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Education Thought Leaders

Education Thought Leaders

By Doug Roberts
Telling the stories of innovative leaders working to improve outcomes for K-12 public school students.
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S1E29 Health protocols with Hazel and School Finance during a pandemic with Allovue

Education Thought Leaders

S4E3: Education Finance with Jess Gartner
Jess Gartner, CEO of Allovue, and Doug Roberts, CEO, and Founder of the Institute for Education Innovation, discuss Ed Finance.  
September 13, 2022
S4E2: Back to School.
Dr. Gina Cinotti, Superintendent at Saddle River Public Schools, and James Tager, Superintendent at Bangor Public Schools, discuss returning to school in the 2022-2023 school with Doug Roberts, CEO of the Institute for Education Innovation. 
September 06, 2022
S4E1: Fireside Chat with The Secretary of Education
US Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, sits down with Mark Benigni, Superintendent at Meriden Public Schools, on July 13th, 2022 for a fireside chat at the Institute for Education Innovation's Summer Symposium in Newport, RI.  Doug Roberts, CEO and Founder of IEI, moderates a QA between IEI members and Dr. Cardona. 
August 30, 2022
S3E29 Reflections on Retirement and the End of the School Year
Dwight Jones, former Superintendent of Clark County School District, and Stephen Murley, former Superintendent of Green Bay Area Public School District, sits down with IEI CEO/Founder Doug Roberts to reflect on the end of the 2022-2023 school year and their thoughts on retiring from the Superintendency. This episode is our last of Season 3; Season 4 will begin on August 2nd, 2022. 
June 30, 2022
S3E28 Reconstruction with Kaya Henderson
Kaya Henderson, CEO of Reconstruction and former Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, joins IEI CEO/Founder Doug Roberts to discuss her tenure in the DC public school system and her new edtech company, Reconstruction. Reconstruction, a technology company offering K-12 supplemental curriculum, offers a selection of online courses in educational subjects that center on Black contributions to our national and global society.
June 28, 2022
S3E27 Dr. Luvelle Brown, Dr. Gustavo Balderas, and Traci Davis preview IEI Equity Summit Ithaca July 22-24
Dr. Luvelle Brown, superintendent of Ithaca CSD (NY) joins Doug with co-panelists Dr. Gustavo Balderas of Beaverton Public Schools (OR) and Traci Davis (Superintendent Emeritus from Nevada) to preview the discussions they will lead, along with their colleague, Dr. Mark Bedell of Anne Arundel County Public Schools (MD), at IEI's "Creating Leaders for Equity and Inclusion" summit in Ithaca, NY July 22-24.   Registration for educators is at capacity, but listeners can get on the waitlist for free. There are still spots open for partners who want to support and be allies for this discussion. Registration for all as well as more detailed information can be found at:  
June 17, 2022
S3E26 Hooker, Hogan, and Phyall join Doug to reflect on a crazy year in Edtech
In this episode of Education Thought Leaders, IEI's CEO, Doug Roberts, is joined by Adam Phyall, Director of Technology and Media Services; Carl Hooker, CEO of Hooker Tech; and Kevin Hogan, host of The Hogan Report as they discuss the benefits of emerging technology due to the pandemic and more. 
June 14, 2022
S3E25 Women in Leadership Workshop Preview
In this episode of Education Thought Leaders, IEI's Director of Partner Relations, Tiffany Law, speaks with the Superintendent at Port Chester Schools, Dr. Aurelia Henriquez, and the Assistant Superintendent at Cambridge Public Schools, Dr. Barbara Mullen to discuss the struggles and successes of women in leadership roles. This special episode is a preview of IEI's upcoming Women in Leadership Workshop on Long Island, New York. You don't have to be a woman to benefit from the conversation. Listen now for a unique insight into leadership.
June 07, 2022
S3E24 Spark Companies Share Their Experience As First-Time Attendees to an IEI Summit
In this episode of IEI Thought Leaders, CEOs, Toni Shub of QoreInsights, Linsey Covert of Teamology, and Kimberly Moore of Go Together, join Doug Roberts, CEO of IEI, and Jim McVety, founding member at Spark, to discuss their experience as first-time attendees at an IEI summit. Curious about what one of IEI's events is like? Listen to the episode to find out!
May 24, 2022
S3E23: A New Approach to Learning to Read with Jessica Reid Sliwerski
In this episode of Education Thought Leaders, Doug connects with his long-time friend and CEO of Open Up Resources and Ignite! Reading, Jessica Reid Sliwerski. Listen to the episode to find out how Jessica started and manages two highly successful companies and how she balances it all.  Learn more about Open Up Resources here. Learn more about Ignite! Reading here. 
May 09, 2022
S3E22 IEI:Lead
In this episode of Education Thought Leaders, Doug Roberts speaks with three current students of the IEI:Lead Aspiring Superintendent Institute and asks them about their experience as aspiring superintendents. Dr. Barbara Mullen, Lindsay Stewart, and Darian Byrd recently attended the Spring Cohort's culminating event on Coronado Island, San Diego where they met their instructors in person and participated in instructional sessions and mock interviews. Listen now to hear about their experience!
May 03, 2022
S3E21 5 Minutes of Fame Live from the Spring 2022 Summit
This is a special episode of our 5 Minutes of Fame segment during our Spring 2022 Summit on Coronado Island. Eight incredible superintendents take the stage to tell us about lessons they have learned and the achievements they are most proud of. Listen to hear what these superintendents have to say. 
April 26, 2022
S3E20 ASU + GSV Recap
The IEI Family gets together to discuss their time at the ASU + GSV Summit in San Diego on April 4-6. Find out what the team has to say about their time at the summit, the trends they noticed, and Doug's excitement about Byrds. 
April 19, 2022
2.20 IEI Superintendents: 5 Minutes of Fame
A round robin "group keynote" from IEI superintendents telling great stories about the work they've done this year to the assembled IEI Spring Superintendent Summit in Colorado Springs. In this episode, you'll hear from:  Dr. Dwight Jones, Denver Public Schools, CO Mr. Ken Dyer, Dougherty County Schools, GA Mr. Todd Dugan, Bunker Hill CUSD, IL Dr. Shanna Downs, Gilmer County Schools, GA Dr. Tim Mitchell, Riverside CUSD, IA Mr. Mike Daria, Tuscaloosa Public Schools, AL Mr. Dan Cox, Rochester Public Schools, IL Moderated by Talk Supes Host Doug Roberts and Kevin Mitchell and Spencer Anderson of Audio Enhancement.
April 14, 2022
S3.E19 The Finnish Advantage: Implementing the Finnish Method in an American School District
IEI CEO, Doug Roberts is back on this episode of IEI Thought Leaders where he is joined by Dr. Danny Merck of Pickens County School District in South Carolina and Dr. Kari Kumpulainen of the University of Oulu in Finland. Listen here to learn more about the Finnish Method and how it found its way into the Pickens County School District. 
April 06, 2022
S3.18 What Will Post-Pandemic Learning Look Like? with Dr. Shelly Viramontez and Tom Burton
In this week's episode, IEI's Vice President, Sara Croll, and new team member, Ana Garcia, are joined by Dr. Shelly Viramontez and Tom Burton. Dr. Viramontez currently serves as Superintendent of the Campbell Union School District in California. Mr. Burton serves as Superintendent of Princeton City Schools in Ohio. Listen as we discuss the hurdles and success over the past two years and what's to come in 2023 and beyond. 
March 29, 2022
3.17 From Carpool Mom to CEO with Joanna McFarland
What better way to celebrate Women's History Month than by interviewing the CEO and Co-Founder of a female-lead company? Joanna McFarland and her Co-Founders, Janelle McGlothlin and Carolyn Yashari Becher, began HopSkipDrive at the dining room table during a kid's birthday party. These moms saw the need for a trustworthy, efficient transportation solution in their community and the rest is history. Joanna and her team at HopSkipDrive are impacting the lives of students and families in districts across the country in more ways than one. Listen in to hear how their "Mom DNA" has helped build a business where working parents are embraced and celebrated and kids are empowered to seize opportunities that would otherwise seem unfathomable. As Joanna said in the show, "The difference between struggle and success can sometimes be as simple as the ability to show up."
March 22, 2022
3.16 Breaking the Mold with Josh Chernikoff
Josh is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. He is the founder of three education companies: Ashley Tutors, Flex Academies, and Flex Tutors. He also began recording and hosting podcasts called “How I Broke That” and "Breaking the Grade" where, in his words, “each episode will simultaneously induce cringes and provide comfort in helping you realize you are not alone in breaking something on your path to innovation.” Beyond starting education companies, he also runs Cascade Communications, where he provides coaching to companies in the education space. Josh has much to share with his experiences of innovating and not just thinking outside of the box, but taking that box and breaking it wide open! As Josh says in our show, "Fear is a liar" and don't forget that oftentimes obstacles are just opportunities in disguise. Cascade Communications: Josh Chernikoff: Breaking the Grade Podcast: Breaking the Grade trailer:
March 15, 2022
3.15 But Why Supes' Choice? ft. Cynthia Barbera, Victor Karkar, and Alefiya Master
On this week's episode of IEI's #EducationThoughtLeaders #podcast Doug Roberts is joined by some of our very own #SupesChoice winners, Cynthia Harrison Barbera, CEO and Founder of STORYWORLD International, Victor Karkar, CEO and Cofounder of Scrible, and Alefiya Master, CEO and Founder of MAD-learn. Listen in as they discuss how their companies have continued to grow and evolve during the past two years and how participating in Supes' Choice impacted their company's journey.
February 08, 2022
3.14 Dealing with Staff Shortages and Boosting Morale with Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross
Districts across the country are struggling with staff shortages and finding ways to continue pushing forward. Listen in to see how Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross, Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools in Michigan, is working overtime to ensure her schools are operating as smoothly as possible. With Dr. Zachery-Ross's contagious optimism and boots-on-the-ground approach, find out how you can help keep the morale of your staff and students up when life and its circumstances can get you down. 
February 01, 2022
3.13 How to Take on A Sea of Troubles with Authors Liz and Bill James
Elizabeth (Liz) and Bill James are public high school English teachers in Stockton, California. They are both accomplished authors and are promoting their most recent publication, A Sea of Troubles: Pairing Literary and Informational Texts to Address Social Inequality, which was published in May of 2021. At the beginning of 2020, Liz and Bill started writing A Sea of Troubles and wrote the bulk of this book while in quarantine as the world was changing drastically around us all. We are so fortunate to have Liz and Bill on with us to discuss how they aim to show educators at the secondary level, that fiction often reflects the real world and vice versa, and that the texts teachers are already using can be catalysts to dive into deeper discussions about social injustices that are happening today. A Sea of Troubles is a practical and purposeful guide for secondary English teachers to be able to use literary work already present in their classrooms to address social issues. Liz and Bill masterfully orchestrate the units to demonstrate how to broach a current societal issue of injustice while keeping the focus directly on the novel/play/primary document that is being studied. The chapters are broken into themes and the texts that are implemented are just examples of what can be utilized, but Liz and Bill leave the unit outlines open enough for teachers to make it their own using whatever texts they see fit. Some of the themes include Syntactical Othering, Systemic Racial Injustice, Abuses of Power, Authoritarianism, Genocide and Ethnic Internment, and Gender Inequality. Buy their book here!  Bill James: and Liz James:
January 18, 2022
3.12 Exploring Superintendency with IEI: Lead
Fresh off of Winter Break and starting the 2022 year, Doug sits with four administrators from IEI: Lead's Fall Cohort. These guests were dedicated learners in our Aspiring Superintendents Institute. Over the course of 10 weeks, 14 cohort members gathered virtually with instructors that currently serve as a superintendent or have walked in the shoes of superintendency recently. Doug hears from Dr. Barbara Nesbitt, Assistant Superintendent for Technology Services at School District of Pickens County in South Carolina, Janet Ciarrocca, Acting Superintendent of North Brunswick Township Schools in New Jersey, George Guy Jr., Principal of Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill Public Schools in New Jersey, and Joe Mullikin, Principal & Director of Continuous Improvement, Data, and Assessment at Meridian School District #223 in Illinois. In this episode, we get to hear from the "student" perspective why IEI: Lead was beneficial and what they got out of the experience.  For any listener interested, we invite you to check out to learn more. Applications are currently being accepted for our Spring 2022 Cohort which will start in a few weeks.  
January 11, 2022
3.11 Supes' Choice Awards' Red Carpet Recap
In case you missed the live stream of our Supes' Choice Gala, we have compiled a highlight reel of the red carpet interviews with some of the superintendent judges, participants, and IEI Team Members. Tiffany Law and Traci Davis were the ultimate hosts and we are so grateful to everyone that stopped in to chat with them before the event. You can check out the full event on our YouTube channel: SUPES Choice - YouTube and the second part of the Charity Event portion here: SUPES Choice - YouTube. 
December 22, 2021
3.10 BEST OF Education Thought Leaders: Dr. PJ Caposey on Leadership and Time Management
We are gearing up for our first-ever Supes' Choice Awards Gala and in light of that, we have pulled an episode from the archives that rings as true today as it did in 2019. On this episode of Education Thought Leaders, we are bringing you the first of our BEST OF series where we share some of our favorite recordings with meaningful messages that are relevant and necessary to hear again.  In this BEST OF episode, Dr. PJ Caposey, superintendent of Meridien CUSD 223 (near Rockford, IL) discusses leadership, and the nuance and art to understanding when your leadership style needs to adapt to the changing needs of your team and your organization.
December 07, 2021
3.9 Solidifying Career & College Pathways in K-12 Schools with HERDI
In this unique gathering of education leaders, Doug and Dr. Toni Cleveland from HERDI* facilitate a discussion with K-12 superintendents, Mr. William Black from Paducah Public Schools, and Dr. Danny Merck from Pickens County School District, and college presidents, Dr. Merrill Irving Jr. from Hennepin Technical College, and Dr. Maureen Murphy from College of Southern Maryland. These leaders discuss the importance of establishing strong programs and curriculum for not only the college-bound student at the K-12 level but also offering career readiness opportunities for those entering various career fields right after graduation.  Having college presidents converse with K-12 superintendents opened a dialogue that rarely happens. They share ways in which schools can foster programs to elevate a student's options after graduation. *HERDI - Higher Education Research and Development Institute 
November 16, 2021
3.8 A Look into School Board Meetings with Dr. Bill Heath and Dr. Richard Cobb
In this episode, Doug Roberts has a chance to sit with Dr. Bill Heath, Superintendent at Lincoln County Schools, and Dr. Richard Cobb, Superintendent at Mid-Del School District, to find out what their experiences have been with school board meetings this year. Dr. Heath and Dr. Cobb share how their meetings have remained civil during this time where many other districts have experienced turmoil. 
November 02, 2021
3.7 IEI Road Show Recap
Doug reflects on his time visiting IEI members and districts during the IEI Road Show. He shares some highlights and amazing things that are taking place in schools across the Southeast region and reminds us of the incredible work that is happening each day in classrooms everywhere. 
October 27, 2021
3.6 Who Gets to Be Gifted in America with Marc Smolowitz
Doug has the opportunity to sit down with director and producer, Marc Smolowitz to discuss equity in education when it comes to gifted programs in America. This important yet rarely discussed aspect in education is the premise of Marc's upcoming documentary, THE G WORD.  Marc is currently in post-production on THE G WORD -- a feature-length documentary that aims to be the most comprehensive film ever made on the topics of gifted, talented, and neurodiverse education across the United States. The film asks the urgent equity question -- In the 21st century, who gets to be Gifted in America and Why? and is scheduled to premiere in late 2022. Some links to check out: THE G WORD Short Film Vimeo Gallery: GTN Awareness Week (Oct. 25-29): Global Partnership Network: Impact Manifesto: #MyGiftedStory: How to Donate: BIO: Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award-winning director, producer, and executive producer who has been significantly involved in 50+ independent films. The combined footprint of his works has touched 250+ film festivals & markets on 5 continents, yielding substantial worldwide sales to theatrical, television, and VOD outlets, notable box office receipts, and numerous awards and nominations. His credits include films that have screened at the world's top-tier festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Venice, Tribeca, Chicago, Palm Springs, SF FILM, AFI Docs, IDFA, DOC NYC, CPH: DOX, Tokyo, Melbourne, Viennale, Jerusalem, among others. In 2009, Marc founded 13th Gen, a San Francisco-based boutique film and entertainment company (see: that works with a dynamic range of independent film partners globally to oversee the financing, production, post-production, marketing, sales, and distribution efforts of a vibrant portfolio of films and filmmakers. The company has successfully advanced Marc's career-long focus on powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. In 2016, he received one of the prestigious Gotham Media Fellowships to attend the Cannes Film Festival's Producers Network marking him as one of the USA's most influential independent film producers.
October 12, 2021
3.5 Cross-Pod with Dr. Matthew Joseph - All Things Supes
In this episode, Doug joins Dr. Matthew Joseph on his podcast "You Can't Make This Up" for a cross-pod interview. Doug shares how IEI came to be. Creating learning opportunities for partners and members, building foundational relationships, and establishing trust from the get-go are the pillars of the organization. Dr. Joseph and Doug continue the conversation with Supes' Choice where edtech companies with any budget can get feedback on their product directly from our superintendents. You can learn more at! They also talk about the importance of supporting superintendents and district leaders. Doug shares a bit about bolstering educational leadership with IEI: Lead-Aspiring Superintendent Institute. 
September 21, 2021
3.4 Supes' Choice Awards with Sarah Williamson
Doug sits down with Sarah Williamson, owner of SW/PR group, to talk about IEI's inaugural Supes' Choice Awards that is currently accepting submissions now through October 30, 2021. Supes' Choice is all about connecting great companies who want to get valuable feedback with forward-thinking IEI superintendent members. This is a low price point opportunity for a company of any size to put their idea in front of superintendents and receive thoughtful consideration and reviews. Go to to enter!
September 14, 2021
3.3 Moving Forward with Eric Westendorf, Monica Brady-Myerov, and Mark Rothschild
In this episode, Doug Roberts sits down with Eric Westendorf, Co-Founder & CEO of Coursello, Monica Brady-Myerov, Founder & CEO of Listenwise, and Mark Rothschild, CEO of Right At School during the ASU+GSV event in San Diego. During this three-in-one interview, Doug discusses the challenges each of their companies has faced over the past eighteen months and how they are pushing forward toward a brighter future. 
September 02, 2021
3.2 Equity & Anti-Racism with Colin Seale, Dr. Nataki Gregory, Lynne Inabnitt, and Jess Gartner
In Episode 2, Colin Seale, CEO of Think Law, facilitates a conversation with Dr. Nataki Gregory, CEO of CT3 (Virtual), Lynne Inabnitt, Co-Clinical Director at Global Teletherapy, and Jess Gartner, Founder/CEO of Allovue during our summer symposium at the Biltmore. These thought leaders take a deep dive into the importance of equity and anti-racism within a company, and how hard conversations are truly necessary for continued, sustainable growth. 
September 01, 2021
3.1 Instructional Intervention Strategies
In Episode 1 of Season 3, Doug is sharing a panel discussion from the summer symposium in Asheville, NC with IEI members Mr. Todd Dugan, Superintendent in Bunker Hill, Illinois, Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent in Highline, Washington, Mr. Tom Burton, Superintendent from Princeton City School District in Ohio, and Dr. Joseph Davis, Superintendent from Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri. This panel was moderated by Mr. Philip Cutler, CEO of PAPER. Listen here for their thoughts on the upcoming school year and how to bring new ideas and innovations around instruction and intervention.
August 20, 2021
2.29 Season Finale! IEI Members Reflect on Their Years of Service Before Retirement
Doug Roberts sits down with Dr. Deborah Baker, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction from Brighton Central School District in New York, and Dr. John Jungmann, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools in Missouri as they close out their careers as district leaders celebrate their retirement. Debby & John discuss how they started their careers, some lessons learned, and what they have planned for the future. 
July 09, 2021
2.28 Celebrating Educators with Sara Croll
This week's podcast features three amazing teachers from across the country. Sara Croll, IEI's Director of Marketing & Communications is joined by Erin Leahy a middle school reading teacher in Omaha, NE, Katie Graham a 2nd-grade teacher from Pittsburg, PA, and Melissa Crawl a 4th-grade teacher from Chelsea, AL. Listen as these educators share their thoughts on instruction, school culture, and their overall reflection on one of the toughest yet rewarding school years. 
June 23, 2021
2.27: Leadership Discussion with Dr. Robert Avossa & Doug Roberts
Join us this week with former superintendent, education thought leader, and IEI Senior Advisor, Dr. Robert Avossa. Dr. Avossa talks about the leadership of superintendents during Covid and advice he has for these leaders as they go back to "normal" next school year. Also, listen in to hear about some of the upcoming IEI events for K12 industry leaders. 
June 19, 2021
2.26 Creating a Community of Supes & CEOs with Sarah Williamson & Doug Roberts
Sarah Williamson from "Build Momentum" chats with our CEO Doug Roberts on all things ed-tech, leadership, and building community. They also discuss how IEI handled the challenges of Covid and where we are headed for the 2021-2022 school year. 
June 18, 2021
2.25 Finishing out the School Year Strong with Matt Miller
Matt Miller, Superintendent of Lakota Local Schools in Ohio (Follow him on Twitter @lakotasuper) discusses how he and his staff conquered the challenges of Covid this year and together organized memorable graduation ceremonies that celebrated that focused on the students and all they have accomplished. Matt talks about his new learning; what he will change, and what will stay the same moving forward with a positive outlook for next year. 
June 07, 2021
2.24 Strategies for Anywhere, Anytime Instruction with Paper's Phil Cutler
An august panel of superintendents joins Phil Cutler of Paper for a discussion about the strategies they are deploying to make instruction available to all student anywhere, anytime. The panel includes:  Dr. Ann Levett, Superintendent, Savannah-Chatcham County Public Schools (GA) Dr. Danny Merck, Superintendent, Pickens County Public Schools (SC) Dr. Debby Baker, Assistant Superintendent, Brighton CSD (NY) Mr. Todd Dugan, Superintendent, Bunker Hill CUSD (IL) Dr. Adam Clark, Superintendent, Mt. Diablo USD (CA) Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Highline Public Schools (WA) Originally recorded at the IEI Spring Summit, Colorado Springs, CO
May 29, 2021
2.23 Dr. PJ Caposey- Do Not Wish It to be Easier!
Dr. PJ Caposey (@mcusdsupe), Superintendent of Meridian CUSD in IL, gives the IEI Spring Summit his talk, "Do Not Wish It to be Easier," plus some updates from @dougroberts_iei about how the K12 business is shifting and how IEI will be continuing to innovate to support its members and partners. 
May 26, 2021
2.22 Micro-Credentials with MIDAS and Dr. Gustavo Balderas
IEI Member Superintendent, Dr. Gustavo Balderas of Edmonds Public Schools and Megan Harney and Patrick Leonard of MIDAS Education join Doug to discuss micro-credentials and the possibility of a shift in how large-scale and summative assessments will work. We also discuss the changing landscape of teacher professional development and the onset of micro-credentials to facilitate individualized learning paths. 
May 21, 2021
2.21 ABCs of ESSER with Jess Gartner of Allovue
This session is a must-listen for anybody who cares about public schools: vendors, district leaders, parents, board members, voters in a school budget election.   Jess breaks down the funding from the CARES Act in plan English and offers advice from her deep expertise in ed finance for how districts can make a multi-year plan with these dollars that will best position them to deliver value to the students they serve.   This was a session at the IEI Spring Summit in Colorado Springs.  
May 14, 2021
2.19 Fireside Chat with Dr. Dwight Jones + Governor Jared Polis Welcomes IEI to CO!
Dr. Dwight Jones, Interim Superintendent in Denver Public Schools, former Commissioner of Education for the state of Colorado and former superintendent of Clark County, NV, joins @dougroberts_iei at IEI's Spring Summit for a Fireside Chat about his experiences sitting in the hot seat over the years. We chat about leadership, success, learning opportunities, and the role race plays in how a superintendent is perceived and judged.   Also! Governor Jared Polis of Colorado shares a message of welcome to the IEI Family to kick off our Spring Summit in Colorado Springs!
April 30, 2021
S2 E18: Strategies for Pitching Clearly and Concisely with Jim McVety & Doug Roberts
Jim McVety, CEO of First Step Advisors and advisor to IEI, sits down with Doug to share strategies for K12 companies seeking to grow their business through district partnerships during this unique time in our business.  Doug takes his own medicine and does a 2-minute pitch of IEI's hybrid meeting software, @use_remo. Jim critiques. 
April 12, 2021
2.17 Keeping kids safe with Steve Murley and Gretchen from Gaggle
In this episode, @dougroberts_iei has an in-depth discussion about the new ways districts are keeping kids safe online and offline with IEI Advisory Board Superintendent Mr. Stephen Murley of Green Bay Community School District in Wisconsin and Gretchen Thompson, RVP at Gaggle.  
March 30, 2021
2.16 James Miles, Mike Kleba, Leigh Ann Putman
SXSW EDU presenters Mike Kleba and James Miles join IEI superintendent Leigh Ann Putman of the Metro Atlanta RESA to talk mentoring and morale in our schools with guest host Sara Croll!
March 22, 2021
2.15 Managing Screen Time with Steve Mesler and Todd Dugan
This week, Doug visits with Steve Mesler, Olympic Gold Medal BobSledder and CEO/Founder of Classroom Champions and Mr. Todd Dugan, Superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD in IL, to discuss screen time management, social/emotional health, coaching, and instruction during this interesting school year.  
March 15, 2021
2.14 The changing face of professional development with Dr. Johnnie Thomas
Dr. Johnnie Thomas, superintendent of Rich Township 227 School District in IL and Max Brooks, VP of District Partnerships at CT3 join Doug to talk about the changing nature of PD and some of the progressive decisions Rich Township began making a few years ago to address the achievement gap and how that early work will support their students and community through the post-pandemic recovery period. 
February 19, 2021
2.13 Dr. Kristie Brooks and Donnie Whitten of Apptegy
IEI Director of Marketing, Sara Croll, hosts this episode! She visits with Dr. Kristie Brooks, superintendent of Chattahoochee County Schools in Georgia, and Donnie Whitten of Apptegy about how they've worked together over the years to engage district families and community members.  
February 10, 2021
2.12 Dr. Quintin Shepherd, Katie Lash, co-pod with Sarah Williamson and Build Momentum Pod
Talk Supes teams up with Sarah Williamson of Build Momentum Pod to talk about entrepreneurialism and the superintendency. We are joined by IEI members Dr. Quintin Shepherd, Superintendent of Victoria ISD (TX) and Ms. Katie Lash, Director of the East Central ESD in Indiana.  
February 06, 2021
2.11 Jeff Anderson and Colin Seale on the resilience of schools and rolling with the pandemic punches
Colin Seale, Founder/CEO of Thinklaw and Jeff Anderson, CEO of Audio Enhancement join Doug to talk about the resilience of schools and district leaders, changes to the way districts are doing business, and their own leadership journey through this crazy pandemic adventure. 
January 29, 2021
2.10 Clayton Wilcox, Dallas Dance on leadership and supe self care
Dr. Wilcox and Dr. Dance, emeritus superintendents, join us to discuss leadership strategies in difficult times and preview the reflection and self-care program they are planning, along with emeritus superintendent Traci Davis, for IEI's Las Vegas Superintendent Retreat Feb 25-28.  
January 22, 2021
2.9 Dr. Paul Gavoni and the power of relationships
Dr. Paul "Paulie" Gavoni joins Doug and two IEI member superintendents, Dr. Jason Andrews of Windsor CSD in NY and Dan Cox of Rochester 3a in IL, to talk about the power of relationships to get our schools through this pandemic challenge.  
January 15, 2021
2.8 Looking back at the good in 2020, looking forward to 2021
The whole IEI team comes on to introduce this episode, which features Jeff Patterson of Gaggle, Jess Gartner of Allovue, Megan Harney of MIDAS, and Berj Akian of Classlink. We reflect on the good things that happened during an otherwise terrible year, and we look forward to 2021! 
January 08, 2021
2.6 Equity and Curriculum: The fight and the opportunity ahead
This episode features a panel discussion from our final Fall 2020 IEI Retreat at Suncadia, WA, featuring: Dr. Susan Enfield, Highline Public Schools Ms. Heather Bybee, Director of Curriculum, Spokane Public Schools Eric Westendorf, Founder, Learnzillion and former principal Chris Blevins, iStation This episode has some holiday cheer and a little bit of festive spice, as these talented educators talk about the challenges and opportunities we face in trying to attack the equity challenge in teaching and learning. These are practitioners and change agents who walk the walk.  Have a Merry Christmas if you're celebrating!
December 23, 2020
2.5 School Finance Challenges with Jess Gartner and Doug Mesecar
This panel from IEI's Fall 2020 Hybrid/Virtual Superintendent Retreat in Georgia examines the challenges of school finance during the pandemic, what we know and what we don't know.  Doug Mesecar of Strategos Consulting and Jessica Gartner, Founder/CEO of Allovue, give insight on the federal funding landscape and advice to district leaders and vendors for how to best ride out the fiscal uncertainty and challenges.   IEI Member superintendent Leigh Ann Putman of Metro Atlanta RESA in GA co-moderates with IEI CEO Doug Roberts.  Kevin Mitchell of Audio Enhancement also contributes to the discussion.
December 23, 2020
Andy Crozier, Sarena Shivers, Michael Munoz, and Tad Everett: Challenges we slayed, Lessons we learned
4 IEI superintendents discussed the challenges we slayed this year and the lessons we learned, originally recorded at our IL Fall Superintendent Retreat at Eagle Ride Resort in Galena, IL.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Andy Crozier, Superintendent of Central Lee CSD, IA.  The panel included: Dr. Tad Everett, Sterling Public Schools, IL Dr. Sarena Shivers, Superintendent Emeritus and Executive Director of Michigan Association of School Administrators Mr. Michael Munoz, Superintendent of Rochester Public Schools, MN
December 22, 2020
2.3 Keeping kids in our schools physically and emotionally healthy during a pandemic
Panel discussion from IEI's Summer Symposium on social/emotional and physical health strategies being deployed in districts across the country, featuring: Justin Jennings, CEO, Youngstown Public Schools, OH Dr. Quintin Shepherd, Superintendent, Victoria ISD, TX Dr. Shai Fuxman, EDC Dr. Rob Darzienkiewicz, M.D., Hazel Health Stephanie Taylor, Presence Learning Alex Meis, Kinvolved
October 11, 2020
2.2 The Original Pandemic: A discussion on equity
This discussion from IEI's Summer Symposium at The Biltmore is moderated by Ms. Traci Davis, Superintendent Emeritus and advisor to IEI, and features 3 great superintendents, Dr. Mark Bedell of Kansas City (MO), Dr. Luvelle Brown of Ithaca (NY), and Dr. Gregory Hutchings of Alexandria (VA), as well as Dr. Brian Kingsley, CAO of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  
October 11, 2020
2.1 Dr. Jody Barrow, Fayette County Schools, GA
Dr. Jody Barrow, pioneer IEI member, sits down with Doug to kick off Season 2 of Talk Supes (and CEOs) with only 1 month left in the superintendent's chair. Dr. Barrow delayed his retirement 3 months to help his district through the pandemic and transition things to a new leader. We reflect back on a long successful career delivering results for students and their families. 
September 01, 2020
S1E31 Dr. Howard Koenig, Central Islip UFSD, on 40+ years as a superintendent
Dr. Howard Koenig, superintendent of Central Islip UFSD on Long Island, NY, reflects back on his 40+ years as a superintendent.  This is not Howard's first attempt to retire, but this time it may stick. Howard and Doug talk about Howard's long career as a champion for public school students and we reflect on the leadership challenge of a generation as Howard's colleagues carry into the fall with plans to respond to the pandemic. Thank you for your distinguished service to public school students, Dr. Koenig!
July 01, 2020
S1E30 Dr. Tim Mitchell, Superintendent of Riverside CSD, IA
Journey with Doug to Iowa, where schools had just begun resuming sports even though it as already summer break! Tim has been through many challenges in his career of superintendenting, and he shares how he is applying those lessons learned to this current situation.  Tim also talks about how the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism discussions have made their way to his mostly white rural district. 
June 26, 2020
S1E29 Health protocols with Hazel and School Finance during a pandemic with Allovue
2-fer!   Doug visits first with longtime friends and partners at Allovue with some thoughts to chew on related to the impending fiscal challenges facing schools due to COVID.  Then he sits down with Dr. Rob Darzynkiewicz, Chief Medical Officer at Hazel Health, about the slippery slope involved with minimizing exposure to COVID when we bring kids back into buildings.  
June 12, 2020
S1E28 Mitch Weisburgh talks VR/AR
Mitch Weisburgh, Founder/CEO of Academic Biz Advisors and co-Founder of joins Doug to talk about some ideas fur utilizing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality during this new age of forced distance learning in our schools.  
May 31, 2020
S1E27: David Irwin on making big changes with small steps
Consultant, former NYCDOE official and current NJ school board member David Irwin joins Doug to talk about his method for making big changes with tiny steps each day. Also: we explore how the talk of Blended Learning over the last 10-12 years failed to engage educators and educational leaders and why this should be a learning opportunity for everybody in the K12 ecosystem- you can't "reform" schools without involving the educators in the discussion!
May 22, 2020
S1E26: Taylor Hersom and Dominique Singer on CyberSecurity and distance learning
TelAdvance and IEI team up to bring two leading experts on cybersecurity on to the pod to chat about the kinds of things districts are wrestling with as they quickly ramp up distance learning plans while maintaining student security on devices. 
May 16, 2020
S1E25 The Panel from Episode 17 reconvenes!
We gathered the panel from Episode 17, with a couple of new guests, and of course our IEI Advisor superintendent John Welch from the Puget Sound ESC in the Seattle area, to talk about what's been happening on the front lines in districts as they continue to deliver education and related services to students amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.  The panel includes: Jennifer Money, Move This World Alex Meis, Kinvolved Josh Golomb, Hazel Berj Akian, Classlink,  Kevin Mitchell, Audio Enhancement
May 06, 2020
S1E24 Dishing with Doug, Gretchen, and Paula
Just 3 people who've been at this a while in the education industry dishing on coping strategies, ideas for how partners can weather the storm, and discussing our ideas for positive changes that can come out of COVID, particularly for underserved kids in public schools.
May 01, 2020
S1E23 NY Superintendents on Home Instruction and School Finance Challenges
Doug sits down with IEI members from rural and suburban NY Districts to talk about how they are managing to deliver instruction and services during COVID-19, and the impending school finance challenges they expect to face in the 2020-2021 School Year.  Panelists include: Mr. Ryan Pacatte, Avon CSD Mr. Matthew Cole, Livonia CSD Mr. Kevin MacDonald, Gennessee Valley BOCES Dr. Robert Molisani, Caledonia-Mumford CSD Mr. Rich Calkins, Pocantico Hills CSD
April 22, 2020
S1E22 Eric Hirsch of Ed Reports talks curriculum decision-making
Eric Hirsch of Ed Reports joins Doug to nerd out on curriculum! 
April 15, 2020
S1E21 Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent of Highline Public Schools (WA)- Equity Equity Equity
Doug visits with Dr. Susan Enfield, superintendent of Highline Public Schools (south of Seattle, WA) and we talk about Equity and what COVID-19 might be un-earthing in terms of the work ahead of us to ensure every student has access to education. We also talk about Susan's "Tweet heard round the world" about what vendors should NOT do as districts scramble to respond to a global pandemic.
April 08, 2020
S1E20 Dr. Clayton Wilcox and Ms. Traci Davis on Leadership during a crisis
Clayton Wilcox, former superintendent of a few places but most recently Charlotte-Mecklenburg in NC, and Traci Davis, former superintendent in Washoe County (Reno) NV, talk about leading a district during times of crisis, strategies for maintaining sanity, and advice to partners about how to work with districts during this difficult time.  
April 02, 2020
S1E19 Larry Berger
Larry Berger, Founder/CEO of Amplify joins Doug to talk about school in the age of COVID-19, how things might change, and how parents who've suddenly become teachers can survive this! Hang in there, everyone!
March 29, 2020
S1E18 Dr. Danny Merck, Pickens County Public Schools, SC
IEI member Dr. Danny Merck talks with Doug about leadership and the mentor who identified his leadership skills early on and encouraged him to work toward becoming a superintendent.  He also discusses the district's planning process for COVID-19.  
March 25, 2020
S1E17 Panel: Helping District Partners during COVID-19
IEI pulled together a Zoom panel of some of its corporate partners and a member superintendent to talk about what is happening in school districts as they fight to continue to provide educational and related services to kids and families. Our corporate partners share some of the work they are doing to provide services at no cost and with light to no implementation lift, and IEI Advisory Board Member John Welch of Puget Sound ESD (Seattle area) shares some heroic stories from districts in the Seattle area.   Subscribe and share! Panelists: Mr. John Welch, IEI Member Superintendent, Puget Sound ESD, WA Jennifer Money, Move This World Alex Meis, Kinvolved Josh Holcomb, Hazel Dr. Kari Stubbs, BrainPOP
March 23, 2020
S1E16 We're Back! Dr. Art Fessler CCSD#59 (IL)
IEI Advisory Board Member and Superintendent of CCSD #59in IL, Dr. Art Fessler, joins us to talk about decision-making processes and how they were preparing to handle the COVID-19 situation. The episode was recorded a few days before schools were closed in Illinois. Please follow Art on Twitter @afess7.
March 20, 2020
S1 E16 Fireside Chat with K12 Investors Steve Kupfer and Jennifer Wu
This is the recording of a workshop at the IEI Palm Springs General Session in which @dougroberts_iei sits down for a "fireside chat" with two leading K12 investors, Jennifer Wu of @reachfund and @steve_kupfer of Red House Capital. Steve and Jen dish on the investments of which they are most proud in terms of their impact on kids and share their thoughts on the new ideas coming forward in the safety/security sector of K12.
February 08, 2020
S1E15 3 Supes live from Palm Springs IEI - Youngstown OH, Pocantico Hills NY, Meridian IL
Fresh off our Winter Superintendent Summit in Palm Springs, Talk Supes (and CEOs) presents three of our members sharing their thoughts about school safety and security. We are so glad to have Mr. Justin Jennings of Youngstown City Schools (OH), Dr. Rich Calkins of Pocantico Hills CSD (NY), and Mr. Joe Mullikin of Meridian CUSD (IL) as IEI members. Enjoy!
February 01, 2020
S1E14 New Years' Resolutions for the K12 industry
We're back from the holiday hiatus as we prep for our Winter 2020 Summit in Palm Springs! @dougroberts_iei dishes on New Years' Resolutions for those of us working to provide innovative solutions and services for K12 students.  Also note that there is an incentive for the upcoming Spring 2020 Summit in New Orleans! Listen to learn more. Next week we'll have a bunch of supe interviews from the IEI Summit!   And perhaps most importantly- new theme song!  #talksupes #supes #k12 #edtech #iei
January 14, 2020
S1E13 Jessica Herthel, Co-Author "I Am Jazz" on keeping LQBTQ kids safe in schools
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center estimates that between 5 and 10% of LGBT youth, depending on age and sex groups, have attempted suicide, a rate 1.5-3 times higher than heterosexual youth. There is no issue more critical to safety and security in our schools than making sure all kids feel loved and protected by our schools, something our IEI superintendents work very hard to do in the schools they run. Author and occasional Reality TV star Jessica Herthel returns to visit with @dougroberts_iei as a follow-up from her presentation at the IEI Summit in Suncadia, WA in the summer of 2018. You can catch her on @Iamjazz_tlc or at @jessicaherthel. We also want to congratulate @jazzjennings_ on graduating at the top of her class and wish her luck at Harvard next year! 
December 21, 2019
S1E12 Dr. Tom Leonard and Dr. Jeff Arnett of Eanes ISD on safety and security
In this episode, we talk with the "1-2 punch" of Eanes ISD in Austin, TX- Tom Leonard, Superintendent, and Jeff Arnett, Deputy Superintendent, about their district's journey and conversations around safety and security.  We also discuss Tom's musical passion and his performance with students at a jazz club in which he is a partner, and Jeff's previous life working at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Looking forward to having Jeff and Tom with us in January in Palm Springs! Perhaps we can get an IEI band together?
December 14, 2019
S1E11 Dr. Luvelle Brown, Supe of Ithaca City SD, on The Culture of Love
An interview with Dr. Luvelle Brown @luevelleb, author of the book "The Culture of Love," past NY Superintendent of the Year, who will be joining IEI for the first time this January in Palm Springs as a speaker.  We talk about how to build a culture of love throughout an organization, we also talk snow day cancellations, Virginia Cavalier Football, and Luvelle schools us on how to write a book between sets at The Gym.  This might be the most inspiring "morning routine" segment so far. The moral of the story is: Get to the gym in the morning and good things happen. #iei #k12 #edtech #supes 
December 07, 2019
S1E10 Will Black, Deputy Supe of Paducah (KY) Public Schools on Teacher-Centered Curriculum
Hear from Will Black, Deputy Superintendent in Paducah Public Schools, which is led by IEI member Dr. Donald Shively, on their progressive curriculum decision-making processes. Teachers in Paducah have the ability to promote effective curriculum solutions for piloting and vetting via their PLC's. If you like Supes Talking Curriculum, this is the episode for you. Shout out to @edreports for their work along the same continuum!
November 27, 2019
S1E9 Dr. PJ Caposey of Meridian CUSD 223 (IL) on Leadership, Time Management
Dr. PJ Caposey, superintendent of Meridien CUSD 223 (near Rockford, IL) discusses leadership, and the nuance and art to understanding when your leadership style needs to adapt to the changing needs of your team and your organization.   Learn more about Dr. Caposey and his work at And of course visit to learn more about IEI, the publisher of Talk Supes!
November 21, 2019
S1E8 Eric Westendorf, Learnzillion, Curriculum, and A Cappella
Longtime friend of @dougroberts_iei, Eric Westendorf, CEO/Co-Founder of @learnzillion, dishes on curriculum and his journey from educator, to administrator, to entrepreneur. Learnzillion sits at the nexus of teaching/learning and scaling a business operation. And, since Eric and Doug met in college singing in the same a cappella group, you're going to be subjected to a dose of The Princeton @nassoons circa 1996. If you think real hard, you can guess who the soloist on this track is...
November 08, 2019
S1E7 Safety and security/Hank Grishman of Jericho UFSD
Hear @dougroberts_iei report from the #ieifall19roadshow between the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and The Council of Great City Schools, and reflect on all the discussions of school safety and student safety from around the country.  The interview this week is with Mr. Henry Grishman, superintendent of Jericho UFSD, one of the most decorated public school systems in the country.  Hank is a past president of the NYS Council of School Superintendents and a former NY Superintendent of the year, in addition to being on the IEI Advisory board and a longtime friend and mentor to IEI CEO, Doug Roberts.   Enjoy!
October 22, 2019
S1E6 Steve Murley, superintendent of Iowa City CSD
Steve Murley is one of those superintendents who far outpaces the average tenure of a superintendent.  Listen to him discuss what he's learned over the last 10 years in Iowa City. Also, I guarantee he's up earlier than you are each morning.
October 12, 2019
S1E5 Kinvolved and IEI's mission
IEI CEO Doug Roberts was pressed by a thoughtful superintendent at a conference recently about what success for IEI would look like, and what our impact will be, and he shares his thoughts on IEI's future and its mission, as well as thoughts about how IEI can bridge gaps in the K12 ecosystem.  In the interview, Doug visits with Alex Meis and Miriam Altman, Co-Founders of Kinvolved and long-time IEI partners. They discuss their founding story, leadership, how they figure out how to be partners and friends in real life, and of course, their morning routines!
October 10, 2019
S1E4 Genevieve Collins, VP @istation on multi-tasking and transitioning from edtech to politics!
Genevieve has been a long-time friend and a partner to IEI, and she shares some of her secrets to success. She also talks about her decision to throw her hat in the ring for Congress in her hometown, Dallas, TX! We grabbed a few minutes with her before she headed off to a meet and greet and a day that would have her out at various events and activities until 11pm. Thanks for making some time for us, and don't forget us when you are in the White House!
September 28, 2019
S1E3 Dr. William Heidenreich of Valley Stream CHSD (NY) on how they purchase new tools/software
IEI Member, Dr. William Heidenreich of Valley Stream Central High School District on Long Island (NY) shares his district's process for vetting new solutions and services that come across their radar.  He also shares insights on the process of working with a BOCES in New York so districts can get state aid back on funds they spend on products. Get a rare insider view on the district purchasing process and the unique relationship between BOCES and districts in New York. This is what IEI is about- orienting the K12 marketplace around how districts work. If you enjoy this podcast, you will love being part of our Palm Springs convening in January!
September 28, 2019
S1E2 Pat Sullivan-Kriss #ieifall19roadshow
Hear the update on the most recent leg of Doug's #ieifall19roadshow and hear an interview with IEI Board Director, former NY State Council of School Superindendents (NYSCOSS) president, and retired superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, who will be awarded NYSCOSS' distinguished career service award at their fall summit in Saratoga Springs this week! Pat shares some wisdom and stories about a long career as an administrator in public education in New York.  
September 22, 2019
Season 1, Episode 1: Back to School
IEI Kicks off its Podcast series with Doug Roberts, CEO, laying the groundwork and introducing the podcasting world to the work and people of IEI. 
September 14, 2019