About the Author
Passionate and curious about technology, smiles, special education, differentiated instruction, forests, graphic novels, accessibility, anti-oppression, and warm beverages. Can often be found laughing with young people and improvising songs on the spot. @teach_tomorrow

11. CIS Ontario Women’s Network with Allison Macrae

What would you create in education if you actually had the time to think, plan, and design something meaningful? Today I talk to the incredible Allison Macrae who helped to start the CIS Ontario Women’s Networking Event with Deirdre Timusk and Tina Jagdeo.


I am so excited to confirm that the date for the CIS Ontario Women’s Networking Event is set for Tuesday February 26th 2019, open to all CIS Ontario teachers.


I asked Allison on the podcast to talk about how she leveraged the Cohort 21 experience to create an action plan that had a big impact on her community of educators. I am always amazed by people who have a full home-life and take on big, exciting projects outside of their daily professional and family commitments. Allison is one of those people that you can’t help but feel inspired by listening to her. We talk about the process of starting her women’s networking event, but also the idea of leading from the middle, why you should hire a professional photographer at least once in your life, and the merits of creating an online presence for yourself as an educator. Allison is a gem of a human and I adored getting to talk and laugh with her, so let’s jump right in.

Some Relevant Resources:

Allison Macrae’s Cohort 21 Blog

The CIS Ontario Women’s Network event posting (from 2018…the 2019 info is not yet online)

Some positive press about the event from Upper Canada College


10. Sharing what can be possible with Patti MacDonald

What are the benefits of independent schools? Are they institutions set up to benefit their own families or could they also have a larger purpose in the greater educational landscape? This is just one of the questions Patti MacDonald and I pick apart in this episode.

Patti MacDonald was the first principal I ever worked under and I did not realize at the time how lucky I was to have her visionary leadership, deep understanding of equity and inclusion issues, and unique approach to education as a researcher. Since Patti has left The Bishop Strachan School to become the Executive Director of CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools), saying that she is missed at my school would be an understatement.

Even though we worked in the same building for many years, I don’t think I ever had the opportunity to just sit down and ask her whatever I wanted about education. As you will quickly find out from this conversation, Patti is a brilliant leader and we get right into what outstanding schools all have in common, how teachers can adopt her approach of teacher as researcher, and what role independent schools can play in the larger world of education. Also, Patti shares some of her advice for growing leadership and her answer both challenged and inspired me, so be sure to keep listening for that.

This show is a must for anyone who want to develop their leadership potential in education and really just have that kitchen conversation with a woman they admire. I am so excited for you to hear what we got into with our chat, so let’s jump right in! Click on the link and start listening.


9. The big picture of Ontario independent schools with Sarah Craig

How does one teacher move from being a Grade 3 teacher to the executive director for all independent schools in Ontario? Today I talk to Sarah Craig about this question and what she is getting excited about in schools today.

Sarah Craig’s title is the Executive Director for the Conference of Independent Schools in Ontario. While she helps teachers engage in meaningful professional learning and unite students through engaging festivals and friendly competition, Sarah Craig is also in the unique position to know many many schools well and look at the trends of what’s happening in the province .

If you already know Sarah, it will come as no surprise that she is an overwhelmingly positive, supportive, and dynamic leader in the world of education. When I approached her about this podcast project, she responded with resounding excitement and essentially just said “what do you need?” Sarah through CIS Ontario is one of the main reasons why the podcast exists, so it is an honour and treat to get to include her voice on the show.

In this conversation, we touch on wellness, student empowerment, what meaningful professional development looks like, and dish on some highlights of what’s happening in a few member schools…will your school get a shout out? Click on the link to find out!



8. Teaching Mindfulness with Matt Badali

You likely already know that helping your students grow into resilient adults is of the utmost importance, but is mindfulness the way?

I know Matt as a fellow teacher with me at The Bishop Strachan School, but I knew I had to interview him for this podcast when I heard through our school’s grapevine about the mindfulness practice he does with his grade 2 students. Ya. You heard right. Matt teaches people as young as 7 and 8 how to pay attention to their breath, develop emotional intelligence, and “unruffle their feathers”…all while also teaching them things like, oh you know, math and science and literacy. No biggie.

I so enjoyed my chat with Matt and felt so inspired to just start, literally tomorrow, with some of these very ancient and very accessible practices that ANYONE can do.

I had some minor microphone challenges with this episode and so you can hear Matt perfectly, but my voice is a little harder to hear. I thought the content was good enough to make up for this issue and I think you will  agree.

Without any further adieu, click on the link above to get listening to my conversation with Matt Badali.   

7. The Teacher Side-Hussle with Derek Doucet

What happens when your child steals your phone and starts talking to Siri in French? You won’t believe the business that blossoms from this moment in Derek Doucet’s life.

Derek Doucet is the new Program Area Leader for Communications at Lakefield College just outside of Peterborough. For many years he was a facilitator with Cohort 21 and he recently went through the Google Innovator program where he has been developing a tool that has the power to transform how young people learn language. Derek’s idea got picked up by the Innovation Cluster, which basically means that he will be getting training, support, and mentorship to take his idea from the page to the stage where he can turn this into a viable business.

This is an awesome episode to listen to if you are curious about what the Google Innovator program is all about or if you are like me and often think about side-hussles that you could take on outside of teaching. Derek is living the dream!

This episode is not sponsored by Google, it is legitimately a conversation between two people about a program that helps teachers design solutions to their problems. Obviously this is just one of the many excellent learning experiences out there for teachers, so if you want me to share your transformative PD experience, reach out to me on Twitter @teach_tomorrow and who knows, you just might find yourself on the show!

Derek describes himself as 99% extrovert and I know you will love his positive energy and optimistic outlook.

While I am definitely sad that I won’t see Derek 4 times a year in my role with Cohort 21, I am not speaking a word of hyperbole when I said that I’m excited for him to make his first million and say that I knew him when.

Teachers, what are your side hustles? I am endlessly fascinated by the things that teachers do outside of the classroom to keep them curious and engaged in the world. Tweet me your side hustle stories at @teach_tomorrow or email me a voice memo at [email protected] and it just might get played on the show.


6. Everyday wellness for teachers with Justine Cappel

How can we as teachers bring our summer way of being into every single day of our life at school? I invited my coach, Justine Cappel, onto the show today to talk about just that. 

Justine is a certified personal trainer, level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach, pre / post natal fitness specialist, and the owner of Twenty Toes fitness.

While she focuses on working with women, her philosophy of navigating the middle ground of health and wellness I see as so applicable to teachers, regardless of their gender.

We sat down in my living room in the summer to talk about finding wellness in the daily grind of teaching, what teachers can do right now to improve their wellness, and why accountability is such an important dial mover. Justine also shares with me the health term that I apparently coined, so be sure to stay listening for that one.

I think it will become pretty clear how much I adore Justine how transformative she has been on my own health and wellness journey and I am so excited to share her work with my teaching community.

If you have been listening to the previous episodes on the show, you will notice that I switched up my final ticket out the door question for Justine, seeing as she is not a classroom teacher. But what I loved about her response is that it exactly fits what I hope the future of learning will be: responsibility, accountability, support through the online world, and getting out of that one-size fits all paradigm.

Justine is up to some pretty awesome things. If her message about moderation, accountability, and “just a little bit better” resonated with you, I encourage you join her 365 Tribe

5. Educational Entrepreneurship with Garth Nichols

What do you teach? Most of us would likely answer this question with a subject or a grade level. But not Garth Nichols. His answer: I teach kids. 


Garth Nichols is the vice principal of student engagement and experiential development at Havergal College in Toronto Ontario. While he is initiating exciting opportunities to redefine learning by day with the students at his school, in his “off” time, Garth started from the ground up the innovative year-long professional development experience that is Cohort 21.


If you heard Justin Medved from episode 2, you likely have a solid primer of what Cohort 21 is all about. I was lucky enough to join this year-long professional development experience in its first iteration back in 2012. While this personalized learning model has grown over the years, it can best be described as four face-to-face sessions that help educators design their own action research projects in their schools to help address an emergent dilemma that they face. Garth will get into more about what the program looks like, but if you are curious, definitely check out the show notes for the link to the Cohort 21 main page.


Garth’s humour, zest for learning, and vision for education are what makes him a truly exceptional leader and a wonderful guest to talk with. So here is what we talked about around his dining room table:


A huge thank you to Garth for recording this episode not one, but two times. The first time we rolled tape, I played it back and realized the sound quality was less than ideal. His generosity and willingness to be patient with the learners around him is, I think, what makes Garth a really exceptional educator.


After you finish this show, keep your phone in your hand or open up your iTunes window and rate this podcast. It seems like a really insignificant action, but with podcasts we don’t have like buttons or a double tap heart feature. So giving this show a rating and leaving a quick review helps us know that we are reaching you, that you are moved by what you heard, and helps us grow as a podcast.


Related Resources:

4. The public purpose of independent schools with Danielle Passno

How can elite, historically privileged, and cost restrictive independent schools be used for the greater good of society? Today on our show Danielle Passno and I chew on this tasty thought morsel.  


Danielle Passno is the Head of The Middle School at The Browning School in New York City and was formerly the head of outreach and public purpose at The Spence School. She is an educator who, in her words, has a crazy high growth mindset, and never stops challenging herself to new levels of excellence. In our conversation, we talk about the potential that Independent Schools have to create a more fair and equitable world and her progressive vision for service learning in schools.


While Danielle will be the one running the school next year at Browning, she will also keep one foot in the world of teaching, so of course we talked about how she teaches with Mathematical Habits of Mind at the centre of her pedagogy and what she does to have students use math to change the way they see themselves as agents in their world.


It is rare to get to know someone with the level of passion and enthusiasm for teaching as Danielle, so I am so excited to have you get to know her a little more through this episode and adore her the way that I do. There are a boatload of show notes on this one, as Danielle names and lists a number of awesome articles, resources, and programs that you most certainly should check those out if something piqued your interest.

Discussed Resources:

3. Decentering whiteness in the English classroom with Meg Goldner Rabinowitz

How can English teachers move beyond merely diversifying their reading list and actually “decenter” whiteness in their pedagogy? Today on the show, Meg Goldner Rabinowitz joins me to talk about identity and literature. 

Meg Goldner Rabinowitz is an educator who works towards social justice in all she does. I invited her on the podcast today to share with you her work on changing the way we see teaching in the English classroom. This talk with Meg basically gave me the inspiration to rethink my first unit of Grade 8 English! She provides so many practical, concrete, and manageable ways to implement anti-oppressive practices in our teaching, so I am so thrilled to get to share her with you today. I know you are going to get so much out of this episode so I won’t take up any more airtime!

Related Resources:

Identity Framework

Social Identity Portrait

Social Identity Wheel

2: Changing the game for teacher learning with Justin Medved

How does one teacher and his fellow friend in education develop a PD model that completely changes the game for teacher learning? Today, I talk to Cohort 21 founder Justin Medved.

I met Justin in my first year with Cohort 21 as a bright, shiny new participant. I was just starting my 2nd year as a classroom teacher and I was full of questions and the feeling like everyone else knew what I was doing. Justin’s coach like leadership style made me instantly like him and allowed me to take risks in my teaching and go deeper in this practice. Justin is not only one of the Co-Founder of Cohort 21, but has also created Project 2051 and the Strategic Change Accelerator with Garth Nichols. In our conversation, we touch on his background, his secret to producing so many incredible learning experiences, how his teaching philosophy has shifted since starting Cohort 21, and what advice he has for people who are starting Cohort 21 this year.

I should probably just mention that while many people who are reading this today have likely heard a little something about Cohort 21, you might be thinking to yourself, what the heck is this? The abbreviated version is that Cohort 21 is a year long professional development experience that allows teachers to use design thinking to address dilemmas and challenges that they face through their year. Educators meet up 4 times a year, typically somewhere around Toronto, and throughout the rest of the year, we share our learning using various online tools. There is a link in the show notes for this episode, so if you need a little more of an explanation, definitely check out the Cohort 21 website and see what’s what.

Justin’s thoughtful leadership and intentionality never cease to inspire me. He joined me on his summer vacation in Collingwood, Ontario, so if you catch the sweet sound of birds in the background, now you know why.   


Related Resources:

Strategic Change Accelerator

Klingenstein Summer Institute

Camp Ochieagas

Grant Lichtman