262. Redefining Failure and Increasing Feedback: Featuring Rita Wirtz

Aspire to Lead, Rita Wirtz, Joshua Stamper

In this thought-provoking Aspire to Lead episode, Joshua Stamper had the privilege of sitting down with the incredible Rita Wirtz. Rita shared her wealth of knowledge and experience in education, focusing on three critical themes. First, she emphasized the importance of not labeling students, highlighting how these labels can limit their potential and self-belief. Rita discussed the value of recognizing each student’s unique strengths and nurturing a growth mindset.

Next, we delved into the concept of feedback over failure. Rita stressed that feedback is a powerful tool in promoting growth and development in students. By reframing failure as feedback, we can create a safe and encouraging learning environment, motivating students to persevere and improve.

Rita also underscored the significance of administrators actively immersing themselves in classrooms. She shared her insights on the positive impact of administrators connecting with both students and educators on a personal level. By being present in classrooms, administrators can better understand the dynamics of their schools, foster a sense of community, and make informed decisions that positively influence the educational experience.

Join us for a dynamic conversation with Rita Wirtz, and gain valuable insights into reimagining education, providing effective feedback, and the vital role administrators play in creating thriving learning environments.

About Rita Wirtz:

Rita Wirtz served as Title I ESEA Program Evaluator in the California Penal System,  Curriculum Coordinator for Sacramento County Office of Education, School Principal,  Reading Instructor, K-Adult Teacher and Special Needs educator. She shared her  experiences as Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader traveling throughout the United  States, inspiring other educators and parents.

Mrs. Wirtz volunteered on numerous Boards in Sacramento, California, including  Homeless Coalition, SARB (School Attendance and Review), Neighborhood Study  Center, Fantasy Theatre, Harmony Arts, etc. She also volunteered for Homeschool  groups, offering Keynotes and workshops on reading instruction. 

Rita taught about thirty needy children around her potbelly stove in their historic 1858  cabin house. Kids learned to read with Mark Twain maybe looking on. One student later  graduated from a California University with Honors, and became a Space X rocket  scientist! Rita wrote a book about teaching him. 

Rita Keynoted for a multitude of organizations including school districts, California  School Boards Association, Chapman University Commencements, Child Welfare and  Attendance, Migrant Education-Mini Corps, Kindergarten Conferences, Head Start,  ASCD and CASCD, (Supervision and Curriculum groups). Also Mentor Teachers,  Learning Disabilities Conferences, ECE (Early Childhood Education), Special Education  SELPAS (service areas), etc.  

Mrs. Wirtz holds a BA in English and Speech, Reading Specialist, Masters in Reading,  and Administrative Services Credential, pre-Adult. Because of her work with speed  reading, she became a certified Hypnotherapist and NLP (Neurolinguistics) practitioner.  Rita also studied “Brain Gym”, movement in learning. 

Rita is devoted towards helping other instructors by sharing extensive life affirming  experiences. Through her ‘Housecalls’ program, she demonstrated reading strategies  demonstration lessons in nearly 600 classrooms, with all ages, preschool-adult. Walking  the talk makes her a sought after personality, with rave reviews at each appearance. 

Besides teaching, her greatest love is writing. “Writing is like breathing.” She has written  a number of books for parents and teachers including “Reading Champs, Teaching  Reading Made Easy (2014), and published her Memoir “Stories From a Teacher’s  Heart: Memories of Love, Life and Family” (2019). Rita’s newest book is “Reading  Champions! Second Edition, Teaching Reading Made Easy!” (2021). 

In addition, as Featured Blogger for Bam Radio Network’s Ed Words, Rita brings fresh  insights to the world of education and life. As of June 2023, there are 196 blogs to  choose from, and 12 mini- podcasts on tough topics affecting educators. Mrs. Wirtz  reflects on her accomplished career with humility and reflections of how all working  toward common goals make a difference. 

Follow Rita Wirtz: 

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About the author, Joshua

Joshua Stamper is the Training and Development Specialist for the Teach Better Team and manages the Teach Better Podcast Network. Prior to Joshua's current position, he was a middle school Administrator, classroom art educator, and athletic coach.

In addition to being on the Teach Better Team, Joshua is the author of Aspire to Lead, podcaster, leadership coach, and education presenter.