Podcast logo


Episode 20: Phil Boyte and Matt Grigas

Episode #20 – Creating a vibrant culture in the classroom

Join Phil Boyte and his guest Matt Grigas, as they talk about the power of connecting with students in the classroom. Matt shares ideas he uses in his own classroom to set the tone for the year, model what he expects from his students and why having an “open door policy” is so vital! Looking for simple yet transformative ideas to implement in your classroom this year? Check out this podcast! 

A little about Matt: 

Matt Grigas has been working in the Indian Prairie District for the past 11 years as a teacher. Matt started his career at Neuquay Valley High School (where he met his wife!!) and then had the incredible opportunity to help open the doors at Metea Valley High School. Matt loved the opportunity to help set the culture and tone at a brand new school. Three years ago, Matt returned to Neuqua Valley High School to run their theater program. Matt and his wife have one little boy.

Click here for podcast notes

Episode 19: Phil Boyte and Dan Thoene


Episode #19 – A creative way to teach in the classroom with guest Dan Thoene

Join Phil Boyte and his guest Dan Thoene, creator of Judo Math, as they talk about his approach to helping student thrive in the classroom. Using the concepts of martial arts, Judo Math encourages students to work at their own pace as they progress through a series of belts to master each topic. In this podcast, Dan shares the inspiration behind the program, how students collaborate and celebrate together and why team building is so important. It doesn’t matter what your role is on campus… you won’t want to miss this amazing podcast!

A little about Dan:

Dan Thoene has been a math teacher at High Tech High, in San Diego for the past 15 years.  In 2007 he created a program called Judo Math that lets kids work at their own pace as they progress through a series of belts to master each topic.   His innovative approach to teaching math helped significantly raise test scores in the first year he implemented the program at High Tech Middle School.  It’s now being used by over 150 teachers across the United States, UK, Israel, China and Canada.   

Dan graduated from UCSB with a major in Communications and a minor in Mathematics. He actually started his professional career in broadcasting, working as a sportscaster for 11 years where he won an Emmy Award as best sports reporter for ABC in Connecticut.

An avid sports fan, when he’s not watching the Padres or Chargers, Dan likes to fit in a round of golf in between grading papers. He’s been married for 20 years to his wife Kira. Their 14 year old daughter Courtney is an 8th grader at HTM and their 10 year old son Cooper is a 5th grader at Explorer.

Learn more at Judomath.com.

Click here for podcast notes


Episode 18: Phil Boyte and Paul Lundberg

Episode #18: Kicking off a great school year – Guest Paul Lundberg 

Join Phil Boyte and his Paul Lundberg as they talk about kicking off a great school year with a focus on culture. As the principal at Colfax High School, Paul shares how he inspires his teachers, what it looks like to set the tone the first week and how they engage each student on their campus the first week. Looking to start this year a little differently than in  years past? You won’t want to miss this podcast.

A little about Paul: 

Paul has been in education for the past 20+ years and as both a teacher and administrator. Paul is a principal at Colfax High School in Northern California and calls this job his DREAM JOB!

Paul married his high school sweetheart and has two children, who both attend Colfax High School.

Click here for podcast notes



Episode 17: Phil Boyte and Greg Hroch

Episode #17: Fresh ideas for engaging every student – Guest Greg Hroch

Join Phil Boyte and his guest Greg Hroch as they talk about engaging every student on your campus. Greg has been working in education for over 30 years and now helps run a company focused on tracking student involvement. In this podcast, Phil and Greg talk about the benefits to engaging more students, how to redefine “Friday Night Lights” and why students are drawn to the NEW. 

A little about Greg:

Greg Hroch has been in the education business for the last 30 years. He began as a teacher and coach, then moved to activities where student involvement was his passion.  Greg has been working full time with 5-Star Students engaging students for the past 5 years . He currently lives in Temecula, California with his wife Kathy. He has two sons that are in college and play baseball.  You can usually find Greg at a baseball field watching his boys or traveling the world.

Click here for podcast notes


Episode 16: Phil Boyte and Debbie Brannam

Episode #16: Culture from the front office – Guest Debbie Brannam

“I spent more time in the principal’s office than I did at my own desk…”

Join Phil Boyte and his guest Debbie Brannam as they talk about creating a great culture in the front office. Debbie has spent her career learning how to make Del Oro High School feel like home to thousands of students and hundreds of staff members. In this podcast, she and Phil talk about the impact the front office has on creating an incredible culture. Debbie shares her perspective on building a great relationship with the leaders she supports, interacting with the community and how important it is to find the right role for each person in the office.

A little about Debbie:

Debbie Brannam began working at Del Oro High School in December 1989 as the receptionist; in 1991  she became the secretary to the Assistant Principal’s until she transitioned to her new role as Principals Secretary in 1995. In her role as the Principal’s Secretary, Debbie has had the chance to support three different principals, taken on responsibilities as the ASB financial secretary and has been a part of CADA.

Debbie has been married for forty years to Chuck Brannam and they have one daughter Rachel who graduated from Del Oro in 1999.  Rachel is married to Ryan and they have blessed them with three amazing grandchildren Savanna, Rocco, and Brixton.  Debbie will be retiring from Del Oro in June after 27 ½ years.  She looks forward to travelling across the great US of A and spending time with her grandchildren, volunteering at local schools, gardening, and relaxing.

Click here for podcast notes

Contact Us

52 Night Heron,
Chapel Hill, NC 27517.

p: 800-874-1100 f: 530-653-2049

e: phil@learningforliving.com