Santa Barbara mayoral candidate James Joyce is initial guest of program highlighting teachers

Staff Report

The concept for “The Whole Student” podcast is simple: Take 15 minutes to ask notable people to talk not about themselves, but about the teacher who helped shape them into the leaders they are today. 

The brainchild of Dunn School’s Kalyan Balaven — the first-year head of school at the sixth- to 12th-grade independent boarding and day school in Los Olivos — the show recently debuted with Santa Barbara mayoral candidate James Joyce III

Joyce, the community leader, former award-winning journalist and decorated public servant who was recently awarded with an endorsement in the mayoral race from both the Montecito Journal and Santa Barbara Independent, recalled for the cameras his experience with a middle school writing teacher who was the first to suggest Joyce pursue journalism. 

The show took an unexpected turn when, prompted to select a group of five teachers to invite to dinner, Joyce recounted the time his second-grade teacher saw him unlacing and re-lacing his shoes after a spelling test and physically assaulted him. 

“She became frustrated with that and ended up strangling me with my shoelace,” Joyce told Balaven. “In the classroom. I get suspended. She gets suspended.”

It was a sobering reminder that even though many teachers change lives for the better through positive interactions and inspiration, as several had for Joyce, there are moments when being underestimated can be just as influential.

“Dunn School was founded more than 60 years ago on the principles of Whole Student Education,” Balaven said. “The purpose of which is to produce community leaders by approaching every aspect of a student’s life as an opportunity to elevate their emotional wellness, physical readiness, intellectual growth, social responsibility and moral courage.

“I was shocked by James’s tearful story of the teacher who did him wrong. There have been similarly unexpected stories brought up while filming subsequent episodes as well. Examining these moments — both positive and negative — truly demonstrates why ‘The Whole Student’ is such an important concept.”  

“The Whole Student” podcast is a visual-forward broadcast published on YouTube and the Dunn School website. The audio format of the show may also be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and other podcasting platforms

The show is being produced under the DunnCast umbrella with the idea being that adjacent programs will also be distributed alongside “The Whole Student.” That includes learn-by-doing opportunities for student-directed multimedia projects and shows.