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In this first conversation, BARR’s (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) Founder and Executive Director Angela Jerabek sits down with Minnesota Gophers Football Coach P.J. Fleck for a high-energy and candid conversation about life and work.

Jerabek is the founder of a national organization serving more than 200,000 students and Fleck is the head coach of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, going from losing to winning records through his Row the Boat, never-give-up approach. Both leaders believe – in fact, they know – that for young people to succeed and athletes to win, they have to create strong, positive belief structures surrounding them. 

Be sure to listen to this uplifting conversation between these two prominent leaders. You will be inspired when you hear how they each, through their own journeys, created a culture of impactful change for the young people and communities they serve.

Video Highlights

Check out these short video highlights from Jerabek and Coach Fleck’s recent conversation about creating impactful change by Leading with Culture!

Focusing on Creating Change

“It’s the spirit. It’s the heart. It’s the unconquerable will. It’s the connection. It’s the ability to have that relationship so how you do something matters way more than what you do.”

– University of Minnesota Gophers Football Coach P.J. Fleck

Telling Others “You Can”

“I love the fact that your 3rd grade teacher said you can because I think that message is the piece too where I keep going we have incredible young people who need to be told they can.”  

– BARR’s Founder and Executive Director Angela Jerabek

Becoming A Better Listener

Listening to others and meeting people where they are at are critical in order to successfully lead with culture and establish trust to achieve growth.

Noticing is a Strength

In order to best support students and care for them as a whole child, educators and coaches must prioritize noticing their strengths and needs.

BARR Educators Helping Students & Athletes Succeed Across the Country

After implementing BARR, many schools are seeing their students succeed both on and off of the field. Hear directly from BARR educators and athletic leaders about how they have seen BARR support their students socially, emotionally, academically, and athletically.

“It is vital to help students connect their talents and passions in order to achieve high levels of success. BARR is the perfect program to cultivate this process by identifying and building assets in students. By emphasizing the BARR model at Johnson Central, our students have built stronger self confidence and have improved skill sets in their areas of strength. This has culminated in success throughout all facets of our school, from athletics with two football state championships to academics and a state Governor’s Cup academic title over the first five years of implementing BARR in our school.”

Noel Crum

Assistant Superintendent & Career Technical Education Coordinator

Johnson County Schools, KY

Photo credit: Erin Petry

“As Athletic Director and Coach at Nitro High School, the BARR program has helped me build stronger relationships with our student-athletes on and off the field. Through the information gained through the BARR Block Meetings, I am able to have more meaningful conversations with students about grades, personal and other issues. BARR has given me the opportunity to have an impact on my students both academically and athletically.” 

Garrett Burdette

Athletic Director

Nitro High School, WV

Beaton is a former Gopher and soccer player and was recently highlighted by MN Soccer Hub for her impressive leadership skills to help support students using a strength-based approach.

“Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean we don’t work on the skills that need improvement. It means that we can start from a positive headspace where we know there ARE things we do well. Then, we are more open to learning new skills that may be more challenging.”

Anne Beaton

St. Louis Park High School Coach & Armstrong BARR Coordinator

Armstrong High School, MN

“If we show students we care about WHO they are rather than WHAT they can do, their possibilities are endless. BARR helps do this by focusing on the whole student, not just one part of them.”

Kristopher Brooks 

Boys Basketball Coach

& Diamond Valley M.S. PBIS Specialist

West Valley High School, CA

Tech High School has been prioritizing student success by providing tutoring during athletic practices to work with athletes to support them in improving their grades to get them back on the field. 

“When you build connections with students, whether as a BARR teacher or coach, it allows you to build a relationship that allows you to talk to students as adults. It’s authentic and respected by the students. I then use these relationships in my classroom to motivate and encourage students to do their best. I can also give this information to other teachers so they can get to know these students/athletes.”

Dan Heinen

BARR Teacher & Cross Country Coach

Tech High School, MN

As a school psychologist and track and field coach, Thomas S. Johnson at Patrick Henry High School in Minnesota, gets a chance to see what allows their students to thrive from different perspectives. BARR helped them lead with a preventative framework and to also intervene earlier when needed. With this approach, they are able to make sure all of their student athletes are getting matched with the right type of support earlier to make meaningful changes possible in trajectory for those who need it most.

“When our teams of educators get to know a more complete story of a student, we can intervene in a smarter way. Sometimes that’s an academic need and tutoring, matching with a therapist in our school-based clinic, or a restorative conference with a teacher. BARR helps us make sure our student athletes get to do what they love on the track, court, or field by improving ways we collaborate as educators and connect with our students in meaningful ways.”

Thomas S. Johnson, Ed.S.

School Psychologist & Track & Field Coach

Patrick Henry High School, MN