Season 5, Episode 14 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Shane Saeed

Season 5, Episode 14 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Shane Saeed

Be the Flame with Shane Saeed

This is Season 5, Episode 14 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Shane Saeed. In our wide-ranging conversation, we discuss community building, setting norms, the science of learning, coaching teachers…and much more.


Shane Saeed Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Shane Saeed is a district instructional coach in Colorado who works with K-12 educators. Prior to coaching, Shane was an elementary teacher. Shane has earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in literacy, a second master’s degree in School Leadership and is currently a doctoral candidate working on her degree in Executive Leadership with a focus on Educational Equity and will defend her research this spring. 

Shane’s passion is sharing instructional practices with educators near and far. She is a keynote speaker and facilitates professional development nationally on topics such as the science of learning, the science of reading, and relationship building using content from her book, Be the Flame, which outlines high-yield tangible strategies to cultivate strong positive relationships with all stakeholders. 

Shane was named one of the 20 Emerging Leaders for ASCD in 2022. Shane continues to work in public education in her Colorado school district and collaborates with teachers across the globe via social media. Follow Shane on X: @saeed_shane.

FocusED Show Notes with Shane Saeed

It takes a community to create a safe space for students to air their grievances. Only then can teachers change behaviors, working toward an even stronger community. ~ Shane Saeed

Shane talked about connecting with acclaimed author Jimmy Casas, our friend and author of Culturize. Jimmy encouraged Shane to write her book, and Be the Flame was born.

Shane says that we often think of community building as a beginning of the year activity, but the truth is that community building should be ongoing.

Dr. Saeed talked about modeling activity for team building at a staff meeting so that teachers know how to use that same strategy with students. The difference is that the staff should also discuss the benefits and outcomes of the strategy so that they understand the WHY.

Don’t miss what she says about team building and “first drafts” that can reinforce learning foundations and mindsets for both students and staff.

Shane emphasizes the use of community meetings. Here’s a stem to try with students: “This week I did well at…and next week I would like to do a better job with…”

Shane talked about setting norms (for classrooms and adult meetings); she referenced Learning By Doing by the DuFours.

We asked Shane to talk about the structure of her book, which is focused on takeaways. The book includes stories, reflection questions, and things to use for immediate implementation.

As always, we geeked about a bit on the science of learning, including Shane’s description of prior knowledge.

Joe asks Shane to talk about how she organizes her learning. Don’t miss what she says about going deep into multiple authors and works. She calls these “suites” for her learning intentions.

Shane calls for more belonging in schools; one way to do this is to ensure a knowledgeable teacher versus one who can implement a program. This reminded us of a Delaware professional learning experience called DTI. Check it out.

Dr. Saeed uses cognitive coaching as an instructional coach. The thinking has to be the responsibility of the educator, not just a coach or administrator dictating what to do in every case.

She talks about how exhausted teachers are, and the fact that they make more decisions than a brain surgeon, which means we need to streamline and structure.

Books/Resources that Shane Saeed Mentions on FocusED

Radical Candor by Kim Ball Scott

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Hidden Brain Podcast

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Start with WHY by Simon Sinek

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zarretta Hammond

Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning by Scott McCloud 

Related Content from TheSchoolHouse302

Our interview with Meghan Lawson


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FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next.