Season 4, Episode 8: Interview with Melinda Arnost

Charles WilliamsThe Counter Narrative Podcast

Welcome to the Counter Narrative Podcast, a show designed to change the way we talk, and think, about education. By sharing stories of successes and triumphs, we aim to challenge the dominant narrative that often negatively portrays our disenfranchised populations.

I’m your host, Charles Williams. An urban educator for more than 15 years, a current school principal in Chicago, an educational consultant, an equity advocate, and the co-host of Inside The Principal’s Office.

Let’s get started.

In this episode, I chat with Melinda Arnost, a witty K-12 Intervention Specialist that is always thinking outside of the box. This curly-haired educator loves everything about teaching minus the paperwork and standardized tests. Melinda has her master’s degree in education, is a personal trainer for students with unique abilities, and is an autism guru. She has a passion for building relationships with her students and colleagues and can embrace inclusion in any type of setting. Melinda started an adaptive nonprofit ice skating program for individuals with unique abilities and runs marathons while pushing her pal, Annie, in a HOYT running chair. She believes people, regardless of their lack of ability, should feel included, supported and loved.

Melinda lives in the woods with her husband who is an automotive enthusiast in Ohio. When she is not writing or teaching, she is busy running extreme distances, painting murals or trying to build her own secret garden

During our conversation we talked about relationships. Yes, relationships. But not just between students and teachers but between teachers and interventionists. Melinda shared how many of the disconnects that we see with our diverse learners are due to the lack of communication and being on the same page. We also talked about the power of inclusion and what happens when ALL students are able to receive the tools needed to learn in the same spaces. Melinda talked about how educators fear the labels that students carry and judge them before they even enter the class and how connecting with other staff and students can help to dispel those misconceptions. And maybe … just maybe … we redefined what PD should look like.

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