Mitch takes a selfie wearing a black t-shirt and Apple Airpods standing underneath a rainbow.

From Academics to Authorship: A Spotlight on Mitch Weathers

From the moment Mitch Weathers stepped into the classroom 22 years ago, he has been fascinated by this one question: What has the greatest impact on student success? Armed with an undergraduate degree in Geology, a masters in Cross-Cultural Pedagogy, and a love for working with adolescents, Mitch set out to find the foundation for lifelong learning and the key to student success.

Beginning as the Executive Director of a non-profit that served “at-risk” middle and high school youth, Mitch realized that he had a passion for helping kids, but wanted to do so in a different way. Following that desire, he entered the classroom, and after 18 years in a traditional learning environment, he came to Visions and began teaching in the University Prep Academy. After only a short time, Mitch began to see the unique way that Visions and the University Prep program serves our students.

“I love being a member of the UP team! It is the most creative, student-centered, switched-on group of educators I have had the privilege of working with,” says Mitch. “What is most engaging, and simultaneously challenging, is our pursuit to personalize each student’s education within our self-paced, independent study context, while not necessarily ‘teaching’ every student each day.”

Answering the Question

After all these years of teaching, and in between gardening, ultramarathoning, and spending time with his wife, Amber, and two daughters, Vivienne and Olive (see pictures below!), Mitch was finally able to answer the question that has persisted for over twenty years – the greatest impact on student success is executive functioning skills.

“It has become overwhelmingly clear that unless we first lay the foundation for learning, a teacher’s efforts are in vain,” explains Mitch. “Executive functioning skills lay that foundation and instill a sense of agency in learners.”

Mitch’s passion for this discovery has manifested into his first ever book, Executive Functions for Every Classroom, Grades 3-12: Creating Safe and Predictable Learning Environments. Written in his home office over the course of two years, Executive Functions for Every Classroom explores the ideas of executive functions such as memory, self-regulation, and goal setting, and how they ultimately help pave the way for success inside and outside the classroom.

“I wrote this book to share with my fellow teaching colleagues how one can ‘teach’ these skills in conjunction with the content or curriculum of their grade level or subject matter,” explains Mitch. “I believe that educators are searching for the answers to help address fallout from the pandemic. Executive functions are what they are looking for, but historically they have been left up to chance. Educators want to know how to equip their students with executive functions, and that is what this book teaches them.”

Although it was one of his “toughest professional challenges” yet, writing this book was a goal that Mitch had wanted to accomplish for many years. Fighting self-judgment and imposter syndrome throughout his writing journey, Mitch was humbled to see that after the book’s release, it quickly became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

“It felt great, of course, but also humbling. There is a vulnerability to putting your book out into the world for everyone to read, and judge, potentially,” shares Mitch. “Knowing that my work resonates with so many means the world to me.”

Now a published author, Mitch is continuing to teach his Life Science classes and work with his UP students and families. With a great team around him and a 1% better mentality, Mitch is determined to “focus on students as individuals” and utilize what he’s learned about executive functions to allow every student to thrive.

“What I love most is the focus on each and every student as unique learners. Because we are not necessarily ‘teaching’ content in the same way a teacher might in a brick and mortar setting, the focus must be on supporting students in a way that sets them up for success,” says Mitch. “As Jon Eckert says, ‘We don’t serve all students, we serve each student’.”

Want to learn more? Grab a copy of Mitch’s book here!