Gerardo Munoz

Habitually Disruptive 14: 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year Kristi Borge

I met Kristi Borge, 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year, in person during our fall Washington Week event. Her teacher story was intriguing; she teaches in a one-room school. Immediately my mind jumped back to 19th-century schoolmarm, chalkboards, big wooden desks that doubled as lockers, and a bell to let the children know that school is in session.

Hearing Kristi’s story was powerfully educational for me, as a (relative) city kid. She is responsible for EVERYTHING from clearing the snow, discipline, and if she is out sick, there is no school. She describes maternity leave, the ski resort she purchased with her husband, and the only kind of traffic jam you will ever see in her area. Plus we find solidarity in challenges that face both urban and rural kids. Listen, learn, and disrupted your assumptions!

Habitually Disruptive: Chicanisma for the New Milennium

I’ve had a chance to reflect on my 23 years of teaching, and I’ve been reminded to consider the role that Chicana/o/x Education has played in my life. When I came into teaching, and declared myself to be a Chicano teacher, some looked at me quizzically, wondering aloud, “Is that still a thing? Do people still identify as Chicanos?” Later I read a quote by some journalist declaring that “Chicano” is only used by old guys who have handshakes and reminisce about the past.

Welp, thanks to stickin’ around so long, I have seen a renacimiento of the Chicana/o/x name. Not that we ever went anywhere, but there is a new generation of Chicanas and Chicanos entering the teaching profession, but unlike me, the show up as their authentic selves.

I hope you enjoy this Chicana roundtable with Isabel Barajas de Benavidez, Emely Contreras, and Diana Bustamante Aguilar, three early-service teachers who are proudly and uncompromisingly CHICANAS…and who are connecting with each other for the first time.

Habitually Disruptive Emergency Episode: Adams 14 and the Privatization Threat

When Colorado, like so many other states, created its draconian school performance framework and accountability measures (mainly standardized test results), an “accountability clock” was institutionalized and put in place. This meant that if a school did not perform satisfactorily according to standardized testing data, that school or district would face an extinction-level event, in terms of public education: state takeover and potential privatization.

Adams 14, the district serving a population decimated by institutional oppression, environmental racism, and utter neglect, saw its accountability clock run out in 2018. Since then, a comedy of errors has ensued, with charter mismanagement that has landed the district and its hardworking allies in the courts with those who have done them harm.

I sit down with four educators/community members to unpack the urgency of this situation. This is a must-listen. Adams 14 is all of us.

The Exit Interview 02.04: Dr. William Anderson

Since last season, we have brought you stories that are heart-wrenching, painful, and traumatic. Examples of racial battle fatigue, professional violence and PTSD, which, even though most have experienced a measure of healing, or begun that healing journey, are difficult.

In some cases, Black classroom teachers depart the classroom to make a wider impact. This was the case for Dr. William Anderson, History teacher extraordinaire, who was just minding his own business, working on his doctorate, ready to return to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year when he was tapped to take over the Teacher Education Program at the University of Denver, the first Black man to step into that role.

Dr. Anderson knew this was an opportunity to impact the profession in a more powerful way, and went on a journey to make it happen.

This is a provocative episode, and we encourage you to put on your intersectional lens as you digest this inspiring and powerful story.

Sponsored by quetzalec.com

Music composed and performed by Kevin Adams

Production by Gerardo Muñoz

Habitually Disruptive 12: Nora Rahimian of #CultureFix

It is a time of transition, from winter to spring, and in education, millions of teachers are considering a change in career path. This episode, though recorded a while back, is timely for anyone who is wondering what freedom looks like professionally.

Nora Rahimian is a creative consultant who helps entrepreneurs achieve success on their terms, without giving up creative control, financial freedom, or personal integrity. She is also the founding director of #CultureFix, a global network of artists, activists, and entrepreneurs who use their platforms for social impact. Her work is based in the belief that our communities have everything they need to succeed, that art & culture can spark the paradigm shifts to make the world a better place, and that the radical change we imagine is both possible and necessary. Nora has spoken at conferences and universities around the world. She has been named one of iStandard’s Women Who Run The Music Industry, is a UN Alliance of Civilizations Fellow, and was recognized as a Trailblazer by VoyageLA. Connect with her online at linktr.ee/norarahimian or on your favorite social media platforms at @NoraRahimian.

The Exit Interview 03: Crystal Gillis

Kevin and Asia listen to Crystal Gillis’ story. From leaving the classroom to facilitating and developing youth voice and leadership at YAASPA, her story is informative and impactful.

107. United States Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona: “I Haven’t Changed My Stripes.”

Kevin and Gerardo infiltrate the halls of power in the highest levels of educational government by visiting with the first Latino United States Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona! From his humble beginnings in Puerto Rico to a “class clown” to a twenty-year veteran educator, Dr. Cardona has traveled a long road and, in his words, “my stripes are the same.”

As the Biden Administration rolls out American Rescue legislation, Kev and Gera as him questions about the expenditures, investment, and future of American education in this contentious time. We discuss important issues facing communities of color in education, and share some laughs.

And of course, a top five that will, no doubt, sow the seeds of controversy.

We are profoundly grateful to EduColor and Profe Equis, José Vilson for this amazing opportunity.

Habitually Disruptive Episode 11: 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year Autumn Rivera!

We recorded this episode waaaaaaaay back in the fall, just after Autumn Rivera, Glenwood Springs Middle School Science Teacher, was named 2022’s Colorado Teacher of the Year. This was before she was named a National Teacher of the Year finalist, and we get this amazing glimpse of an earnest, humble, exciting and fun individual like the teacher her students and community have come to love and celebrate.

Join us for this early part of this journey. We talk shop, middle schoolers, and a controversial top 5!

Habitually Disruptive Episode 10: 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling

Sarah Brown Wessling is friend, mentor, coordinator and calming presence for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), where she serves as the National Teacher of the Year program’s Senior Advisor. This means that she gets to travel the country, meet amazing teachers (and me), support those of us entrusted with the Teacher of the Year role, and amplify and elevate the teaching profession. A National Teacher of the Year herself (2010), she brings wisdom, insight, and above all, a love of teachers to a national stage. In a time when teaching is hard…it is HARD, people…Sarah disrupts the struggle with peace and honesty.

Plus a very calming and spiritual top five.

106. 2021 Missouri Teacher of the Year Darrion “DC” Cockrell

This episode is a long time coming!

Darrion “DC” Cockrell, the 2021 Missouri Teacher of the Year, has a powerful, heartbreaking, and inspirational story, and he shares it with us. This is less a teacher’s lounge conversation and more of a “chop it up on the front porch” episode. DC discusses his experience with violence, sports, learning disability, and his journey to the classroom.

The temperature rises with a contentious Top 5, one from which we may never recover.

Theme music composed and performed by Kevin Adams.

Sponsor: quetzalec.com

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