Podcast Episodes

Show Highlights

Imagine what your life would be like if you could not read.  What kind of job would you have? How would you care for your family?  Well, this is a reality for many people across the country. In fact, recent reports show that 1 in 5 adults in North Texas cannot read. This means that more than 800,000 adults in Dallas County alone are struggling with literacy and that number is projected to grow to more than 1 million by 2030.  

This is a problem that impacts all citizens in one way or another, especially our economy.  According to ProLiteracy.org, increased access and funding for adult literacy education resources and a change in public policy, including increased participation of the private sector in adult literacy education, will directly impact all Americans by contributing to a healthy economy through increased employment and reduced public assistance.

My guest in today’s episode is Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) President and CEO, Dr. Linda Johnson.  Dr. Johnson has over 20 years of non-profit management experience with educational and arts-based non-profit organizations.  Linda joined LIFT in 2017 from Dallas Independent School District (DISD), where she served as Executive Director of the College and Career Readiness program.

In her work with LIFT, she strives to enhance the lives and strengthen communities by teaching adults to read.  More specifically, LIFT  is reaching into the neighborhoods where people live, work and worship to teach adults to read, and thereby increasing access to employment, reducing reliance on social services, and improving the quality of life for many students and their families across Texas.

During this episode, Dr. Johnson sheds light on the growing adult literacy problem in Texas and explains how education policy and practice have utilized to address the current situation.  She also discusses the strategies and resources her organization, LIFT, deploys to address adult literacy and strengthen communities across the state through advocacy and partnerships. 

About the Guest

Dr. Linda K. Johnson, President and CEO for Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT), has thirty-five years of management experience, including more than fifteen years of CEO experience.  Before joining LIFT in 2017, she served as Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Dallas ISD and led three Dallas ISD departments: Advanced Academic Services, Career Education and Workforce Partnerships, and Postsecondary Success. 

Dr. Johnson holds a M.B.A. from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. in Public and Urban Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington where she is also an Adjunct Professor.  Additionally, she has been involved in numerous national market research and community-wide master planning projects. 

Dr. Johnson was awarded the 2012 Council of the Great City Schools / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Research and Assessment Leadership award for Early Indicators of Future College Success Longitudinal Postsecondary Analysis of Dallas ISD Graduates 1998 to 2009.  Her other white papers include: Models of College Success:  High School Influences on Dallas ISD 2002 Graduates and Reaping the Benefits: The Impact of Immigration on Dallas Public Education.

Contact with Dr. Linda Johnson

Website: www.lift-texas.org
Email: LindaJohnson@LIFT-Texas.org
Follow Lift on Social Media: @LIFTDallas ∙ Facebook ∙ LinkedInInstagram
Learn more about LIFT:  https://vimeo.com/234529066

Connect with the Host

You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller  and Instagram @drjeffreymiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com

Show Highlights

Superintendent of Schools for Community ISD, Dr. Roosevelt Nivens, highlighted his personal story of triumph.  During this episode, Dr. Nivens shared a truly inspiring story of overcoming as his father, friends, and teachers supported him along his journey from a poor, illiterate child, to an NFL football player, and ultimately to becoming a school superintendent. He also discussed how he developed self-confidence and how he is driven to foster the right confidence in those he serves and impacts every day.

Resources mentioned during this episode

About the Guest

Dr. Roosevelt Nivens was born and raised in Langston, Oklahoma. Education comes naturally to Dr. Nivens; his dad, Roosevelt Sr., was an educator for 46 years and his mom, Barbara, was a teacher for 36 years. In 1990, Roosevelt majored in Education while attending Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, on a football scholarship. He later graduated from college in 1995 and realized his life-long dream of playing professional football. However, his football career was quickly halted due to an injury and he found himself executing his “back-up plan”, using his degree in education.

In 1996 he began his teaching and coaching career with Dallas Independent School District and later, in 2001, he found his way to the principalship with Lancaster Independent School District. He has served as Assistant Principal at Lancaster Jr. High and Lancaster High School. He later moved, in 2005, to become Principal at Lancaster Middle School. His last campus position was Principal of Lancaster High School for four years. In 2011, Dr. Nivens transitioned into a central office leadership position as Executive Director of Secondary Schools and he later became the Assistant Superintendent in Lancaster ISD.

Dr. Nivens earned his Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) from Texas A&M Commerce. He was appointed Superintendent of Community ISD on July 28, 2015.

Dr. Nivens is married to Karla and they have two children attending CISD: Naomi and Roosevelt III.

Contact with Dr. Roosevelt Nivens

Website: Community ISD Bio
Blog: Superintendent’s Blog
Email: roosevelt.nivens@communityisd.org
Facebook: DocNivens
Twitter: @Dr_RNivens
Instagram: @dr_rnivens
Public Cell: 972-843-1056

Connect with the Host

You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller  and Instagram @drjeffreymiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com

Show Highlights

Educator and Psychotherapist, Dr. Tracey Brown, shared advice on how to find your voice and work through challenges to achieve personal confidence.  During this episode, Dr. Brown shares the following resources, experiences, and strategies to help others find their voice:

  • Recognizing the need for help
  • Giving yourself permission to succeed
  • Listening to the right voices for guidance
  • Continuing to learn and stay unboxed
  • Knowing your source of inspiration
  • Strategies for staying focused

Resources mentioned during this episode

About the Guest

Dr. Tracey Brown, author of SINGLE MOM, PHD and EBB & FLOW: A 21-Day Meditational Guide to Help You Recover from a Broken Heart and Broken Relationships, is the mother of one son and co-parent with former NFL cornerback and Super Bowl Champion, Dave Thomas. Dr. Tracey presents a compelling story of her life as a single mom and the struggles she and Dave faced in their relationship as co-parents. Welfare, court battles, and child support are not foreign to Tracey and Dave as their story is one similar to thousands of single moms and dads who struggle to find common ground and peace in their co-parenting relationship.

Dr. Tracey’s journey has been one of true courage, faith, and unconditional love as she used the gifts of faith and education to rise above her fears and find confidence in herself as a woman and single mom. The strategies Dr. Tracey offers in SINGLE MOM, PHD and EBB & FLOW tackles even the toughest relationships and encourages everyone to live their “best life from the inside out!”

In addition to being a counselor, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Dr. Tracey also hosts The Dr. Tracey Show, an internet television talk show that challenges the important topics of our day and celebrates Life, Love, and Relationships.

Dr. Tracey is President/CEO of TRBZ Enterprises and serves as keynote speaker and seminar host for several businesses, corporations, organizations, and schools. Dr. Tracey has been featured on several television and radio shows including Dallas’s WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning, Texas, KSTA Radio, KTAB4U, and KRBC-TV. Dr. Tracey has also been recognized as the Cross Plains “True Grit”Heroine of the Day. Dr. Tracey has served the Dallas ISD for 24 years as a teacher, counselor, counselor supervisor, and psychotherapist and sits on the board of the Lone Star State School Counselor Association, which advocates for school counselors in the state of Texas and around the nation.

Dr. Tracey engages her audience on live stream platforms and in speaking engagements around the nation. Her ultimate goal in life is to help others improve their quality of life, one heart at a time!

Contact with Dr. Tracey Brown

Website: drtraceybrown.com
Email: info@drtraceybrown.com
Facebook: Dr. Tracey Brown
Twitter: @drtraceybrown
Instagram: @drtracey
LinkedIn: Dr. Tracey Brown

Connect with the Host

You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com

Show Highlights

Educator Ty Jones shared his road to success in education and highlighted the individuals that influenced him along the way. During this episode Mr. Jones also discussed the following concepts that lead to cultivating and maintaining authenticity in education:

  • Connecting with your legacy
  • Personal integrity
  • Humility in leadership

About the Guest

Ty G. Jones is an Advisor, Advocate, and Educator. He began working in the financial services industry while in high school in banking operations and later obtained his securities and insurance licenses. He also shared his passion of mathematics with students in Dallas ISD, Duncanville ISD, Lancaster ISD, and Grand Prairie ISD. His passion for mathematics, the students and communities he served, ushered him into the world of elected officials, Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees.

As an Advocate, he was first elected to the Lancaster Independent School District in May 2011 and was unopposed during his May 2014 and May 2017 bids for re-election. After serving his first year on the Board, he was elected as Board President and re-elected to the officer position for a total six consecutive years. In 2014, he completed Leadership TASB, a unique board development program designed to take experienced board members to a new level of service and leadership. His work through Leadership TASB, the collaborative work with the Lancaster ISD Team of Eight, and passion to ensure the district’s mission is realized inspired him to become an advocate and ambassador for Lancaster ISD and public education nationally. Through his work as an advocate and ambassador, he has had the opportunity to speak at the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and the National School Board Association’s (NSBA) annual and regional conferences beginning in 2014 and continues advocating for public education and empowering trustees in the areas of board leadership, data analysis, organizational management and board governance. Also during his time as President of Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees and the district experienced many successes due to the collaborative efforts of the Board of Trustees, Superintendent, Students, Staff, and Community. Below is a list of some the successes:

  • 2018 H-E-B Excellence in Education – Small District Winner
  • 2017 Lancaster ISD Students Built Airplane
  • 2017 CUBE Award of Urban School Board Excellence
  • 2017 New West Main Elementary Opened
  • 2017 New Pleasant Run Elementary Opened
  • 2017 Lancaster STEM Early College HS Opened
  • 2016 NABSE School Board of the Year
  • 2016 TASA Outstanding School Board
  • 2015 $125.9 Million Bond Passed
  • 2014 Lancaster ISD Student Engineers Built Car
  • 2013-2017 101 TEA Academic Distinctions
  • 2013-2017 ALL Campuses Met TEA Standard
  • 2012 $4.8 Million Grant from TI Foundation
  • 2012 1st K-12 STEM District in Texas
  • 2008-2017 Passed TEA Financial Accountability Rating System

As an Educator, he has served in positions ranging from a classroom teacher to K-12 Coordinator of Mathematics to a Coordinator in the area of assessment and research. He provides professional development focusing on data analysis, pedagogy and math content. He has also served as a textbook advisor and reviewer for the 2006 MacMillan-McGraw Hill Texas Mathematics textbook adoption. He also provides Team of Eight training and consulting to school boards throughout the nation.

He is a proud product of public schools. He is graduate of Skyline High School (Dallas, TX) and obtained degrees from Navarro College, University of Houston and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Connect with Ty Jones

Connect with the Host

You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com

Show Highlights

Hey there! This Jeffrey, I’m an educator, and this is my new podcast The Purpose Driven Educator. This not an actual episode, but I would like to take a moment to explain the format of my show. Each episode will begin the show with a driving question or questions from education and then present relevant information and experiences, and even interviews with educators to address the questions.

My ultimate goal for the show is to inspire others to find deeper meaning in their life’s work so they can make a greater impact in the lives of those they serve. 

In many ways, this podcast will serve as an audible blog. I am sure that along the way the show will grow, but this is an introduction, a trailer for what is to come.

Connect with the Host

You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com