EdLeader Podcast

Educational Leadership is an ever-evolving opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of students, parents, and the community. Join Dr. Rob Jackson for conversations and reflections on improving Educational Leadership from the Classroom to the Boardroom and beyond.

Show Notes appear below.

EdLeader is available everywhere you get your podcasts.


Cover Art for the EdLeader Special Series

Special Series Collections on EdLeader:

The Science of Reading: What EdLeaders Need to Know

Leadership Lessons from the G.O.A.T.

Lessons from the Lightkeeper 


Episode 86 - Leading with Purpose: Strategies to Sustain in Leadership through Prioritizing Growth and Self-Care featuring Dr. Tony Jackson

Episode 85 - Bring the Joy featuring 2023 North Carolina Principal of the Year Donna Bledsoe

Episode 84 - Unleashing Greatness featuring Stephen M. R. Covey

Episode 83 - The Science of Reading: Phonological Awareness - What Every EdLeader Should Know with Special Co-host ChatGPT

The Science of Reading: Phonological Awareness

Link to Episode 83 Show Notes
Episode 82 - Intention & Attention - The Pathway to Making a Lasting Difference

Episode 81 - Equipped to Thrive: Improving School Mental Health featuring Charle Peck

Episode 80 - The Science of Reading: Language Structures - What Every EdLeader Should Know


Episode 79 - The Science of Reading: Decoding - What Every EdLeader Should Know

Episode 78 - Elevate... from Good to Great

Episode 77 - Pathway to the Principalship featuring Dr. Carrie Tulbert

Episode 76 - The Science of Reading: Literacy Knowledge - What Every EdLeader Should Know

Episode 75 - People first, the rest will follow... featuring US Coast Guard Captain Jennifer Stockwell

Episode 74 - Purpose and Intentionality: The Role of the Principal in MTSS featuring Dr. Tanya Turner

Episode 73 - The Science of Reading: Verbal Reasoning - What Every EdLeader Should Know


Episode 72 - The Science of Reading: Sight Word Recognition - What Every EdLeader Should Know

Episode 71 - The Science of Reading: Background Knowledge - What Every EdLeader Should Know

Link to Background Knowledge Show Notes

Episode 70 - The Science of Reading: Fluency - What Every EdLeader Should Know

Episode 69 - The Science of Reading - What Every EdLeader Should Know

An Image of the Scarborough Reading Rope

Theoretical Models that Underpin the Science of Reading

Episodes 66 & 67 - From Striving to Thriving: How to Grow Confident Capable Readers featuring Stephanie Harvey and Annie Ward

Stephanie Harvey
Literacy Staff Developer
Stephanie Harvey Consulting
Denver, CO

Annie Ward
Assistant Superintendent
Mamaroneck Public Schools
Westchester County, NY

Episode 64 - The Return of the Greatest Generation featuring Dr. John Bryant

Dr. John Bryant
Henderson County Public Schools
Hendersonville, NC

Episode 62 - The Lighthouse Effect featuring Mr. Steve Pemberton

Mr. Steve Pemberton
Best Selling Author
Senior Level Executive

Episode 61 - Purveyors of Hope: The Role of School Counselors featuring Ms. Brittany Norman

Ms. Brittany Norman
NC School Counselor Association
Lead School Counselor
Onslow County Public Schools
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Episode 59 - Walking Alongside: The Role of School Psychologists featuring Ms. Mollie Mayse

Mrs. Mollie Mayse
School Psychologist
Carteret County Public Schools
Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Episode 56 - Brave Enough to Be It featuring Dr. Elena Ashburn

Dr. Elena Ashburn
2021 NC State Principal of the Year
Needham B. Broughton High School
Raleigh, North Carolina

Episode 55 - Leadership Launch featuring Jack Hoke

Photo of Jack Hoke

Jack Hoke
Executive Director
North Carolina School Superintendents Association
Hickory, North Carolina


Episode 54 - Literacy: The One Big Thing - Every Classroom Every Subject Every Grade Level featuring Dr. Tanya Turner

Dr. Tanya Turner
Perquimans County Schools
Hertford, North Carolina

Episode 53 - Every Name - Every Strength - Every Need; The Highline Promise featuring Dr. Susan Enfield

Dr. Susan Enfield
Highline Public Schools
Burien, Washington

Episodes 51 and 52 - Effective Principals Affect Students and Schools - Part I & II featuring North Carolina State Principals of the Year Kisha Clemons, Dr. Carrie Tulbert, and Tabari Wallace

Episode 50 - Authentic Respect ~ Authentic Student Relationships featuring Mr. Christopher Murray

Mr. Christopher Murray
Sixth Grade Science Teacher
Broad Creek Middle School
Newport, NC

Episode 49 - MTSS: A Framework for School Improvement featuring Mrs. BriAnne Hall and Mrs. Heather Boston

Mrs. BriAnne Hall
Integrated Academic and Behavior Systems Consultant
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Sparta, NC

Mrs. Heather Boston
Director of MTSS and AIG
Carteret County Public Schools
Morehead City, NC

Episode 48 - Keeping Media Centers Connected with Mrs. Emily Golightly and Mrs. Amanda McCall

Mrs. Emily Golightly
Media Specialist
Newport Elementary School
Newport, North Carolina

Mrs. Amanda McCall
Media Specialist
Morehead City Primary School
Morehead City, NC

Episode 47 - Measuring the Impact of Effective Principals featuring Dr. Anna Egalite

Dr. Anna Egalite

Dr. Anna Egalite
Researcher, Associate Professor
NC State University
Raleigh, North Carolina

Episode 46 - A Journey of Balance, Resilience, and Transformation featuring Mrs. Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson

Mrs. Sarah Johnson
Author, Consultant, Podcaster

Episode 45 - Leadership that Lasts featuring Dr. Jeff McDaris

Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris

Dr. Jeff McDaris
Transylvania County Public Schools

Episode 44 - The Joy of Connection with Erika Garcia

Photo of Erika Garcia

Erika Garcia
Instructional Coordinator/Teacher Coach
Clayton, Missouri

Episode 43 - Accelerating Literacy Development with Dr. Donyall Dickey

Photo of Dr. Donyall Dickey

Dr. Donyall Dickey
Chief Executive Officer
Educational Epiphany

Episode 36 - Trailblazers Wanted with Dr. Bill Daggett

Dr. Bill Daggett
Founder and Chairman
International Center for Leadership in Education

Episode 34 - Influential Leadership with Colonel Todd Ferry

Colonel Todd Ferry
Deputy Commander
Marine Corps Installations East
Camp LeJeune, NC

Episode 32 - Pandemic Teaching with Teacher of the Year Jody Stouffer

Jody Stouffer, Art Teacher
Croatan High School
Carteret County Public Schools
Cape Carteret, NC

Episode 30 - Update from the School House with School Nurse Jessica Shearin

Jessica Shearin, School Nurse
White Oak Elementary School
Carteret County Public Schools
Cape Carteret, NC

Episode 25 - Transformational Leadership with Dr. Pascal Mubenga

Dr. Pascal Mubenga, Superintendent
Durham Public Schools
Durham, NC

Episode 23 - Stronger Together with Superintendent Dr. Greg Little

Dr. Greg Little, Superintendent
Lexington County Schools District One
Lexington, SC

Episode 22 - We Can Do Amazing Things! with Principal of the Year Jessica Emory

Jessica Emory, Carteret County Public Schools Principal of the Year

Link to Episode 22 Show Notes


Episode 21 - A Shelter from the Storm with Regional Teacher of the Year Julie Pittman

Julie Pittman, Western Regional Teacher of the Year

Episode 20 - A Message from the Class of 2020: You Can Still be the Best You!

John A. Holmes High School Seniors
Hannah Rose, Salutatorian and
Ethan Hughson, Valedictorian

Link to Episode 20 Show Notes

Episode 19 - Standing Tall Amidst the Storms with State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis

Chairman Eric Davis, North Carolina State Board of Education

Episode 18 - Helping Parents Help Their Children Academically During the Coronavirus Pandemic School Closure with Dr. Michael Sasscer

Dr. Michael Sasscer (and Family), Assistant Superintendent, Edenton-Chowan Schools

Episode 17 - Obstacle Meet Innovation: A School District's Innovative Approach to Providing Next-Level Exterior Wi-fi with Dr. Lory Morrow

Dr. Lory Morrow, Superintendent, Lincoln County Schools

Episode 16 - Grace Over Grades: Supporting Academics During the Coronavirus School Closure with Dr. Brad Breedlove and Dr. John Jones

Episode 15 - Teaching With Grace During the Coronavirus Pandemic with Stacey Banks and Krista Perry

Episode 14 - Leading Through the Coronavirus Pandemic with NC Superintendent of the Year Dr. Patrick Miller

Dr. Patrick Miller, Superintendent of Greene County Schools

Episode 13 - School Counselors Supporting Children, Families, and Staff During the Coronavirus School Closure with School Counselors Jennifer Cobb and Katie Milligan

Episode 12 - Coronavirus Comes to School with Dr. Ethan Lenker

Episode 11 - "Where the Magic Happens" with Milken Award Winner and Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Physical Science Teacher Rachel O'Kelley

Science Teacher Rachel O'Kelley
John A. Holmes High School
Edenton, North Carolina

Link to Episode 11 Show Notes

Episode 10 - Innovation featuring George Couros

George Couros, Author
Innovate Inside the Box
The Innovator's Mindset

Link to Episode 10 Show Notes

Episode 9 - Contagious Joy and the Power of Yet with State Teacher of the Year Freebird McKinney

Freebird McKinney
Director of Legislative Affairs and Community Outreach, 

North Carolina State Board of Education
2018-2019 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year

Episode 8 - The Importance of Mental Health Services in Schools with Dr. Kerry Robinson

Dr. Kerry Robinson kneeling among her MSA students

In this episode, EdLeader host Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with Educational Leadership Professor Dr. Kerry Robinson to discuss the growing need for mental health services through the schools and the importance of prioritizing our own well-being. As our awareness of social-emotional learning and trauma-informed schools grows, so to does our need to really understand what that means for students and staff.

An Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Dr. Robinson's primary areas of research include women in leadership, the superintendency, and leadership preparation. Her 17 years of experience in K-12 as a teacher, building level administrator, and district level administrator continue to inform her work.

Dr. Kerry Robinson - @kerkatrob

Episode 7 - Characteristics of Amazing EdLeaders with Dr. Pam Baldwin and Dr. Ron Hargrave

In this episode of EdLeader, Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin and Scotland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ron Hargrave. Representing three very distinctly different school districts, nevertheless these three superintendents find commonality in their thoughts on the characteristics of amazing EdLeaders. They discuss learning and respecting school and district culture and digging beyond the surface data to really get to know how students are doing.

As always, the bell announcing the latest EdLeader Inbox Scenario rings out to challenge these experienced EdLeaders. Their thoughtful approach and their desire to help others grow in their careers shows as they tackle the Inbox.

Dr. Baldwin and Dr. Hargrave, together with Dr. Jackson, serve as Thought-Partners/Mentors in the state's Aspiring Superintendent Program. Now in its fourth year, the program is designed for senior EdLeaders who are considering moving into the superintendency.

Dr. Pam Baldwin - @DrPamBaldwin
Dr. Ron Hargrave - @ScotlandSupt

Episode 6 - "Finding the Awesome in the Awful" with Teacher of the Year Mrs. Molli Rose

Mrs. Molli Rose 2019-2020 Edenton-Chowan Schools Teacher of the Year

In this episode of EdLeader, Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with School System Teacher of the Year Mrs. Molli Rose. Mrs. Rose is an amazing EdLeader who has been teaching Middle School and High School English/Language Arts for 26 years. Dr. Jackson and Mrs. Rose discuss finding the awesome in the awful, the power of reflection, not being the sand in the vaseline, and what teachers wish that every principal and superintendent knew about teaching in 2020. The first EdLeader, currently serving as a classroom teacher, to be on the podcast, nevertheless Mrs. Rose hears the bell and must meet the challenge of the latest EdLeader Inbox Scenario.

This National Board Certified Teacher is a mentor, teacher coach, and department head who has a passion for helping new and novice teachers grow in their practice. Her classroom radiates joy even as she strives to be vulnerable and authentic with her students and colleagues.

Molli Rose - @rosemolli
Edenton-Chowan Schools - @Edenton_Chowan

Episode 5 - Strategies That Engage Minds with Dr. Sam Houston

Dr. Sam Houston
Chief Executive Officer 
NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center
Retired Superintendent

In this episode of EdLeader, Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with Dr. Sam Houston, an esteemed EdLeader who has been serving public education for over 50 years. Dr. Houston has been described as one of the faces on the Mount Rushmore of EdLeaders in North Carolina. Dr. Jackson and Dr. Houston discuss the importance of EdLeaders truly knowing themselves and their own true north star. Dr. Houston shares that STEM education is more than Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education. It is Strategies That Engage Minds.They also delve into moving the curriculum from fact-driven to inquiry-driven and using Science as an introduction to all other curricular areas.

Dr. Houston is a former teacher, principal, and superintendent. He has been inducted into multiple education Halls of Fame. Dr. Houston currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center.

Dr. Sam Houston - @HoustonSTEM

Episode 4 - Courageous Leadership with Dr. Tony Jackson

Dr. Rob Jackson (L) and Dr. Tony Jackson (R) presenting together at High Point University

Episode 3 - Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships with Joshua and Elijah Jackson

(L-R) Joshua Jackson, Dr. Rob Jackson, and Elijah Jackson

Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships were the education buzzwords dujour until educators made cliches out of them and moved on to the next great idea. Perhaps educational leaders need to reexamine their power as a lens with which to view education today.

In this episode of EdLeader, Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with two of his sons, Joshua and Elijah, to discuss how graduating from public school prepared them (or not) for life beyond high school. One is a recent college graduate and one is soon to be. They share that the teachers that most made a difference in their lives were the teachers who took the time to really know them and establish a relationship with them. Joshua and Elijah discuss the relevance of the curriculum they experienced in high school with their Dad and discuss the true meaning of rigor.

Joshua "JJ" Jackson - @JoshLJackson10
Sportscall - @SportsCallAU
Elijah Jackson - @elijah30jackson

Episode 2 - The Importance of Early Childhood Education with Sheila Evans

Dr. Rob Jackson (L) and Mrs. Sheila Evans (R) in a moment of levity while presenting during a Principals' Meeting

In this episode of EdLeader, Dr. Rob Jackson sits down with Regional Principal of the Year Sheila Evans to discuss the importance of Early Childhood Education in helping to ensure that students are ready for school and more likely to graduate from high school on-time and college, career, and citizenship ready. Mrs. Evans shares what makes the school she serves the #HappiestPlaceInChowanCounty and how the school begins discussing high school graduation with their youngest elementary students. Later in the episode, Mrs. Evans is presented with the first EdLeader Podcast Inbox scenario and discusses how she would handle the hypothetical scenario presented to her.

Mrs. Sheila Evans - @SheilaEvansNC
White Oak Elementary School - @whiteoak_elem

Episode 1 - Welcome to EdLeader

Addressing school system staff during the 2019 Edenton-Chowan Schools Convocation

What is possible when you truly believe in students, teachers, administrators, and schools? How about every single school meeting or exceeding growth expectations, cohort graduation rates growing from 78.9% to 91.6%, and zero low-performing schools in a small, rural, high-poverty district?

In this first episode, meet show host, Dr. Jackson, as he shares his current work and district performance, his educational philosophy, and his background.

Dr. Rob Jackson - @Dr_Rob_Jackson

Special thanks to my son Elijah Jackson for voicing the show introduction, my son Joshua Jackson for voicing the Inbox introduction, and to my wife Rene Jackson for voicing the closing. All music and audio clips used are royalty-free.


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