first two books my dad gave me to read other than the bible; The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz and Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyon. Those books laid the foundation of my thirst for growing in knowledge and well-being. Since then, I have always been a proponent for bettering yourself through repetitious reading and training. Understanding that leaders are readers has expanded a multitude of facets in my life, those include things like vocabulary, knowledge, experience, career success, career promotions, mental wellness and self-confidence among a few. At present, I work as a sales person with a simple schedule at a local dealership and enjoy hosting with my wife at our AirBNB, Crooked Sky Ranch & AirBNB outside of Cortez, CO at the foot of Mesa Verde National Park. https://abnb.me/haUO9uEccGb


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Exploring PBJ: A Recipe for Peace, Belonging & Joy – A Deep Convo with Dr. Steve Huff

Dr. Steve Huff Description: Join host, Andy Bennetts for a SPECIAL conversation with his long-time friend, mentor and previous boss, Dr. Steve Huff. The episode covers a wide range of topics, including Steve's career evolution, the use of training simulators, personal development for teens through a framework called Soul Map, and the value of savoring moments and finding joy in the process. The two friends also discussed the concept of maps and mind songs, using diverse examples to illustrate the idea of mapping internal experiences. Steve introduced his acronym PBJ, representing Peace, Belonging, and Joy, and explained its significance in his personal mission statement. Andy suggested expanding on the acronym and discussed the components of frequency, duration, and intensity in relation to PBJ and MLS (myself, loved ones, and strangers). The conversation delved into the deeper meaning of the acronym and its application in daily life, emphasizing the importance of peace, belonging, and joy for oneself and others. The discussion highlighted the intention to incorporate these values into daily interactions and relationships. Throughout the discussion, there was a strong emphasis on the power of personal connections and the lasting impact of meaningful conversations. Bio: Steve is a creative action-oriented entrepreneur who is passionate about innovation. He earned his PhD in Social Welfare in 2001 from the University of Kansas in the Strengths Model. Ran a mental health consulting business for 15 years. Then ran an education technology company for 15 years where we sold educational products to schools, the military, and public/private training corporations. He then created an online training program called SPARCs for Good and RellaFit. He is currently running a mobile outreach social work program called THRIVE that serves the unhoused community in Denver. Steve lives in Golden, CO with his wife, two kids, and a yellow lab. He loves to play Ultimate frisbee, mountain bike, complete LEGO builds, and plays guitar in a band. Connect with Steve: steve@rellafit.com


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Humble Hustle: Lessons in Leadership and Life with Amanda Robinson

Amanda Robinson Description: The episode begins with Amanda sharing her journey into education, emphasizing the importance of connecting classroom learning to real-life applications and nurturing relationships with students. Andy commends her for deeply caring for students and raised the question of how to manage the delicate balance between caring for students and setting boundaries. Amanda delves into the importance of establishing a culture of respect in the classroom and the essential qualities of trust and humility in leadership. The two siblings engage in a conversation about the essential lessons of humility and preparation in leadership and teaching, drawing from personal experiences to highlight the impact of these qualities. Amanda shares her admiration for three leaders she looks up to and tries to emulate: Jesus, her father, and her husband Dave. Andy Bennetts then asks about her most impactful learning experience in the last year, prompting a detailed explanation of the implementation of Responsibility Centered Discipline in their school. The episode wraps up with a conversation about empowering learning for future generations, with a focus on the impact of social media and the need to teach kids to use technology wisely. Bio: I’m Amanda Robinson. I’m a wife, mom, and grandma! My husband and I are both in education and I love having him completely understand the unique challenges of that! We have three kids in their 20’s and the littlest love of our lives is our grandbaby! My faith is the most important thing in my life, and I see my family as my most important “job”. But I also have been blessed to find great joy and purpose in my day job. I have been a teacher for 12 years now. 10 of those have been at the middle school level. I’m one of the crazy people that loves that age! (Most days!) My degree is in biology, so I have taught mostly science but after I got my masters in curriculum and instruction, I was given the privilege of creating a health class that I have taught for the past four years! And this is where I have found my true teaching passion and I feel so grateful for the job I have! I also spend time planning and leading national and international missions’ trips which is such an honor and something else I just love to do!


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Humility, Resilience, and the Art of Giving Back – 10 Life Lessons with Shayne Mims

Shayne Mims Description: Shayne and Andy engage in personal conversations about their life journeys, musical history, and experiences with setbacks and resilience. The conversation emphasizes the importance of humility, continuous learning, and personal growth in navigating life's challenges and serving others. Shayne shares his experiences of facing setbacks, including a back injury during college and the challenges of pursuing a career in performing arts. The two old friends explore the delicate balance between confidence and humility, highlighting the need to constantly ask oneself, "Who am I doing this for?" and the impact of personal growth on serving and inspiring others. Overall, the episode emphasizes the importance of humility, continuous learning, and personal growth in navigating life's challenges and serving others. Bio: Shayne Mims, originally from Dallas, TX has managed to live coast to coast and many places in between over the last 15+ years as a professional actor. He completed his undergraduate degree from Adams State University in Colorado and is also a proud graduate of the Integrated Musical Theatre Program from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. After graduation from AMDA, Shayne lived in NYC for 5 years working in all mediums from regional theatre, summer stock, off Broadway, films, television, and a national tour (Professor Bhaer in Little Women) which was a personal highlight. After spending a year in TN and 2 years in Branson, MO on acting contracts, he landed in southern California where he continued to work in film, television, and theatre. He spent multiple summers as a cast member at The Moonlight Stage in San Diego. Shayne did improv with Finest City Improv in San Diego and was fortunate to study with some of the great acting teachers in Los Angeles: Anthony Meindl, Lesly Kahn, Stuart Rogers and even attended a masterclass with Eric Morris. Always feeling a burning desire to teach and share the information that he has absorbed from many years in the business, Shayne completed his M.F.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University. On paper, his area of expertise may be Musical Theatre, however he is fascinated and always studying the craft of acting, voice production (both as a speaker and singer), dialects, screenwriting and directing. Shayne has a passion for seeing people become the best version of themselves while also becoming excellent at their craft. His pedagogy is derived from the study of classic acting teachers such as Stanislavsky, Meisner and Uta Hagen while incorporating modern techniques from his teachers in Los Angeles. He is grateful for the mentorship of Adrian Alita, Hank Stratton, Robert Meffe, and Stephen Brotebeck for helping shape him as an educator.


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Education & Empathy: A Heartfelt Journey with Tommi Sue Cox

Tommi Sue Cox Summary: Join host Andy Bennetts with his special guest Tommi Sue Cox for a lighthearted and reflective conversation about their experiences in education and leadership. They discussed their backgrounds, challenges, and successes in Title I schools, emphasizing the need for qualified teachers and resources for students in high-poverty areas. They also highlighted the importance of diversity and arts education in public schools, sharing personal anecdotes and insights. The conversation touched on the transformative power of early arts education and the impact of programs like Book Trust in promoting reading habits and empowerment among students. The old friends also discussed the impact of technology on learning. This episode serves as a warm and friendly exchange between two educators with a shared passion for promoting education and supporting students in need. They shared personal stories and insights, highlighting the challenges and successes of their professional journeys. The conversation underscored the importance of compassion, empathy, and a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds in the education system. Bio: Tommi Sue Cox holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Evangel University and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She has served as a public school educator for 33 years. Tommi Sue has worked in Title I schools throughout her career. She retired in 2023 after serving for 21 years as Principal at Laurel Elementary School of Arts and Technology which is a PreK - 5th grade neighborhood public school in Fort Collins, Colorado. She is an advocate for public education and believes in the value of students learning alongside peers with diverse backgrounds. Serving as a Poudre School District leader in Northern Colorado, Mrs. Cox has served on boards whose missions align with her core values of providing equitable educational experiences for all children. She has partnered with organizations such as the North Fort Collins Business Association, Matthew's House, Book Trust, and Project Smile and Vision. She is a founding board member of United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos which supports affordable, sustainable housing and promotes a sense of community and ownership. She also currently serves on the Regional Advisory Board of Book Trust, a national early literacy 501(c)3 organization founded twenty years ago with the mission to provide all children equitable access to books of choice in order to promote reading motivation, engagement and a lifelong love of learning. Links: https://booktrust.org/


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Dani Goeppert Risen: Unlocking the Power of Events

Dani Goeppert Summary: Dani speaks on her background, including her Canadian roots, life in Europe, and her journey as the CEO and founder of Risen Events. The conversation sets the stage for an engaging and informative podcast interview. Andy and Dani engage in a detailed exploration of virtual events and their variations. Dani emphasizes the significance of monetization and audience engagement in successful virtual events, particularly in the context of lead-generating summits. They highlight the accessibility and cost-effectiveness of virtual events, noting the ability to reach a wider audience and pivot quickly when needed. At the same time, they recognize the irreplaceable value of in-person interactions and the unique experiences they offer. Their conversation underscores the importance of considering both types of events in the future, envisioning a hybrid model that leverages the strengths of each. Dani recounts her journey in marketing and copywriting to creating her first successful virtual event, the Courageous Mama Summit, which garnered over a thousand registrations and marked a significant achievement in her business. This success prompted her to transition from designing educational products to focusing on event planning for entrepreneurs, leading to the establishment of Risen Events. Her story highlights the transformative power of events in business and her passion for helping entrepreneurs utilize events as a strategic tool. Dani ends the discussion by sharing her profound learning experiences from 2023, highlighting a session by John Maxwell that focused on embracing failure as a transformative process. She also introduces the concept of "learning lunches," where individuals engage with those who excel in various areas to gain insights and expand their network. Furthermore, Dani emphasizes the importance of making learning a lifestyle, not confined to formal settings, and advocates for instilling a love for learning and curiosity in future generations. Bio: Dani Goeppert helps Christian women entrepreneurs market their businesses by creating their own stages utilizing fun, immersive virtual events with zero ad spend. She is on a mission to help them make more, so they can invest more - into their families, communities, relationships and projects and thus transform the nations. She is the founder and CEO of Risen Events. By leveraging the use of virtual events, and the power of relationship, she has helped thousands of women step out courageously into their calling as co-creators. She teaches and coaches others how to do the same using her Risen Audience Boom™ program. She is a wild, happy, mama of six, and married to the handsomest of German men. Originally from Canada, currently she resides with her family in Austria where they delight in looking at the Alps and cows and are joyfully serving God. Dani Goeppert believes it’s all about relationship. She helps agencies and scaling businesses use event led marketing by creating their own stages utilizing immersive virtual events with zero ad spend. She is on a mission to help them make more, so they can invest more - into their families, communities, relationships and projects and thus transform the nations. She is the founder and CEO of Risen Events. By leveraging the use of virtual events, and the power of relationship, Risen Events helps businesses get paid to generate thousands of leads, organically. On top of her virtual event agency, she teaches and coaches others how to do the same using her Risen Audience Boom Program™. She is a wild, happy, mama of six, and married to the handsomest of German men. Originally from Canada, currently she resides with her family in Austria where they delight in looking at the Alps and cows and are joyfully serving God. You can find her and some great resources...


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George Welsh: Visionary Superintendent – Empowering Rural Education

George Welsh Summary: George shares his personal and professional journey, highlighting his experiences as superintendent of schools in Center, Colorado, and his involvement in advocating for adequate funding in Colorado. He also discusses his current role at the Colorado Education Initiative and the Rural Superintendent’s Academy, which aims to provide well-prepared leaders for rural school systems in Colorado. George provides insights into the role of a superintendent in developing relationships and leading the board to excellence, emphasizing the importance of engaging the community, resource management, and planning for leadership transitions within the school system. Andy and George also discuss the impact of the BEST program on their communities, detailing the financial constraints they faced before the program and how it facilitates the funding of new school buildings. They highlight the challenges of passing measures for mill levy increases and bond approvals, underscoring the program's role in partnering with local funds to overcome these obstacles. The conversation reflects on the widespread influence of the BEST program across Colorado and the transformative effect it has had on building projects in various districts. The episode also delves into the complexities of education leadership, shedding light on the common misconceptions and challenges faced by superintendents. Andy and George emphasize the importance of consensus-building and teamwork at this level, debunking the notion that superintendents have unilateral decision-making power. Additionally, they reflect on the impact of admired leaders, with George sharing a personal anecdote about his influential baseball coach. The conversation also dives into the significance of relevant learning in empowering future generations, highlighting the need to connect education to real-world applications and career paths, particularly through programs like Career and Technical Education (CTE) and industry certifications. Bio: George Welsh is a 28-year Colorado resident with a BA in Secondary Education and an MA in Education Leadership. He's in the midst of a 38-year career in public education serving at all levels from classroom teacher to principal, central office administrator, and even 25 years as a Superintendent of Schools. He is currently a PERA retiree but allocates time to the Colorado Education Initiative as a Senior Partner, the Colorado School Finance Project as a Field Representative, the Canon City School District as Coordinator of Special Projects, as a board member of Colorado's Capital Construction (BEST) Board, and as a Trustee for the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. Links: CEI: https://www.coloradoedinitiative.org/ RSA: https://www.coloradoedinitiative.org/projects/rural-superintendent-academy/ The Colorado School Finance Protect: https://cosfp.org/#gsc.tab=0 Colorado's Building Excellent Schools Today program: https://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/best Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind: https://csdb.colorado.gov/


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A Rebel’s Faith: From Abuse to Empowerment with Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews

Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews Description: Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews discusses her challenging upbringing, her resilience, and her journey to becoming an ordained chaplain in Nevada. She also shares her experiences with institutional abuse in healthcare, religious organizations, and academia, and the impact of her faith as a source of strength. Kelsey emphasizes the importance of servant leadership in addressing unethical behavior and the need for accountability. The two dive into Kelsey’s recent TEDx talk titled “Servant’s First,” where Kelsey challenges institutions, making people come face to face with tough truths! She also discusses her new consulting firm, Phoenix Rising Coaching and Consulting, which aims to support women who have experienced abuse and trauma. Kelsey passionately describes her decision to enroll in the Maxwell Leadership Program, highlighting the wealth of knowledge and benefits it offers. Kelsey candidly shares her experiences with institutional abuse and the challenges of speaking out against it. She emphasizes the need for individuals to fearlessly address corruption within institutions and encourages others to adopt a similar bold stance. Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews discusses her role as an ordained chaplain in Nevada and her experiences working with the Chaplaincy Nevada. She highlights the impact of her work as a spiritual first responder and her contribution to a bestselling book titled "Grace Is." Matthews also shares her deeply personal experiences, including the loss of her mother and the challenges she faced with institutional abuse. Bio: Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews is a 25-year-old first-generation college graduate, Truman Scholar, mental health professional, best-selling author, advocate, public speaker, ordained chaplain, and four-time pageant titleholder across Connecticut and Nevada. Born just three pounds and addicted to cocaine, Kelsey was raised in East Haven, Connecticut. She moved to Las Vegas by herself at 18 years old to establish Nevada residency and put herself through college. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Social Work degree from her dream school, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Class of 2023. Professionally, she worked as a rehabilitative mental health provider before going on to spend many years in the non-profit sector, specializing in community engagement and program management. Her areas of focus have included mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse, advocating passionately to bring awareness to the drug and opioid crisis that took her mother's life in 2016. Kelsey has a heart for survivors of emotional and verbal abuse, especially at institutional levels. After being raised in a psychological war zone due to familial narcissistic abuse, she went on to experience similar cycles of abuse at the hands of professionals and institutions three separate times in her adulthood. This has since prompted her newfound passion for leadership and her desire to be an advocate for others who have been harmed at the hands of institutions that they trusted. Kelsey is the Founder and CEO of Phoenix Rising Coaching and Consulting, LLC. In addition to launching a podcast, publishing books, and motivational speaking, she aspires to coach women who are recovering from trauma, abuse, and or neglect by helping them master their mindsets and find beauty amidst the ashes of their pain as they transform from victim to victor and unleash the phoenix within them that is waiting to rise. In the future, Kelsey also plans to begin providing coaching, consulting, and training to leaders in all spheres of influence. She hopes to one day create her own training program based on her TEDx talk, Servants First, which will focus specifically on professionals and institutional leaders. Connect with...


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LTC Barrow – Forging the Leaders of Tomorrow: JROTC's Impact

LTC Robert F. Barrow Description: LTC (Ret) Robert Barrow and Andy Bennetts discussed various aspects of the JROTC program, including its expansion to include a middle school component, its commitment to STEM education and workforce development, and its impact on students' lives. They also touched on the challenges faced by students today and the role of JROTC in providing stability and reinforcing democratic principles. The speakers emphasized the importance of recognizing alternative paths to success beyond a four-year degree and criticized universities for not providing proper guidance on student loans. The conversation also delved into the impact of career tech education and the pivot towards STEM and robotics programs in JROTC, emphasizing the importance of remaining relevant to school districts and the influence of mentors in driving these changes. Additionally, they discussed the implementation of LOTC programs in Mobile County middle schools and the impact it has had, highlighting the role of Dr. Latisha Brackens in the initiative. LTC (Ret) Robert Barrow provided an in-depth overview of the expansion of the JROTC STEM Leadership Academy in Texas, emphasizing the significance of sustained funding and support for the program's long-term success. The episode concluded with a conversation about the importance of preserving American values and the potential repercussions if they are not upheld. Barrow and Bennetts emphasized the need to acknowledge the imperfections of the country's history while striving for progress, emphasizing the potential consequences of neglecting core values. They expressed mutual appreciation and anticipation of future interactions. Bio: ROBERT FRANKLIN BARROW Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Director of Army Instruction Mobile County Public School System - Junior Reserve Officer Training Program Mobile, Alabama Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1958 and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lieutenant Colonel Barrow graduated from Shaw High School in 1975 and the University of South Alabama in 1979. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Air Defense Artillery. Lieutenant Colonel Barrow earned a Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1984. In addition, he completed a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Spring Hill College in 2008. He also completed a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree in 2011 from Grand Canyon University. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Armed Forces Staff College Joint and Combined Staff Officer School. Over the course of his career, Lieutenant Colonel Barrow’s tours of duty have included command and operations assignments in various commands. His duty assignments include the 32d Army Air Defense Command in the Federal Republic of Germany, the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Barrow retired from the Army on 1 January 2002 and immediately assumed duties as the Senior Army Instructor for the Junior ROTC program at LeFlore High School in Mobile, Alabama. After teaching in the classroom for eleven years, he was selected for his current position as the Director of Army Instruction responsible for supervising all JROTC programs in the Mobile County Public School System. Decorations awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Barrow include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal w/3 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (w/3 OLC), Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (w/4 OLC), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, National Defense Service Medal (w/Service Star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2 tours),...


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Edu-Ventures: Leading, Learning, and Innovating with Dr. Scott Cooper

Dr. Scott Cooper Summary: Scott Cooper and Andy Bennetts discuss various topics related to education and leadership. They talk about the financial aspects of college education and career choices for their children, reflecting on their own experiences and the factors that influenced their decisions to pursue leadership roles. They also discuss innovative initiatives in education, such as live streaming teachers and the integration of artificial intelligence, aiming to enhance student learning and reduce the workload for educators. Scott discusses the breakdown of his responsibilities across different projects and the relevance of each project to his role as the newly minted Director of Innovation. The two also reminisce about their past and discuss potential guests for the podcast, emphasizing the importance of hiring good people and giving them autonomy to excel in their roles. Scott Cooper provides a detailed account of his extensive educational journey, highlighting his transition to a Special Ed coordinator role and the impact of the pandemic on his career. He also discusses his current position as a career technical education coordinator and the growth of the program over the last three and a half years, emphasizing the evolution of his career within the field of education. Scott and Andy also talk about their varied experiences in different educational environments, highlighting the shared dedication of educators to support and care for students across diverse settings. The conversation also touches upon various educational initiatives, such as the EPIC program, which aims to address the needs of students who do not pursue traditional higher education, and the CC Live pilot project, which aims to address the challenges of providing high-quality education to rural high schools in Colorado through synchronous online learning. Finally, Andy and Scott converse about the transformative impact of CC Live and AI on their enthusiasm for learning, emphasizing the significance of creating positive opportunities and empowering educators to share valuable learning strategies with their colleagues. Bio: I have more than two decades of extensive educational experience including classroom teacher, special education teacher, dean of students, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. My wide range of educational leadership experience from teaching in a two-room schoolhouse 45 min from the nearest town to leading the largest school district on the Western Slope of Colorado have provided me with a vast perspective and depth of knowledge that has loaded my tool belt with countless strategies to overcome the many challenges in education. These career experiences have required me to collaborate effectively with teachers and school leaders to create positive, engaging learning opportunities for all students. My work is to continuously improve the education that we offer to our children through better instruction, use of data, communication, and creating safe schools. These career experiences have required me to collaborate effectively with community members, parents, contractors, city leaders, media outlets, school leaders, teachers, and students to create positive outcomes for everyone. My educational background includes multiple decades of learning experiences including degrees from; Utah State University, Logan, UT 1999, B.A.; Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 2004, M.A., and Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL 2014, Ed.D. In addition, I have achieved and maintained Colorado education licenses for Administration, K-12 Principal, and CTE Director. I am continuing to learn innovative ways to produce and provide engaging CTE pathways for students and retooling career opportunities for adults. We at the Colorado River BOCES are engaged in reshaping the future of education by researching, preparing, implementing, and supporting innovative, engaging learning experiences that will transform the...


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Empowered Learning - Episodes 1-10 Recap

Check out this quick 1-min video looking back at the first 10 episodes of the Empowered Learning Podcast AND to see a sneak peak of some of the incredible guests in the queue! Thank you for your support!


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Thriving Conversations with Dale Yim: The Path to Impact and Fulfillment

Dale Yim Andy and Dale discuss a range of topics, including the significance of emotional intelligence and the need for men to expand their emotional spectrum. The two explore the role of a coach in fostering better conversations and guiding individuals towards their desired outcomes. The conversation also touches on the societal impact of emotional intelligence, with a focus on reducing frustration, road rage, and other negative behaviors. Additionally, they discuss the importance of encouraging and empowering transformational conversations, particularly for men, and the potential impact on societal issues such as mass shootings. Dale shares his eclectic professional journey, spanning from engineering to theatre, hospitality, and a 12-year stint in the restaurant industry. He opens up about his personal struggles and the pivotal moments that led him to pursue a career as a life coach and financial professional. The episode touches on the challenges and unexpected turns in Dale's life, highlighting his resilience and ultimate transition to a fulfilling career path aligned with his passions. Dale and Andy also engage in a deep conversation about the interplay of mindset and generational differences, emphasizing the contrast between scarcity and abundance mindset and its influence on decision-making and relationships. They explore the complexities of cultural disparities, language barriers, and age gaps, highlighting the challenges of navigating these differences in a business context. They discuss the significance of conversations about money and the value of impact and meaningful interactions, ultimately questioning the true importance of financial gain in comparison to the lasting impact and meaningful connections. They also discuss the profound influence of inspirational teachers in their lives and the enduring impact of these teachers and the lasting lessons they imparted. The discussion underscores the significance of educators who demonstrate genuine care and curiosity about their students' lives, emphasizing the need to honor and understand the unique stories and challenges of individuals. The conversation concludes with Dale reflecting on the multitude of life lessons he would like to pass on to others. Overall, this episode highlights the importance of making a positive impact on others and empowering them to thrive. Bio: Dale is an entrepreneur with professional experiences that span various industries: theatre, education, construction, film, hospitality, culinary arts and insurance. He is an actor, a life coach, and a financial professional based out of Toronto. Aside from his devotion to his wife and two young humans, his main obsession is on encouraging and empowering transformational conversations. Connect with Dale: resonating.lifereson8inglife@gmail.com