Tyler Bastian is an educator, filmmaker, father, and founder of Roots Charter High School. Tyler loves to teach and has a passion for discovering and developing potential in everything around him. For four years, Tyler taught Character Education at a local high school and believes positive character is the greatest indicator of success. In 2012, Tyler began to develop the concepts that have become Roots—Utah’s first farm-based charter high school—where educators work with students who come from risky environments, helping them find and reach their potential.

Tyler Bastian


02:00 Kurt introduces Tyler Bastian.

03:45 Tyler talks about why started the charter school and his backstory.

08:00 How do you begin to teach character development?

09:30 How Tyler was able to start a charter school

11:20 Tyler shares the mission that he has with Roots.

12:50 The type of students Roots charter school aims to help. Most of the kids are there because their previous school wasn’t working for them.

14:00 How do you run an organization based on hope and love? If you are going to lead someone, you have to love them or it won’t work.

19:30 Tyler shares ways that he instills love in the school. The students need to hear it, see it, and feel it. They have created visuals all over their school.

21:30 Tyler shares a personal experience that he had with a student and how he was able to show love and help a student confess that they wanted to take their life.

23:00 Helping the students feel safe, loved, and protected is more important than trying to fix their behavior.

27:30 If you want a kid to feel safe, call them by name. The number one thing that you can do as a youth leader is learn every kid’s name in your ward.

29:50 Create safety by not having disputes. We have disputes because we are holding on to things and not having hard conversations. Create safety by having hard conversations.

31:45 You have to have a healthy community before you can be a healthy ward. Do you know your neighbor’s names? Can you go to them to borrow something? Do your kids play with their kids?

33:15 The ward influences the community and vice versa. Tyler shares a personal story of doing a home visit with a student that was struggling. He lived across from the church but nobody knew about him.

37:00 In order to create a safe place we have to learn to be ok with political differences. Create a space where kids can say anything and by asking loving questions.

40:00 Showing authenticity instead of perfection is what the youth are looking for in an adult they can trust. Let them know that you’ve had to go to the bishop’s office to confess and get help too.

41:30 Tyler’s charter school focuses on a smaller number of kids. Knowing each student. One loving adult can change a kid’s life.

47:45 Tyler knows each student and tries to interact with each one but the students also have an advisor that does one on one meetings with them.

50:00 In our culture we say that you have to receive love to survive. However, the philosopher Andrew de Mello says that you have to give love to survive. It’s not about receiving but about giving. Our job is not to be loved but our job is to love.

53:00 Tyler works with a lot of struggling students that have been through a lot. He describes how he shows them the school is a safe place and builds trust with them.

55:20 How can youth leaders take the principles that Tyler teaches and apply it to their own youth groups? The leader’s job is culture. They need to create visuals.

1:02:00 What if the student’s home life isn’t good? What can you do?

1:06:30 Resources that Tyler recommends. Check out his Instagram.

1:08:00 How being a leader has made him a better follower of Jesus Christ.


Bonds That Make Us Free
Roots High School
Tyler on Instagram: @teach_243
Tyler’s documentary film: Everything is Incredible
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The Leading Saints Podcast is one of the top independent Latter-day Saints podcasts as part of nonprofit Leading Saints’ mission to help Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. Learn more and listen to any of the past episodes for free at LeadingSaints.org.

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