Episode 056: Grant Lichtman, Thought Leader, Speaker, Writer

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In this episode of MEP, we have nationally recognized thought leader, speaker and author Grant Lichtman. Here he talks about his journey  in writing his book, #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education. With his background in Geology, he brings a different perspective on education and how to best move things forward.

Guest Bio:

Grant LichtmanGrant Lichtman is a nationally recognized thought leader in the drive to transform K-12 education. He speaks, writes, and works with fellow educators to build capacity and comfort with innovation in response to a rapidly changing world. He works with school and community teams in both public and private schools, helping them to develop their vision and strategic imagination of schools of the future. His most recent book,#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, chronicles more than three years of research and visits with more than 70 schools on a solo tour of the United States to find how schools are successfully moving off of the assembly line model of education. Grant is also the author of “The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School” based on his high school seminar in strategic and creational thinking

Grant is a Senior Fellow of The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence and a collaborator with the National Business Officers Association. Prior to that he was a senior administrator at one of the largest and oldest K-12 independent schools in California for almost 15 years.

Before working in education, he directed business ventures in the oil and gas industry in the former Soviet Union, South America, and the U.S. Gulf Coast. His work brought him close to center stage in the economic and political transformation of the USSR, the end of the Cold War, and the historic opening of that communist-dominated economy to the outside world.

Grant graduated from Stanford University with a BS and MS in geology in 1980 and studied the deep ocean basins of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Bering Sea. Grant and his wife, Julie, live in Poway, 20 miles north of downtown San Diego. Their son, Josh, is a PhD candidate in systems biology at Stanford. Their daughter, Cassidy, graduated with her BA in Political Science and MA in History from Stanford, and is currently a member of the USA National volleyball team.

Show Notes:

(01:33) Grant’s background

(03:43) With your background in Geology, I’m interested in what you learned, going through your Bachelors and Masters in that subject matter, what that serves when you’re actually looking at these learning environments and schools that are steeped in the industrial age focus? How do you get them to develop ways to unthink or rethink the way students learn?

(07:43) I want to talk about the idea behind the book. How did you come up with the idea to do this and what made you think of it? And the experience, going from start to finish, and what you found out.

(12:24) What was the composition of schools that you visited? Was it all high performing charter schools? Did you go to some urban, low-performing area? What was the composition of the schools and how did you put that together?

(13:48) What would be one or two themes that you saw consistently across the low performing schools? And what were the one or two themes that you saw consistently in the high performing schools that really stood out to you?

(15:41) Do you see any differences in management, or learning models when you actually kind of broke down the private schools and public schools at all, or did you see more consistencies than differences?

(17:05) What about execution? How can a school leader whose interest or administration get things to change? How can they manage change management effectively?

(17:58) Grant: Innovation does not happen without taking risks.

(18:58) Grant: We have to create opportunities for vastly more connectivity both within our schools and most importantly outside of our schools into the broader community and into the global community.

(20:18) We talked about the importance of growing an ecosystem rather than a closed, industrial system. What would you say are the one or two themes in the book that, if someone’s reading it or someone didn’t have the time to sit through the whole thing, what would be the one or two themes that you want people to really dig out of this book and take action on?

(21:35) Grant: We cannot fit the square peg of the industrial system into the round hole of the ecosystem.

(23:50) Do you have any sort of stance on the importance of sports and kids being involved in sports, and team sports specifically, on their ability to learn and grow as human beings?

(29:15) What’s your favorite book that you recommend or give to people close to you?

The Art of War

Getting To Yes

(30:10) What about your favorite documentary, if you watch them?

Ken Burns

(30:28) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?

Joshua Chamberlain

Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers:

Link to book:

#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education


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