Inside the Treehouse

Education Podcasts

Welcome to Inside the Treehouse, a podcast featuring Solution Tree CEO Jeff Jones. In each installment, Jeff will speak with some of the finest authors and professional development presenters in the field of education--on subjects including professional learning communities, response to intervention, assessment, instruction, and leadership. Subscribe to hear cutting-edge ideas presented as each new educational development happens. Inside the Treehouse is the place to be for educators to learn and grow professionally.


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Welcome to Inside the Treehouse, a podcast featuring Solution Tree CEO Jeff Jones. In each installment, Jeff will speak with some of the finest authors and professional development presenters in the field of education--on subjects including professional learning communities, response to intervention, assessment, instruction, and leadership. Subscribe to hear cutting-edge ideas presented as each new educational development happens. Inside the Treehouse is the place to be for educators to learn and grow professionally.






The PLC Hero’s Journey: A Conversation with Dr. Bob Eaker

Decades ago, educator Bob Eaker began communicating with his fellow teachers and realized there needed to be a mechanism for changing teachers in order to change schools. Collaborating with PLC at Work® originator Rick DuFour, Bob took the principles of the PLC into his own community–and from there, saw dramatic results. Listen in as Solution Tree CEO Jeff Jones sits down with Bob to discuss those early days of putting the PLC into practice, and how the passion for teaching that began all...


Meet the Family: A Conversation with Claudia Wheatley

Claudia Wheatley, author liaison and content specialist for Solution Tree, has experienced the life and culture of people everywhere from the inner city to the farms of Indiana. As a young teacher, Claudia learned the value of education, but was also willing to take risks to ensure student success went beyond just the subject matter. From there, she learned her talents lay in resource development. During her prestigious career at Solution Tree, Claudia has overseen the production of...


Urgency for Ideas, Patience with People: A Conversation with Tom Schimmer

Former teacher, school administrator, and district-level leader Tom Schimmer has always felt a drive to impact people—although not always as an educator. As a lifelong sports fan, he first dreamed of coaching. It was only after he began teaching that he developed a passion for the work and embarked on a career in education that has spanned more than 30 years and taken him to 19 different countries. Tune in to hear how Tom went from Boise State punter to one of the top experts in education....


An Unconventional Path to Success: A Conversation with William M. Ferriter

Deeply rooted in the culture of Buffalo, New York, William “Bill” M. Ferriter has always felt a need to share his passion for community with the students he teaches. As a young teacher, he took that passion to North Carolina, where he began his career with third-grade students. He then made his way through different grades before finally becoming an eighth-grade science teacher—a position he still holds today. A prolific writer and speaker, Bill is passionate about crafting compelling...


A Conversation with Jack Baldermann: Success is a Team Effort

From Illinois High School Principal of the Year to one of three National Principal of the Year finalists, Jack Baldermann has been a passionate educational leader for more than 30 years. Born and raised in Chicago, he learned the value of collaboration and hard work from a young age, lessons that he carries with him to this day as principal of Westmont High School and a Solution Tree PLC at Work® expert. Follow his journey from high school basketball benchwarmer to principal of one of the...


Season 2 - Welcome to the Treehouse

Solution Tree CEO Jeff Jones welcomes listeners to Season 2 of podcast interviews with some of the most gifted authors and presenters in the field of education.


A Conversation with Mike Mattos and Anthony Muhammad: Revisiting PLC at Work®

For both Mike Mattos and Anthony Muhammad, discovering the PLC at Work® process completely changed how they view education. Now, years later, they’re not just believers in its transformative power—they’re proud advocates whose new book, Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work®, is an essential read for any educator who is serious about PLCs. In this recorded Facebook Live chat, you’ll learn more about Mike and Anthony’s introduction to PLC at Work® process and how they’re...


A Conversation with Eric Twadell: From Floods and Fire to Winds to Change

To the education field, Eric Twadell is superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson District 125, which is often considered the birthplace of the PLC movement. But to the people closest to him, Eric is a proud husband and father, a former Boy Scout, an avid snow skier, and an enthusiastic Peloton user. Discover how an “average” student from Illinois became an education expert who brought change to one of the most recognized and celebrated schools in America. Hear fun and inspiring stories about...


A Conversation with Timothy D. Kanold: Early Life Struggles, Filling Big Shoes, and Finding Successes

Award-winning educator, celebrated author, and sought-after consultant Timothy D. Kanold is a national thought leader in mathematics. But it wasn't always a smooth, easy road to success. Listen as Dr. Kanold describes overcoming the challenges of his past, from struggling with school and homelessness as a child to dealing with poverty and isolation early in his teaching career. Discover how key mentors and family helped guide his life's path, including the challenge and privilege of filling...


A Conversation with Douglas Rife: Never Judging a Book By Its Cover

With 46 years in the publishing industry, Solution Tree Publisher Douglas Rife is no stranger to the book biz. Besides heading up our press efforts, he’s also President of Solution Tree International, an avid blogger, published author, and gravestone aficionado. Discover Mr. Rife’s fascinating story, including family tales, cemetery adventures, and how he’s seen the publishing game change over time. You can find educational books and other teaching resources by visiting the Solution Tree...


A Conversation with Dr. Tina Boogren: Putting Yourself First and Pelotons

When she isn’t writing books or coaching educators, you’ll most likely find Dr. Tina Boogren hitting the pavement, riding the Peloton, and prioritizing her own well-being. A long-time Solution Tree and Marzano Resources associate, Tina has spent her career serving others...uncovering her true passion for professional wellness along the way. Listen as this self-proclaimed “gold star junkie” shares her journey to becoming a self-care guru. From a shy girl in Cedar Rapids to burning the candle...


A Conversation with Dr. Luis Cruz: Leaving Behind Luigi for Luis

Captivating audiences everywhere with his charisma, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant speaker and educator than Dr. Luis Cruz. Teacher, principal, writer, presenter... Luis has donned many titles over the years, but none compare to the one he holds now: cultural champion. Embracing his Latino heritage and diverse upbringing, Luis has pursued his passion for equity, making it his mission to ensure students of color, low-income students, and particularly ELLs succeed. Listen to...


A Conversation with Shannon Ritz - From Pom-Poms to PD

Solution Tree’s Vice President of Professional Development Shannon Ritz has built herself quite the resume. With 20 years under her belt, Shannon’s tenure at the Tree rivals even that of CEO Jeff Jones. From coaching a national champion cheerleading team to growing Solution Tree’s PD from the ground up, Shannon is a phenomenal leader who helps educators make a difference daily. Tune in for an inside look at how Solution Tree’s PD works, how it’s changed over time, and where it’s headed next....


A Conversation with Cassandra Erkens - Happy Accidents and Assessments

From facilitating workshops to finding innovative solutions, Cassandra Erkens embodies a true teaching professional. When she’s not spending time with her three kids or finding local treasures from each city she visits, Erkens is working hard to reinvent the assessment wheel. As a founding member and leader of the Solution Tree Assessment Center, Cassie is all about leveraging testing as an inspirational tool to drive achievement. Discover her journey to becoming the crown jewel of...


A Conversation with Dr. Robert J. Marzano: Our Rockstar of Research

Dr. Robert J. Marzano, Cofounder and Chief Academic Officer of Marzano Resources, guides us through his life-long path to educational research and how his hard work, perseverance, and dedication to his career has influenced thousands of educators around the world. You’ll hear how Bob, a well-known “rockstar” in the field of education - with more than 50 years of experience, 50 books published, and more than 200 articles written - worked his way up to calling the shots on research, turning...


The Recipe for Success – A Conversation with Phil Warrick

Dr. Philip B. Warrick was named 2005 Nebraska State High School Principal of the Year, 2004 Nebraska Secondary School Principals Region One Principal of the Year, and 1998 Nebraska Outstanding New Principal of the Year and Nebraska Secondary School Principals Region One Assistant Principal of the Year, just to name a few of his professional accolades. In our newest episode, Phil talks about finding his path to school leadership after college, co-creating the High Reliability Schools concept...


RTI at Work That Works--A Conversation with Mike Mattos

Early in his teaching career, Mike Mattos had never even heard the term "professional learning community." Attendance at a Solution Tree PLC at Work Institute and a conversation with Richard DuFour changed all of that. Mike was inspired by the concept of collaboration. Beyond that, he saw an opportunity to help students who had fallen behind. In partnership with Austin Buffum, Mike developed the system that would come to be known as Response to Intervention at Work, solutions that address...


Life Through Many Lenses--A Conversation with Sharon Kramer

Author, educator, administrator, and professional development presenter Sharon V. Kramer is known nationwide as an expert in assessment, school reform, and professional learning communities. As host Jeff Jones discovered, Sharon was the first member of her family to graduate from high school, let alone college. Her pursuit of educational excellence--for herself and thousands of others--has earned her the respect and admiration of educators all over the country. Hear about her journey in this...


The Great Assist!--A Conversation with Brian Butler

Brian Butler has had an illustrious career as an educator--and he's still going strong. Faced with challenges in his own education as a child, he refused to be lost in the system. With the assistance of important people in his life, he rose to the top, becoming a professional basketball player and then a teacher, coach, and a school administrator. In 2016, he led Mason Crest Elementary School in Virginia to become Solution Tree's first DuFour Award-winning PLC. Read about Brian's journey...


Fulfillment Is the Key--A Conversation with Douglas Reeves

Dr. Douglas Reeves is an accomplished author, mentor, educator, and professional development presenter in the field of education. He's also helped guide many graduate students to complete their dissertation. In a sit-down conversation in his hometown of Boston, Doug talks with Jeff Jones about the path he's taken and what's led him to be such a voice of experience. Learn more about Douglas Reeves and his upcoming book, Deep Change Leadership, at the Solution Tree website.