Episode #134: Learner-Centered Leadership: Blueprint for Transformational Change with Dr. Devin Vodicka

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Dr. Devin Vodicka is an award-winning superintendent, educator, speaker, and nine-time White House invitee. Currently, Dr. Vodicka is the Chief Executive Officer at Learner-Centered Collaborative. He is the author of “Learner-Centered Leadership” where he shares the power of reimagining schools as centers for the intellectual and social development of lifelong learners prepared for a rapidly changing world. 
Your WHY 
Growing up, I always felt like I didn’t quite fit in at his rural California school.
Culturally, I was an outsider. The son of immigrants, I was the only kid who wore traditional Czech clothes that his grandparents sent as gifts, ate kolache pastries at lunch, and celebrated his “name-day.”
I also felt like an outlier academically. Throughout my education, I continued to pay keen attention to differences—my own differences and my classmates’ differences. I came to understand that being different was not the exception; it was the rule. And yet, I realized that each child was given the same treatment at school. These early experiences inspired a desire to change how children learn and, in turn, a lifelong career in education.

Your Journey to becoming an Educator
I was inspired to be an educator by his mom who was the high school computer teacher during his childhood.  She was an innovator who saw potential in emerging technology resources and she was optimistic that the future of education would be improved through the combination of excellent teaching and tools that were more flexibly designed for every learner. 
Determined to help schools nurture children as individuals and shed the “one-size-fits-all” approach, I became a teacher in 1996. In the decades since I started in education, my impact grew, and I held a wide variety of positions from educator to principal to superintendent.
I was hired as Superintendent of Schools for Vista Unified School District in July 2012. Vista Unified received numerous awards and recognition while I was Superintendent, including a $10 million award as an XQ Superschool and acceptance into the prestigious League of Innovative Schools.
Embracing a Different Way (Tedx Talk) 2016 TEDx ElCajonSalon
Embracing a different way to bring strength to education. I did a Ted Talk describing the need for looking at students’ individual strengths, traditions, and personal academic goals.
Learner-Centered Collaborative

At Learner-Centered Collaborative, we envision a world where learners have agency, skills to collaborate with others, and opportunities to engage in solving problems that matter to…