pondering education, podcast, education, edupodcast, edutwitter

New Year, New Idea

This year was something else. Back in January, I decided that I wanted to launch a podcast. The mission was to help facilitate meaningful discourse regarding the myriad of issues plaguing our education system. After weeks of planning, I launched Pondering Education in February. Being a natural introvert, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull this off. I was about to go way, way out of my comfort zone.

As I look back on the year, I’m still in awe of how far the project has grown. But I know the reason for the show’s success does not lie with me. The truth? I’ve grown as an educator and podcast host because of some amazing folx on Twitter.

As the show has grown, I’ve been able to connect with some of the most brilliant minds in education. Our conversations have opened my eyes to both my strengths as an educator as well as the glaring areas most in need of immediate improvement.

Thank You for Making Me Better!

As we get ready to usher in a new year, I want to take a moment to thank each of the following educators for helping me along the way.

I know I still have a long way to go, but I would not have made as many strides as I have if not for these great people:


Val Brown

It’s hard to put into words just how important Val Brown’s #CleartheAir Twitter movement has been as it relates to my personal growth. She has poured her heart and soul into this movement and it shows each and every day. I encourage everyone, especially white educators, to join the #CleartheAir movements. We’ll be reading White Rage next. Check out the schedule and be there! Become an accomplice in the fight for social justice in education!

Manny Scott

I’ve never witnessed a keynote speech as powerful as the one Manny Scott delivered at the ASCD Empower18 Conference in Boston. I laughed and I cried. I left with a full heart and a desire to be the best educator I can be for the students in front of me. His book, Even on Your Worst Day, You Can Be a Student’s Best Hope, is a must read!

Jennifer Binis

Jennifer is a brilliant educator and edu-historian. Through her response to one my tweets earlier in the year (as well as our subsequent discussion), I began to understand the true nature of white fragility. She spoke to me with patience and understanding, allowing me to naturally land upon a truth I hadn’t been seeing. I’ve followed her on Twitter ever since and continue to be inspired by her thoughtful commentary on institutionalized racism and sexism within education. She also curates the ED History 101 Twitter account

Adam Welcome

Adam released his latest book, Run Like a Pirate, this year and it truly resonated with me. I had just started running on a regular basis, but I was considering stopping after a couple of setbacks. Thanks to Adam and his motivational words I’ll be back out running on a regular basis starting tomorrow!

Jose Luis Vilson

The JLV! Please read this phenomenal educator’s blog. It’s filled with tremendous insight. CLICK HERE to check out his site. I recently purchased one of the shirts on his site and rock it at school. He’s exactly the teacher I hope that my children work with as they go through the public school system. 

Amy Fast

Undeniably passionate. Unapologetically honest. Dr. Fast is a disruptor in every sense of the word. Her book, It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates, is a phenomenal reminder of our purpose as educators. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE. 

Ms. Jachymiak#newteacherjourney, New Teacher, Education 

A frequent guest on the Pondering Education podcast, Susan has given me hope. Hope for the future of education. She is a young woman who’s determined to make a powerful difference in the lives of all students. She’s self-reflective, admits her areas in need of improvement, and works tirelessly to improve upon her craft. Teaching is certainly her calling, and it’s been an honor to follow along in her journey.

Ryan McHale, Tom Murray, Learning Transformed, #LT8Keys, MassCUE18, #MassCUE18Tom Murray

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Murray on a couple of occasions in 2018. Each time, I’ve left our conversation feeling motivated. He’s someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. He understands the need to integrate technology in education, but he understands the need to do so in a manner that’ll work for students. He understands the inequities that exists in education and strives to address such issues within his presentations. CLICK HERE to purchase Learning Transformed.

Olivia Gatwood

Olivia is just an awesome human being. She was the third guest to ever join the Pondering Education podcast. I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as I was during that interview. I’ve long admired her work as a poet (CLICK HERE to purchase New American Best Friend), educator, feminist, and Title IX advocate. I’ve included a number of her pieces in my poetry unit, and my 8th grade students are absolutely floored by her work.

Melissa Rathmann

As founder of the #CelebratED weekly chat/movement, Melissa is a beacon of light on a social media platform that can, at times, be filled with overwhelming negative energy. She sees the good in every single person. I can only imagine the impact that such a beautiful soul has on the students and faculty of her school, district, and community as a whole.

Clint Smith

His book of poems, Counting Descent, is a fixture in my 8th grade ELA classroom. His TED Talks are frequently shown in class. He asks us to consider our past to help understand the present so we may make a better future.

Joe Dombrowski


Although most know Mr. D. from his multiple appearances on The Ellen Show, Joe is, first and foremost, an incredibly passionate educator, a relentless believer in his motto, “Embrace Your Weird,” and a staunch advocate for LGBTQIA students.


This list names just a dozen of educators who have helped my grow in 2018. However, there are countless others. Please know that I think so highly of all of the educators I consistently collaborate with on social media. You’re all special human beings who are putting in so much for the good of our future. I appreciate all of you!

Let’s Make 2019 Unforgettable

I know 2018 was a roller-coaster of a year for so many of us. I sincerely hope that 2019 brings us all much joy. But, good things don’t just happen. We have to work to make them happen. So, enjoy tonight. Celebrate with friends and family. And tomorrow? Let’s get to work.

Wishing you all the very best,