The Power of Grit, Tenacity, and Family Support with Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen, Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

by | Mar 3, 2023 | 0 comments

6 min read

About Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen

Elizabeth Jorgensen has been published in many popular journals, including the English Journal, Edutopia, Teachers & Writers Magazine, and many, many more. 

Her book on process-based assessment, Hacking Student Learning Habits, was published by Times 10 Publications in 2022, and her most recent book was released in October 2022, Gwen Jorgensen: USA’s First Olympic Gold Medal Triathlete, which is our focus today, along with her co-author and mother, Nancy. 

She has presented nationally and is an award-winning writer and teacher, and sought-after speaker. 

Nancy Jorgensen was a high school choir director for many years, she is the co-author of two music education books, Things They Never Taught You in Choral Methods and From the Trenches: Real Insights from Real Choral Educators. She is also the author of several essays and an Olympic blog, published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Very impressive teachers and family!

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen

Listen to this incredible story of mother and daughter working in the same school and how Nancy (mom) was publishing articles and other work, and how she went to Elizabeth (an English teacher) to help with editing. 

Then, Elizabeth asked her to return the favor. They’ve been writing together ever since. 

Nancy explains why candor was critical with her children. There’s no time to slow down to “be nice.” 

Don’t miss what Elizabeth and Nancy say about ideation and staying on task, including the kind of feedback they want and expect from each other. 

We really liked the concept of the “beta-readers” to help with polishing work before publication. 

They get very granular about their writing and editing process. It’s fascinating to hear how they can often lose track of who wrote the initial piece. 

The research behind why they wrote Gwen Jorgensen: USA’s First Olympic Gold Medal Triathlete is fascinating. Their discovery: there aren’t books available for young people about female athletes.

One powerful theme in the book comes from how Gwen listened to a track coach even though she didn’t consider herself a runner.

Nancy and Elizabeth emphasized the power of listening and embracing what others see in us, even if we don’t see it in ourselves.

Elizabeth talked about the essence of feedback and how Gwen refined her skills to grow into an Olympic Gold medalist. 

Don’t miss how school leaders can use these lessons in each and every classroom. The point about strength identification is a powerful takeaway. Elizabeth’s answer on the power of reflection and the activity of having students write letters is something every teacher can do. 

What Nancy says about student leadership in the choir classroom is profound. 

We were not surprised to learn that both of them follow Gwen as a positive force in their lives. In fact, they have to follow her on social media because she’s so busy. 

The way that Elizabeth uses social media to praise and celebrate the people she follows is an awesome strategy. 

The goals that Gwen makes public about her Olympic training is both vulnerable for her and inspirational for the rest of us. 

Elizabeth talks about the need for sleep. You need the Oura ring!  

Nancy talked about sticking to a schedule as a superpower. 

Nancy wants to learn how to run and do a 5K with Gwen. Liz suggested that hiring a coach is a game-changer!

Elizabeth talked about her desire to be more patient, compassionate, and kind. Especially in her response and delivery to others. 

Nancy used to think that she had an obligation to certain groups but now gives herself the freedom to say no. 

Elizabeth ends with what she has learned about not putting a ceiling on what she can do. Listen to how she slashed her mile-per-minute time!

Additional Resources

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.


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