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Creating future leaders with Dr. Spencer Fowler

Spirit of Math Podcast Episode #2

In this episode, our hosts Kim Langen and Nathan Langen speak to Dr. Spencer Fowler, a former OHL hockey player and firefighter turned educational leader who is presently the CEO and Superintendent of The Affiliated High School of Peking University’s Dalton Academy, one of the world’s leading schools in Beijing, China. Discover his dynamic life story and how he is bridging the gap between students, teachers and industry leaders globally!
Dr. Spencer Fowler

About Dr. Spencer Fowler

Dr. Spencer Fowler is a former OHL hockey player and firefighter turned educational leader who is presently the CEO and Superintendent of The Affiliated High School of Peking University’s Dalton Academy, one of the world’s leading schools in Beijing, China.


met at a global education conference in Beijing,
right? I’m 6 two blonde hair.
I tend to stand out and then I took over
and I saw this other guy that was 6 four
blonde hair so he stood out even more and I
decided OK, you know, let’s find out a little bit
more about who this is and it turned out there
was very charismatic.
Very very cosmetic and I thought you know.
Perfect for a podcast and let’s let’s do a blog,
let’s find out who this guy is.
I remember when you met him and then you are.
I didn’t meet him at the same time and she
came back and said you gotta meet this guy.
You gotta meet this guy so we did meet him
the next day in person.
It was really it was really cool and Nathan do
you want to tell us a little bit about Spencer
and and what he has done so right?
So doctor Spencer Fowler? He’s a former professional athlete actually.
Last night I was watching him on YouTube,
playing hockey former firefighter, and then also an educational leader
who presently serves as a CEO and Superintendent of the
affiliate High School of Peking University’s Dalton Academy.
So his academic career actually began at Queens University or
Alameda were here under his bachelors monitors in film studies
and bachelors of honors in education.
Spencer then spent the past 15 years working in the
international education as AK-12 teacher and administrator.
Now I’ve spoken to him,
he needs to take me to all these schools he’s
worked in.
He’s worked in Chile, Egypt,
Germany, South Africa, Spain, Thailand,
Vietnam and China. And then he earned his Masters and
Doctorate of Education leadership along the way.
So I, hopefully during this time I I can ask
him as they will.
How can I follow his path?
If not I mean we’re gonna have to continue this
So I’ve got some of my notes down here because
I really don’t want to miss it.
So a lot of his research in concentrates on educational
reform practices bridging the gap between education and Industry by
connecting teachers and students to resource.
Is that tackle universal issues?
His leadership style empowers teachers and students out of voice
and reach their true potential.
This approach has led to the development of China’s first
access scholarship.
Which aides marginalized and displaced youth from the Middle East
to complete their high school education in Beijing and obtain
a full funding to attend University overseas.
That’s huge, so the approach has also led to numerous
businesses and publications academics an otherwise.
So here I’m going to introduce to you.
The Canadian man with the Beijing plan.
Doctor Spencer Fowler. Alright, thank you.
All right? Hey, would you like me to call you
doctor Fowler?
Um answer, how would you like to be to Spencer?
I mean in our in our environment or our community
that we work and we all go by first names
OK well that’s yeah that’s interesting now when Nathan was
calling out all the names of the countries you’ve worked
I’m just wondering how did you fit that in in
your life?
Because it seems like an incredible number.
Of countries and how many years do you have?
So what did you do?
How did you get around the world like that and
actually work in all these different countries?
Well, I I fell in love with travel when I
was afforded opportunities to leave home and play hockey and
I was playing hockey.
Also Presley in Europe. And then I really loved and
appreciated being in a culture that was different than my
Growing up in Kingston and coming from my own background
and family were so mixed.
You know from so many different backgrounds generationally.
So for me it was really special to be in
a place where I didn’t know the language and the
culture and really wanting to immerse myself in that and
so I fell in. I fell in love with travelan
being in a place.
It was completely new and different.
Um, and being that outsider,
really wanting to try to blend in and fit in
and education was,
I think the best Ave or platform to do that.
and I had been traveling around the world in different
schools in context.
Moving up the ranks and ladders of Education because there
is that opportunity in international education.
That’s neat now you’ve ended up being the CEO and
Superintendent of one of the most,
if not the most elite high school in China.
and I just like to know a little bit about
how did you get there?
Yeah, how did you get there?
Because this is really quite.
This is a huge achievement for you to be there,
right? I mean, it’s sort of by fluke.
I mean it was. It was actually happening during a
time where I was thinking about leaving the profession because
I had worked in the American and the international schools
that cater to the foreign expatriates.
These are Ivy schools in AP schools and I felt
that there were two structured they were too traditional and
they really don’t tap into the To the local culture.
Uhm, and I didn’t really find like there really providing
anything that meaningful or inspirational.
And so I thought, What is this?
What I’m going to be doing?
This is what I made known for,
not known for. I mean,
what do I do with my own life?
Because you know a limited amount of time I have
and I really want to utilize it.
I know through my own potential to try to push
you know what’s possible in general and so at a
time when my wife and I were looking to move
I was introduced to a few people.
One was a board member from Duke University who invested
in a school project.
At the school, and so I was invited to the
as invited,
then go on campus and have a tour and meet
with students.
and I remember initially I met with two students who
started their own company,
which is a school that school within our school run
by students for students,
and I was almost annoyed because I thought,
well, where? Where’s the had a school?
Where is the board members?
Why am I meeting these students,
you know, and sort of woke me up.
But here’s a school that is completely off my radar
because I’ve been working in schools that are catering to
And like I said, I be an AP.
And if it’s not catering to the.
To the foreign students and has a lot of foreign
faculty than your tool to steer away from it that
that sort of that scary.
Anything that’s public or private outside of Canada or the
the UK. You want to avoid it,
but I visited the school,
fell in love with the school and saw that while
there is a lot of possibility here in education that
I never saw before that I saw students and faculty
being empowered and interested to do things that I didn’t
think that they were capable of accomplishing.
So for me it was like finding my soulmate in
career when I was afforded that chance to them.
Have a visit in a tour.
That that that’s what you’ve just described is a passion
that you had of.
And you said this word,
I’m just gonna look down ’cause I wrote this down.
You want to push beyond would you like?
I guess when I met you first I saw you
at this school that you just described and in that
school when you were showing us around you are showing
us things that were very different to what you would
call it typical school,
specially on high school Ann.
What what, where your passion is and I know Nathan
touch upon this really quickly.
When is the industry and education and how do you
mix the two?
And you then if you take that I wanted to
push beyond I can just describe what you have done
then ’cause you describe what this school is about.
But what did you do that helped push beyond that
is changing this because literally the whole world is watching
what’s going on in that school you.
Describe situations where you would have an open house and
people you would fill up two auditoriums and people still
be watching them from outside like an or somewhere else
in video because there’s so interested in miles going on.
So what are you doing?
What did you bring to this that makes it so
The school, right? Well I when I came I saw
that the school so entrepreneurial and there’s an opportunity for
students to be designing,
creating their own, learning the courses that they want to
even teach their own courses.
so I thought. This is an amazing opportunity.
I felt like it was trying to be more like
an Independent School back home and that wasn’t really a
good fit.
And so one of the things I started doing is
hiring people outside of Education.
Entrepreneurs and engineers. Even a space engineer,
doctors, lawyers, people in different industries to compliment those who
are working already in the school with an academic background.
So we had the academic research,
but then we also had students and faculty faculty like
tinkering in the garage,
working with different engineers in different resource is so it’s
not only.
Researching about it and publishing about it.
But then, what else can we doing on the ground
that’s going to make a huge impact to people.
So for us the evolution was how could we extend
the knowledge and skills that were wanting our students to
to earn to develop,
to know, to understand? But then to put it to
practical use so everything that they were studying there has
to be a purpose behind it.
So it’s like a main tree in the branches are
what are the students doing with that and how are
How are the teachers then helping and complementing in supporting
who they connecting them too?
So that now meaningful projects are going to change the
lives of other people.
So can you describe what like them is going to
go to school to this high school?
What would happen to me if I was a student
but with my year look like are my day look
It would be different for every student.
I mean, everyone’s being chosen for a different reason,
um, for different passions and skill sets,
and where we were bringing people in both faculty and
students based on their their true and authentic self.
How they’re going to complement one another.
So what is there? What Is There?
What is their purpose in life?
What do they want to be known for?
What are they going to be digging in?
What are they so passionate about that they could be
You know their day in there,
not in so much hours.
Then focusing on that, so it’s looking at people who
really want to make a difference and that they’ve demonstrated
that in the past and they were just.
Looking for more opportunities to continue to have that passion?
Being uhm supported, you know and so we have the
We recognize it. A school can’t be functioning in isolation.
You know when you go to most schools and you
have Department function function in isolation teachers and isolations and
the school in general.
But for us there’s no real.
There’s no real boundaries or wall,
so the students are kind of pick and choose when
they want to study who they’re going to study with
inside and outside the institution,
and the projects that they want to be part of
So how many courses when they’re going to be there?
And if it makes sense that there in Jordan working
with refugees in various camps in the UN and the
Chinese embassy,
then we would figure out then how for them to
have the exposure experience in the other courses that we
want them to also have.
That will also Aiden compliment what they’re doing there on
the ground.
So you just mentioned a couple of projects that some
of your students did,
which sounds absolutely incredible. The fact that they get this
that was what really struck me there is that you
were able to combine the experiences with the fact that
the kids are still getting the academic excellence and they
still have to write all the exams and everything.
You also mention that they had to go through some
selection process before they came in.
If you were a student.
Um now, and let’s say you were at the age
where you could be accepted into a program like this.
What types of things should you be doing too so
that you could get into a school like this and
be successful?
And even if there isn’t a school around like this,
what could you be doing that you see differentiates these
What makes some pretty special so that they can do
these types of things?
I mean, I think the closest thing to it that
I’ve experienced would be in a doctoral program.
After you’ve done your comps,
where, then you’re sort of.
Empowered and set free to do that.
Research that research that you care so much about and
then you’re working with your advisor.
I guess I would say that our program so similar
like that that you have these advisers,
both academic and then those from industry to help you
to realize these goals and vision.
But you know a main sort of the main focus
is that not only are we trying to contribute to
these different areas and disciplines with real impact,
but also our job is how do we re engineer
education and so it’s the students responsibility and the fact
is responsible and not only to try to.
You know, uncovered different cures for cancer,
but it’s also how do we re engineer redesign the
educational experience in general,
you know, and so it’s It’s constantly shifting and changing,
and this experience, being more virtual,
has also been refreshing for us.
You know, while summer somewhere panicking and it’s been uncomfortable
for us,
it was really an easy and comfortable transition.
So I’d say that it’s it’s students or individuals looking
beyond what they’re being given at school.
How can they extend it?
Who else can they be working with?
Don’t be satisfied. Don’t be satisfied with that sort of
status quo.
Traditional education. You have to be someone with a spark
and fire willing to reach out to the network within
your school within your family,
within your community. Even beyond that.
So what is it? What’s?
What’s your purpose? What’s driving you?
And then is it to be rich?
Is it to be famous?
Yet that’s it? Then that’s not really an organic fit
with our community,
but is it, too? Then,
better the lives of other people you know and then
sort of?
What’s that planet? How he,
how have you been working towards it?
Because a lot of our students come to our school,
they’ve been stuck in traditional education where they haven’t had
the time to then.
Experience this, they haven’t had the time where they could
even be themselves because they’ve had to follow a formula
in China that makes sense in that context.
And now we’re saying we don’t care about that.
We don’t. We’re not. We’re not prepping for any standardized
In fact, we don’t even touch it.
You know, we encourage our students to just leave it
all alone completely,
because we would say that our program is,
you know, undergraduate thro
ugh doctoral level and beyond experience.
Plus, in that industry side of things.
So don’t get, don’t get caught up or bogged down
by thinking that the CTA CTA these things are so
important and meaningful universities or.
Are wanting students for movers and shakers but they want
to know that you’ve done it so have you demonstrated
it in the past so he as a student then
is to take initiative yourself.
And if you want to find something or go into
an area to actually push for it yourself.
And I think you know,
I’m well. I’m reading a book right now,
called abundance, and one of the things that it stresses
the individualized learning and the ability to go out and
drive for what are really seek for what you want
and drive down yourself in that in those interests.
And that’s what you’re seeing is allowing these kids to
succeed too.
Is that right that they are able to to craft
their own life?
Basically at an earlier age?
I mean 100%. I mean,
they’re in the driver’s seat for that educational journey and
then their supporting and complementing during the copilot seat for
their peers.
And so, like I said,
I mean, I’ve never seen a school where they’re empowered
so much.
I mean often then they go to University in their
disappointed because then it’s now back into something traditional and
it’s less inspirational and sort of their back on a
leash. So it’s it’s tough.
It’s tough to have that and then to then go
go overseas and then sort of get back in line
with conventional teaching and learning,
you know? How much pushback,
or you know, like when when you shifted everything?
Uhm, you know how much pushback did you have,
like changing from that traditional to say no,
this is the new standard that they were going to
moving towards.
I mean, no, there wasn’t any pushback from the board.
There wasn’t any pushback from Peking University or their parents
because Peking University is a is a lab University field.
High schools, a lab school.
So we were meant to be Avant garde.
I just recognize that we weren’t being Avant garde enough
that we were being safe and at the time they
were just trying to.
Follow a model that that perhaps would be unique to
but it was just like an Exeter Andover you see.
See you know. But but if you have students who
are doing these these avantgard things,
and they are demonstrating that they have the passion,
they have the skills and they were able to do
things without much support.
I mean you had students were getting seed money,
you know. And then when I met a couple students,
they had over 500,000 couple months later,
5 million, another 50,000,000 and they were doing that with
anyone helping them regarding them.
and I think that’s that’s the issue with most schools,
is that? Most of the teachers are teachers.
You know they’ve gone through their academic career to then
and I’m talking about a school that is disrupting that.
So teachers in our school,
I’ll give an example in English teacher they’re writing and
they’re publishing,
and then the students are then seeing that they’re seeing
it in real time.
You’re seeing your art teacher making art.
Your senior engineering teachers tinkering and designing things and making
And people with the business side business experience there.
They are running businesses, but what our students in general
exposed to it,
they’re not exposed to those kind of people.
With those backgrounds, I mean,
I think that’s the biggest shame is that they’re not
seeing these teachers.
Um, demonstrating their own skills and passion.
They don’t see them working on their own craft.
They’re just teaching to these tests.
In these exams. I think that’s that’s insane.
What are we doing here?
So it has to be that exposure,
and then it would be,
hey, I’m working on this project and I’m now going
to be bringing in other students or outside expertise also
compliment that or people with in different disciplines.
In my schools, you know it’s your biology teacher.
Teaching biology at a lab in Peking University where doing
Cancer Research,
you know? And then so they’re doing theirs that focus
the academic opportunity.
It just continues to. Just spread so far,
and so why did it all depends on the students
because I’m following your lead and then now at the
the people in the expertise that you’ve now introduced me
I can, then it’s. It’s limitless,
you know. But then you look at most education there
is that limit.
There is that border and it’s stifling.
And it’s unhealthy. But there isn’t the expectation that teachers
are going to be doing things with in those areas.
It’s just teaching and they are inundated,
their teaching. So many hours in marketing and grading.
And there’s a student. You’re studying so many hours and
But how often do you have a teacher who says?
I want you to write this paper and I’m also
gonna write it with you.
And then you’re going to see me through it.
That journey, being vulnerable in being being real and really
demonstrating the knowledge and skills that I have.
The talent I have within that.
Uhm, mean teachers would never make themselves vulnerable like that.
So that was new to me.
To then be apart of the committee that where they’re
willing to do that,
you know, to really be the player and the coach
and to be peers and to call each other by
first names.
To have that respect, to have that love and encouragement,
because then. People are willing to fail to fail forward
and to learn and to grow and be like this
didn’t work with and as a community there to be
like that was amazing. Now I mean I didn’t even
do my doctor until joining the school because I thought
I can.
I can now I was inspired to because of the
people I was working with that any anything is possible.
So there’s a couple of things here.
I just want to touch upon.
First of all, is that students should be taking initiative
I can remember when I was in high school and
I was taking chemistry an I said to my.
To my teacher, you know I.
I would love to go and see the police forensic
lab an use chemistry with that and so all of
a sudden we had a trip to the chemist.
The forensic lab here in Canada in Toronto and it
was Super Cool.
Ann and I think what you’re doing is you’re basically
bring it so that the kids get to see and
understand and actually concretely be there with other people.
This is what it really means.
This world really means is not about.
High school structured box system that you’re going to go
into one of the one of the things that I’m
very concerned about is that we’re not preparing our kids
for the future and that we are preparing them to
be test takers,
not necessarily how to apply that information,
and also not necessarily getting them ready for what the
real world really is about.
And part of that is to take initiative to ask
good questions and to to know that you’ve got.
The authority, the power to ask to go and do
I think in your school what you’ve done is is
open this up now I’m going to take you just
a little off to the side a little bit because
I want to explore you a bit.
You don’t mind and uhm,
I think what you’ve done is something very different than
a lot of people.
Most people in this world,
the fact that you had the courage to take this
school and to make it different,
make it i
nto something that is not normal.
But yet you still have the cord courage to do
it in the risk to do it when you were
growing up.
What did it look like like?
Why are you like this person and I want to
get a sense for the kids?
Specially watching this, what was your life like growing up
and then you know how did you get into this
Hockey League and I think you should explain a little
bit about that Hockey League for people.
Maybe around the other side of the world who really
don’t know what to HL means.
And but if you can just describe yourself as a
young child,
what you did, what kind of person you were an,
then how did you get into this hockey and go
up the levels that you went up to.
And you know what makes you Spencer you right?
I think having having parents are bolted shift work,
so one was working Mama sleeping.
There was a lot of opportunity to to be creative,
to have to. Uhm, you know,
be looking after myself and making sure that,
uh, that I was staying at a trouble and staying
active and my parents saw ice.
Hockey is a way for us us,
not just myself to to move from sort of that
level or wrong of middle class or something.
Beyond you know. And it wasn’t education.
I didn’t have any pressure or stress about education.
You know they wanted me to do my best,
but when it came to sports port was OK.
This is our opportunity. You’re big,
you’re strong and I was excelling.
and I kept climbing the ranks very young.
So in elementary school is playing junior hockey and when
I got drafted the OHL to Saint Mike’s,
my parents were saying You know this is your ticket.
Yale University was knocking on the door saying Don’t sign,
don’t play in the HL come and go to come
and play and go to school and and we’ll figure
out how to make sure that you can be a
student and an athlete and then beyond that you can
continue pursuing hockey.
But at the time that wasn’t really the trend.
More players are going from the OHL or the WHL.
The major junior leagues in Canada.
So then two, then the NHL,
like most of my friends did that,
and so the amount of the amount of work it
takes to make it into that League and then to
stay in that League is incredible.
So that work ethic, that passion that drive you have
to have.
It’s not. It’s not working hard.
Only when the coaches there blowing the whistle it’s you
have to be doing that on your own for most
of the day.
You know Seven days a week.
So when you say most of the day,
how many hours? Just so that people have an idea
what it really means to work at that high performing
I mean even even elementary school you’re talking like.
You know three to four hours of tinkering and playing
and refining.
You know, that’s one on one in the basement or
in the backyard,
or at the school, or working on your shot,
or so there’s. There’s never a day off.
And then as you get older,
I mean even still in elementary school I had an
agent in a dietitian and personal trainer.
And then you’re starting to,
you know, Buck up, get bigger,
and ’cause you’re playing with guys for a much older
than you.
You can make your early teens playing with guys.
There are 21 and so you gotta be able to
survive that physical play.
So I actually heard that you came third place in
a strongman competition.
I, I mean, that’s I mean it,
it that’s true. So I mean this is years and
years later years and years later I was um teaching
in Frankfurt International School.
I hadn’t really been too active in the gym,
but there were some muscle memory left,
I guess. And so when I was back in Kingston
for Canada Day,
there was a strongman competition happening and the people who
were involved in that were just.
I mean there were Giants right,
100 pounds more than me for sure and my friend
was Emceeing the event and he said hey we have
this X hockey player.
Or do you guys want to see him try it
and so that I’m out there with those hockey stick
But then I end up coming third in the one
event that I did the best was the truck pull.
I actually came first than that,
but there was, you know where you pick up the
big cement balls and etc.
So no, uhm that was true.
Is my only time I did it,
but I still some scars from it.
But it was. It was a lot of fun.
It was a lot of fun.
I mean, I definitely surprise people that cause hockey players
don’t have that physique of like you know,
strong man. But no that was that was a lot
of fun.
You probably know step absolutely.
But no. I mean it.
Just it takes a certain personality you know to to.
To push yourself and to take sort of that abuse
uh, you have to focus so much so it’s not
like I’m going to be going with my friends.
I’m not gonna be I’m not going to compromise that
my diet I’m going to be just your all in
and I saw this I saw this as what’s going
to be very helpful and beneficial for me to provide
a life that I would I would like to have
but also a life for my family as well.
So I had that drive.
And then when that didn’t work out when that didn’t
workout and I came back home and was firefighting.
Got into Queens I had to figure out you know
Can I do? That’s gonna be a different path.
You know. I had to really look inside.
What’s what are my true passions?
You know, what is the kind of life I want
and what kind of impact do I want to make
on the on the on the larger world?
And so it took a lot of reflecting and it
wasn’t easy that transition from hockey to firefighting too.
I don’t know waht which turned into education.
It was really humbling experience because people forget you really
It was no longer signing autographs at Burger King.
You know, I wasn’t, I wasn’t being remembered very much
and then that sort of decreased it to nothing,
you know? And so it was.
It was, it was really,
uhm, an eye opener because.
Being very young and in high school and playing in
the OHL,
you know your this thing.
You know there. There’s someone people look up to and
then I’ll sign for that to just.
You know, fall out from under you,
but it was good. It was good that it happened
to me when I was still young so that I
could be like,
you know, put my focus and education.
And again, there wasn’t that pressure for my parents to
pursue education.
In fact, when I wanted to go to cleans,
my family was saying that’s a waste of money.
Why you? Why you doing that?
Why not continue firefighting? Join the military?
Get a job at DuPont or alkaline or these different
Not that I know I want.
I believe there’s so much more in here that I
could be giving it.
Not not. No disrespect with that kind of work because
that’s kind of work.
Most of my family did.
But I just figured that I have a different path.
You know that I should that I should be honored
So it took a lot of convincing to my family,
but I did that undergrad degree and then the Ed
degree and then the Masters degree.
and I remember when I was gonna do my doctorate
there like one.
Is this going to end because they saw education is
just a piece of paper that once you have that
paper then you can get this kind of job.
But for me with something so much more,
you know when I had an opportunity to go from
public school Catholic public school to Saint Mike’s in different
schools because I moved around with hockey so the public
and private an
d I did see a huge difference in
people don’t want to talk about it in Canada because
they would.
Want to argue that there there there the same?
You know it’s the same kind of teachers.
Uhm, but it was different.
It was really different. I think the biggest difference was
just the people sitting in and around me in that
passions that they had.
Um, with education itself, and I didn’t have that when
I was in the other schools that I grew up
You know it was. It was just trying to get
you know, just to get get by get through this
and then get a job you know.
and I was working since I was even when I
was playing hockey.
I was driving forklift or when I wasn’t playing or
I will be doing a Mason apprenticeship.
So I was always doing things with my hands,
the the labor work and I do and I love
that I love that.
I love that and it keeps me humble and I
appreciate the fitness aspect of a two in the.
The the art form of it,
so I’ve always. I’ve always wanted to say,
you know, to be grounded and be rooted and and
to be humble,
you know an but education is is like our education
is like life and it’s just if we look at
it differently and we we allow it to flourish in
a different way. I think that the outcomes are unbelievable.
I mean now I can’t stop.
So when I have people talking to other other jobs
in schools,
it’s like how could I know you can pay me
4 or 510 times the amount,
but I’m I’m working with a group of people that
are so passionate they care so deeply about.
Changing and reforming and re engineering education and we’re doing
We’re living in. We’re seeing that wow in real-time high
school students and teachers really have the capacity in the
capability to change the lives of other people.
I mean, I’m seeing miracles happening,
you know? And it’s an I don’t want to.
I don’t want to step away from that.
I’d love to be able to help other people do
and that’s why we’re open source.
And that’s why we’re sharing because we want other people
to be better,
do better. So then they can because I look at
look at education in the East in the West.
In the comparison you see more people here for now
looking at their.
Location like padding their CV like something that’s very common
typical in China,
but people here now it’s they’re thinking about themselves in
their own future,
and my career and my money and where I want
to have an apartment house,
but they’re not seeing it is something where I need
to be sharing with other people work there volunteering,
it’s just a tick that box so that you know,
Harvard, Yale, Princeton are going to consider me,
but they’re not seeing the real value of that time
where they’re going to be engaging in working and collaborating
with other people.
So it’s it’s. Yeah yeah,
I I OK so we get your passion.
This is incredible. OK and um and I think for
everybody watching here an for for students or even parents
is not just about going to school to go to
school is what you’re saying and what I’m hearing from
you is this passion that goes way beyond you is
much bigger than you to make a difference that is
much bigger than what you could do is a single
But you also believe that this can happen as well.
And the other thing I heard from you too,
which I. I think it’s so important is that you
know what you just kept at kept at it,
kept at it and you weren’t going to sit back
and watch movies all day.
You you actually wear out there making a difference.
Even if it was for yourself to begin with and
then afterwards it was for others.
But you certainly developed yourself and it wasn’t chest.
It wasn’t just developing yourself so that you could be
the best hockey person you actually have used all of
That persistence, that rigor that you know.
Thinking I could do more,
I could do more, and that’s what I’m getting from
And it’s not just I can do more.
There could be a bigger difference made here and and
believing that bigger difference I I think this is something
for everybody.
All the kids out there watching even parents,
anyone in education it really it comes down to that
and so is that what you would say really is
what drove you to where you are because you’ve you’ve
gone from a very athletic side.
You did the firefighting, the education and you’ve taken yourself
right up into education,
but you’re also making a big difference in the world.
I been able to see conceptually to change that conceptual
understanding of what education is about,
and that’s really what I see you doing.
Is that how you would describe it?
As is really one of your biggest impacts,
right? I mean, I think education done well then,
then every individual can see inside themselves like that.
There are capable of doing so much more than they
ever thought possible that they can actually be that true
enough in Excel.
And when you have that level you have the support,
then you’re willing to take any risks and you’re willing
to then be contributing something much greater than yourself.
And so I’ve had to.
I’ve had to figure that out on my own,
but that passion that I have for what I’m doing
now is so much greater than it ever even was.
For for sport or firefighting,
or for other things. You know,
that’s cool, that’s cool. And use also said,
take your wrist, then you had the courage to take
that risk and having that passion allowed you,
that’s really cool. And and I think that’s something that
I’d like to just leave people to think about.
You know what is? What are the fears that are
holding you back?
I guess, and, uh, there’s a lot of fears that
we all have,
and I think you’ve just.
I don’t know. I don’t know if you have any
fears really,
but it sounds about what do you think,
Nathan? I don’t know, I’ll message him later and find
We could do that later.
Uhm, you know the work you’ve got.
You’ve done. The passion is incredible.
I really believe that people should be reaching out to
you if they’ve they’ve got.
If they need to because.
You just you don’t stop for poor thing,
you just you just say forget it.
This is going to happen and you just go and
get it.
But thank you so much for this.
Unfortunately we are running out of time here.
I think there’s lots of questions that perhaps kids could
ask Anne.
Would it be OK if they asked like if they
even sent Nathan or myself some questions and then we
shot them out to you like put them out to
you and then you could answer.
Would that be OK? If I don’t think that I’m
the best person to answer that I would,
then I would like to then Shepherd them to people
who I think would even be you know,
more equipped to answer their questions or even work with
and I think I think that’s what our communities done.
Well, I mean we have students who recognize it even
within our community there are still.
There’s only so much we can do.
That’s why we have to be trying to extend the
more connected to other people and you have students were
writing things or coworker things that people around the world.
And that’s what that’s what it takes.
Is being able to give into taken to be adding
and supporting,
sharing and nurturing. So I would.
I would love that actually.
Awesome OK awesome. Good Nathan.
Do you have anything else you want to ask her?
Answer, Uh, maybe I’ll learn some of those strongman techniques
But no, I want to say thank you.
Um, hopefully we can meet up again,
um? Yeah. But it was really amazing meeting you in,
uh, in Beijing and I just wanted to say keep
going on on your work and everybody else who is
listening just sent us questions if you want.
Because Spencer he’s got a big mind.
He’s got a big heart and he’s got incredible enerji
I think NRG for enough people to fill this room
so so thank you so much.
This is bigger. OK bye bye bye bye.
I thought that was a great story.
Uhm, you know I almost took it as his key
to success has been pushing himself to be outside of
his comfort zone,
right? So when you talked about moving to Europe for
he really enjoyed that because he was.
He was learning a new culture.
He had to be in his surroundings,
read and understand the languages.
And so how do you overcome that?
and I can relate a little bit moving from a
small town in.
In Canada, called Peterborough to trono,
where my high school had 96 first languages.
I was sort of shocked by all the different cultures
there was,
and so I had to learn really quickly.
Well, How do I embrace this?
How do I be agile?
How do I actually make sure that I’m not going
to insult a lot of people and so I took
that skill and it’s helping me now when I travel
around the world? To just really relate to people and
build up that empathy.
I think you’re right there,
Nathan, with his ability to take risk.
Wow, um, to travel around the world takes a huge
amount of risk to take your kids along with you,
and even to to try and get into the OHL
and the Ontario Hockey League.
That is an overseas with that.
Wow, the amount of risk they have so I just
I just want to remind to everybody if you’ve got
questions to ask him please shoot them our way like
send them our way and ask questions.
If we can get the answers directly from him,
he’s got an incredible background,
is not only being an athlete like a super athlete
where you heard people wanting his signature and he went
to firefighting and then he went into education.
He’s gone all over the world.
He knows what it means to reach the top of
the world.
Send those questions in until the next time when it
just say thanks again for listening and catch you later.

Creating future leaders with Dr. Spencer Fowler
Spirit of Math Podcasts
Creating future leaders with Dr. Spencer Fowler

~End of Transcript.

Spirit of Math Podcasts
Episode #2