In today’s episode, I’ll be breaking from our normal format just a little bit. I had hoped to record a roundtable discussion about our application to share our ideas at the Teach to Lead Summit in April. Unfortunately, I was cleaning up a classroom rather than setting up the recording equipment. Instead of editing after recording, We’ve decided to share with you the main pitch of our idea, some of the highlights of the discussion, and how we thought through the question “What exactly are we trying to do here?”

Here’s the pitch:

We believe that an empathic civilization naturally leads to a more equitable one. Our formula is simple: welcome diversity + cultivate community → grow empathy → achieve equity. We seek to develop a teacher leadership program that fosters self-awareness, empathy, and systems thinking. We want to equip teachers with practices that cultivate an environment in which all students can be seen as valuable members.

We envision an academy of teachers who grow mindsets, develop toolsets, and create experiences, environments, and systems that have empathy at their core. We’ve piloted this program as a group called Guerrilla Teachers Academy (GTA) under the mantra: a nimble wisdom taskforce for taking on the evolving challenges of our institution and education at large. Members work on initiatives including: developing a human-centered design conference, instituting restorative justice, redesigning school schedules, and establishing a student government. GTA is a teacher-powered initiative that engages the people who work directly with students in the design of systems that impact their learning communities.

Success is interrupting narratives of inequity including: students without resources lacking educational agency or teachers enforcing their cultural norms on students without recognition of a student’s culture. Our program will be measured by positive community interactions and reduced skill gaps. It will be measured by the autonomy teachers feel in creating learning environments that unite the values of their entire classroom population. We can measure our progress through our school climate and culture surveys, which assess the level of connection students and teachers feel within the school. We intend to achieve a more just and equitable learning community where all students and teachers can say, “These are my people!”

  •  finding our identity
  •  what can we do with this event?
  •  yes, GTA is a model, but for what audience?
  •  what we hope to get out of this opportunity?
    •  defining the onramp
    •  removing the idea that we’re brave to try or get away with stuff

Thank you for listening to the Guerrilla Teacher Academy Podcast! Join the conversation at

Teach to Lead Summit
Hey, I got the email right on the recording! If you want to be a part of the conversation on the podcast, email

Thanks for sticking with me as I recorded with a cold, continued to perpetuate the lie that it was the 8th, and knocked my drink over when I was getting excited about something… 🙂

Our music is Real Swing Shet by Ménage Quad and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
GTAcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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