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About Us

Meet Coach David Verdu Founder

of Way Beyond Measure

Coach David Verdu—Founder of Way Beyond Measure

Have you ever met or seen a person once and thought to yourself, There is a guy who gets it?  I like his message, and this needs to be heard by others.  I can remember thinking that one day five years ago when Coach David Verdu came to our school (Pine Hill School in Eureka, California) and spoke to the students. His energy was infectious.  He had the kids eating out of the palm of his hand within two minutes with his brand of hilarity, music, magic, and positivity by “working the room.”  Like all good teachers, Coach Verdu, or “Coach” as he prefers, knows we first have to get our customers to the table before we can feed them.  In this case, the customers were/are children, the future leaders of society.  Coach is what I would describe as a “hands-on presenter,” immediately connecting with the students by sitting and eating breakfast while joking around with them.  He has a big personality, and the students were thrilled to know Coach would be spending time with them at the upcoming assembly.  Part of keeping elementary children engaged is by keeping a presentation moving.  Coach becomes various memorable characters such as Hillbilly Willy, Crazy George, and Super Character Dude and chooses several children from the audience to help keep them focused.  Coach Getting Kids to Stand Up and Stand Out  along with having all of the Kids in a School Sign the Pledge to Stand Up Against Bullying His message was simple but powerful—SUSO (Stand Up and Stand Out.)  The gist of his theme that day was an anti-bullying message. Sounds simple—nobody likes bullies.  But understanding that behavior is wrong isn’t enough.  Coach knows that we need to create an environment where bullying is more than just not accepted.  We need to empower students to stand up and stand out when they see something that is not right occurring in front of them.  Part of what makes programs such as this one succeed or fail is the school’s culture.  A culture is a living and breathing environment.  It isn’t some random thing that happens by accident—instead, it is cultivated and nurtured by the school’s leaders.  

Who are the school’s leaders?  The most recognizable person who should wield the most influence in a school is the principal.  Is this a person who engages each day with the staff, children, and their families?  The most effective bosses do this by setting the tone. Having leaders among the teaching staff is also critical. A strong leader empowers experienced or influential teachers who understand that part of their role is to set a positive example for the rest of the staff.  Including parents by making them feel welcome and involved is also part of a school’s culture.  The final piece is the students themselves.  A happy school is one where the students feel cared for and safe.  Children need stability in their lives. That’s why programs such as Way Beyond Measure are essential because they help the school leaders create and maintain an environment most conducive to learning.

Way Beyond Measure is a comprehensive program for students in grades K-12.  There are many elements to the program, but one of its key messages is to get students to think before they speak or act. One of the acronyms used to emphasize this philosophy is THINK:

                       T:   Is it True? Is what I’m about to say true?

                           H:   Is it Helpful? Will this be helpful or hurtful?

                                              I:    Is it Inspiring? Does it build up, or does it tear down?

                                     N:   Is it Necessary? If it’s not necessary, don’t say it!

                             K:    Is it Kind? Will it encourage or discourage?

Coach recognizes that some of the biggest problems in middle school and high school have to do with bullying and suicide prevention.  He tailors his age-appropriate lessons for those ages when speaking to older audiences.  Covid-19 has impacted us all.  Coach gave in-person workshops before the pandemic began.  In the past few months, Coach Verdu and his Way Beyond Measure team have developed online lessons for teachers and students.

Way Beyond Measure is more than just a program for children.  Coach and his staff guide adults with their TAPS (Teacher’s and Parent’s Support) program. Teacher and parent programs can be two full-day workshops or shorter four-hour courses.  Teachers and Parents Can Attend a Way Beyond Measure Class

While any organization like Way Behind Measure requires teamwork and behind-the-scenes planning, Coach Verdu provides the energy to make it all work.  Part of his story that I found the most fascinating was understanding that he has already packed more into his life than most of us will ever hope to achieve. He is a former teacher, junior high and high school basketball coach, athletic director, assistant basketball coach to the Denver Nuggets, parent to a blended family of six children, and foster parent to over fifty foster children! In speaking to David Verdu about writing this article, I thought it best if you could hear from Coach directly.  I posed these questions because I wanted to get to know him better:

  1. Please tell me about your teaching experience.  What grades did you teach?  How long?  Where? My teaching experience started in 1987. My first assignment was teaching middle school and coaching girls basketball.  This is the beginning of my 30-year career. I started teaching in California. In 1999, I moved to Colorado Springs, where I became an athletic director and high school basketball coach. The subjects I taught were Science, Biology, Health, Anatomy, and PE.  I am still teaching to this day in Arkansas, where our organization travels to schools across the country teaching character development.

2. Where did the inspiration for Way Beyond Measure and SUSO come from?  From my life experience. At a young age, I knew that I would be speaking to people; however, I didn’t know exactly what type of people. In 2011 I had an opportunity to speak at a school, and it was simply amazing, and I knew that was my lifelong calling. Way Beyond Measure was born in my heart to purposely inspire people to influence others, nothing more, nothing less. I want our generations to understand the importance of character. I have a desire to see change.

3. What do you hope to accomplish with Way Beyond Measure? We want to see change. With that, we aim to – educate future leaders locally and nationally, empower people to stand up and stand out (SUSO), encourage a culture to achieve its goals, and equip this generation to be.

4. Would you like to discuss the role that faith and religion have had in your life? My faith is everything to me. Without faith, I do not stand. It is what has got me to this point thus far. I have a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

5. Everyone calls you Coach.  I know you have an athletic background and were an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets at one point.  Can you tell me about that part of your life and describe some of those experiences?  For as long as I can remember, sports have been a big-time part of my life. In the early 70s, my father started sports programs in our new hometown. He was a pioneer back in the day. I remember my coaching career began at 15 years old. I got to coach my little brother’s basketball team as well as his indoor soccer team. Those were some experiences I would never change because that’s when I fell in love with inspiring people, and I was pretty good at it because I’ve always had a winning record. My father was also a big-time influence on why I became a coach because he was the best.  One of my favorite stories has to be the first time I went to practice with the Denver Nuggets. I was expecting something so amazing, so life-changing as a coach. However, that didn’t happen. The coach blew the whistle, and the team got into lines for the layup drill. What? Layup drills—are you kidding me? This is the NBA. I’ll never forget what the coach told me. “You do what got you here, and you continue to get better at it.” From that point on, my life became a layup drill.

6.  Where do you see yourself with Way Beyond Measure in 3-5 years?  We will be a nation’s leading character development program. Throughout thousands of schools and homes, people will know our program’s curriculum and cartoon.

7. One of the more fascinating parts of your life story to me is your family, especially being a foster parent.  Can you give me some of the backstories about that?  How long have you been married? How many children do you have? What made you decide to become a foster parent?  Any advice for anyone else considering becoming a foster parent? Ranaye and I have been married for over 14 years. We have six blended children and over fifty foster children that we call family. Becoming a foster parent was a no-brainer. We knew that we had more to give. We knew that if we wanted to see change, then we needed to become the change. We wanted to see children have an opportunity to be the best they could be without worrying about where we go, who we are we with, and can we trust who we are with. We took foster parenting very seriously.  Becoming a foster parent is no light task—it is a calling for the strong. It is not easy, but it is very rewarding.

8. Who have been some of the most significant. role models in your life? (either personally, professionally, or spiritually?

My Savior—Jesus Christ, my dad—Joseph, my mom–Sylvia, my brothers, my brother-in-law—Johnny Holland, Patrick Lewis, my Watch Group, and last but not least, of course, my mainstay—my wife—Ranaye.

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