Breaker Society

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“This is Heart Work”

August 20th, 2019

In the opening episode of season three, host Shane Haggerty traveled to Mississauga, Ontario in Canada to talk with members of the Peel District School Board’s communication team. Former guest Carla Pereira (Director of Communications and Community Relations) leads a team of communicators in a district outside of Toronto that has more than 155,000 diverse students. Because of their diverse community, Peel has been a leader in equity work in education and in this episode, we talk about equity through a communications lens. We are also joined by Ryan Reyes (Manager of Communications and Community Relations), Kayla Tischoff (Senior Communications Officer), and Ryan Strang (Communications Officer).

Visit Peel online at

Breaker Society is sponsored by Smore, professional communication tools for professional educators. Breaker Society listeners can get a special extended free trial by visiting Smore online at

Breaker Society is a production of Purposeland, a strategic and creative consultancy serving clients who serve students. Visit Purposeland online at


“Finding Purpose with Project Wayfinder” feat. Director of Strategic Partnerships Tim Klein

April 16th, 2019

Nearly one in three adolescents (31.9%) will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18. While school is in session, high school students are the single most stressed out population in the US. Youth depression and anxiety are rising at alarming rates. In 2016 an estimated 3.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode.  However, based on research, this is not simply because youth have too much to do it is also because they do not know why they are doing it. Only about 1 in 5 teenagers in the US report feeling a sense of purpose. Without this deeper sense of "why" or internal compass, our youth will continue to suffer at epidemic rates. Students who have a purpose in their lives are happier, healthier, more engaged, and less stressed out than their peers without a sense of purpose. The Wayfinder Toolkit is Project Wayfinder’s contribution towards reimagining an adolescent education that supports students to build lives of purpose. 


Tim Klein is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Project Wayfinder and is an award-winning urban educator, clinical therapist and school counselor. He has spent the last decade working intensively with marginalized and underserved students to empower them to pursue meaningful and fulfilling lives. In addition to his work at Project Wayfinder, Tim is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and a purpose researcher and design specialist at Boston College.


In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Tim about Purpose Learning, how students can find their purpose, the challenges of scaling this new concept of Purpose Learning and about Project Wayfinder. You will learn how your school or your teachers can get involved in this movement.


Project Wayfinder on Twitter:


Project Wayfinder website:



“From college athletics to authoring Lucky Enough” feat. K12 PR Professional Chris Yandle

April 9th, 2019

A native of South Louisiana, Chris Yandle is a recovering college athletics administrator and an award-winning public relations professional at both the K-12 and college level. After spending more than a decade with five different NCAA Division I college athletics programs, he transitioned to K-12 communications in his home state. Considered among the leading communications professionals in college athletics, Chris served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at the University of Miami (2012-2014) and Georgia Tech (2014-2016). Prior to moving to Miami, he spent four years at Baylor University (2008-2012) where he was one of the leaders behind the successful Heisman Trophy campaign of quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2011, and was one of the key contributors to Baylor’s increased presence across social media platforms. He is the author of “Lucky Enough”, a book of handwritten notes to his daughter each day that became his #DadLunchNotes.


In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Chris about the book and the idea for the book, what his family thought of it and we also get into a conversation about the work he did at a very high level in college athletics.


Chris Yandle on Twitter:


Chris Yandle’s website:

“Crucial Conversations” feat. Carroll ISD Assistant Superintendent Julie Thannum, APR

April 2nd, 2019

Julie Thannum, APR, has more than 25 years in school public relations in Texas, and currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for Board & Community Relations for Carroll ISD in Southlake, Texas. Julie oversees all aspects of the district’s communications, marketing and school safety. She previously served as Public Information Officer for Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and as a newspaper reporter and editor in Illinois and Texas. Julie is recognized and respected for her knowledge and skills in crisis management, writing, marketing, public speaking, media relations, and leadership training. A past President of the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA) and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), Julie has been an active member of both organizations and has served on numerous committees and project teams over the years.

In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Julie about their time together serving on the NSPRA Executive Board, but really focus on the book Crucial Conversations and how it impacts the work we do in schools today. Julie has trained groups of parents, teachers, and administrators on the content in the book and relays strategies, tactics and results of her work using the methodology. When Crucial Conversations was first released it had a significant impact. The first edition of Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene and revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high. It gives people the tools to 

  • Prepare for high-stakes situations
  • Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive

Julie Thannum, APR on Twitter:

“The Story’s The Thing” feat. Nebraska Loves Public Schools Director Sally Nellson Barrett

March 26th, 2019

Sally Nellson Barrett is the director and executive producer for Nebraska Loves Public Schools. Since 2011, she has interviewed more than 500 people and directed more than 40 films to raise awareness about the high-quality public education in Nebraska. Most recently she has turned her attention to creating longer-form I Love Public Schools films, documentaries focused on the ways societal issues impact public schools and what schools are doing to protect, understand, and empower students to be successful. Prior to this role, Sally ran a successful practice providing creative direction and story development for many of the largest banks and investment managers in the country.


In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Sally about what inspired her to go from telling the stories of banks and investment managers to focusing on the stories of students, teachers, families and communities, all centered on public education. We learn more about the creative energy Sally brings to the table, what Nebraska Loves Public Schools is all about, what is in store for the future, and we talk about their incredible new film, “The Mind Inside”. “The Mind Inside” is a new multi-episode docuseries about mental health in public schools. Audiences learn about the challenges students face, the social, emotional, and behavioral resources available for students who struggle, and the short- and long-term solutions communities provide.


Nebraska Loves Public Schools:


The Mind Inside:


#NebraskaStrong Website for Flood Donations:

“Be the Difference” feat. Author & Speaker Diana Patton

March 19th, 2019

Diana Patton has committed her life to helping those in need, specifically young women and youth. Her unique background has helped her to assist in leading diversity efforts within two large corporations and to become the VP, General Counsel and COO of the Toledo Fair Housing Center. Diana is a speaker, an author of two books, an attorney and a social justice advocate who works hard to eliminate racism, empower women, and to promote dignity for humanity. She works with students and teachers in school districts, including her RISE program, which starts with a simple premise: In order to successfully teach students to care about themselves and for others, educators must first practice personal self-care.


In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Diana about what inspired her to go from lawyer to what she is doing now--speaking, writing, and working for social good. She also dives into how she works with schools and the key issues students and teachers are facing today. 


Diana Patton’s website:


Diana Patton on Twitter:

“So about that podcast interview with Gary Vee” Don Wettrick, President of the StartEdUp Foundation

March 12th, 2019

Don Wettrick is currently the Innovation Coordinator at Noblesville High School, and is the author of "Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level." Wettrick has worked as a middle school and high school teacher; educational and innovation consultant; CEO, and podcast host. He is also the founder of StartEdUp, an organization dedicated to helping transform the school culture toward innovation and enable student-led entrepreneurship.


His podcast, StartEdUp, has featured some of the most successful entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders in the world- focusing on educational change. Most importantly Don works with educators, students, and entrepreneurs to bring innovation and collaborative skills into education.


In this episode, Shane Haggerty talks to Don about all of this work he does, we learn about the future of the StartEdUp Foundation, and hear a great story about the time he landed an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk...and about how it went awry, but led to some other great opportunities. 


StartEdUp Foundation:


Google Plus Hangout On Air:


Don Wettrick on Twitter:


“Are you ready to be the leader of Ohio’s largest school district?” feat. Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools

March 5th, 2019

Dr. Dixon grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and she graduated from Oxford High School, after which she attended Mississippi Valley State University. She began her professional career as an instructor at the University of Akron, before becoming an assistant principal with the Akron City Schools. She's had stints as an assistant principal and principal in several districts and in July 2014, Dr. Dixon became Superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

On March 4, 2019, she began her new role as the school chief of Ohio's largest school district, Columbus City Schools. In this episode, recorded in her office in University Heights just weeks before she left CHUH to start at CCS, Dr. Dixon sits down with host Shane Haggerty to discuss what drives her, motivates her and definitely what made her decide to take on the heavy challenge of leading Ohio’s biggest district. 

013 - Season 1 Finale w/ Lee Wirick

October 2nd, 2018

It’s the season one finale! Breaker Society host Shane Haggerty goes on the other side of the microphone in this episode allowing himself to be the interviewed instead of the interviewer. Lee Wirick is currently the supervisor of technology at a Central Ohio career center. Why is he interviewing Shane? Well, Shane hired Lee to be the admissions coordinator at the same school back in 2014 and the two worked hard to increase applications to the district by nearly 40% during their three years working together. Shane could think of no one better to interview him for this episode because Lee challenges him, makes him better, but also pushes his buttons. Definitely makes for an interesting conversation and a fun and interesting way to end the first season. 

012 - Michael Yoder

September 18th, 2018

Michael Yoder helps people share their stories. Plain and simple. Michael started his own company to help people do it. As the owner of Truth Work Media, Michael tells stories through speaking, creating websites and creating podcasts, including this one. Michael is one of the reasons I felt confident enough to finally launch. Michael describes this process as walking alongside people and encouraging them to live a story that is worth sharing. He helps others lean into what that looks like for them and he says he has found that most people have a story they are longing to create or be a part of, but often they need help getting there.


Michael, like most entrepreneurs, quit his day job to live a better story. A graduate of Bethel College’s Youth Ministry program, he worked in some form of relational ministry for nearly a decade before starting his first podcast with a friend that changed his life from that moment forward.


In just two years, Truth Work Media is producing nearly 50 podcasts and Michael has added to his team, making the bold decision to scale up his company. We talk entrepreneurship in this episode, but we also get into some “deep” and maybe some “controversial” topics around the realm of Christianity and faith and politics. We basically went wherever the discussion led us and I think it is a pretty powerful conversation about not just settling for the status quo or conforming to fit into some standard of how life is “supposed to be.” 


Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelyoder81 


Visit Truth Work Media: