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WASB Connection Podcast

WASB Connection Podcast


A podcast for members of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and others about a wide range of educational issues they consider as elected officials.
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40. What Loving Relationships Mean to Kids

WASB Connection PodcastMay 31, 2023

46. Sean Covey’s Insights on School Leadership
Dec 04, 202354:51
45. Lessons From Leaders: A Conversation With Convention Keynote John Quiñones
Oct 31, 202335:53
44. A Deep Dive Into School Board Accountability
Sep 29, 202332:30
43. Keeping an Eye on Your School District’s Finances

43. Keeping an Eye on Your School District’s Finances

Our latest episode covers ground that is familiar to all school board members: the regular review of school district financial information.

The purpose of these financial reports is simple: to convey the school district’s financial health, now and in the foreseeable future.

They’re also a great opportunity for school board members to learn and show they’re earning the trust of parents and taxpayers.

We’ll help you understand these reports in more detail by explaining the documents that are at the core of financial reporting, especially the check register and budget-to-actual report.

We’re joined by two experienced school leaders on different sides of the board table. Larry Dux is a longtime board member in Pewaukee, and Michael Barry is executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, or WASBO.

We'll talk about the connection between thoughtful continuous financial monitoring and community trust, especially in an era of increased referendums.

We’ll also discuss how to ask tough questions of district staff in a way that builds mutual respect.

Aug 31, 202333:45
42. A Chat With the WASB's New Executive Director

42. A Chat With the WASB's New Executive Director

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has a new executive director — only the fourth in our 100-year history.

Today, we’ll talk to Dan Rossmiller about his past and the future of the WASB. You may already know Dan — he’s been government relations director at the WASB since 2006 — but he’s hoping to get to know members even better. 

Dan brings his experience in advocacy to the position, and he believes school board members have an untapped potential to make their voices heard.

Aug 04, 202314:22
41. Engaging Students in a Real-World Challenge
Jun 30, 202325:25
40. What Loving Relationships Mean to Kids

40. What Loving Relationships Mean to Kids

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a Madison pediatrician, says that what happens to a child in their first few years of life can have profound consequences for their school years and beyond. Dr. Navsaria is the keynote to the 2023 Summer Leadership Institute, a two-day conference held in Green Bay July 14 and 15 by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

In a preview of his July keynote, we’ll talk about what matters in those early years. The single most important factor in child health, he explains, is loving relationships.

We also talk about the role of stress — when it’s good, when it’s bad and how it can affect a child’s behavior in school.

When educators see erratic behavior, they may not see the experiences that held to explain that behavior. It causes adults to ask the wrong questions to explain a child’s behavior, he says.

Dr. Navsaria also hosts other podcasts, including:

If you’re a Wisconsin school board member or district staff member who’d like to learn more, please join Dr. Navsaria at the Summer Leadership Institute in Green Bay this July. Find the complete agenda and register at the event website.

May 31, 202327:04
39. How School Boards Can Boost Student Achievement
Apr 28, 202325:20
38. Exploring Emergency Educator Licenses
Apr 01, 202318:50
37. Legislative Update: A New Two-Year Budget
Feb 28, 202321:50
36. The Governor and State Superintendent Address the State Education Convention

36. The Governor and State Superintendent Address the State Education Convention

The 102nd State Education Convention is over, and we’re hoping attendees will be thinking and talking about it for months.

This month, we’re sharing two speeches from the convention.

First, we’ll hear from Governor Tony Evers, who made his 38th appearance at the convention.

After that, we hear from State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Jill Underly.

The text of both speeches will be published in the March issue of Wisconsin School News.

Jan 31, 202322:12
35. Wisconsin Combats the Referee Shortage
Dec 31, 202227:57
34. Working Better Together

34. Working Better Together

Have you ever struggled to persuade colleagues to see things your way? Has your hand ever hovered over the "send" key after you finish a difficult email? Or maybe you've been challenged to find the right words with a fellow school board member. 

Sarita Maybin may be able to help.

She’s an author, expert on communications and the Thursday keynote speaker at the 2023 Wisconsin State Education Convention.

In today's episode, we talk about working better together. Sarita breaks it down into concrete tips that can make a difference in your professional life, including the work place and school board.

You can learn more about Sarita and other keynote speakers on our convention website. You can also find an excerpt of her book in the December issue of Wisconsin School News.

Dec 01, 202225:40
33. What’s Trust Got to Do With It?
Oct 27, 202223:47
32. A Fall Wisconsin School Board Tradition Continues
Oct 03, 202229:50
31. Reversing the Teacher Shortage One Student at a Time
Aug 31, 202231:14
How To Keep Improving as a School Board
Jul 29, 202225:06
How Are Districts Spending Federal Relief Funds?
Jun 22, 202233:08
How to Be a Servant Leader

How to Be a Servant Leader

Leaders put others before themselves. That's the core of the concept of servant leadership.

In today's episode, we talk to Tom Thibodeau, an associate professor at La Crosse-based Viterbo University, about what servant leadership means and how it applies to school leadership.

Tom is the founder of the Master of Arts in Servant Leadership, the first master’s degree of its kind in the nation. He’s also a dinner speaker at the WASB Summer Leadership Institute, a two-day professional development conference held in La Crosse this July 8th and 9th.

If you're a Wisconsin school board member or school staff member, learn more and consider registering at the event website:

Jun 06, 202226:56
Building a Solid Foundation for New School Board Members
Apr 15, 202226:43
Social Media Guidance for School Board Members and Legislative Update

Social Media Guidance for School Board Members and Legislative Update

Our latest episode tackles two topics: practical and legal ways to use social media along with an update on the recently concluded legislative session. 

First, we hear from WASB Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel Bob Butler on using social media without violating the law or common board policies. Find his story on the topic in the April issue of Wisconsin School News. WASB members can register for his May 5 legal webinar on the topic at our Online Events page.

Then we move to the recently concluded legislative session with Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller and Government Relations Specialist Chris Kulow. Browse the WASB Legislative Advocacy Toolkit to learn more effective ways of advocating on behalf of students. If you're interested in skipping to the legislative content, it begins at 18:13.

Mar 31, 202239:30
Highlights from the 2022 State Education Convention
Feb 28, 202222:22
The School Leadership Team: A Conversation With Wisconsin's Superintendent of the Year
Jan 17, 202223:51
Episode 23: Preparing the Next Generation to Pivot
Dec 06, 202125:30
Bonus Episode: Managing Challenging School Board Meetings
Nov 17, 202101:08:03
Episode 22: Promoting Diversity on Our School Boards

Episode 22: Promoting Diversity on Our School Boards

School boards are hardly unique in that candidates are often drawn from similar social and political networks. This can lead to a lack of school board member diversity across many characteristics, including race, gender, class and age. 

This episode includes a discussion with researchers about how to recruit women to run for locally elected office. The insights they share are applicable to improving school board diversity in general. They also summarized their research in the October 2021 issue of Wisconsin School News:

We also speak with a Wisconsin school board president about one way to educate potential new board members. We'll talk about how the Greendale School District's School Board Academy works, and how you can adapt it to your district. You can find contact information for our guest at his district website:

Finally, please consider taking this survey to help us improve the podcast:

Oct 27, 202134:08
Episode 21: Conflict Resolution

Episode 21: Conflict Resolution

Navigating conflict has always been part of school leadership. But what should we do when incivility runs rampant and compromise seems impossible?

We talk with a longtime mediator and WASB consultant, Cheryl Stinski, and Waupaca School Board member Betty Manion. We'll talk about why conflict can be healthy as well as how to defuse it when it becomes counter-productive. We discuss timeless strategies for helping other people feel heard and respected, and why what a person says is often less important than what they mean. 

If you're interested in tips to prepare for and conduct challenging board meetings, skip to 20:16. We talk about why preparation is so critical and how to react if someone violates norms and rules. 

Sep 20, 202133:08
Episode 20: COVID Relief Funding
Aug 17, 202133:23
Episode 19: Toward Effective Governance
Jun 26, 202129:21
Episode 18: Culturally Responsive Teaching in Lac du Flambeau
May 26, 202127:45
Episode 17: A Lesson in Communications That Engage
Apr 30, 202130:29
Episode 16: The Duties of School Board Officers
Mar 29, 202132:57
Episode 15: The State of COVID
Feb 12, 202125:36
Episode 14: Legislative Update — Vaccines, COVID Relief and More
Jan 26, 202112:58
Episode 13: Wisconsin's Teachers of the Year
Dec 28, 202035:32
Episode 12: Preview of the 100th State Education Convention

Episode 12: Preview of the 100th State Education Convention

As a virtual experience, the 100th Wisconsin State Education Convention, to be held Jan. 20-22, will be different from all those that have come before it.

We wanted to give attendees an idea of what to expect, so this episode begins with a conversation with WASB Communications Director Sheri Krause.

Next, the episode heads into a conversation with Anna Maria Chávez, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association and a convention keynote. We spoke about COVID, leadership and her background, as well as some of the following NSBA resources:

Increasing Equity and Achievement by Empowering Students
Setting a New Course: A Legal Guide to Operating Schools in the Pandemic Era

To learn more about the convention and register, go here.

Nov 30, 202028:19
Episode 11: Coping With Stress

Episode 11: Coping With Stress

Stress has always been part of being a board member. But the pandemic is requiring education leaders to make tough decisions that may prompt criticism from their community.

This episode is a conversation with WASB consultants Louise Blankenheim and Cheryl Stinski, who are developing a 2021 State Education Convention breakout session on coping with stress. We talk about how stress affects us, how to know when it's a problem and what we can do about it. 

Oct 22, 202021:49
Episode 10: Educational Equity

Episode 10: Educational Equity

This episode focuses on educational equity. It begins with an overview of the issue from Wisconsin Association of School Boards consultants Louise Blankenheim and Dan Nerad. They also talk about specific ways that boards and districts can create more equitable schools. 

Starting at 18:25, we talk to Pa Lee Moua, who is diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Appleton Area School District. We talk about her own story as a refugee and how it affects her ability to communicate with students and community members.

To see the equity statement we discuss and read the 15 questions for school boards about equity and racial justice, visit our site:

A recording of the July 30 webinar we talk about is here:

Sep 24, 202033:55
Episode 9: Conversations With Three Female Superintendents

Episode 9: Conversations With Three Female Superintendents

A number of long-serving female superintendents are retiring. We caught up with three of them to talk about their path to leadership, their lessons learned and how others can follow in their footsteps. 

  • Deb Kerr, School District of Brown Deer
  • Michelle Langenfeld, Green Bay Area Public Schools
  • Pam Yoder,  School District of Belleville

Aug 21, 202044:16
Episode 8: Introduction to the Title IX Overhaul
Jul 29, 202028:50
Episode 7: Conversations With Board Members of Color

Episode 7: Conversations With Board Members of Color

This episode features interviews with three school board members of color, in order: Marilyn Ruffin of Sun Prairie, Gloria Reyes of Madison and Tricia Zunker of Wausau.

To learn more about Sun Prairie’s BEAM Awards, visit its Facebook page.

More information about the book Reyes recommends, “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom,” is available here.

The Wausau district’s statement about equity and social justice can be found here. Statements from other districts can be found at the WASB’s Boards Taking Action page. Click on the “Racial Injustice” tab.

Jun 24, 202044:07
Episode 6: The New Board Member Experience

Episode 6: The New Board Member Experience

New school board members often face a steep learning curve. This episode includes three conversations meant to help new members find their footing. 

First, we talk with Bob Butler, WASB associate executive director and staff counsel, about the WASB New School Board Member Handbook.

Then we talk with two veteran board members — Gary Vose of Kettle Moraine and Larry Dux of Pewaukee — who give general advice to new members and explain their work as part of the WASB's Peer Mentoring Program.

Finally, this page provides a good overview of basic resources for new school board members.

May 27, 202026:56
Bonus Episode: A Discussion About the Link Between Board Governance and Student Success

Bonus Episode: A Discussion About the Link Between Board Governance and Student Success

This bonus episode comes to us from the Texas Association of School Boards. If you like education podcasts, check out TASB Talks wherever you listen or go to their website

This episode is a conversation with Paul A. Johnson, a researcher who studies the connection between school boards and student achievement. We're sharing this now as a complement to an article about school board governance in the May issue of Wisconsin School News.

Thanks for listening, and we'll be back with a regular episode for new school board members later this month.

Apr 30, 202022:30
Episode 5: Onboarding New Members

Episode 5: Onboarding New Members

This episode features an interview with WASB consultant and 43-year education veteran Fran Finco. Learn more about him here.

Learn more about the New Board Member Gathering webinars, which will be held the evenings of April 21, 22 and 23:

If you miss them live, look for the recording at our webinars page

Fran also mentioned the New School Board Member Handbook, which can be found here.

Apr 20, 202017:31
Episode 4: Teacher retention

Episode 4: Teacher retention

Episode 4 of the WASB Connection Podcast focuses on how districts are addressing the teacher shortage by making their districts better places to work. 

First, WASB members can learn more about the issue of teacher retention by downloading this presentation, given before last year's Fall Regional Meetings. 

We'd also appreciate it if listeners could review our podcast on their favorite app and take the survey.

Based on survey feedback, we're including timestamps for different segments so listeners can jump to the area they're interested in. 

This month's legislative update begins at 28:25. Our Legislative Update blog can be found here.

Listeners who'd like to learn more about how stay interviews work can read this story in Wisconsin School News.

Mar 02, 202037:07
Episode 3: The State Education Convention

Episode 3: The State Education Convention

This episode covers the 99th annual Wisconsin State Education Convention, held Jan. 22-24 in Milwaukee. Photos are now available online, including one of Southern Door County School District student Luke Bousley (featured at 9:23). A photo of Kettle Moraine High School student Peter Kopperud (featured at 10:50) is here.

Feb 05, 202030:53
Episode 2: Convention Conversations

Episode 2: Convention Conversations

This episode features conversations with two Wisconsin State Education Convention speakers. 

The first is Dr. David Schuler, the 2018 Illinois and national Superintendent of the Year. We talked about his district's college, career and life readiness program, which will be the subject of a pre-convention workshop. Learn more here.

We also spoke with Dr. Yong Zhao, the Thursday keynote speaker, about how we can take a more expansive view of educational outcomes.

We also check in with Dan Rossmiller, WASB governmental relations director, to give a brief convention preview of the delegate assembly. We also briefly discuss the Virtual Attendee Access program


Jan 06, 202029:35
A conversation with 2020 State Education Convention keynote Dr. Scott McLeod
Dec 02, 201930:52