Jul 15, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Wayfinder's Patrick Cook-Deegan on preparing K-12 students for purposeful lives

 How can we provide students with the skills they need in the careers of the future?  How can social-emotional learning help in that journey? How does a K-12 curriculum provider develop classroom experiences that answers the first two questions?
Listen to this conversation I had with Patrick Cook-Deegan, the CEO and founder of Wayfinder. We met over salads years ago and from that first experience, I felt I had found a kindred soul committed to creating innovative solutions to improve the lives of students. Enjoy! 

  • 0:00~2:28 Introduction
  • 2:28~3:41 Early money lessons 
  • 3:41~5:50 Starting the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown
  • 5:50~10:06 Experience as a high school teacher
  • 10:06~13:37 Encouraging social-emotional learning in the classroom
  • 13:37~17:12 Learning at the d.School at Stanford
  • 17:12~22:32 Start and growth Wayfinder
  • 22:32~25:17 Entrepreneurial journey with Wayfinder
  • 25:17~25:35 A word from NGPF
  • 25:35~27:15 The impact of the pandemic
  • 27:15~ 29:37 Why Wayfinder was able to succeed
  • 29:37~31:36 Measuring efficacy of the curriculum
  • 31:36~34:00 Seeing the impact of Wayfinder firsthand
  • 34:00~42:22 Favorite high school activities
  • 42:22~44:04 Conceptualizing habits
  • 44:04~46:46 The secret sauce that’s driving Wayfinder’s growth
  • 46:46~47:59 Conclusion



  • “When we make curriculum, we pair a long-time classroom teacher with a long-time experiential educator. I think that works really well because the teacher understands the confines of the classroom and the minutes and the directions you will need while the experimental educator has a different approach… I think the combination of the two has been a little bit of our secret sauce.”


About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: