Avoiding Toxic Gratitude with Dr. Eve Miller

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Dustin Odham

Thought Leader for FranklinCovey Education
When I was a kid, my favorite Crayola color was sky blue, and my mission in life was to become a professional basketball player. I pursued that dream right up until I learned I was “not fast or quick, but determined and a great team player.” Yes, that was a real evaluation I was given during my AAU days. I decided to play to my strengths instead, and retired from the prep basketball scene with what I feel was a tasteful lack of fanfare. Since then, my mission statement has been to make a positive and lasting impact in the life of every person I meet. Every single day. I have spent my career trying to help unleash greatness in everyone I am privileged to work with and for. My commitment to that mission statement became more nuanced when I began teaching high school math at a school with a significant achievement gap. I was learning just as much as my students were, and there were certainly rough patches at the beginning. But in the end, our students outpaced the entire district in academic growth. Repurposing that childhood dream, I also coached girls basketball and regularly demonstrated that I had not, in fact, grown faster or quicker with age. It was during this period that I won St. Louis Region Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for a National Teacher of the Year award. As I continued to look for ways to make a positive and lasting impact on my community, I took a job as executive director of a teacher training program. My team increased our teacher pool from 75 to 200, impacting hundreds of schools and thousands of students. Then, as a turnaround specialist with St. Louis Public Schools, I helped create our Office of Innovation, enabling our lowest performing schools to get accredited. In the private sector, as a turnaround performance consultant, I led projects with district superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals and teachers to help turn their student academic performance around and transform their school communities. It was also during this time that I really perfected my karaoke version of “Friends in Low Places.” I continued this work at FranklinCovey Education as a Client Partner, where our team partnered with educators to unleash the potential of thousands of administrators, teachers, and parents – impacting tens of thousands of students in hundreds of cities across three states. As a Managing Director for the Southeast United States and Canada regions, I now support our client partners as they work to do the same all across North America. This is a far cry from a career as an NBA superstar. But I’ve loved my life, and all the people in it – most especially my amazing wife Ashley and my three boys Luke, Noah, and our baby, James, who was born in the middle of the pandemic. Every twist and turn has led me here, and I am grateful for each of them. My favorite Crayola color is still sky blue, and I’ve finally found a sport (golf) that does not depend on speed or quickness. I hope this podcast is a force for lasting, positive change for the guests, and for anyone who tunes in. I’m honored that you’ve taken the time to tune in.

Dr. Eve Miller

Director of Research, FranklinCovey
Dr. Eve Miller has been the Director of Research for FranklinCovey Education for six years, in which time she led the development of a system for measuring schoolwide SEL, assisted major universities conducting studies demonstrating the impact of the Leader in Me, and designed an equity-focused professional development training for teachers. Eve is an experienced cognitive neuroscientist with fifteen years of applied work in the fields of genetics, healthcare, military intelligence, and education. She is trained in a variety of research methods from brain imaging to behavioral assessment. Eve’s PhD. in cognitive neuroscience is from the University of Utah where she did most of her academic research on the environmental factors that play a role in cognitive performance. Eve’s applied work in education grew from her doctoral research exploring how learning environments can be altered to improve learning outcomes for a broader range of learners. Eve’s experience in the field of education involves teaching as well. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah where she has taught six different courses within the Psychology Department; Research Methods, Statistics for Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception, and Cognition in the Wild. She loves teaching and considers each assignment a new opportunity to introduce growing minds to the exciting worlds within research and psychology. In her fifteen years of research experience, Eve has worked with many diverse populations from Alzheimer’s disease patients, homeless families, and fighter pilots but Eve's real research passion is in education. She believes that when a teacher is empowered with effective paradigms and practices they will be a force for good in the lives of their students. Humbled and inspired by the daily work of teachers, Eve is motivated by the opportunity to provide them with the best tools and knowledge.
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