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Getting Smart Podcast

Oct 17, 2018

If you follow education social media, you’ve probably heard of Salisbury Superintendent, Randy Ziegenfuss. Randy has been the Superintendent for almost four years but prior to that held different roles in education, teaching music and technology. Over the last few years, he’s become a leading advocate of learner-centered education and blogs all about it at With his Assistant Superintendent, Randy has also produced more than 40 episodes of the Shift Your Paradigm podcast, where he explores learner-centered education and leadership.

Recently, Tom got the chance to catch up with Randy to find out what motivates and informs his leadership. Tom and Randy discuss his earlier roles in education, his current role as Superintendent, the shift in education to more student-centered education (rather than school-centered), the framework his district is using to help shape this, more about his podcast with co-host, Lynn Fuini-Hetten, and what they set out to accomplish with it.

Key Takeaways:
[:16] About this week’s guest, Randy Ziegenfuss.
[1:06] About Randy’s early education.
[4:11] Does Randy think that music teachers have a special appreciation for personalized and competency-based learning? And that every learner is on a different journey?
[8:43] How being a band director teaches you humility.
[10:48] How Randy moved from his position teaching music, to teaching technology, to becoming Superintendent.
[15:17] About next week’s iNACOL Party in Nashville. Email to get your name on the list!
[15:36] Randy speaks about the analog-to-digital learning shift in education and how it has helped to provide perspective on the current shift from school-centered to student-centered.
[19:26] When student-centered learning really clicked for Randy.
[21:13] Did Randy adopt Education Reimagined’s student-centered learning principles as part of his strategic plan at Salisbury?
[23:55] Randy’s journey at Salisbury and his progress in shifting the schools to more student-based learning.
[31:44] How Randy’s framework is helping to shift the mindsets and allow time for reflection.
[33:25] Randy’s thoughts on the tension between innovation and equity (when progress is happening at different speeds in the district).
[35:35] About Randy’s podcast, Shift Your Paradigm, and what he’s trying to accomplish with it.
[41:37] Looking forward, what is Randy most curious about in transforming education?
[44:22] Parting words and thanks from Tom and Randy.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Randy’s Twitter
Randy’s LinkedIn
Shift Your Paradigm Podcast
Lynn Fuini-Hetten’s Twitter (Randy’s podcast co-host)
Social Good Summit
Johns Hopkins University
Education Reimagined
Pioneering Newsletter

If you want to hear another great discussion with a student-centered leader, listen to:
Episode 63: Listening to Kids and Designing from Scratch for Timeless Learning with Pam Moran

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Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?
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