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Episode 41: Teacher Retention: Who’s Abandoning Whom?

Sept 19, 2022


Season 4, Episode 1:

In a follow up to their widely popular Edweek article, the luminary Michael Fullan and seasoned practitioner Joanna Rizzotto discuss the roots of our teacher retention problem—the system of schooling itself. They contend that we need to shift to a humanity-based model where schools and communities can experience greater local autonomy and improve practices from the bottom up. One of the first steps is to have the more centralized figures connect with the people on the ground; the educators, parents, and students who see it all first. Such interactions would truly show teachers and other community member their value and give district leaders the data they need to make the most effective, holistic decisions. As Fullan and Rizzotto see it, teachers—especially those that stick around—have never left their calling, they have just abandoned an outmoded structure that too often isn’t nimble or responsive enough changing times.   



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Michael Fullan


Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan, OC, is the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto. He is co-leader of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global initiative. Recognized as a worldwide authority on educational reform, he advises policymakers and local leaders in helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. Michael Fullan received the Order of Canada in December 2012. He holds honorary doctorates from several universities around the world.

Connect with Michael at and on Twitter.



Joanna Rizzotto


Joanna Rizzotto

Joanna Rizzotto is an award-winning, Latina, Alternative Education teacher. She developed and operates the REAL Academy, a specially designed program that focuses on regulation and healthy adolescent development. Joanna is the creator and executive producer of Educator’s Amplified radio program and podcast.

Connect with Joanna here!



Peter DeWitt


Peter DeWitt

Peter DeWitt (Ed.D.), a former school principal in Upstate, NY, previously taught elementary school for 11 years. His syndicated blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week and he is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter has traveled the world, developing content, visiting school sites, influencing policy, and presenting with John Hattie. He has worked with educators at schools, districts, educational service centers, and educational organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officials. His presentations focus on school leadership, school climate, as well as safeguarding LGBT students and other social justice topics.

Learn more about Peter's onsite professional development consulting, Collaborative Leadership, and connect with him on Twitter.



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Spirit Work

Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration

COVID-19, racial inequity, polarizing politics, mass misinformation, and myriad other challenges have made the future of education seem bleaker than ever. Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration speaks directly to leaders' hearts and advocates for the development of two qualities that will bring back hope for the future of education: "spirit work" and the science of collaboration. Spirit work centers love and care for students, staff, and communities as the impetus for creating a positive culture, while collaboration is the vehicle for manifesting that spirit work. Through powerful case studies and vignettes, the authors show how spirit and collaboration represent revolutionary potential for education. 

We cannot allow our best advocates for children to be consumed by today’s challenges. Spirit work and collaboration can pave the way to a brighter future.

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