Episode #79: Leadership, Innovation, and Divergent Teaching with Mandy Froehlich

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.

Mandy Froehlich is a speaker, consultant, and author from Wisconsin. She is the Director of Author Success for EduMatch Publishing and a co-host of the podcast Teacher’s Aid on BAM Radio with Jon Harper.

Mandy is the author of two books, The Fire Within and Divergent EDU and is passionate about speaking, coaching, and supporting teachers. Mandy is also the Edumatch publishing: Director of Author Success. Enjoy our conversation!
What it was like when you were a student 
I played by the rules all the time. My drive to do well when I was in elementary was to make my teachers happy and not get in trouble at home. They told me I was gifted (GT) at one point and put me in special classes, but looking back I’ve wondered if I was part of that weird study where they told ordinary kids they were GT to see if thinking they were smart had an impact. In middle school and high school where I didn’t have as much of a connection to the teachers, I did well because I was supposed to. I never had any real intrinsic motivation to do well. I never felt good when I did, only felt bad when I didn’t.
Mandy’s 2018 Ignite speech
Your journey as an educator 
I was excited about teaching but burnt out fast. I was nearly one of the five-year statistics. Moved positions because I thought the district was to blame but it was really about me. Not that it was my fault, but that I hadn’t watched for the burnout that everyone had spoken to me about. I thought it could never happen to me because I loved teaching and the kids too much. Became a technology instructional coach and then tech director, but miss my days as a tech integrator.
Presenting/Keynoting and PD
I am passionate about learning and my profession in general, but my two favorite components of my position are being able to provide professional development to teachers and present/keynote conferences. I believe that by providing these opportunities to teachers, I am in turn able to reach many more students and ultimately affect their learning experiences. Also, on a personal side note, I was insanely afraid of public speaking throughout my life until I reached college. At that time I took multiple public speaking courses to try to get over my fear of speaking in front of people to the point where it was silly for me not to declare it as my minor because I had so many credits. The ability to get up in front of adults (which is not the same as getting up in front of kids) and not bawl like a baby is one of my accomplishments that I’m most proud of. Just another reason I think I like providing PD, presenting & keynoting.
Fire Within book
Mandy’s first book is The Fire Within: Lessons from defeat that have ignited a passion for learning discusses mental health awareness for teachers.

Divergent EDU book
Her second book is Divergent EDU, is based on an organizational structure she developed to support teachers in innovative and divergent thinking.

Mandy is also the EduMatch Publishing as the Director of Author Success.

Mandy Froehlich passionately encourages educators to create innovative change in their classrooms. Her interest lies in reinvigorating and re-engaging teachers back into their profession, as well as what’s needed to support teachers in their pursuit of innovative and divergent thinking and teaching. She consults internationally with school districts and post-secondary institutions in the effective use of technology to support great teaching, mental health support for educators, and how to create organizational change.