3 education podcasts you’ll want to check out
February 5, 2024
After a busy day leading schools, you have 30 minutes to yourself — maybe on your commute home or during a walk after dinner. What are you going to listen to? Try these three podcasts created by ACSA members.
Principals of Success
Host: Shana Henry
Website: www.principalsofsuccess.com
Intended audience: Current and aspiring female school leaders on a mission to create schools of excellence.
Inspiration: During COVID, Henry participated in an online book study of “Leading While Female,” which shared statistics on the percentage of female superintendents (24 percent) and the percentage of superintendents who are women of color (6 percent). “The data was troubling to me,” said Henry, director of Secondary Education in the Elk Grove Unified School District. “At the same time, I was in a reflective state about my own professional work. I knew there were incredible female educational leaders across the country doing exceptional work, and I wanted to help amplify their voice and story.” Henry launched the podcast in 2020 with a goal of having 80 percent of the guests be female leaders of color.
Number of episodes: 74
Sample guests: Beth Houf, Alice Lee, Amber Andrade, Taiisha Swinton-Buck, Kip Glazer, and Stacie Stanley, Trudy Arriaga and Delores B. Lindsey (authors of “Leading While Female”)
ACSA moment: Henry enjoys sharing space with fellow ACSA female leaders on the show. “I had the pleasure to feature several, and we share the love of ACSA, so that’s always fun,” she said.
Recurring feature: “Fast 5” — each episode wraps with guests answering five questions about their favorite leadership book, app, Amazon find for work, song to get them in a good mood and tip they would tell their first-year principal self.
Finding guests: Henry combs through her virtual PLNs, social media and the news to finding inspiring female leaders in education. “I will say that finding guests is much easier than actually connecting,” she says. “Schools have such powerful firewalls that invitations by email often get blocked.”
News: The podcast went on hiatus in March 2023 but is back in February 2024 with a refresh, including some special episodes to deepen leadership and life skills.
What you’ll leave with: “I want listeners to be inspired and connected,” Henry said. “Leadership is hard and can be isolating. Making connections allows us to feel part of a bigger community. I’ve always believed we have more in common than not. When we have a chance to hear others’ stories, we have opportunities to make those connection points, and you can’t help but want that person to succeed.”
The Ed Branding Podcast
Hosts: Renae Bryant and Lynette White
Available on:
Buzzsprout Apple
Intended audience: Classified employees, teachers, administrators, superintendents, board members, colleges/universities, families and community partners who “want to embrace branding for the power of connection and amplification it has,” according to the show’s “about” section.
Sample guests: Stephen M.R. Covey, Terrence Davis, Don Austin, Dave Burgess, Jerry Almendarez, Zandra Jo Galván, Michael Fullan, Talisa Sullivan and Lainie Rowell
Inspiration: Shortly after Bryant and White signed a deal to publish a book, Bryant was a guest on Adam Welcome’s podcast called The School District. Welcome suggested that they start a podcast as a runway to the book release. White and Bryant took his advice to: “Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Just start.” “Now with over 30 episodes ... we have a definite rhythm with each other and the guests,” says Bryant, director of plurilingual services with Anaheim Union High School District. (The Ed Branding book published by Dave Burgess Consulting will be available in February 2024.)
Behind the scenes: Episodes are recorded on Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Bryant writes the questions and provides the Zoom platform for recording. White edits the episodes and uploads them. Bryant also posts the edited videos on The Ed Branding Podcast YouTube Channel.
First question: Each guest is asked to describe their brand.
Favorite moment: “I’d say my favorite moment is recurring — every time I get the notification that someone new has booked themselves to be on the podcast, I have to pinch myself,” says White, district and community relations coordinator for Banning Unified School District. “I’m thrilled with each guest for different reasons and have learned so much just recording these conversations.”
What you’ll leave with: “I hope people leave inspired, motivated and empowered to own their brand, the narrative and greater leadership skills,” Bryant says. “I hope people see the connection between the power of storytelling (branding), leadership and its importance for strengthening public education and our democracy. I also hope that people are inspired by our story to ‘throw spaghetti against the wall.’”
AUHSD Future Talks
Host: Michael Matsuda
Available on:
Inspiration: “I felt the podcast would be an effective way to communicate with a larger audience and would also allow time to go deeper with issues affecting life for Gen Zers,” said Matsuda, superintendent of Anaheim Union High School District. “I believe that K-12 education as it currently exists is not adequately preparing students to thrive and meet the imposing and disruptive challenges my generation has left for them to deal with. Most K-12 systems are aligned to an outdated model focused on test prep that has arguably failed in developing adults who have healthy grounding in who they are and their place in the world as responsible, contributing, and caring citizens.”
Number of episodes: 99
Audience: With guests from the world of education, business, military, environment and health care, the audience has grown to beyond just stakeholders in AUHSD.
Student voices: Matsuda says some of his favorite episodes feature students. “I love interviewing students and getting their perspective on the world,” he said. “Students are honest with few filters and have spoken about George Floyd, COVID, democracy, the need for student voice and agency, AI challenges, and so many other vital issues.”
Finding guests: The district’s work as a California Community School Demonstration site and collaborations with national groups (NEA and AASA), universities (UC Irvine, UCLA, Stanford, MIT) and foundations (Stuart, Carnegie, Chan Zuckerberg) have led to booking many guests on the show. “We have been fortunate to meet a lot of interesting and impactful people,” Matsuda said. “They in turn are interested in the work we have done at AUHSD, so interviewing them is an extension of relationship building.”
Sample guests: Noam Chomsky, Bruno Serato, Art Bilger, Sylvia Mendez and Gen. Mike Siegl
What you’ll leave with: Matsuda hopes listeners will find new ideas and pathways forward for our institutions. “Too many young people are losing faith in institutions and societal ‘covenants’ that worked for millions of Americans in achieving the American dream. Gen Z knows that the dream is out of reach for most of them, yet most K-12 institutions continue to assume that the old way still functions,” he said. “I hope that in a small way, we can create more spaces to have discussions about these vital issues and learn how we might transform our systems for the better.”
What podcasts are you listening to?
Tell us which podcasts inspire and inform you as an education leader. Include a line or two about why you listen and your response may be featured in an upcoming article. E-mail mcarl@acsa.org.