Month: August 2021

Habitually Disruptive Episode 4: 2021 Michigan Teacher of the Year Owen Bondono

Owen is a quintessential disruptor. Owen is punk rock. Owen radiates love and revolution, which is why he is the Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2021. If you haven’t had the please of hearing his ideas, learning about his message and platform, you are truly missing out. He is funny, brilliant, and ready to burn some things down for justice.

Since recording this episode, we did indeed attend Space Camp, and it was a blast and we did disrupt some stuff!

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 4: Angela Watson of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek

We are beyond blessed and fortunate to bring you our much-anticipated interview with the venerable and brilliant Angela Watson, who has been working to abolish the notion of the teacher as martyr for years. Her 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program saved Gerardo’s teaching career, ultimately helping him to be named the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year, and she stands poised, in the wake of her recent book publication, to roll out the Cornerstone for Teachers, a wide-spanning and comprehensive effort to make the work of the teacher sustainable.

But far from being the Marie Kondo of education, Angela also shows up daily as a co-conspirator looking to abolish White Supremacy in education. In this lively and inspiring episode, Angela chats with Gerardo and Guest host Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington State Teacher of the Year about the state of education today.

This episode is a must listen, with a towering yet humble figure in education today.

Habitually Disruptive Episode 3: Holistic Liberation Healing with Jenny Medrano

Since coming to Colorado and hoping to become an educator, Jenny Medrano has been at the forefront of change and liberatory thinking and youth development. We first crossed paths when she mentored youth leaders as a part of Building Bridges, later Shift, and has recently struck out on her own, in a world desperate for a new kind of healing. In this expansive conversation, we discuss healing advocacy, and listening to one’s inner child. We discuss disruption for social justice and human development deeply and in new ways. And we get a fire top five!

Revolution Summer Mixtape Track 3: Young Activist Elijah Wright and Hasadiah Israel

YALL READY FOR THIS??

Track 3 of the mixtape is FIRE, pure and simple. We sit with Elijah Wright and Hasadiah Israel for an encompassing, energetic, funny, engaging and convicting conversation. It is rare for authentic cross-generational exchange to occur, especially for teachers. We often act on the assumption that because we are in the presence of young people, that we engage in such exchange, but in this forum, we are truly on equal ground. Hasadiah and Elijah bring brilliance, commitment, humor, and passion to this track of the mixtape.

We are reminded of how crucial it is to struggle toward liberation, and to take joy in the struggle, and trust that the community sees our work, not only our words. To be free is to be one’s authentic self, and these young men practice freedom at every turn.

A note: If you have young children around, you may not find some of the language to be age-appropriate. We are committed to providing space for Black and Brown thinkers, creators, innovators and activists to be their authentic selves, and sometimes that means that they will use profanity. 

Emergency Episode: #FlyingWhilePoC with Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka, 2021 American Samoa Teacher of the Year

Space Camp was soooooo much fun. Gerardo made new friends, solidified relationships with old ones, and the general feeling of the 2021 State Teachers of the Year was positivity, solidarity, joy, and a newfound exuberance about what education and educators could be. Though not every Teacher of the Year could be present, it was a special gathering of special spirits that could have lived on as a pristine moment of joy and perfection in an increasingly traumatized, frightened and uncertain world.

Until departure day, when American Samoa 2021 Teacher of the Year Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka learned that her flight home was canceled. She was told abruptly and in no uncertain terms that there was no hotel provided, no ground transportation, no meal vouchers (it seems relevant to state here that the only restaurant in the Huntsville airport had its kitchen closed). Disappointed and discouraged, Sabrina braced herself for a long night ahead, probably sleeping with one eye open as she awaited a flight home.

Moments later, she learned that our colleague Anthony Coy-Gonzalez, the Ohio Teacher of the Year with a sweet smile and even sweeter disposition, was offered hotel, transport, and meal vouchers “before I even had a chance to ask.” Good friends, the two of them shared experiences and both realized that implicit bias had once again reared it’s ugly head.

After a flurry of social media posts and DM exchanges between American Airlines and Sabrina and her allies, a brief “investigation” yielded a borderline insulting result. Sabrina, however, has remained resolute in her determination to see systemic change happen.

With Kev out of town, Gerardo is joined by guest host Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington State Teacher of the Year, to share Sabrina’s story. Please listen to the end, as there are ways that you too may #StandWithBrina.