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Season 2, Episode 17 - Teach & Learn

Creating Pathways to K-12 Success: A Principal’s Perspective with Sharonda Willingham

In our final episode of the season we welcome Sharona Willingham, Principal at Seattle’s Interagency Academy, for a discussion on the importance of student identity.

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An introduction to Sharonda Willingham


Sharonda’s early experiences with education and how they impacted her career


Differences between the Baltimore and Seattle school systems


Sharonda explains how the Interagency Academy is structured


How technology can help shape student identity


Advice for educators who want to make their classrooms more inclusive


The importance of communicating with parents and guardians


Sharonda’s thoughts on AI in education

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 17 of Teach & Learn: A Podcast for Curious Educators, brought to you by D2L. Hosted by Dr. Cristi Ford and Dr. Emma Zone from the Academic Affairs team. The podcast features candid conversations with some of the sharpest minds in the K-20 education space. We discuss trending educational topics, teaching strategies and delve into the issues plaguing our schools and higher education institutions today.

Student identity is crucial in K-12 public schools, but it’s not always given the attention it deserves. When students feel a sense of belonging and see their identities reflected in the spaces and curriculum around them, they thrive. This can have positive trickle-down effects on well-being and academic engagement. And while many educators would like to embrace cultural competence and challenge stereotypes to create more inclusive learning environments, the steps to doing so aren’t always clear.  

In this episode of the Teach & Learn podcast, Dr. Emma Zone talks to Sharonda Willingham, Principal at Seattle’s Interagency Academy. They discuss:

  • The importance of student identity
  • How the Interagency Academy serves as an intervention for students who aren’t being served by traditional schools
  • The importance of building positive relationships with parents and involving them in the education process
  • The role of technology in providing access and flexibility for students
  • Why educators must understand and embrace AI technology to prepare students for the future


Daysha Jackson-Sanchez
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Season 2, Episode 16

In this episode of the Teach and Learn podcast, Dr. Emma Zone shares the virtual classroom with Daysha Jackson-Sanchez, the VP of Equity Solutions at Lumen Learning. Together, they talk about how to identify and eliminate systemic barriers in education to make learning more equitable for all learners.