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People of Purpose

Connecting people to their unique human experience through Purpose.

Aug 19, 2018

Jeff Baxter is a graduate of the University of Kansas with Bachelor’s Degrees in Education and English and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education.  He also has a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law.
Mr. Baxter has taught every level and grade of middle and high school students in his thirty plus years of teaching -- from non-readers to National Merit Finalists.  He is passionate about teaching, but it took an epiphany when he was practicing law to realize why. He believes you cannot be your best at any profession, especially teaching, if you do not know your WHY.  
In his career Jeff has taught at a small Catholic high school, Leavenworth High School for twenty-six years, and Blue Valley West High School for the last three.  He’s taught AP Language, AP Literature, speech, debate, drama, video productions, and composition. As a fellow of the National Writing Project and teaching consultant with the Greater Kansas City Writing Project, he has presented hundreds of workshops to middle and high school teachers and college professors throughout the Midwest.  He has been a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at numerous national conventions. In 2015 Jeff Baxter was a global education fellow and spent two weeks in Peru working with teachers and students. The last two days he climbed to Machu Pichu.
Rigor, relevancy and relationships are the keys to Jeff’s classroom success.  This past year he completed a book which began as a writing activity with his students.  The book deals with a difficult time in his life when he weighed 460 pounds and went through a period of depression.  Over the course of five years Jeff recovered from the depression and lost 250 pounds. The book, More Than One Way Home, was published in February 2018.
Mr. Baxter is the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year.
In 2018 Jeff Baxter was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame - There are never more than five teachers each year to receive this honor. 
Listen as We Talk About...
  • How his grandma used poetry and literature to guide him to life’s answers
  • How a court-room collapse led to his epiphany into purpose
  • An old testament verse led to the specifics of his purpose
  • Why Jeff thinks kindness is the most valuable character quality
  • Why failure is not a mark on who you are
  • Why character qualities are so much more important to teach than testing
  • His “Neighborhood Map” activity and how thats one example of how he gets the class to open up and trust one another
  • The importance of revision in writing 
  • Why re-reading something will give you a totally different perspective
  • Jeff’s one word, one sentence, one question reading technique
  • How his study hall supervision transformed a dropout to a college graduate and career counselor
  • A magnificent story of why he never gives up on a student
  • Jeff’s style and opinions on classroom management
  • Jeff’s early morning reading and writing routines
  • The things he knows for sure - the power of laughter and visiting your grandparents
  • How volunteering in Peru helped Jeff to better understand poverty
  • The experience of meeting President Obama
  • How his classes were the impetus for his first book
  • Jeff’s new book and why it’s a story of hope
  • The power of hope
Resources Mentioned:
Books that have influenced Jeff's purpose are many, but to name a few
  • Join our purpose seeking podcast community at...
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