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Journeys to Belonging

Journeys to Belonging

By Ilene Winokur
Journeys to Belonging is a weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Ilene Winokur. Join Ilene and her guests as they share their experiences about feeling a sense of belonging.
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Episode 15 with Ilene Winokur

Journeys to Belonging

Episode 15 with Ilene Winokur

Journeys to Belonging

Episode 31 with guest Matabishi John
Matabishi Narukako John (Mata), is a refugee in Kakuma camp, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before fleeing his home in 2012, he earned a diploma in Business Administration. He was settled in Kakuma camp, Kenya the same year. Since he wasn’t able to register for university, Mata completed various international NGO training programs offered in Kakuma such as Counseling, case management, Applied Human Rights from the University of Geneva, and other certificates related to managing a non-profit organization. He was particularly interested in computer applications after completing a course with Don Bosco and a certificate in Android Development. Mata has worked in various roles in Kakuma including a community mobilizer for three years and then as an ICT trainer. He is the Founder and CEO of the Kakuma Vocational Center (KVC) established in 2018. KVC is the first maker space for youth in Kakuma. Facebook: Twitter: @KVC45966042 Fundraiser: About KVC:      
October 28, 2020
Episode 30 with guest Kitala Mupenge Fabrice
Kitala Mupenge Fabrice was born in 1991 in a village called Kakulu, Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-torn area. He studied business administration in primary and secondary school., but fled his country due to insecurity and the fear of being persecuted. He reached Kakuma in 2012, continued his studies through Geneva University in Human Rights Law, and led a team of law students in Kakuma for two years. Kitala worked with several national and international organizations in Kakuma refugee camp such as UNHCR, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) as an interpreter, for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) promoting hygiene, Ata-Nayeche Radio as a reporting journalist, and many other organizations. In 2015, Kitala established several organizations with fellow Kakuma residents, and then in 2017, he decided to establish There is Hope Africa (THA), a community-based organization to empower his fellow refugees through technology and vocational training skills. THA is currently offering hairdressing training for young women and other vocational skills training. Kitala has always been an advocate for social justice. His principal of life is the Ubuntu system or the golden rule that is "do unto others what you would like them to do to you". Twitter: @EMupenge Facebook: Fundraiser: THA Presentation:
October 21, 2020
Episode 29 with guest Ebengo Honore
Ebengo Honoré Alfani is the founder of African Initiative for Human Development( AIHD2) He earned a Bachelor's degree in International Relations at the University of Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a Certificate in Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprise with MIT's online program). Education is very important to Honore, so he has also achieved a certificate in Applied Human Rights with Inzone from the University of Geneva and a certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising Essential with Acumen Academy (Online Program)  Since fleeing his home in DRC and arriving in Kakuma in 2012, he has volunteered as a leader in several community-based organizations including, co-founder of the French speakers Kakuma Association and served as the General Secretary (2013-2018), Co-Founder of Kakuma Ventures, and Director of Communication (2017-2019), Senior Interpreter at Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) (2016-2019), Protection Monitor at Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) (2015-2016), Hygiene Promoter (NRC/Wash department)(2015-2016) He has applied and is a candidate for the Master's program at Windle Trust International. Fundraising campaigns: COVID19 Wellness: AIHD2 Construction: Twitter: @AfricanInitiat3                   @AlfaniEbengo Facebook:         
October 14, 2020
Episode 28 with Dr. Ilene Winokur: Preview of October episodes
In this episode, I tell the story of how I met and became involved in supporting three special refugee educators in Kakuma settlement, Kenya, and preview the next three episodes. I'm excited for you to meet these amazing leaders, Mata, Honore, and Kitala.   You can find them on Facebook: Bit Space Chicago: Participate:
October 7, 2020
Episode 27 with Carrie Baughcum
Carrie Baughcum is a mother, wife, mismatch sock wearer, a self-described inspiration junkie, and most of all a believer that all children can learn, we just need to find out how. She is also a Special Education teacher with 22 years of experience. She is currently the teacher of  6th, 7th and 8th grade Special Education classroom at a middle school in the northwest suburbs of Illinois. In her classroom, she uses creative thinking, a fearless attitude, the power of gamification, endless doodles, and the power of technology to enable her students to enhance their learning and empower them to achieve things they never knew they could. Carrie shares her experiences, ideas, and passion in...  Twitter - @carrie_baughcum #HomeRoomEDU - Her book - My Pencil Made Me Do It: A Guide To Sketchnoting  Blog - Weekly youtube show- Doodle and Chat she hosts with her daughter, speaking and teaching other educators at conferences and workshops and on her YouTube channel
September 30, 2020
Episode 26 with Victoria Thompson
Victoria Thompson is a STEM Integration Transformation Coach at TAF@Saghalie, a middle school located in Federal Way, WA. In her five years as an anti-racist educator, she began her journey teaching fifth and sixth grade math and science at Cane Bay Middle School in Summerville, SC after graduating from the College of Charleston in 2015. After completing her masters in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University in 2017 she moved to the Seattle, WA area in 2018 with her wife Kourtney, where her career has pivoted to focusing on K-12 mathematics instruction with research on decolonizing mathematics curriculum for teachers and learners, creating inclusive math environments, and using technology to bridge equity gaps in math education. She is a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, a National Geographic Educator, an Apple Educator, a Buncee ambassador, an InsPEARational Educator, and an educational technology consultant for tech companies in the Seattle area. Twitter: @VictoriaTheTech LinkedIn: @VictoriaRoseThompson Website: Apps mentioned: Peardeck,  Buncee
September 23, 2020
Episode 25 with guest Janique Caseley
Janique Caseley grew up in a small town called Truro and left at age 18 for university. She completed an undergraduate degree in sciences, intending to become first a marine biologist, then a school psychologist. I started my BEd to continue the school psychology path but fell in love with teaching my first day of what we call practicum, which is going into a classroom and watching how everything functions. She finished her BEd in 1997 and has been teaching ever since.  Along the way, she got married, had two children, and has moved homes twice. She currently teaches grade six, volunteers at the local animal shelter, and attempts to keep a house with four busy people in it clean and functional. The book we mentioned that she uses to form classroom community: The Lost Teachings by Michael James Isaac,3026,3030 and also available on Twitter: @6caseley
September 16, 2020
Episode 24 with guest Evan Whitehead
Evan Whitehead has been an educator for more than 20 years spanning three decades.  Over the course of his career, he has held the following positions: special education paraprofessional, special education high school teacher, Latino parent outreach coordinator, dean of student discipline, community outreach coordinator, director of special services, director of bilingual education and English learners, Title I director, and assistant superintendent of special services.   Currently Evan is the director of special services for a PK–8 school district in Illinois. In his current role, Evan oversees all federal programs (special education, McKinney-Vento,  English learners, and Title I); early childhood education; multi-tiered system of support (MTSS); social emotional learning, equity, diversity, and cultural competency. Evan is also National Consultant, Trainer ,Presenter, Speaker; Frequent Podcast Contributor; Mental Health Advocate ;Mindfulness Practitioner ;and proponent of Equity, Diversity and Intercultural competency. Evan’s 3Bs” Balance, Boundaries, and Breaks” (#BalanceBoundariesandBreaks) promotes self -advocacy in the areas of mental health, self-care, and wellbeing. “It’s OK to be SELFISH about your mental health/wellness in order to be the best version of yourself so that you can be SELFLESS for others you help and serve.” Twitter: @evanwhitehead00 Hear Us Out, Social Justice Conversations on Belouga:
September 9, 2020
Episode 23 with guest Anna Marie Savino
Anna Marie Savino has always loved writing and sharing her passion for making meaningful connections between words and ideas. The two interests fused together in Sparrow’s Well, her first published book. In Sparrow’s Song, she shares single thoughts and poetic epiphanies about life, love, and the pursuit of meaning.   More of her writing can be found on her website,, and in Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective, (in addition to a giant bin that contains years worth of journal writing and notebooks from high school).   Although not a writer by trade, after 17 years of teaching English to high-school and junior-high students, she decided to practice what she preaches and be a model of how narrative can positively change lives. Twitter: @ASMILEwithAnna Website: email: A Sparrow's Well from Amazon: Sparrow's Song:
September 2, 2020
Episode 22 with guest Justin Nolan
Justin Nolan is a teacher in Care and Treatment schools (mental health needs) including hospital, jail, homeless, teen parenting, addiction, crisis, mental illness. I am a father to two girls, the oldest adopted from a teen mom who struggled. In every minute outside of teaching and parenting I work on my project to make learning for customized and entertaining on the internet through blog, vlog, and podcast.  Twitter and other social media: @justtries #JustKeepLearning Websites: Youtube:
August 26, 2020
Episode 21 with guest Tim Needles
Tim Needles is an artist, educator and author of STEAM Power: Infusing Art Into Your STEM Curriculum. He teaches art/media at Smithtown School District, is a TEDx Talk speaker, and his work has been featured on NPR, in the New York Times, Columbus Museum of Art, Norman Rockwell Museum, Alexandria Museum of Art, Katonah Museum of Art, and Cape Cod Museum of Art. He’s the recipient of ISTE’s Technology in Action Award and Creativity Award, NAEA’s AET Outstanding Teaching Award, and The Rauschenberg Power of Art Award. He’s a National Geographic Certified Teacher, PBS Digital Innovator, an ISTE Arts & Technology and STEM PLN leader, NAEA ArtEdTech interest Group leader, and Adobe Creative Educator and Education Leader.   Tim is active on social media including Twitter: @timneedles. Website: Tim's book, STEAM POWER is available on or Amazon:
August 19, 2020
Episode 20 with guest Dr. Denise Furlong
Dr. Denise Furlong has been a teacher in New Jersey for over 20 years, spanning grades kindergarten to the university level. She is currently a EL/SIFE Coach for Freehold Borough Schools and an EduMentor for Rutgers University. She earned her Ed.D from Rutgers University in 2009 in Literacy Education with a Concentration in Educating ELLs. I'm a proud mother of three and wife to Tim. Denise has a book about the Voices of Newcomers in progress, so stay tuned for news of the publishing date once she knows. Twitter: @denise_furlong The book she mentions during the podcast that she and her colleagues read for their book club: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
August 12, 2020
Episode 19 with guest Rola Tbshirani
Rola Tibshirani is a middle school French immersion teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Passionate about students taking ownership of their learning by creating and innovating through tools and applying Integrative Thinking and Design Thinking processes when embracing thinking challenges. Connecting students with real-world problem solving to take action and make a difference in their communities locally and globally. A co-learner with and from the students by encouraging reflections on all learning tasks. Find her on Twitter: @rolat Her blog is: Her podcast: The Missing Link Resources mentioned in the podcast: @RotmanIThink 
August 5, 2020
Episode 18 Belonging before Bloom in education with Ilene Winokur
In this episode, Ilene discusses why belonging is so important for students and offers some suggestions based on her experience and recent research for creating a sense of belonging in your classroom. Research cited in this episode: My Blog post:
July 30, 2020
Episode 17 with guest Hedreich Nichols
Hedreich Nichols is an educator, equity advocate and retired musician helping to change the world one teacher, one student at a time. Writer and host of Small Bites, the YouTube series on #equity. Hedreich says, "How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time." Even if you only have 0-5 minutes, there are ways to increase our knowledge and become advocates for equity. Website: Small Bites: Reflections episode with Barbara Bray Twitter: @Hedreich
July 22, 2020
Episode 16 with guest Dene Gainey
Dene Gainey is a 15-year educator and lifelong learner from Orlando, FL with a bachelor of Science in Elementary Education K-6 and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in organizational leadership.   Dene  has a passion for the C.L.I.M.B.E., celebrating diversity, building community, project-based and problem-based learning as well as the student-driven classroom. In April, 2018, he published his first book titled, Journey to the 'Y' in You. He collaborated in the Edusnap 2016 “Best Practices in Education publication, his chapter called “The Student-Driven Classroom." He also is a contributing author for the EduSnap 2017 edition with a chapter titled “Celebrating Diversity & Building Community." He collaborated on Edumatch Snapshot in Education 2018, with his chapter titled “Ever Changing Nature and Needs." Twitter: @dene_gainey Journey to the "Y" in You; Diversity: It's Not Just About You, It's About Us: Together We're Better:
July 15, 2020
Episode 15 with Ilene Winokur
How to be a "good ancestor" is something I had never really thought about. I knew I wanted to be sure to be remembered as someone who worked hard to create a community that prioritized compassion, understanding, empathy, and love. I also wanted to be sure I instilled these values in my children. But I never thought of working on it like author and teacher, Layla F. Saad has encouraged us all to do. So this episode is about my journey to become a good ancestor. Resources mentioned in the podcast and other resources I have found helpful are: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (Emmanuel Acho): Small Bites with Hedreich Nichols: De-colonized: Layla F. Saad:  Ibram X. Kendi: and Langston Hughes poems: Countee Cullen: #goodancestor on IG
July 8, 2020
Episode 14 with guest Tamara Letter
My guest today is Tamara Letter. She is a passionate educator with 23 years of experience as an elementary teacher, differentiation specialist, technology integrator, and instructional coach. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is licensed as a PK-12 administrator. She received the 2018 R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence and is the author of A Passion for Kindness: Making the World a Better Place to Lead, Love, and Learn. You can find Tamara on: Twitter: @TamaraLetter Instagram: @TamaraLetter FB group:  
July 1, 2020
Episode 13 with guest Carol Salva
"Our classes must always be a place of refuge. No matter what is happening in that child's life, they need to feel safe with us."-Carol Salva Carol Salva is an educational consultant with a background in ESL, literacy, Dual Language and Special Education.  She is a former elementary educator and most recently taught Newcomer English Language Development in both high school and middle school. Carol the co-author of Boosting Achievement, Reaching Students with Interrupted or Minimal Education.   Most of her online training and consulting centers around this work.  Carol has her own podcast and blog where she shares research based techniques for supporting English learners. Twitter: @MsSalvaC Blog and podcast:
June 24, 2020
Episode 12 with guest Scott Nunes
Scott Nunes is a dynamic tech-infused instructor turned Edtech Coach, with a focus on PBL, Student Choice, and amplifying student and teacher voices. Scott earned Central California CUE's Emerging Teacher of the Year Award in 2020. Scott has two podcasts: The TNT Edtech podcast with Matthew Ketchum and Education Today.  Discover Scott’s  dynamic engagements via Twitter at: @MrNunesTeach
June 17, 2020
Episode 11 with guest Nejoud Al Yagout
Nejoud Al-Yagout (aka Nej) is a writer based in Kuwait. She is my first podcast guest from Kuwait and shares her story about her journey to find inner peace and spirituality on her way to feeling a sense of belonging.  During our conversation, Nej suggests it's important to look within ourselves by "shining a flashlight on the darkness of your psyche." You can find out more on her website She is also the founder of Inter-Heart. A way for all of us to come together.  INTER-HEART:  We often hear the Quran Quote: And we created you as nations and tribes so that you may know one another (Surah Al Hujurat 49:13). INTER-HEART is a path of getting to know one another via the temple of our hearts and by the grace of God. Instead of engaging in debates and rejecting those of other faiths, we agree to befriend one another and learn the wisdom of each others' scriptures or just engage with each other socially.  The Rumi passage I mention during this episode is a quote from Rumi in Elif Shafak's book, The Forty Rules of Love.  "Rule #32- Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism or capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission. A power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquility and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence."
June 10, 2020
Episode 10 with guest Jennifer Casa-Todd
Jennifer Casa-Todd is wife, mom, and a Teacher-Librarian,  a former Literacy Consultant for the York Catholic District School Board, and the author of the book, Social LEADia published by DBC Inc Books. Jennifer is also a graduate of the MEd program at Ontario Tech University with a specialization in social media and education. Her parenting book Raising Digital Leaders and her children’s book, Aubrey Bright in Stories that Connect us will be published in the Summer of 2020. Jennifer is a Google Certified teacher and Innovator, an Ontario Google Educator group leader, an executive member of the International Society Technology and Education (ISTE) Librarian PLN, a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and the co-founder of the Global Education Student Chat. She is an international keynote speaker who is passionate about showing teachers and students how they can use technology and social media to make the world a better place. Website: Twitter: @JCasaTodd #GlobalEdSsChat
June 3, 2020
Episode 9 with guest Dana Shuhaiber
Today's guest is Dana Shuhaiber. Dana was born and raised in Kuwait and received her high school and bachelor degrees from academic institutions in Kuwait. She is married with two children and her passion while growing up was always to be a teacher. As her aspirations grew, she set her goal towards becoming assistant principal and, ultimately, principal which she has partially accomplished thus far after being hired as Elementary Assistant Principal at her alma mater, American International School-Kuwait.  She takes the responsibility of shaping future generations very seriously in mind, body, and spirit.  Dana believes that belonging in her work as AP means bridging the gap between the local and international staff hires.   Experience in teaching: 10 years  Experience as AP: 2017-present Twitter: @Dana_Shuhaibar Blog:
May 27, 2020
Episode 8 with guest Dr. Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas, PhD is a Regional Technology Coordinator in a large district in Maryland, and the founder of EduMatch, a project that empowers educators to make global connections across common areas of interest.  She has spoken and presented internationally, participated in the Technical Working Group to refresh the 2017 ISTE Standards for Educators, and is a recipient of the 2017 ISTE Making IT Happen award.  She is also a national advisor for the Future Ready Instructional Coaches Strand, and an Affiliate Professor at Loyola University in Maryland. Sarah is a co-author of the ISTE Digital equity series, Closing the Gap. Previous episodes of Edumatch TweetandTalk: Social media: @sarahdateechur Email:
May 20, 2020
Episode 7 with guest Barbara Bray
Barbara Bray is a creative learning strategist who has been on a journey to transform teaching and learning. Her story goes down multiple paths that helped her find what she is passionate about and been fighting for. Through her work as a teacher, adjunct professor, instructional designer, speaker, coach, and writer, Barbara has been exploring ways she can make a difference in children’s lives. Starting in 1997, Barbara wrote a professional development column for CUE for 17 years, created her platform, My eCoach, and posted often on her website Rethinking Learning. In 2012, she co-founded Personalize Learning, LLC, and co-authored Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning with Kathleen McClaskey. Barbara realized that she was focusing on how to change teaching but the rationale for teachers to want to change was missing. In 2017, Barbara started her Rethinking Learning podcast and the #rethink_learning Twitter chat with her co-host, Shelly Vohra. It was the stories all along that impacted her. She wasn’t living her life on purpose until she told her story and listened to the stories from inspirational thought leaders. She has been an advocate for educators for years through coaching and providing resources. Now she takes the stories deeper. This is why she wrote Define Your WHY: to help anyone who is searching to discover or rediscover their WHY so they can live and learn on purpose. #DefineYourWhy Contact Information Email: Website/Blog: Rethinking Learning Podcast: Rethinking Learning Podcast Founder/Owner, My eCoach  Co-author: Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning New Book "Define Your Why" #DefineYourWhy @EduMatchPublishing Twitter: @bbray27  #rethink_learning LinkedIn: barbarabray Google+: +Barbara Bray Facebook: barbara.bray Pinterest: bbray27 Skype: barbarabray48 Voxer: barbarabray48 Instagram: bbray27 TeachSDGs Ambassador Cohort 3
May 6, 2020
Episode 6 with guest Malinda Hurt
Today's guest is Malinda Hurt, a 7th grade English teacher in a small rural school district in northern Illinois. This is her sixth year teaching in the classroom. She has held many positions in education from staff to faculty. Malinda enjoys connecting her students to the world using the Global Goals. In fact, she is a co-administrator for Our Global Classroom. Malinda mention several resources for teaching with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including;  Malinda also mentioned Enneagram as a tool she used to find out more about herself and how she works. The website is: I mentioned the School Reform Initiative protocol, Compass Points. Malinda's contact details are Twitter: @mrshurtteaches  Email:
April 22, 2020
Episode 5 with guest Francesca Arturi
Buncee is one of my favorite apps, so when Francesca Arturi, accepted my invitation to be on my podcast, I was thrilled. Francesca Arturi is a School Relationship Manager at Buncee. Throughout her time at Buncee, she has not only supported schools and educators to achieve their learning goals through the platform, but has coordinated a number of projects. This includes global connectivity projects, the publishing of online courses for both blended learning and literacy instruction, and hosted numerous #Bunceechats to foster connectivity and collaboration amongst the educator community. There are many ways to use Buncee that Francesca mentioned during the podcast. Here are some links: Here is our remote learning page with a link to sign up for a buncee account at no cost under 'Get Buncee': Here's Tan's coffee talk & blog post: and  And two links on Buncee + Immersive Reader: and Buncee Ideaslab:
April 15, 2020
Episode 4 with guest Elizabeth Merce
My guest today is Elizabeth Merce and we are discussing belonging and "littles" as she likes to call children age 3-8 years old. Her advice is practical and easy to implement. Elizabeth has been involved in early childhood education for over 10 years. She has created and implemented differentiated lesson plans for kindergarten with a focus on meaningful technology integration. Elizabeth has taught at Tidewater Community College, Teaching Art, Music and Movement, a hands-on course focusing on preparing teachers to teach art, music, and movement activities in an early childhood setting, and Guiding the Behavior of Children- that exposes teachers to positive guidance methods to use in their early childhood classrooms and works to move from theories to practical applications. Elizabeth is an early childhood specialist who mentors teachers and offers daily advice every morning at 7:00 a.m. ET about teaching young children and their social/emotional learning needs on Twitter and Periscope #DitchTheClip
April 7, 2020
Episode 3 with guest Noa Daniel
Noa Daniel MEd, is a teacher, consultant, coach and Chief Building Officer at BOB. Noa is also a podcaster and a blogger. She hosts The Personal Playlist Podcast (#P3) and the weekly live OnEdMentors show on VoicEd Radio She blogs about her work in and outside of school and writes a weekly post on each of her guest's  on the P3. Noa is also the cofounder of OnEdMentors Connect (OEMConnect), which now falls under The Mentoree, with Leigh Cassell of Digital Human Library (dHL). The Mentoree  is a collaborative community that promotes professional learning and efficacy through mentorship. Explore 1:1 self-directed mentorship opportunities and engage in personalized learning experiences with educators in a supportive and caring environment through face to face and virtual connections. Follow Noa on Twitter @noasbobs to find out more about Building Outside the Blocks Find out more: An example of a completed BOB (Photo Synthesis):
March 24, 2020
Episode 2 with guest Melisa Hayes-Creating a Classroom Family
Join Melisa Hayes @hayes_melisa (Twitter) as she chats with me about her experience with inclusion and belonging in her classroom in Hilliard, Ohio.  Melisa is an amazing educator who loves to share what she knows with other educators, so there are lots of tips to learn about including how she creates a family. Her students feel they belong when they walk into her classroom from the first day of school. 
February 26, 2020
Journeys to Belonging: Belonging Across Continents
Join me, Dr. Ilene Winokur as I share my personal experiences of belonging. When we travel, we need to be open to experiencing life like the locals. Eating their food, learning about their history and culture, and appreciating similarities as well as differences. I believe my longevity in Kuwait and appreciation for its rich culture and history has enriched my life immensely.
February 16, 2020
February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020