Robin Murphy and Mindy Willard: Innovate Fearlessly

Redefining Ready is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community exploring innovative topics, ideas, strategies, and philosophies in the evolving world of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are leaders in their fields who constantly seek to learn from others, collaborate, and apply their own experiences to truly distill best practices in the world of college and career readiness.



Listen in as Mindy Willard and Robin Murphy from Madison Metropolitan School District join the program to share the innovative ways they’re engaging their students and customizing graduation pathways to set students up for postsecondary success. Madison takes a holistic and community approach to exposing students to different career options. Work-based learning is a major emphasis in Madison, and the district partners with community and industry leaders to provide opportunities for students to connect their learning to real-world careers. Additionally, Madison’s academic pathways allow students to specialize their studies around particular areas of focus that they are engaged and passionate about. Robin and Mindy also discuss how the district emphasizes portfolio creation and presentation, where students compile their learning into presentations that are then delivered to school and community leaders. Exciting stuff is certainly happening at Madison Metropolitan … listen in for more!


About Mindy Willard


Before coming to MMSD, Mindy was a school counselor for 13 years. Eleven of those years were spent at a Title 1 K-8 school with 650 students in the Phoenix area. During her tenure there I received ASCA’s RAMP Award. In 2008, Mindy was named the AZ School Counselor of the Year and in 2013 the American School Counselor of the Year. During the 14-15 school year Mindy served as President of the Arizona School Counselors Association. Through these distinctions she has had numerous opportunities to advocate for school counselors and comprehensive school counseling programs with local, state, and national leaders.


In 2015 Mindy relocated to sunny Franklin, WI! During her time at Franklin High we began implementation of the ASCA Model and received WSCA’s Program of Promise Award in 2016. She is currently working with WSCA to train school counselors around the state on the ASCA Model.


About Robin Murphy


Robin Murphy grew up in Madison, WI where she received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in education at the college and K12 levels for over 12 years. She will be entering her 8th year with Madison Metropolitan School District, where she has worked at Madison East High School as the Bilingual ELL school counselor.


MMSD School Counselors' Mission

MMSD school counselors are innovative leaders who actively work to identify and remove barriers to student achievement and well-being by championing practices that create equitable, safe, inclusive, and positive learning environments for all students. School counselors engage students in exploring and identifying interests and aspirations and play an essential role in providing all students the academic & post-secondary advising and social-emotional supports needed to experience personal success.



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