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The Principal's Desk Podcast

The Principal's Desk Podcast

By David Franklin

The Principal's Desk podcast will address different educational issues from school leadership to instruction, school finance to equity, and everything in between.
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Episode #13 - Embracing A.I. to Empower Educational Excellence

The Principal's Desk Podcast Oct 02, 2023

Episode #13 - Embracing A.I. to Empower Educational Excellence

Episode #13 - Embracing A.I. to Empower Educational Excellence

AI is here to stay. Educators have the opportunity to either embrace this new frontier or to be fearful of it. In this episode, Dr. Sarah Levy discusses how to have conversations around AI in schools as well as how its use can help to create a culture of inquiry and experimentation.

Contact Sarah here -

Here are a couple of blogs for follow up reading:

Assessment in the World of AI

Getting Started with AI in Your Organization

Putting the AI into Your Educational Philosophy

Dr. Sarah Rubinson Levy has been involved in education since 2001 – working, teaching, consulting, and writing in the areas of supplemental, day school, adult, and experiential education. She holds an undergraduate degree in business and sociology and holds a Master of Jewish Education degree from Hebrew College, a doctorate in education from Northeastern University, and certificates in Advanced Jewish Studies, Day School Education, and Jewish Educational Leadership. Her areas of focus include progressive/student-centered education, integration of artificial intelligence into education, and teacher professional development and support. She considers herself a scholar-practitioner, drawing from research and data to create effective and joyful learning environments. Most recently, she was a founding head of school for Einstein Academy, a progressive private school in Denver, CO. She currently empowers excellence in education through her work with Sarah Rubinson Consulting and Contracting with an approach that integrates empathy and curiosity, working with each organization in a way that is both realistic and aspirational. She is a proud Colorado native and currently lives in Denver, CO with her four kids, dog, beta fish, and leopard gecko.

Oct 02, 202342:53
Episode #12 - Executive Functions and Learning
Aug 09, 202342:10
Episode #11 - Hiding in Plain Sight: Understanding Gifted and Talented Students

Episode #11 - Hiding in Plain Sight: Understanding Gifted and Talented Students

This week, we sit down with Mrs. Brianne Hudak, M. Ed., a sixteen-year veteran of education serving in public, private, and charter schools. She is a passionate advocate for the gifted, a certified gifted and talented educator, and supports gifted education through her professional memberships in the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC), the North Carolina Association of the Gifted and Talented (NCAGT), and the Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) serving as a state liaison.

In this episode, Brianne will walk us through how to define the term gifted and talented and how to accurately identify these learners. Then, she will go deeper and discuss how to unlock their genius by identifying twice-exceptional students and combating underachievement. Finally, she will guide us in using appropriate skills, tools, and resources to help gifted individuals reach their full potential.



  • The National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC)- plethora of content, books, articles, resources, links and publications on gifted learners and gifted education 
  • Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)- variety of materials focused on gifted individuals' social-emotional learning and development
  • Hoagies' Gifted Education Page- educational resources, support, and links for both educators and families
  • The Davidson Institute- shares scholarships, resources, and offers an insightful gifted community
  • State and local gifted associations/organizations
  • Dr. Joseph Renzulli- The Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness (Explains how giftedness is developed)
  • Dr. Sally Reis- The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Explains how to set up effective learning environments and programming for the gifted and talented)
  • Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska provides content, curriculum, and best practices for gifted learners

Gifted Research:Easy-Read Book:

  • Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds by Jan and Bob Davidson

Professional Development:

Mrs. Brianne Hudak, M. Ed.- Certified Educational Consultant and passionate advocate for the gifted and talented;

Jul 30, 202340:43
Episode #10 - Making The Intangible, Tangible
Jul 23, 202331:05
Episode #9 - Mental Health Programming for Students and Staff

Episode #9 - Mental Health Programming for Students and Staff

In this episode, we talk to Gerrett Spears, high school principal of Burlington High School in Northwest Oklahoma. As a former D1 basketball coach, Gerrett understands the importance of mental health programming for players to be at their best. Gerrett walks listeners through how to implement mental health programming for the overall wellness of the school to ensure mentally healthy students and staff members.  

Gerrett Spears was raised in small town Oklahoma. He graduated high school in 2005.  Gerrett went to a junior college and played basketball.  Soon after he went to the University of Oklahoma continuing his education degree and working with the men's basketball team.  The next year he was given an opportunity to coach a junior college, during that time he finished his education degree at Pittsburg State University.   He then went on to be a graduate assistant at Wichita State University where he obtained his masters degree in sport administration.  Later he decided to move closer to home to teach and coach at the high school level.  After four years he went back to school and got his masters in Education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University to become certified as a principal.  Two years later, he took his first principal's job at Burlington Public School, where he is now.  He is married to Rachael, has two kids, Benaiah (age 5) and Asher (age 1).  His focus as a principal is to provide a well rounded education to all students, no matter the background or where they are now.  It is his belief to meet the students where they are and help them to become the best they can be!

Jan 29, 202340:41
Episode #8 - It's all about Mindset: How to Motivate and Build Trust with an Anxious Staff

Episode #8 - It's all about Mindset: How to Motivate and Build Trust with an Anxious Staff

Lynn Hardin is a Certified Life Coach who works with Educators who want to unwind anxiety and lead or teach with confidence and purpose.

She a retired principal who coached new administrators and lead three award winning elementary schools including America's Best Urban School 2019. She was honored with the  National Principal Certificate for Equity and Excellence from NCUST.

Lynn's top three skills for supporting teachers:   

1.  SHOW-UP- how to be visible, present, conspicuous, meet them where they are   

2.  SHARE YOUR HEART - how to listen to learn, connect, create safety   

3.  SUGGEST SOLUTIONS - solve the problems, be helpful, coach when asked    

Lynn Hardin is also the host of "The Principal Purpose Podcast.”

Jan 23, 202346:26
Episode #7 - The Five Rs of Critical Thinking

Episode #7 - The Five Rs of Critical Thinking

In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Bunnie Claxton, Director of Applied Doctoral Research at Liberty University. Students are bombarded with ideas and arguments that they neglect to stop and analyze because the information is disguised and oftentimes deceitful. The result is that students believe false ideas they find on social media which may be hurtful to themselves and others. Dr. Claxton takes us through the five Rs of critical thinking: Receive, Research, Restructure Thinking, Respond, and Reflect. The use of these 5 Rs will help students learn to think critically to discern truth for themselves.

Dr. Bunnie L. Claxton, is the Director of Applied Doctoral Research at Liberty University and an associate professor at Colorado Christian University and Liberty University. She has 30 years of experience in the field of education, including public, private, homeschool, and higher education. She has developed multiple graduate-level courses, Chaired dissertations, served as a Research Methodologist, Subject Matter Expert, and Instructional Mentor to professors. Dr. Claxton served as the Superintendent of Liberty University Online Academy; an online K-12 school with over 18,000 students. She is the author of 12 textbooks including those from the Step-By-Step series.

Check out Dr. Claxton's published books here:

Learn more about Dr. Bunnie Claxton on her website

Reach Dr. Claxton directly through her email

Books by Dr. Claxton: 

A Step-By-Step Guide to Conducting Applied Research inEducation guides candidates through the doctoral process as candidates work to solve a specific problem or improve a practice in a real educational setting. Applied research incorporates a multi method design that includes both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis strategies.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Literature Review for Doctoral Research. This edition is designed to teach doctoral candidates how to write a literature review for doctoral research including the theoretical framework and the narrative review. Readers are taught how to synthesize current scholarly literature.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting Communication Research. This book is designed to guide the novice researcher through the process of conducting communication research. The result is a communication research dissertation that contains the details of a specific topic in communication and implications based on the research.

Mind Over Matter: Critical Thinking Skills is curriculum written to teach students the skills they need to collect data, analyze data, search for facts, and think for themselves. Students are bombarded with information, much of which is inaccurate, misleading, and even hurtful. This curriculum is designed to teach students to think critically and make wise decisions based on evidence.

Game Changer: Christ-Centered Critical Thinking Skills is curriculum written to teach students the skills they need to approach their thought processes from a biblical and Christ-centered approach. Students will learn to collect data, analyze data, search for the truth, and think for themselves with the Bible as their guide.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an IEP. This book is designed to teach the reader how to complete an IEP form in a step-by-step process. Every section of the IEP is thoroughly explained, and a completed example is provided for every section of the IEP.

Jan 15, 202336:14
Episode #6 - The Journey to Becoming Principal
Jan 08, 202347:11
Episode #5 - Tier One Strategies That Work

Episode #5 - Tier One Strategies That Work

In this episode, we welcome Jon Konen, high school principal and freelance writer in Columbia Falls, Montana. He has been a superintendent and has taught most all grade levels K-6, and has been an instructional coach. In addition, he has been an elementary and middle principal. As a 5th grade teacher, in 2010 Jon won the Presidential Award for Elementary Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST). As a principal, his school won the 2012 Blue Ribbon Award. In 2018, he won the National Distinguished Principal Award (NDP). In 2019 he won the National No Kid Hungry Breakfast Hero Award. Jon is the author of three guides published on An Educator's Guide to Combat Bullying & Bully Prevention; Teacher Evaluation: A Transition Guide to Exemplary Performance; and You are the Wild Card: Infusing Fun Back into Curriculum. He has authored a children's picture book that was released January 2019 titled Benjamin’s Visit to Principal Reads Office…again! (available at

Jon will take listeners through 5 tier one strategies that work:

1) The Barometer Check

2) Tracking Positives w/ Calls

3) “F”, “D”, and

4) Podcasting Positives

5) Building Toolboxes for Teachers 

Check out Jon's Wildcat Principal Podcast here:

Columbia Falls High School Facebook Page:

Dec 18, 202230:19
Episode #4 - Effective Formative Assessments

Episode #4 - Effective Formative Assessments

In this episode, we get the opportunity to talk with Sheree Du Preez, Early Elementary Division Head at Trinity School in Atlanta, Georgia, about what makes an effective formative assessment and why they are so important in education.  Sheree has 35 years of experience in education, twenty-five of which are in leadership and has taught in and led schools in the US, Ghana, and Dubai.  Sheree holds a Masters in Instructional Leadership and Administration and an Ed. S in School Leadership and has been a teacher, a school librarian, a principal, an assistant head of school, a director of teaching and learning, and a head of school.  

Dec 11, 202234:37
Episode #3 - Level Up Your Parent / Teacher Conferences

Episode #3 - Level Up Your Parent / Teacher Conferences

This week, we talk to Lydia Edmonds. Lydia is an educator from Mobile, AL.  She spent most of her 22 years as a high school math teacher and International Baccalaureate Coordinator and has, for the last two years, worked as the Middle School Director at St. Luke's Episcopal School.  With her formal education in math, business, and educational leadership, Lydia finds analyzing data, building partnerships with families, and managing projects to be the work of school that excites her the most.  Lydia and her husband, Will, have three sons ages 13, 9, and 4, and look forward to quiet Friday pizza nights just as much as they do spending two weeks on a road trip!

Lydia will take us through one of the toughest aspects of the teaching profession: Parent / Teacher Conferences. 

Here 5 strategies for positive and productive conferences are:

1) Define your “win”

2) Have a plan and plan to be flexible

3) Prepare for action

4) Be personable and personal

5) Follow up for real

Dec 04, 202244:28
Episode #2 - Creating Collaborative School Structures to Support Students

Episode #2 - Creating Collaborative School Structures to Support Students

In this episode, we sit down with Kurtis Hewson, Lead Leader and Co-Founder of Jigsaw Learning. Kurtis walks us through how to establish responsive relationships within schools to design collaborative frameworks for educators and develop leadership capacity at all levels. He will also introduce the concept of a collaborative team meeting, an essential meeting layer that is solutions-focused and action-oriented by using data to focus on students closest to meeting expectations, in order to establish universal instructional responses and to develop a continuum of supports at all levels.

Nov 27, 202237:32
Episode 1: Take Me Home - Unmasking the Fear of Communicating with EL Families

Episode 1: Take Me Home - Unmasking the Fear of Communicating with EL Families

In this episode, we get to hear from Andrea Bitner who is an is an educator, author, and speaker.  She lives in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked with students in grades K-12 throughout her twenty-two years in public education from all around the world.   Her first book, “Take Me Home,” was published by Austin Macauley in July of 2021. "Take Me Home" is the true story of 11 of her former EL students who give a first-hand account of what it's really like to become bilingual in America.  She is also a co-author of Chip Baker’s “The Impact of Influence-Volume 3 and Dr. Rick Jetter’s 100 No-Nonsense Things ALL School Leaders Shout STOP Doing.”  She travels the country speaking and teaching educators how to teach and reach EL students, and effectively communicate with EL families! 

The Five Strategies:

1.  All EL students are not the same

2. Lack of language never equals lack of intelligence

3. There are 10 essential questions you should ask when you receive an English language learner in your class

4. There are many resources out there that you can use to immediately communicate with your EL families.

5. It takes a village to raise a student and there are many ways that we can be connecting EL students building-wide, district-wide, and county-wide.

You can find Andrea at, or on social media @andreabitnerbooks.

You can purchase her book "Take Me Home" here:

Nov 20, 202231:43
The Principal's Desk Podcast Trailer

The Principal's Desk Podcast Trailer

The Principal's Desk is launching a podcast!

Be on the lookout for upcoming episodes focused around the educational issues you want to talk about!

Oct 21, 202201:21