Forthcoming

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The following interviews have been conducted and will be uploaded soon. Subscribe to this site for updates as new interviews are posted.

A LEGION OF DAVIDS

Battling the Odds in 21st Century American Schools

  • Maxine Greene, Teachers College, Columbia University; Philosopher-in-Residence in Lincoln Center Institute, social activist, teacher, author, Dialectic of Freedom, Variations on a Blue Guitar, and others. Maxine is 95 years old and a mentor of Bill’s.
  • Jermitt Krage has dedicated his career in public education to “working with those who want to change the culture of schools and who are willing to make schools better for children and to improve the quality of learning for children and adults.” After public school teaching in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska, Jermitt served over 30 years as an organizational development and training specialist with Wisconsin Education Association Council.
  • Louise Sundin, President Emeritus, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, “a union of professionals,” talks about being raised by a mother who was a teacher and father who was a strong union advocate, and how this upbringing led to her own career-long effort to develop teaching as a “true profession.”
  • Mike Klonsky, co-founder Small Schools Workshop, activist, blogger, author of Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society (with Susan Klonsky) and A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (with Bill Ayers and Gabrielle Lyon) talks about his involvement in SDS in the sixties and political activism, today.
  • Susan Klonsky, Chicago activist, Director of  Development with Small Schools Workshop, and co-author, with Mike Klonsky, of Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society. 
  • Stephanie Pace Marshall
  • Susan Handler
  • Eleanor Duckworth
  • Jo Anderson, senior advisor to Secretary Duncan, U.S. Department of Education, and formerly executive director of Illinois Education Association is interviewed with his son, Josh Anderson, Director, Teach for America Chicago, and formerly a TFA teacher in the Bronx. They exchange differing philosophies and perspectives on the state of education, today.
  • Morgan Halsted and Kathleen McInerney
  • Alison Hilsabeck
  • Brian Jones
  • Ari Frede
  • Laura Cooper
  • Lisa Vahey, Nonprofit Consultant, including Chief of Staff, First Five Years Fund, interim charter school principalships, trainer & coach of instructional coaches in district & charter schools, and Editorial Board Member, Catalyst Chicago
  • Ky Adderley, founder and principal, KIPP AMP, Brooklyn, NY. Now living and working as an education consultant in Brazil.
  • Xian Barrett
  • Mahalia Hines, retired principal, now president of Hip Hop Schoolhouse which is her son, actor/rap artist, Common’s foundation. She was recently appointed to the Chicago Public Schools board of education by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
  • Natalie Neris-Guerica, award-winning elementary school teacher; now an Instructional Support Leader at Chicago Public Schools
  • Jesse Turner, Professor at Central Connecticut State University, aka the ‘Walking Man” and a leader of the National Save Our Schools Steering Committee that organized a large rally on the mall in Washington DC in the summers of 2011 and 2012. Jesse talks about what led up to the rally and how he walked from Connecticut to DC to protest today’s testing policies.
  • Monty Neill, executive director, Fair Test since 1987. He initiated national and state coalitions of education, civil rights, religious and parent organizations to work toward fundamental change in the assessment of students and in accountability
  • Cheryl Watkins, foundingprincipal, Pershing West Middle School, Chicago, talks about the powerful influence of her father, who had recently passed away, and how it affects her demanding approach to leading an urban school. 2008 Milken Educator Award; 1991 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Anne Gottlieb is director of Youth Connections Charter Schools, an alternative high school for students that the larger system has rejected.
  • Dick Streedain, was principal at Hubbard Woods Elementary School on the day in 1988 when Laurie Dann entered the building and shot five children, one of the first such shootings of our times. Dick talks about how a school and community spontaneously came together as these terrible events unfolded. He recently retired as professor of education in the Educational Leadership department at National Louis University and is now a leadership coach for KIPP.

 

  • Sister Canice Johnson, RSN, a Sister of Mercy living in Detroit, opened a college preparatory school to serve low-income students.
  • Jared Lamb, founder and principal of New Orleans Leadership Academy (NOLA), talks about how, on the third day of his second year as a teacher, he had to leave New Orleans as Katrina advanced. He went to the Houston Astrodome where he helped recruit students for a temporary school for evacuees, then went on to establish his own school in NOLA, once he returned.
  • Linda Lenz, founder and publisher of Catalyst, an independent newsmagazine created in 1990 to document, analyze and support school-improvement efforts in the Chicago Public Schools. When she received the Studs Terkel Award in 2011, Linda said that, “much like Studs, I believe that listening to people in communities is an essential part of good reporting. The truth and knowledge [grassroots people] bring is just as—if not more—valuable than what some policy makers say.”
  • Nel Noddings
  • Ken Rollins
  • Carol Briggs

 

  • Julie Woestehoff, Executive Director, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) and Parents Across America.
  • Baltzar Garcia, co-founder Mexicayotl Academy, a border town k-8 school in Nogales, Arizona, now in its 15th year.
  • Gabrielle Lyon, co-founder, with her husband, paleontologist Paul Sereno, of Project Exploration, a nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked—particularly minority youth and girls—have access to personalized experiences with real science and scientists.
  • Jesse Solomon, director, Boston Teacher Residency Program, who helped develop the innovative program for preparing Boston’s teachers. He has been an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a National Board-certified teacher.
  • Mike Koldyke, venture capitalist, founder of Golden Apple Foundation and Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago, explains why he created the Foundation to honor teachers and the Academy to train urban teachers in a manner like doctors: year-long residencies with a master teacher.
  • Carlos Azcoitia, founding principal of John Spry Community School and Community Links High School, a “Comprehensive Community School” concept in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Under his leadership, this school became the first in Chicago to include a pre-kindergarten through high school program in one building with a 100% graduation rate and the goal of 100% post-secondary.
  • Deborah Meier, founder Central Park East and Mission Hill School, author The Power of Their Ideas, In Schools We Trust, and others. She talks about how the importance of expressing herself in writing extends back to her childhood and continues to be integral to her work and activism, today.
  • Danielle Herro, assistant professor of digital media and learning, Clemson University, South Carolina. Previously, instructional technology leader in the Oconomowoc Area School District, Wisconsin, focused on linking research and trends with social media and digital literacy to practice.
  • Anna Jolley Sansone, a 28 year old science teacher, formerly at Orr High School, Chicago, now teaching in Japan.
  • Anna Smunt, English teacher, Steinmetz High School, interviewed four months into her first year at this large, urban school and then at the end of her second year as she prepares to leave the school.
  • Jon Grenier, middle school social studies teacher in Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Annie Brown, English teacher, STEM Academy of Hollywood
  • Marvin Hoffman, associate director, Urban Teacher Education Program, at University of Chicago, author: Chasing Hellhounds, The Schoolboys of Barbiano Speak, and Vermont Diary. From his teaching in a Freedom School in the sixties through his leadership of a program at University of Chicago that prepares new teachers for urban schools, Hoffman has remained steady in his dedication to the welfare of children, particularly those in need. HE is married to novelist, Rosellen Brown,
  • Rosellen Brown, writer, Before and After, Tender Mercies, Cora Fries Pillow Book, and others. She is married to educator, Marvin Hoffman.
  • Bernadette Herman, Co-Founder and Teacher at Pathways to Learning, retired
  • Tomas Revollo
  • Reverend Calvin Morris, retired just before the interview, from his role as Executive Director of Community Renewal Society, a metropolitan Chicago, faith-based organization that improves the lives of individuals affected by racism and poverty.   His background holds an interesting blend of scholarly and management experiences in religious and educational institutions and executive management experience in organizations committed to racial, social and economic justice.
  • Carol Briggs, principal at Kohn Elementary School, nearing retirement, had started out to be a nurse, became a teacher’s aide, then a teacher and finally a principal, all on the south side of Chicago. “I had to do this,” she says. “I had to continue. Too much was at stake.”
  • Michael Spock began his career as the Director of the Boston Children’s Museum in 1962. The son of Dr. Benjamin Spock, Michael talks about growing up dyslexic and how he became, as Jon Keller writes in The Original Spock Baby, “the kind of learner who enjoys real stuff and three-dimensional ways of communicating information.
  • Nel Noddings, Professor of Education emeritus, Stanford University, author of 13 books. She is best known for her work in the ethics of care in schools and talks, here, about how it is more important now than ever.

OUR INHERITANCE:

Americans — Rich,Poor and Middle Class — Talk about their Money

  • Terri Johnson
  • Doug Seibold, publisher
  • Nora Fiffer, actress
  • Kate Sloane Fiffer, 
  • Catherine Gillis
  • Vincent Naples
  • Katherine McHenry, toy store owner
  • Gerry Fialka, 62, a self-described Los Angeles “scavenger artist or, even better ,paramedia ecologist”
    and film festival organizer, among quite a few other things.
  • Gabrielle Salgado, 26, who is confined to a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy and cannot find work in her chosen field: teaching.
  • Mort, 90, a retired architect who tried selling the home he designed and loved in for thirty years in 2008, just when the economy crashed. “My retirement is nothing like what I had hoped,” he tells me.
  • Frank, 60, an advertising executive who is being phased out of the advertising company which he helped build. “I kind of obsoleted myself,” he says.
  • Kit Cabello, 29, a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. He enlisted because he could not afford a college education. When he got home, he got his degree, but remains unemployed today. “I did what I was supposed to do!” he says
  • Jordan Blackburn
  • Masha Alexander, 42, founder of Social Good, “a collaborative consulting firm dedicated to the growth and success of organizations and companies in the social good sector. “ She immigrated to America from Russia when she was eight. That early experience helped shape her view of money in America
  • Sasha Alexander
  • Desi Mundo, 34, is a Bay Area muralist and founder of Community Restoration Project who tells me, “It’s strange how people, the public, feel entitled to my art without wanting to pay for it.”
  • Mike Powell, who is owner of the enormously successful (and enormous) used bookstore Powell’s Books in Portand;
  • Vincent, 27, a young entrepreneur who produces “uncommon events.” He attributes his own success to his vigorously working to be a man wholly unlike his father who has yet to hold a steady job;
  • Reggie Jones 37, a seller for Baxter Pharmaceuticals, who watches his money much more carefully since the recession, while observing his peers’ careless spending;
  • Nils Collins, 33, who recently left the job he held for ten years at the cooperative Seward Café in Minneapolis to pursue his dream of opening Lost Falls Distillery which will work with “local artists, farmers and artisans to create quality and ethically-produced spirits.” He raised money through Kickstarter;
  • Bernie Salazar, 39, a contestant on Season Five of NBC’s World’s Biggest Loser who won $100,000 for his weight loss. A large portion of his winnings went to “my Uncle Sam” and much of the rest he used to repair his mother’s storm-damaged home. He now self-identifies as an “independent health and fitness professional” and expects to release a children’s book, “Monsterize” about fitness.
  • Jake Durham, 36, once a pilot for Continental, he switched to corporate flying. He has struggled since 2008, as opportunities have decreased and many jobs are going to young pilots who are willing to work for considerably less money.
  • Jim Brandt, 66, a union organizer who had spent 15 years as a coal miner in Appalachia. “Never occurred to me to want to be wealthy,” he told me. “You work to support your family. I’ve been proud to be able to do that.”
  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, a professor of Urban Education at University of Wisconsin- Madison, author, Dreamkeepers, Crossing Over to Canaan and others. Speaking about her childhood she tells me, “We weren’t poor. We just didn’t have any money!”
  • Sasha Alexander, 70, had been a surgeon in Moscow until he immigrated with his yung family to America. He started, here, doing warehouse jobs until he eventually became a surgical assistant.
  • Tony Adler, 60, a long-time Chicago theater critic who is now working on a novel driven by the knowledge that his father died young and never got to do what he really hoped to do;
  • Jack, 62, a N.Y. voice over actor who worked as an assistant for a well-known restaurateur;
  • Andy White, 50, an actor and the co-founder, with David Schwimmer and others, of Lookingglass Theater in Chicago.
  • Mike Bradich, 47, an L.A. actor who recently played the mailman in a series of U.S. Post Office ads, a lucrative opportunity that has now ended.
  • John, a 52 year-old LaSalle Street commodities trader who tells me “What I do is gambling essentially”;
  • Brandon Boros, 27, works the stock exchange in Chicago. His wife is a high school teacher, “So when we’re out with friends and someone goes, ‘How was your day?’ I can’t say, ‘Great. I made ten grand!”  
  • Janet Knupp, 55, a venture philanthropist who founded a multi-million dollar fund to help serve the neediest schools in Chicago;
  • Kim Hedge, 60, who founded and runs a “Time Bank” in Detroit
  • Julie, 55, a psychiatrist whose extraordinarily wealthy mother left communist China with Julie’s father for a much more modest start in America. Julie recently learned that a scroll her mother gave her was appraised by both Sotheby’s and Christie’s as being worth 3 million dollars. Because it was left to Julie, she can’t decide if she will share it with her sister;
  • Tiffany Landers,49, a jewelry seller at an “upscale” jewelry store in North Carolina. One of her customers, with whom she developed a friendship, regularly bought expensive items, one of them totaling twice the cost of Tiffany’s home. The relationship, both personal and professional, ended when the woman’s father discovered that the woman, with wild abandon, had been spending the trust he set up for her and he cut her off.
  • Peter Szcepanek, cellist for the Milwaukee and Grant Park Symphony Orchestras
  • Anne Murphy
  • Cathy Connelly
  • Kevin Connelly
  • Nils Collins
  • Reggie
  • Katherine MacHenry, toy store owner
  • Rick Kogan
  • Kevin Roose
  • Jesse Lava
  • Amy Millikin
  • Masha Alexander
  • Sasha Alexander
  • Anne Scheetz