Rethinking School Discipline with Dr. Lori Desautels

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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. Lori Desautels

Author & Assistant Professor, Butler University's College of Education
Dr. Lori Desautels has been an Assistant Professor at Butler University since 2016 where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education.  Lori was also an Assistant Professor at Marian University in Indianapolis for eight years where she founded the Educational Neuroscience Symposium.  Currently, the Symposium is in its eighth year, and now sponsored by Butler University College of Education.  Through these conferences and symposiums, educators, parents, and the community learn to implement the tools to help our students be successful and feel a sense of purpose and connection as they walk into their classrooms.  Because of her work, Lori has been able to attract the foremost experts in the fields of educational neuroscience, trauma and adversity, which significantly grow the conference each year.  Lori has created a nine-hour graduate certification at Butler University in Applied Educational Neuroscience/Brain and Trauma.  This certification has grown from 6 graduates in its pilot year in 2016 to 70 graduate students in its third cohort.  The certification is open to students around the world as it has transformed into a distance learning, hybrid format.  The Applied Educational Neuroscience Certificate, created by Lori in 2016, is specifically designed to meet the needs of educators, counselors, and administrators who work beside children and adolescents who have, and are, experiencing adversity and trauma.  Lori’s passion is engaging students through the application of neuroscience as it applies to attachment, regulation, and educator brain state, and teaching students and staff about their neuroanatomy, thus integrating Mind Brain Teaching learning principles and strategies into her coursework at Butler.  Lori has conducted brain institutes and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Dubai on Mind Brain Teaching and Learning.  She has created webinars for educators, clinicians, and administrators illustrating how educators and students alike must understand their neuroanatomy to regulate behavior and calm the brain.  Lori is co-author of the social and emotional competencies for the State of Indiana published in January 2018.  She also has authored a series of articles for “Inside the School,” an online publication providing strategies to administrators and educators alike.  Lori’s articles are published in Edutopia, Brain Bulletin, and Mind Body Spirit international magazine.  She also was published in the Brain Research Journal for her work in the fifth-grade classrooms during a course release partnering with the Washington Township Schools in Indiana.  Lori continues her work in the Pre-K classrooms and is currently co-teaching in fifth grade and working with St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center in Indianapolis for the second consecutive year.  Lori has met with hundreds of school districts across the country, equating to more than 60,000 educators, with much more work to be done!  Lori taught emotionally troubled students in the upper elementary grades, worked as a school counselor in Indianapolis, was a private practice counselor and was co-owner of the Indianapolis Counseling Center.  Lori was also a behavioral consultant for Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on the adolescent psychiatric unit where she learned that emotional and mental illness can be so challenging for youth, but the brain can repair and heal, and resilience rests at the core of human nature and our well-being.  You can find Lori’s work, presentation videos, and latest research here throughout this website, revelationsineducation.com.  Her first book, “How May I Serve You, Revelations in Education,” was published in March of 2012.  Her second book, co-authored with educator Michael McKnight, entitled “Unwritten, The Story of a Living System,” has been shared and used as a foundation to create curriculum across the country.  Lori’s third book, “Eyes Are Never Quiet,” was published in January of 2018, and a new book, “Rewiring Our Perception of Discipline,” will be coming in January of 2021.  Lori graduated with a BS in Special Education from Butler University, an MS in Counseling Education from Indiana University, and earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy with an emphasis in early adolescence/thought formation from Indiana University and American Institute of Holistic Theology.  Lori resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband, Michael.  She has three grown children, Andrew, Sarah, and Regan, and four rescue fur babies.
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