Episode #292: Bradlee W. Skinner

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Bradlee W. Skinner is an educational thought leader, entertainer, former administrator, author, playwright, perspective giving speaker, and an expert in school culture and climate.  He is known for his quick wit, creative thought, and humorous personality.  Bradlee was recognized as the 2018 Wyoming Theatre Director of the Year; the current District Teacher of the Year, and in summer of 2019 Bradlee was honored by the Jostens company as their National Educator of the Year. Bradlee is the host of “The Stark Realization” Podcast, and co-host of the web series, “The Empower Half Hour” both focusing on current trends and best practices in the world of education. And Bradlee recently added movie producer to his resume with his first film hitting theaters later this summer. Bradlee openly shares his knowledge, experiences and creativity with others. He currently speaks to students, staff and communities throughout the country about how to think differently about schools, education, and life. Focusing on positive school culture and climate, determination, grit, and social-emotional learning. Bradlee currently lives in Southwest Wyoming with his wife, Melissa and their three daughters.

Trenches story: it’s nice knowing life isn’t always rainbows & unicorns. He loved teaching. Is now back in the CR. Left after 12th year with no intent of having anything to do with education. A lot of time as a theater teacher, kids would be put in his CR. Hated politics, micromanaging, disrespect. Led to a lot of anxiety & depression about the future when he wanted to leave the CR. Left job, lost house, deepest, darkest point in his life. Realized that when working w/ former students at a pizza place, things could be done better. Spent a year working there with former students. They encouraged him to go back to edu. If students had input on what would work, what would they do? Why can’t he as educator do those things? A former student reached out and asked him to work for him. He was managing a local pizza place and Bradlee worked for him for a bit. Kids helped bring him out of the dark place he was in. Unconditional love. He tells students not to define what their own success it- regardless of age. Found out he needed a change of environment- school culture & climate. Problem was leadership. He dabbled in Admin. Now with classsroom teaching, he does consulting, motivational speaking, both to students and teachers. He wants good t’s that want to stay in CR. People who are great on paper aren’t great for the school. 

Speaking engagements– throughout the school year. Speaks on teacher retention, school culture, climate, also talks to students about the difference they can make in the world. He didn’t have a plan in place when he left teaching for a short period. When speaking to students it’s about the value they have in the year. When speaking to t’s it’s about t retention- when he left- there was no attempt at t retention. Came back in 2014. He wasn’t alone in leaving. Speaks often w/ Frank Rudeski & Darrin Peppard. Leadership isn’t doing their job at keeping good educators in the CR. T’s tend to want to stay in CR until something changes in leadership. Mental health & physical health wasn’t in a good place. Speaks through Code Breaker & Jostens Renaissance. He performs as a DJ- he asks if they’ll schedule a dance, he’ll DJ. Win/win on both sides. Performs under DJ Phony Stark- due to resemblance to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). A student suggested this stage name. He asked him permission to use that moniker.

Host of “The Stark Realization” Podcast: At first, he did solo episodes & interviewed guests. Now he interviews st’s. Taught them how to run a podcast- podcasting club @ HS. Asks them what the face of edu looks like from a HS student viewpoint. Monthly-2-3 topics they come prepared w/. May be moving to weekly in ‘24. Does it during Wedn. afternoon-extension time. IT’s their verbal “suggestion box”. Are we making sure t’s & st’s feel valued, seen & heard. When do you do that? St’s should be able to recognize & nominate their t’s.

Movie producer for student films-Started right after COVID shutdown, live streaming of theater shows was embraced. Audiences weren’t ready to come back to full-scale show. St’s who were behind the camera wanted to start filming their own stuff. Wrote their own stories. Tries to enter 2-3 student films to film festivals and college application. 5 st entries in ‘23. 5-10 actors in each film. 2 of st’s were nominated for 4 awards each- 1 came back w/ Best Picture @ festival.

out of everything: It’s amazing to see what will happen when you surround yourself w/ good ppl. He wasn’t a go-getter. If the influence of who you’re around is negative, you become negative. Click To TweetHe’s uplifted & inspired by his school leadership. They make him feel valued.

Where can ppl find you online: https://bradleeskinner1.wixsite.com/website– needs to fix up. IG, X, FB, TicTok @bradleewskinner on all social media will send headshot If listeners are interested in having him speak, they can 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/t9geOfVBO7k


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