This is a beautiful conversation with my friend, the author Jonathan Raymond (read his new book!), one of America’s leading innovators in the field of education. Jonathan brings so much heart and soul into our deep dialogue on the unique beauty of our precious children and how we might better serve them as beings with a more holistic, whole child approach. There is so much wisdom here and a lot of excellent ideas.
On one his first days on the job in 2009, Jonathan P. Raymond recalls a parent imploring him to “please take risks for kids.” He had just come on board as Superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), one of the top 1% of largest school districts in the country and one of the most impoverished and ethnically diverse. During his 4.5-year tenure, those were words he vowed to live by.
An outsider to education by trade (formerly a labor law attorney and non-profit leader) but a passionate advocate for equity and system-wide change, Raymond implemented bold initiatives to transform the school district around a vision that focused on supporting the whole child. Highlights included transforming some of the district’s poorest performing schools in the neediest neighborhoods to some of the highest performing, raising graduation rates, expanding early education, summer learning programs, dual-language programs, college and career pathways, and introducing salad bars and healthier meals, and social and emotional learning to the curriculum.
His journey in Sacramento was about changing the culture in the neediest schools and throughout the school district to one of excellence and demonstrating, in a time of great financial stress, that we can do something dramatic and bold when kids’ futures are at stake.
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Read The Book That Inspires The Show
Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents with special guest journalist and author Bill Moyers.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.
This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.