There is a certain aura people radiate when they love what they do. For Brett Roer, his infectious smile and proud conviction when speaking about his work, both past and present, make it evident that he strongly believes in what he does. 

Prior to joining Outlier.org, Brett worked as a teacher, college and career advisor, and principal. Regardless of which role he was serving students in, his mission remained the same: empower students to believe in their highest potential. Throughout our conversations, that same belief was threaded throughout our conversation. 

If you haven’t already watched or listened to my episode with Brett, pause and take a listen before going any further. 

We’re all caught up? Perfect! Let’s dive into my three favorite takeaways from this episode. 

  1. The path we’re destined to be on is often the least expected one. 

When I asked Brett if he ever anticipated that he would move into administration, he laughed. “The first few years [as a teacher] were about survival,” he said, which is a common sentiment echoed by many beginning teachers. 

As he grew more confident in his career and began to observe the structures of the school, he wanted to expand his impact. At the time, that meant moving into administration and now, it’s in his role at Outlier. The message this reinforces is that small decisions lead to big results. What’s more critical is to remember that impact does not happen just in the classroom; there are various roles, companies, and technologies that support and serve students in a variety of ways.  

“It’s so important you recognize your power and then use it for the greater good,” he said. 

  1. High-Quality Education is a Right, Not a Privilege

I asked Brett the following question: What does high-quality education look like, and what happens when students aren’t given access to high-quality education? His response was multi-faceted and worth listening to the podcast if only for that clip. The biggest thing we should all remember is that students know when they are receiving lackluster education. So if the resources aren’t available, how do we teach and present information to ensure that, regardless of accessibility, students still receive what they deserve? Furthermore, It’s not just enough to say that a student deserves to learn [insert subject matter here]. In Brett’s opinion, there need to be systems in place to ensure that teachers can pinpoint where that learning needs to begin. What struck me the most when I asked him about high-quality education was that he never mentioned a piece of technology or tool that had monetary value. His focus was on the teacher and the delivery of instruction. 

  1. Outlier Will Change The Landscape of Education 

The mission of Outlier is to increase access to quality education and reduce student debt. Immediately, all ears should perk up. According to Educationdata.org, the average US student carries $37,000 in student loan debt. Outlier is working to eliminate this crisis for students of all ages. 

Their website states, “Outlier courses are immersive, cinematic, engaging, and use cutting edge evidence-based teaching techniques. So far, it’s working: our courses are proving to match traditional in-person college course success rates—unprecedented results in the world of for-credit online college education.”

When a student chooses to enroll in one of these courses, they are receiving all of the academic perks as they would in a traditional college course. An expert in the field, syllabi, rigorous assignments, and more all for a fraction of the cost. 

I joked with Brett that I wish I could take a class through the site. “You can,” he told me. I could audit a psychology course, meaning I wouldn’t have to take quizzes and exams, while learning the information and accessing the course information for life. Take a look at the website, if anything, you’ll witness some incredible cinematography. 

Interested in learning more about Brett, follow him on LinkedIn

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