Defining US: America‘s Classroom for the Heart and Mind
Episode 19. Suzanne McCormick: YMCA’s Bold Vision for the Future

Episode 19. Suzanne McCormick: YMCA’s Bold Vision for the Future

November 1, 2022

As the first female CEO of the YMCA in 171 years, Suzanne McCormick joins the Defining US podcast with Stacey DeWitt to share her bold vision for the future. YMCA of the USA is a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, engaging 11 million members annually, including 4 million under the age of 18.

Suzanne became President and CEO of YMCA in September 2021. She has 27 years of experience as a local and national executive leader in the nonprofit sector, most recently as U.S. President for United Way Worldwide and a member of its global management team. As President, Suzanne was responsible for helping the 1,100 United Ways across the U.S. build more resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities. Under her leadership, the United Way tackled community challenges with innovative, equitable and systemic solutions. 

“Defining US” uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on social, political and cultural issues that matter.

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:08 – Suzanne McCormick discusses her experiences and the key things she’s learned in the changing times we’re living in
  • 3:20 – The purpose the YMCA serves and its true impact on the community
  • 6:40 – The importance of “local solutions”
  • 9:40 – Suzanne’s background and what her motivator is for the work she does
  • 14:50 – We need a moment of reconciliation
  • 19:10 – The values of the YMCA
  • 22:50 – Suzanne’s outlook for the YMCA in the future and the impact they can continue to have
  • 26:15 – Working with the YMCA  

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
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 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 18. Dr. Paul Nussbaum: Practical Neuropsychology

Episode 18. Dr. Paul Nussbaum: Practical Neuropsychology

September 26, 2022

In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Dr. Paul Nussbaum. Dr. Nussbaum is board-certified in Clinical Psychology and Geropsychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology. He is the Founder and President of Brain Health Center, Inc. that provides independent medical examinations, record reviews, and case management for those suffering neurological and neurobehavioral disorders. An expert in neuroanatomy and human behavior, he has published many peer reviewed articles, books, and chapters within the scientific community. Dr. Nussbaum educates the public on the basics of the human brain and how to keep the brain healthy over the entire lifespan. He has presented his views on brain health at the United Nations, National Press Club, Mensa, Sirius Radio, and CSPAN. His keynote presentations are both informative and fun and he is often interviewed by the local and national press/media.  

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 0:42 – Dr. Paul Nussbaum’s background and why he became passionate for the work he does 
  • 4;09 – How to position our brains to be loving, kind, and nurturing 
  • 6:07 – The pressure for us to focus on how we perceive things
  • 10:03 – The Importance of Mindfulness
  • 11:55 – The Reflex Metaphor
  • 14:15 – Use your cell phone in a good way
  • 22:59 – Developing new strategies for constructive conversations
  • 24:23 – Emotional intelligence in teaching 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems? 
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning
  • Multi-Media and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 17. Scott Lee: Letting Educators Take the Lead

Episode 17. Scott Lee: Letting Educators Take the Lead

September 8, 2022

In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Scott Lee. Scott directs curriculum design at the CWK Network and is the producer/host of The Thoughtful Teacher Podcast. They discuss a variety of issues related to teachers, the struggles they face in and out of the classroom today, and how asking the right questions can be a start for change.  

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:25 - Scott’s backstory as a teacher and the inspiration behind his podcast, The Thoughtful Teacher
  • 3:41 – Importance of developing the positive relationship as a teacher
  • 5:30 – Issues in teacher retention
  • 7:20 – The three issues teachers are facing today: COVID, Communication Issues, Control Issues
  • 10:00 – Teachers are feeling scapegoated by issues in the world
  • 12:01 – Importance of a teacher in helping students deal with social issues impacting them
  • 13:15 – Unintended consequences of telling teachers to not talk about certain subjects
  • 17:25 – What should school look like in the 21st Century?
  • 18:32 – We have to be asking the right questions
  • 19:00 – What are some solutions and how can everyone help?
  • 21:45 – Take a lead from educators
  • 23:00 – Everyone remembers the best teacher(s) they had.  

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context?
  • What are the implications to my practice?
  • How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning
  • Multi-Media and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 16. Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre: The Power of Inclusion

Episode 16. Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre: The Power of Inclusion

August 29, 2022

In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre. Patrick is the Principal of Paige Elementary in the Schenectady City School District. Dr. Jean-Pierre has years of combined experience in urban educational settings, which includes public schools, charter schools and universities. His range of professional experiences in the field of education includes teaching, counseling, and leadership development, as well as organizational consulting that fosters systemic change. 

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:18 – Patrick’s background and how he came into the position he is in now 
  • 3:27 – “I didn’t want to go work anywhere that wouldn’t talk about race.” 
  • 4:25 – Noticing disparities in his neighborhood at a young age 
  • 5:48 – The importance of looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything you do
  • 10:06 – Ignoring an entire population of people and setting the wrong expectations
  • 13:00 – Making changes is the only way to allow everyone to live to their full potential
  • 14:32 – Shifting your mindset
  • 23:06 – The importance of being a black principal
  • 24:19 – Patrick’s reactions to Defining US
  • 27:55 – “It’s really about a kind of inclusion and diversity that is broad and wide.”
  • 31:15 – “Innovation is really about diversity 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context?
  • What are the implications to my practice?
  • How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning
  • Multi-Media and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 15. Alison Yoshimoto-Towery: Leading with Equity

Episode 15. Alison Yoshimoto-Towery: Leading with Equity

August 29, 2022

In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt interviews Alison Yoshimoto-Towery. Alison is the Chief Academic Officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District and one of the experts from the Defining US film. They discuss a variety of issues related to equity and how the pandemic is changing schools.  

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:37 – finding ways to build back social emotional learning and mental health 
  • 3:00 – healing is needed following so much loss  
  • 5:49 – the importance of relationships in teaching and teaching from the heart
  • 6:35 – during the pandemic schools were doing so much more than online classes
  • 9:01 – “Inequities worsened under the pandemic…” and the LAUSD Black Student Achievement Plan
  • 10:10 – schools using restorative processes promoting equity
  • 10:48 – community partnerships 
  • 12:00 – connection between leadership and using data well to meet student needs
  • 12:50 – higher education partnerships 
  • 14:48 – the change process that is happening right now
  • 17:49 – educators and students must be at the forefront of the dialog to bring about solving today’s problems  

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice?
  • How can I support students in taking on and solving big important problems?
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning
  • Multi-Media and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 14. Troy Keller: Defining Our Responsibilities to Students with Needs

Episode 14. Troy Keller: Defining Our Responsibilities to Students with Needs

April 7, 2022

In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt is joined by Troy Keller, a Director of Special Education for Maryland’s Frederick County Public Schools.  In the conversation, Stacey and Troy discuss the changed landscape of public education, the educator’s role in supporting students more holistically, and why our students with disabilities – and all students - need us to go all in on their behalf. 

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 3:10 – Vulnerability and Trust 
  • 6:37 – A Whole Child Approach is our Obligation
  • 8:00 - Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Special Needs
  • 10:27 – A Changed Educational Landscape
  • 14:51 – Debunking the Myths
  • 21:29 – Why Attending to Needs Matters 
  • 25:21 – The Continuum of Services is Individualized
  • 32:41 – Navigating Differences for Full Potential
  • 38:15– Equity in the Field
  • 48:31 – Inclusion Helps All Learn
  • 55:01 – Pearls of the Pandemic 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context?
  • What are the implications to my practice?
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow Us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow Our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning
  • Multi-Media and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 13. Joshua B. Pedersen: Laboratory of Life

Episode 13. Joshua B. Pedersen: Laboratory of Life

March 6, 2022

Defining Us uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on the socio-political cultural issues that matter.  In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt is joined by Josh, the Director of 211 at United Way Worldwide. Listen in as Josh shines light on the ways in which we can all come together to build trust, provide dignity for ourselves and others, while finding solutions to complex issues in our communities. 

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 2:00 - 211 is America’s Best Kept Secret 
  • 8:54 - Information is Empowerment 
  • 13:36 - Anonymity, Dignity and Trust 
  • 16:27 - American Values Around Giving 
  • 22:20 - Creating a Symphony of Service 
  • 47:03 – The Intersection of Faith, Sexual Identity and Hope 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning 
  • Multimedia and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 12. Marybeth Gasman: Talking About Race

Episode 12. Marybeth Gasman: Talking About Race

March 6, 2022

Defining Us uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on the socio-political cultural issues that matter.  In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt is joined by Marybeth Gasman, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education, a Distinguished Professor, and the Associate Dean for Research in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity & Justice and the Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. In this conversation Marybeth and Stacey discuss the impact when everyone is a part of the conversation about race, how to build diverse relationships, and ways to learn from the institutions already doing the work to support students of color. 

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:40 - An Entry Point into the Work 
  • 10:05 - Why White People Need to be a Part of the Conversation on Race 
  • 16:25 - The Power of Building Diverse Relationships 
  • 25:14 - Looking to the Institutions that are Getting It Right 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning 
  • Multimedia and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 11. Tammy Thomas Garnes: Art, Media, and Transformative Education

Episode 11. Tammy Thomas Garnes: Art, Media, and Transformative Education

March 6, 2022

Defining Us uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on the socio-political cultural issues that matter.  In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt is joined by Tammy Thomas Garnes, Vice President of Education & Understanding at ARRAY, to discuss the role of media, the art of storytelling, and the impact on education and outreach. She and Stacey go deep into how they each approach the work and how those approaches can be used for positive impact.  

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 1:32-Tammy’s Story-The Vision and Impact 
  • 10:25-Art and Media Meeting Education 
  • 19:30-The Danger of Un-Education  
  • 31:39-Transcending Fear and Transforming Communities with Counter-Narratives 
  • 44:46-Exposure, Disruption, Liberation  

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning 
  • Multimedia and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

Episode 10. Paul Forbes: Cultivating Courageous Conversations

Episode 10. Paul Forbes: Cultivating Courageous Conversations

March 6, 2022

Defining Us uses the power of media and the promise of education to inspire educators to join the conversation on the socio-political cultural issues that matter.  In this episode of Defining Us…Stacey DeWitt is joined again by Paul Forbes, Defining US Advisory Board and Leaders Network to discuss the beginnings of Defining US and their journey to common understanding, respect, and friendship through the work they were doing in NYC Schools. Their conversation serves as a model for how we cultivate courageous conversations to build bridges of understanding with others. 

Powerful Moments 

Throughout this podcast there are powerful moments that provide deeper insight into the individuals and topics discussed in this podcast.   

  • 3:18-Reflecting on the Journey 
  • 6:36-The Power of Stories 
  • 16:47-We All Have a Different Lens  
  • 28:07-Capturing the Shared Lived Experience 
  • 40:29-Introspection, Reflection, and Vulnerability 
  • 46:00-Implicit Bias, the Work Behind the Work 

Critical Reflection Questions (During and After the Listening) 

Use the following critical reflection questions to make deeper meaning of the topics discussed in this episode. 

  • How do my own identity, experiences and knowledge influence my understanding of this topic?  
  • How does this topic connect with my current context? 
  • What are the implications to my practice? 
  • How will I continue the conversation in my school/community/organization? 

Inside the Conversation  

Want to know more? Continue the learning with some of the important individuals, organizations, and topics discussed in this episode. 

Follow us to Join the Conversation 

Our favorite part of recording a live podcast each week is participating in the great conversations that happen on social media and in our comments section.  

Follow our Host  

Contact Us for Additional Information on:  

  • Hosting a Documentary Screening and Panel 
  • Network Experts and Organizations 
  • Professional Learning 
  • Multimedia and Print Resources 

 https://definingus.org/take-action/ 

Check Out More Defining Us Programming 

If you are a new listener to Defining Us, we would love to hear from you.  Please visit us at www.definingus.org today!  

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