NAIS New View EDU Podcast

NAIS New View EDU PodcastIn the past few years, school leaders have faced a constant need to innovate and respond to rapidly changing conditions in their communities, our nation and our world. Now we're all seeking ways to bring healing and strength to our school communities as we move forward. But what else can we learn from these challenging times, and what inspiration can we draw for the future of schools?  
The NAIS New View EDU podcast supports school leaders in finding those new possibilities and understanding that evolving challenges require compassionate and dynamic solutions.
This season, NAIS Chief Innovation Officer Tim Fish will delve further into the larger questions about what schools can be, and how they can truly serve our students, leaders, and communities. He'll be joined by brilliant leaders from both inside and outside the education world, as well as author and educator Lisa Kay Solomon.
No prescriptions, no programs—New View EDU provides inspiration to ask new questions, dig into new ideas, and find new answers to the central question: "How can we use what we’ve learned to explore the future of what our schools are for?"
Find New View EDU on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other podcast apps.

Looking for more NAIS podcasts? Listen to Member Voices for stories from the thoughtful, hard-working individuals who make up the independent school community.

Want to sponsor an episode? Click here for more information.

Season 2 Episodes

Episode 20 (Season 2 Finale): The Future of Schools as Desirable Workplaces

Available May 17

Clockwise from top left: Donna Orem, Crissy Caceres, Doreen Kelly, and Brett JacobsenWe often focus on the student experience in our schools, which is a critical issue needing constant attention. But our school communities also include adults—the faculty and staff who work to make the student experience worthwhile. With the post-pandemic workforce shifting dramatically in all sectors, what can school leaders learn about transforming systems and practices to retain excellent teachers? How can we model leadership that supports and centers the well-being of faculty and staff? And how can we ensure that our schools are desirable workplaces where professionals can thrive and feel valued?

In this episode, NAIS President Donna Orem joins host Tim Fish to moderate a panel discussion with three energetic, experienced heads of school: Crissy Cáceres from Brooklyn Friends School (NY); Brett Jacobsen from Mount Vernon School (GA); and Doreen Kelly of Ravenscroft School (NC). Together, the roundtable participants discuss new trends in workplaces nationwide, how they view their roles as leaders in recruiting and retaining excellent staff, and what’s next in developing supportive, compassionate, collaborative environments for every member of their communities.

Episode 19: The Role of Failure and Risk in Designing Deeper Learning

Laura McBainWe’re all familiar with the stories of people who became wildly successful after failing dozens of times to reach their goals. But what if those “inspirational” failure stories are the wrong ones to share? What if we’re defining success and failure the wrong way to begin with? And how do our own expectations of how things “should” be influence our perceptions of what learning, growth, and success actually look like?

In this episode, Laura McBain joins host Tim Fish to talk about her upcoming book, My Favorite Failure. Laura is the K12 Lab Director of Community and Implementation at the Stanford She shares why she believes we as a society have the wrong ideas about the value of failing, the purpose of education, and the role of student agency in developing schools for the future.

Laura argues that we currently tend to share stories about failures that turned into material successes; but the real learning, she says, comes when we fail in ways that change how we approach the world. 

Episode 18: Applying Neuroscience to Designing Inclusive Schools

Camille IngeSchools are workplaces—not only for students, but for the faculty and staff who provide the learning environment in a school community. Are we truly designing our schools to be great workplaces for everyone? What does research about neuroscience and the human experience teach us about the qualities of truly productive, inclusive, desirable places to work and learn?

In this episode, Camille Inge, a researcher and consultant at the NeuroLeadership Institute, joins host Tim Fish and special guest co-host Caroline Blackwell, the vice president of equity and justice for NAIS. Together, Camille, Tim, and Caroline dig into the research that has inspired NLI’s frameworks to help improve organizations through science.

In the midst of the Great Resignation, how can we get back on track and ensure that our school communities are desirable, supportive places for people to work and learn? Camille explores the SCARF model, which summarizes the major social findings in neurocognitive research and applies them to human behavior in the workplace. 

Episode 17: The Opportunities and Obligations of Citizenship in K-12 Education

Eric Liu How did the study of “civics” become a boring, drill-and-kill topic? When and why did we stop treating civic literacy as a relevant, necessary skill for students to learn? And how can we reclaim a sense of civic responsibility, citizenship, and future agency in our school communities?

In this episode, Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, joins hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to discuss how Citizen University’s models of interdisciplinary education can serve as inspiration for more interesting, relevant, active, and inspiring K-12 civic education.

What if each of us believed we had the power to make change happen in civic life—and felt we had the responsibility to try? That’s the premise behind Citizen University, and the starting point for this discussion on power literacy, changemaking, and civic agency in schools.

Episode 16: Challenging Success to Design Schools for Well-Being

Denise PopeWhat’s the difference between educating students for the future, and simply “doing school?” Are we designing school communities that foster the development of better adults, or are we clinging to old ideas about content and rigor that no longer serve us well? And what role do parental expectations, higher ed, and societal pressure play in the decisions we make about how schools function?

In this episode, Denise Pope joins host Tim Fish to talk about how a total reframe of our definitions of success, the purpose of school, and what well-being looks like are vital to turning the tide after the challenges of the past few years. Denise is a speaker, author, senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success.

Arguing that schools exist to create “better adults” for our collective future, Denise delves into a wealth of research and experience showing that what we say we believe about the importance of well-being in schools, and what we actually design into our educational frameworks, are fundamentally mismatched. 

Episode 15: Inspiring Wonder and Community in Schools

Michelle KingAfter the many challenges of the past two years, how healthy are our school communities? How attuned are we to the lessons we can learn from the people and influences around us? How can we approach learning with gentleness, curiosity, care, and a sense of wonder? And what do mushrooms have to do with any of it?

In this episode, learning instigator and love activist Michelle King joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to talk about how schools can become incubators of the beloved community, and how integral a sense of wonder and belief in the inherent value of each person is to creating environments where student and staff well-being can thrive.

Episode 14: Mapping the Future Purpose of Education

John Gulla and Donna OremIndependent schools are inherently mission-driven. What would happen if they focused on becoming purpose-driven instead? How would schools define their purpose, and how would school communities be changed through purpose-driven leadership?

In this episode, John Gulla and Donna Orem join host Tim Fish for an in-depth discussion on how independent schools are situated during this pivotal moment in society—and how our school cultures can contribute to everything from improving educational practices to reviving civil discourse and civic engagement. John is the executive director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation and comes from a long career in independent schools. Donna is the president of NAIS.

Episode 13: Giving Away Power for More Authentic Leadership

Matthew BarzunWe’re used to working and teaching in hierarchical structures, where power flows from the top down. But what would happen if, instead of maintaining power at the top, leaders gave power away to others? How could sharing power change the way we work, the way we relate to others, and the way we approach problem-solving? And what would schools look like if everyone was part of a constellation of contributors?

This episode features a recording of Matthew Barzun’s live keynote conversation with NAIS Chief Innovation Officer Tim Fish at the 2022 NAIS Annual Conference. Matthew, whose resume includes work in entrepreneurship, political campaigns, and U.S. ambassadorships to the United Kingdom and Sweden, is the author of The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go. Starting from the unexpected point of the founding of our nation, Matthew delves into the question of how to create systems that allow each individual to be both unique and interconnected. How can we be “stars” in the constellation while also creating part of a bigger picture? And how does sharing power with others help to create that constellation?

Episode 12: Applied Imagination and the Possibilities of School

Ruth WylieWhat does it mean to teach the future? How can educators apply imagination and critical thinking to big questions about science, technology, artificial intelligence, and shaping the future?

In this episode, Ruth Wylie joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to share some of the innovative and creative ways in which she and her colleagues have made complex futures thinking accessible and meaningful to students of all ages. Ruth is the assistant director for the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.

Asserting that futures thinking is as valuable as historical understanding, Ruth advocates weaving discussions and imaginative explorations of possible futures into existing classroom study. Bringing the future into the classroom is about telling a “continuous story,” and it can be as simple as finding new ways to help students imagine their own successful futures, or as deep as inspiring them to change the future for everyone.

Episode 11: The Importance of Play in Schools

Jill VialetSocieties depend on our ability to “play well together.” But at a time when there are so many perceived threats to our well-being from external forces, how can we convince leaders of the importance of play? And what unique value does play bring to our schools and communities?

We tend to think of playtime as the province of young children. Jill Vialet, a social entrepreneur, author, visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, and founder of PlayWorks, has devoted her career to proving otherwise. In this episode, Jill joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to explain why the way we think about play as a part of our society deserves a second look. Drawing on her decades of experience working with schools and students, Jill argues that the basic skills and practices of play are the underpinnings of what makes people and societies successful. From learning to communicate, to assessing and surviving risk, to negotiation, compromise, and creative problem-solving, play is the natural platform that allows people to learn and practice important skills. Those skills, in turn, inform every part of our world, including how we work together and progress as a democracy.

Winter Bonus Episode: Designing Backward to Move Forward

Jay McTigheWhat is the goal of modern education, and are we designing our schools and practices properly to help us meet that goal? 

Jay McTighe, a veteran educator and accomplished author with more than 50 years’ experience in the field, joins hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to delve into what he believes defines deeper learning in the 21st century. McTighe provides a detailed road map to help educators navigate the answers to important questions. What should a school’s mission statement include? What is the most productive and meaningful structure for “professional development” days? And what are we missing when we focus on covering content instead of designing our classrooms for deeper learning?  

Season 1 Episodes

Episode 1: The Purpose of School

Donna Orem and Michael HornImagine that we have been given the opportunity to completely redesign the concept of school. Where would we go?  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have been forced to reimagine almost every aspect of school, changing our ideas about what’s truly essential. As we rest, recover, and reflect on the past year, we can also refine our vision for the future. NAIS President Donna Orem and celebrated author and speaker on the future of education, Michael B. Horn, join us to talk about redesigning the purpose and future of schools, collaborations between K-12 and higher education, and creating a culture of well-being in school communities.

Episode 2: Schools for Safety and Well-Being

2020 made us think about school safety in a completely different way from before. As we move forward, how can we redefine what we mean by “safety,” and imagine new ways to create school environments, conditions, and cultures of true safety and well-being?  

It’s not just physical safety measures, like masks and social distancing, that mark the pandemic as a turning point for school safety. Some experts believe that the main work of educators in 2021—and for the foreseeable future—will be trying to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and multiple big-picture social and cultural traumas on student achievement. In a landscape where trauma is an ongoing reality of American life for many members of our school communities, how do we envision forward-thinking systems that effectively treat emotional well-being as a core construct for teaching and learning? Celebrated architect Barry Svigals, who helped to reimagine and rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary School after the tragedy, joins us to share his philosophy on school safety. Also with us is Barry’s friend and colleague Sam Seidel, Stanford K12 Lab director of strategy and research.

Episode 3: Schools and the Science of Thriving

ICaroline Webbt’s easy to say, “Have a good day at school!” But are we actually designing the environments that will support our students and staff in having good days?

In a world that’s only becoming more complex, simple concepts like having a good day can almost feel too rudimentary to think about. School leaders have plenty to do without worrying about who’s having a good day and who’s not. But having a good day is much more complicated—and far more important—than it seems. Some of our most talented staff are burned out. Our highest-achieving students leave the classroom uncertain about their ability to navigate the world with confidence and agency. Leadership expert, executive coach, and author Caroline Webb shares the research behind the science of thriving, and how changing your practices to help everyone have better days can fundamentally improve almost every aspect of education.

Episode 4: Schools for Growing Citizens

WhBaratunde Thurstonat does it mean to be a citizen of this world, of our community, and of our future? What does “citizen” mean, anyway? And what is the role of schools in growing citizens—or what should it be?

The current reality facing schools is one of rapidly changing social and political conditions that affect educators, students, and communities as a whole. Whether it’s a question of how personal choices impact collective health, or finding the right balance in helping a school community process and respond to current events, school leaders are grappling with the role of educators in teaching citizen behavior in the classroom. Does our current “civics” curriculum go far enough in helping students identify ways they can become engaged members of a thriving society? Or is “civics” just the tip of the iceberg, leaving the larger topics of developing personal agency and community engagement unexplored in our schools? In this episode, Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon are joined by Baratunde Thurston, award-winning writer, activist, comedian, and host of the podcast How to Citizen With Baratunde. Together, they explore the idea of changing our mindset about the word “citizen,” from engaging with it as a noun to treating it as a verb—a set of guiding principles that can be translated into actions each person can take to contribute to society.

Episode 5: Schools for Developing Superpowers

Sanyin SiangAre we creating school environments that allow us to see the “assumed awesomeness” in everyone? Now, more than ever before, school leadership is about modeling hope, resilience, and a sense of possibility, so we can support our communities in developing their collective superpowers.

School leadership has never been easy, but at this moment in particular, there are new challenges and opportunities that could completely transform school, for better or worse. What is the role of a leader at this point in time? What are the practices that will help school leaders navigate the ambiguity and uncertainty ahead while staying true to a vision for their communities? This year, and the years ahead, are going to be a test of resilience, trust and courage. And to pass the test, CEO coach, author, and executive director of the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke University Sanyin Siang believes we’ll have to make a fundamental shift to prioritizing relationships in our schools. In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon invite Sanyin to apply her learnings from working with top leaders from the military, athletics, and global entrepreneurship to the school setting. What are the essential understandings, skills, and practices school leaders can adapt from other settings to create dynamic and supportive environments for students and staff? How can we learn from the legacies of great leaders to transform our own teams and live lives of significance? 

Episode 6: Schools for Exploration and Improvisation

 Rob PoyntonStructure is, and always has been, an important element of school. We create systems, benchmarks, routines, schedules, and ways of “doing school” that allow us to measure and define the learning process. But we know that too much structure can have its downsides, sometimes sapping creativity, joy, and inspiration from the experience of school. How can school leaders create the right amount of structure to support emerging agency while giving space for new ideas? And how can we learn to view challenges or setbacks as new possibilities instead of disruptions? Author, co-founder of the online learning space Yellow, and associate fellow at Oxford’s Saïd Business School Rob Poynton joins New View EDU to share how improvisation can be a game-changer for school leaders.

In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon chat with Rob about how schools can become more Yellow—or in other words, how the same thoughtful, seemingly loosely structured approaches to learning and discovery Rob has designed in his online learning space might be adapted to K-12 schools. What opportunities might reveal themselves if we instead learn to let go and apply the principles of improvisation to leading our communities? With greater flexibility and a spirit of possibility, can we use this moment to imagine School 2.0?

Episode 7: Schools for Diversity and Designing Inclusive Futures

Lonny Brooks and Ahmed BestAs educators and school leaders hone their methods in response to a growing understanding of the importance of representation and culturally responsive practices in the classroom, New View EDU dives into the subject with a transformative conversation on the power of structured imagination in creating inclusive cultures. Guests Lonny Brooks and Ahmed Best are, together, the co-hosts of the Afrofuturist podcast and creators of the game Afro-Rithms From the Future. Lonny is also a futurist, scholar, professor of communications, and co-principal investigator for the Long Term and Futures Thinking in Education Project; Ahmed is an award-winning actor best known for his role as Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars films, as well as a writer, director, producer, futurist, and science fiction devotee. They delve into how their shared understanding of the future-thinking orientation inherent in the Black American experience, and the lack of representation of the Black community in the science fiction and gaming worlds, led to their creation of a communal game experience devoted to “democratizing the future.” They also share what their work means for educators and schools everywhere. Exploring how sensitivity to the importance of every individual’s perspective and intrinsic value develops student agency, Lonny and Ahmed reflect on the ways in which educational and social structures may stifle the emergence of vitally needed new voices and points of view.

Episode 8: Schools as Practice Zones for Adulting

Julie Lythcott-HaimsHow do educators support our young people in becoming independent, thriving, adaptable, confident learners? How do we encourage them to develop a sense of their own agency and shape their lives, rather than having their lives dictated to them? And what is the role of schools in creating capable, responsible adults—not just high-stat students who achieve academically but struggle to “adult” beyond the classroom? Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of Your Turn, Real American, and How to Raise an Adult, joins New View EDU to shed light on how our current concepts in education may be inadvertently restricting students’ growth. In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon talk with Julie about her personal concept of “rooting for humans” and her investment in helping all people thrive. A former dean at Stanford University, Julie shares how her own observations about the emerging harm of helicopter parenting led her to begin exploring how young people suffer when they’re deprived of opportunities to develop agency, self-determination, and problem-solving skills. More deeply, Julie examines the ways in which true inclusion and care for every student make a stark difference in the educational landscape. 

Episode 9: Schools for the Long Term

Roman KrznaricAre we being good ancestors? This thought-provoking question strikes at the heart of what it means to design for the future. What can school leaders do right now, in the present, to ensure that long-term thinking is a pervasive, prominent practice in our schools? 

In this episode—in the temporary absence of co-host Tim Fish—Lisa Kay Solomon sits down with Roman Krznaric to dig deeply into the concept of being a “good ancestor.” Roman, a public philosopher, bestselling author, and founder of the world’s first empathy museum, explains how the good ancestor framework can be a foundational guiding principle for school leaders. Starting from the place of asking what legacy our present-day decisions will leave for future generations, Roman traces good ancestor thinking from indigenous cultures to present-day innovations. He shares how grounding futures thinking in a deep understanding of empathy can lead people to make radically different choices than they would make under other conditions. And he makes the argument that the way we approach strategic planning may not actually be very future-focused at all.

Episode 10: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go From Here?

After a season of conversations about education, leadership, and the future, we’re pausing to reflect. What changes do we need to make to our systems and practices to best support students in navigating a future shaped by the events of 2020? Teaching and learning through a pandemic and a period of historic social and political change has exposed cracks in our system—but also surprising strengths. What have we learnEpisode 10 paneled to value more highly in our learning environments? What new, meaningful contributions were made by students, and what enabled them to make those contributions? And how do we design new, better systems of education that support the changes we want to introduce?

In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon highlight some of the “good news” in a panel discussion with NAIS President Donna Orem and three dynamic, committed independent school heads: Ashley Harper of Wakefield School (VA), Lisa Yvette Waller of Berkeley Carroll School (NY), and Luthern Williams of New Roads School (CA). Together, our guests represent nearly 100 collective years of experience in education. They share reflections on the themes of student agency, well-being, and purpose that have been core to the conversations throughout the first nine episodes of this season, as well as personal observations and experiences of pivoting to not just meet, but embrace and conquer, the constantly evolving challenges of the pandemic.