Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child


In our exclusive interviews, hear what some extraordinary public education advocates have to say about what it takes to give all children the opportunity for success in the 21st century.

The views expressed in these interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Learning First Alliance or its members.

Interviews with

Leading Educators
  • Elementary Art Teacher Donna Staten has earned the title "Pinterest Queen" because she has shared thousands of lessons and amassed nearly 100,000 followers on social media site Pinterest. She offers her strategies for using social media for lesson planning and communications. (May 20, 2015)
  • Middle School Principal Megan Kinsey shares her strategies for best use of educational technology in classrooms, professional development for teachers, and what she’s learned from the Catalyst classroom, a research project she co-founded at her school to help support both teachers and students in their use of technology. (April 22, 2015)
  • Master Teacher Diane Siekmann shares her thoughts on teaching under new college and career ready standards and the supports needed to get it right. Particularly encouraging: the changes she has seen in her students under these new, higher standards. (April 22, 2014)
  • 2014 NASSP Digital Principal Daisy Dyer Duerr talks about her philosophy on digital learning and St. Paul High School’s (AR) transition to a technology-infused school, emphasizing the challenge that bandwidth (or more specifically, a lack of bandwidth) presents to her rural community. (March 20, 2014)
  • Teacher Educator Linda McKee discusses how university-based teacher preparation programs in general - and her institution, Tulane, in particular - are getting educators ready to teach under the Common Core. (October 16, 2013)
  • 2013 NASSP Digital Principal Ryan Imbriale shares his thoughts on how school leaders can promote digital learning and the challenges they face in doing so, as well as what it looks like in his building. (March 26, 2013)
  • Wagner Superintendent Susan Smit discusses how her district is using technology to overcome the challenges of teaching and learning in a rural environment. (November 3, 2010)
  • Two Boston Educators give the insiders' view of City Connects (CCNX) incredible work. (July 1, 2010)

Best-Selling Authors

Authors describe their ideas for improving public education:

  • New York Times best-selling author Kenneth C. Davis talks about the updated anniversary edition of his book, Don't Know Much About History, the role of history in creating informed citizens, and how to teach history in an engaging way. (August 22, 2011).
  • Best-Selling Author Dan Ariely talks about his work (which lead to Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality) and its implications for teacher compensation and school choice policies. (September 29, 2010)

Top Researchers

Learn what leading researchers believe works - and doesn't work - in educating our most vulnerable students:

  • Dr. Maria C. Paredes from WestEd discusses her Academic Parent-Teacher Team (APTT) model, where more meaningful parental and family involvement is contributing to improved student outcomes. (November 13, 2012)
  • Stakeholders discuss Advancing High-Quality Professional Learning Through Collective Bargaining and State Policy (an in-depth look at the professional learning policies of six states) and its implications. (September 14, 2010)

Other Advocates

Hear what other advocates say about specific issues in public education today:

  • Joshua Starr, executive director of Phi Delta Kappa International, discusses his experience as a large-district superintendent, the state of testing, and his priorities for the organization, including plans to expand its annual poll. 

  • Anthony King founded a unique "Dad's PTA" in Detroit to help fathers and male caretakers get involved in their children's schools.
  • Baltimore County Public Schools has earned national recognition for its efforts to engage parents, students, and key constituents, and Chief Communications Officer Mychael Dickerson shares his strategies for success.
  • National PTA President Otha Thornton tells us why his organization supports the Common Core State Standards, what parents need to know about them and how they can help support implementation. He also dispels some of the myths surrounding the standards. (February 24, 2014)
  • National PTA President Otha Thornton, the first African-American male to lead the organization, discusses his views on education and how the PTA is gearing up to address the challenges facing public education. (August 26, 2013)