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Intelligogy The Podcast Season 2, Episode 10: Thursday Thoughts Featuring Michael Williford

Intelligogy The Podcast Season 2, Episode 10: Thursday Thoughts Featuring Michael Williford

Traci Browder | @tracibrowder
September 17,  2020

Michael captured Traci’s attention during a powerful #LeadLAP Twitter chat titled, Leading by Learning. Michael is a principal who shared some genuine ways he showed that he cares about people of color during the heart of racial tension. The outcomes to move toward growth and change in his circles of impact will inspire you. Join Traci & Michael for Thursday Thoughts.

During the past few years, Michael has led his staff with a focus on equity. From book studies to following the example of other leaders in his district taking his staff on equity rides through their community. In this conversation, we learn that this was an eye-opening experience for Michael’s staff. An experience such as this provides educators with a deeper understanding of the lives of students.

Many educators drive into the community in which they teach and may not live in that community. It is important for every educator to understand the community in which he serves. Can you imagine the difference this would make in our teaching experiences? The texts we choose? The topics we use to enhance student learning? Would we give more space to student voices to share about their lives?

We’re All In This Together

Michael intimately shares a conversation he had with a childhood friend. The friend shares the lens through which he looked when they would when they would hop in the car to grab a pizza. What is a simple run for Michael and their other friends is a, “I hope I return safely,” moment for his black counterpart.

These experiences led Michael to start a conversation with educators and stakeholders in his district. Board members learned of it on social media and wanted to be a part of it. The conversations are centered around themes ranging from listening to personal experiences of people of color to mental health. These are the types of steps that are necessary to foster understanding and awareness and ultimately change for the better.

Prepare to listen to an emotional conversation filled with pain as Traci speaks and intensity as Michael listens and shares his hopes and plans for attempting to break down barriers.

Howdy, Edufriends! I am a lover of people and relationships. I’ve been teaching for more than 16 years. My happy places have been reading specialist, instructional coach, mentor, and a 3rd grade and Kindergarten teacher. My classroom is a live learning lab hosting student teachers, teachers who want to learn how to have more engagement in their classrooms, and administrators for other schools often pop in. I am most passionate about igniting the spark in adults and helping children believe in themselves. Perhaps oddly interesting, I have a unique love for animals that includes previously having owned a boa constrictor and having shown pure-bred wolves at wolf shows. I should have said unique love for exotic animals!

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