Show cover of Achieving Joy and Mastery in Public Schools

Achieving Joy and Mastery in Public Schools

This podcast is designed to celebrate all that is good in Public Education around Western New York. We will be featuring programs and innovative ideas that inspire and influence our students, faculty, staff and community in new and exciting ways.


Buffalo Public Schools - Amplifying Women in Sports
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Tonja Williams, the Superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools system.  Dr. Williams discussed her desire to amplify women in sports throughout the school system.  Joining us on this podcast was Dr. Ramona Reynolds.  Dr. Reynolds is the Chief of Athletics, Community Schools and Family and Community Engagement.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
31:48 5/31/24
Cheektowaga CSD - Rocket Drones
Today on our podcast we have Mr. Scott Zipp, the Superintendent of the Cheektowaga Central School District.  In this episode we discussed the exciting Erie 1 BOCES supported, Rocket Drones resources course work and support.  Joining Scott is the High School Principal, Karin Cyganovich and science teacher Stan Skotnicki.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
38:57 5/10/24
Cleveland Hill - Literacy Skill Development & Student Achievement
In this episode we interviewed Jon MacSwan, the Superintendent of the Cleveland Hill Union Free School District.  Jon shared important information regarding the success of their Literacy instruction.  Joining us on the podcast were: Marcie Pascual - Elementary Principal -  Kelsey Kiblin (Elementary Assistant Principal & ENL Coordinator), and Jen Martin (Literacy Coach).Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
44:57 5/3/24
Barker - All Things Electric
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Jacob Reimer the Superintendent of Barker Central Schools.  Jacob shared information about their Energy Efficiency Study, the installation of a brand new solar array and the work being done on zero-emission school buses. Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
30:04 4/26/24
Olean City Schools - Strategic Planning and the Power of Belonging
In this episode, we were privileged to interview Dr. Genelle Morris, the Superintendent of the Olean City School District.  Genelle spoke about her process for developing a Strategic Plan and the power of belonging.  She references the work with Evaluative Beings and the concept of Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity, a book by Floyd Cobb, John Krownapple and Brenda Campbell. Additionally, Janelle has partnered with the author John Krownapple to take a deep dive into achieveing equity in her school district.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
39:19 4/13/24
North Tonawanda STEM Students - Mission 18 - International Space Station Experiment
In this episode we interviewed Gregory Woytila, the Superintendent of the North Tonawanda City School District.  Greg shared how his district embraces STEM and STEAM.   Additionally we interviewed Mike Tambroni, the Director of Student Services. Mike shared how his school district from grades 5-12 all worked to submit a science experiment to Mission 18 at the International Space Station.We also interviewed science teacher Melissa Elliot, STEM teacher Joel May, High School Science Students Cailee Cinquino, Madeline DeVantier and Tavery Carter.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
49:47 3/16/24
Randolph CSD - Soaring Cardinal PBIS Program
In this episode we interviewed Mr. Kaine Kelly the Superintendent of Randolph Central School District. Kaine shared information about the Soaring Cardinal PBIS Program.  We also interviewed Kristy Carlson.  Kristy is the elementary principal at Randolph.  She spoke about the PBIS program as well as many other positive activities that are unique to Randolph.   Additionally we interviewed Bayley Johnson.  Bayley is an elementary school counselor and proud graduate  of Randolph Central Schools.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
38:01 3/8/24
NYSCOSS - Messages from the Ignite Keynote Speakers at the Winter Institute
In this episode, E-NSSA was asked by NYSCOSS to conduct a podcast with the Keynote Speakers for the Winter institute - Cultivating a Culture of Excellence for All Students.  We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Barbara Mullen, Superintendent, of the Rush-Henrietta CSD, Dr. Terry Ward, Superintendent of Schools at Cato-Meridian Central School District and Dr. David O’Rourke, District Superintendent for the Second Supervisory District and Chief Executive Officer of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services.  Dr. Mullen's keynote focused on "Leveling Up: A Deliberately Developmental Journey to the Superintendency."  Dr. Ward spoke about the topic "When Parenting and the School Superintendency Collide".  Dr. O'Rourke discussed "The Heart of Conflict: Leadership Lessons from Buffalo Bills Parking"! All three Superintendents shared incredible messages filled with inspiration and igniting thought and reflection.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
29:28 3/4/24
Wilson CSD - Kindness and Sunshine
In this episode we interviewed Mr. Tim Carter, the Superintendent of Wilson Central Schools.  Tim shared information about the Choose Kindness program at their middle school and their Sunshine Club at the HS.  We also interviewed Scott Benton.  Scott is the MS Principal at Wilson.  He explained the genisis of the Choose Kindness initiatve. Additionally we interviewed Special Education teachers Maegan Eick and Jacob Vivian. Maegan teaches at the MS and Jacob teaches at the HS.  Both teachers help to faciliatte the special programs.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
35:01 2/16/24
West Seneca - Comprehensive Music Education Program
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Jeff Rabey, the Interim Superintendent of the West Seneca Central School District.  Previous to becoming the Interim Superintendent, Jeff served successfully as a Superintendent in Depew and Lakeshore schools for a total of 16 years.  Jeff also enjoys working for D’Youville University as an  Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.  Also joining the porcast was Trevor Jelowski.  Trevor has been in West Seneca since 2017 and is currently the choral director for West Seneca West Middle School and he serves as the District Coordinator for Music Education. We are also joined by some student special guests.   Addison Smart is a senior at West Senior High and Ian Bly is an 8th Grader at West Middle.  Both students offered incredible insights into the benefits associated with the fine arts.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
34:55 2/9/24
Tonawanda City Schools - The Brilliant Warrior Academy
In this episode Timothy Oldenburg, the Superintendent of the Tonawanda City School District passed the podcasting torch to his Warrior Academy team.   Christa Young led the conversation.  Christa is the Director of Special Education.  Also joining the podcast were some special guests. We heard from Lyndsey Todaro the high school principal and Angela Klentos a special education teacher who leads the Warrior Academy.  Our last special guest was Renee Smith.  Renee is the High School Assistant Principal.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
41:38 1/19/24
Williamsville - New Religious and Cultural Holidays Adopted
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, the Superintendent of the Williamsville Central School District.  Darren shared how his district created a DEI School Calendar committee and recommended New Religious and Cultural Holidays to be adopted by their Board of Education. Additionally we interviewed Tony Scanzuso (Assistant Superintendent), Hayley Paterson and Michelle Biggar (Teachers) and Nicole Mayers  the Assistant Principal of Dodge Elementary.  They all shared information on the process, data analysis and the brainstorming efforts made to help create the recommendations.Daniel Greiner, an English teacher and Unified Coach, and Tracy Fitzpatrick, a Special Education teacher, Unified Coach and facilitator of the club - 'Better Together."Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
46:10 1/11/24
Niagara Wheatfield - Eco-Campus Revitalization Project
In this episode we interviewed Daniel Ljiljanich, the Superintendent of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District.  Additionally we met Patrick Cremer (Science Teacher) and Jacob Wills (12th grade student).  They all shared incredible information related to the District's Eco-Campus Revitalization Project.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
43:16 12/15/23
Grand Island - Mary Howard - Using ChatGPT for Educators - AI to Streamline Teacher Life
In this episode we interviewed Mrs. Mary Howard, a sixth grade teacher of ELA and Science at our Veronica Connor Middle School in Grand Island NY.  Mary authored the book "The ChatGPT Guide for Educators: Artificial Intelligence to Streamline Your Teacher Life. (Published March of 2023) Mary is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher and she believes passionately in the potential that technology has for reaching and engaging ALL learners. In pursuit of this passion. She has published numerous educational technology articles and has provided webinars on Virtual Environments, Virtual Reality, 3D Design, QR codes and digital engagement strategies. Mary’s accolades include recognition as the 2018 International Society for Technology in Education’s Virtual Pioneer of the Year and 3 Silver Presidential Volunteer Service awards.  She was a New York State Teacher of the year finalist for 2018 and 2020 and is a New York State Master Teacher. us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
35:41 12/1/23
Springville - New 9th Grade Intervention Program
In this episode we interviewed James Bialasik, the Superintendent of the Springville Griffith Institute Central School District along with his High School Principal, Megahn Janora, two school counselors, Michael Criscione and  Chris Mathewson and Teaching Assistant Kathy Krzmien.  They shared information regarding a new intervention program created this year and designed to provide support for incoming 9th graders who are at risk of having difficulty in high school. Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
48:41 11/24/23
Lake Shore - The Growth of a Successful eSports program.
In this episode we interviewed Daniel Pacos, the Superintendent of the Lake Shore Central School District.  Daniel shared how his district grew a successful eSports program for their high school.  Additionally we interviewed Melissa Bergler, the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and two of their eSports coaches and Technology Integrator specialists Michael Drezek and Deann Poleon.  Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
40:00 11/17/23
Clarence - "The Power of Moments"
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Matt Frahm, the Superintendent of Clarence Central Schools.  Matt shared about the importance of school leaders spending time creating powerful moments for students, faculty and staff.  Joining the podcast today were the four elementary principals in the Clarence Central School District.   Keith Kuwik  (Ledgeview Elementary Principal), Robert Boccaccio (Harris Hill Elementary), Jenna Arroyo (Sheridan Hill Elementary), and Heidie Buffomante (Clarence Center Elementary).  These elementary school leaders shared how they create power moments in their schools.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
50:52 11/10/23
Alden - Student Led WACS News, Video and Social Media
In this episode we interviewed Adam Stoltman, the Superintendent of the Alden Central School District.  Adam and his team shared information on their student run WACS news, video and social media programs.  Colin Dabkowski joined the podcast.  Colin in an English Teacher at Alden HS and he  oversees this amazing project based program.  Additionally, two student leaders joined us as well.  Madeline Jones and Jack Rahuba.  Madeline is an 11th grader and she creates a lot of content for WCAS.  Jack is a senior and he is a co-anchor for the Sports reports. Here is the weblink to their online store: us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
41:06 11/3/23
Sweet Home - Zero Emission Bus Purchases
In this episode we interviewed Mike Ginestre, the Superintendent of the Sweet Home Central School District.  Mike shared how his District has developed a plan to purchase Zero Emission, Electric School Buses as mandated by NY law.  Additionally we interviewed Don Feldmann, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Plant Operations.  Don shared valuable information that other school districts may find helpful when navigating this new mandate.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
36:49 10/27/23
Orchard Park - Students Protecting Education
In this episode we interviewed David Lilleck, the Superintendent of the Orchard Park Central School District.  David shines a spotlight on some of his HS students who created their own Not for Profit student advocacy group.  "Students Protecting Education".  Joining us on this podcast were Luke Lippitt and Jillian Yarnes.  Luke and Jillian are the founders of Students Protecting Education.  They started this organization in 2022 when they were sophomores in order to raise student voice as it relates to important issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.   You can visit their website by following this link: us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
45:50 10/20/23
NYSCOSS - Messages from the Keynote Speakers During the Fall Leadership Summit.
In this episode, E-NSSA was asked by NYSCOSS to conduct a podcast with the Keynote Speakers for the Fall Leadership Summit.  We had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Joshua Bacigalupi, the Superintendent of the Dryden Central schools.  Joshua's keynote presentation was called - "Afghanistan, Audacity, and Affirmation".  We also interviewed  Mr. Antonio Santana.  Antonio was appointed to the South Country Central School District as its Superintendent of Schools in May of 2022.  His presentation was called "The World is Different and There is No Going Back".   We also interviewed Dr. Tonia Thompson. Tonia is the Superintendent of the Binghamton City School District. her presentation was titled, "Be Uncomfortable – The Power to Shift Thinking".  All three Superintendents shared incredible messages filled with inspiration and powerful messages.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
31:57 10/2/23
Niagara Falls - 2 Home Grown PTECH Pathways for Students
Today on our podcast we have Mark Laurrie, the Superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District.  Mark is in his 8th year as a superintendent and his 40th year as an educator.   Mark has been a progressive leader who is always a champion for his students.  He has been the recipient of several local and state awards for leading his school community, and we are thrilled to have him on our show today.  In this episode Mark talks about 2 PTECH grant awards and programs his students have access to in their secondary career.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
28:52 9/28/23
NYSCOSS - Jason Andrews & Professional Learning Communities
In this episode, we were privileged to interview Dr. Jason Andrews the Superintendent of the Windsor Central School District near Binghamton NY.  Jason is in his 19th school year as a Superintendent and he was recently named the President of the New York Council of School Superintendents.In this episode, Jason discusses how he leads his district through the lens of Professional Learning Communities.  As President of NYSCOSS, Dr. Andrews will lead a diverse and dynamic organization comprising superintendents from across New York State. His strategic vision and collaborative approach will be instrumental in promoting effective educational policies and ensuring the highest quality of education for all students in the state.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
40:04 9/22/23
Hamburg - Athlete Talks on Mental Wellness
In this episode we interviewed Michael Cornell, the Superintendent of the Hamburg Central Schools and President of the Erie-Niagara Schools Superintendent Association.  In our second season of the podcast, Mike Cornell and his team discussed Athlete Talks that are focused on Mental Wellness. Joining us for this episode was Tina LaMendola.  Tina is a school Social Worker in Hamburg and she is one of the "Professional Development Trainers" in Youth Mental Health First Aid.  Additionally, Tina's intern (Maura McCabe) joined us and offered many insights as she is a student and coach at Daemen University and she is a high school coach at a local District. Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
42:12 9/15/23
Dr. Kevin McGowan - Intentionality as an Educational Leader
In this episode, we were privileged to interview Dr. Kevin McGowan, the Superintendent of the Brighton Central School District near Rochester NY.  Kevin is in his 15th year as a Superintendent and he was recently named the NYS Superintendent of the Year.  Additionally he was also named the National Superintendent of the Year!In this episode, Kevin discusses the concept of intentionality as a means to develop all that you do for the betterment of students and families in your district.For more information on developing a blueprint for excellence in your district you can Email for more information. us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
40:07 9/8/23
University at Buffalo's new National Artificial Intelligence Institute for Exceptional Education
In this episode, we interviewed the leadership team of the new National Artificial Intelligence Institute for Exceptional Education right here at the University at Buffalo.  Joining the podcast from UB were: Dr. Venu Govindaraju - Institute Director,  Dr. JinJun Xiong - Co-Director, and Scientific Director of the institute, and Dr. Ranga Setlur - Institute Managing Director.   The University at Buffalo won a 20 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences with the intent to close the gap between the number of children in the United States needing Speech Language services (3.4 million) and the number of Speech Language Pathologists (SLP's)  (60,000) available to treat the needs. Towards this end, the Institute proposes to develop two novel Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions:       (1) the AI Screener to enable universal early screening for all children, and       (2) the AI Orchestrator to work with SLPs and other teachers to provide individualized interventions for children with their formal Individualized Education Program (IEP). In developing these solutions, the Institute will advance foundational AI technologies, enhance their understanding of children’s speech and language development, serve as a nexus point for all special education stakeholders, and represent a fundamental paradigm shift in how Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) serve children in need of ability-based speech and language services.  Furthermore, the institute would like to focus their work with children starting at the age of 3 and as old as 10.  For more information visit his website at: us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
46:48 6/2/23
Grand Island Schools - Using Floreo Virtual Reality to Improve Life Skills
In this episode we interviewed Mr. Brett Finnan, a Behavioral Specialist in the Grand Island Central School District.  Brett discussed his use of Floreo technology which is a learning app that uses virtual reality as a method for teaching science-based social and communication skills.  Katelyn Simpson joined the podcast as well.  Katelyn is a special education teacher in Grand Island and she shared her experiences with Floreo. Our last special guest is Logan Scott.  Logan is an 8th grade student at Veronica Connor Middle School.  Logan shared information about his experiences using the technology.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
25:08 5/26/23
Orleans-Niagara BOCES - The Role of the District Superintendent
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Clark Godshall, the District Superintendent of Orleans-Niagara BOCES. Clark shared information on the role of the District Superintendent position and how it supports the component districts, their students and the school communities.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
32:56 5/19/23
North Collins - We are all here for each other!
In this episode we interviewed Mr. Scott Taylor, the Superintendent of the North Collins Central School District.  Scott shared information about their huge Eagle Energy Day.  Eagle Energy is a tremendous project that provides students, faculty, staff and admin an opportunity to give back to the community of North Collins.Joining the podcast were Brandon Wojick, the JR/SR High School Principal and students Madison Kehr and Rachel Baumler.  Everyone  shared important insights and perspectives as it relates to the big Eagle Energy day!Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
33:36 5/12/23
Gowanda - Measuring Student Success
In this episode we interviewed Dr. Bob Anderson, the Superintendent of Gowanda Central Schools.  Bob shared information about the great work of their Professional Learning Communities as it relates to the measurement of student learning both via formative and summative grading.  Additionally we interviewed Ashley Wakelee, the Director of Learning and Continual Improvement. She also shared her insights and perspective as it relates to grading and assessment.Find us on Twitter @NiagaraErie
43:16 5/5/23