Episode 58 - Leadership as a Lifelong Journey with NCLD CEO Jacqueline Rodriguez, PhD

About Dr. Jacqueline Rodriguez

Learn more about Dr. Rodriguez and NCLD at https://ncld.org/teams/jacqueline-rodriguez.

Episode Description

This episode marks a special LEAD on READ episode with Dr. Jacqueline Rodriguez, CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Dr. Rodriguez reflects on her leadership in education and advocacy, highlighting a lifelong learning journey. She shares NCLD’s vision to scale and expand advocacy efforts for people with learning disabilities in schools, professional spaces, and communities throughout their lives and across the world. In this episode, we discuss the following leadership insights: 

  • Maintaining curiosity and courage to deepen your growth and learning as a leader 
  • Encouraging openness to change for personal and organizational transformation 
  • Ensuring that spaces are inclusive and equitable for all people to thrive personally and professionally 

This episode offers valuable leadership lessons and dives into the future of NCLD’s advocacy work for all people with learning disabilities on a global scale. 

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Dr. Danielle Gomez identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.”

1. What it means to be a leader in education 
Listen to 16:33 – 19:45 to learn more. 

Dr. Rodriguez shares three actions she has applied throughout her leadership journey: 

  • Think and act critically to challenge the status quo. 
  • Learn from your mistakes as part of the learning process. 
  • Maintain a commitment to vulnerability and courage. 

“It is deeply important that as educators, we do what we ask students to do, which is learn from our mistakes and continue moving forward and recognize that mistakes are part of the learning and growing process.” 

2. NCLD: Empowering people with learning disabilities around the world 
Listen to 34:05 – 46:53 to learn more. 

The National Center for Learning Disabilities has been at the center of advocacy for people with learning disabilities over the past 45 years. 

“This is a center where over the course of disability rights movements, we have seen the evolution of how people see, identify, and position themselves. NCLD has advocated for the needs and supports required to make sure that our beneficiaries can just sustain themselves but thrive.” 

Dr. Rodriguez discusses the timely point in NCLD’s history as they revise their mission and vision with the goal to scale, increase impact, and continue to support and empower individuals with learning disabilities beyond formal K-12 schooling. 

“Education is, in my opinion, not only a human right, but it is also a public good.” 


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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Gomez.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.

Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests and does not constitute an endorsement by The Windward Institute or The Windward School.