Writing this third and final post in the EdTech Women Trailblazers series was bittersweet. Educators are often the most humble group of professionals one could meet and I was encouraged, inspired, and filled with joy as I read the thoughts and advice from all of the women I featured throughout March. (You can read Blog Post 1 & Post 2 to learn about other women in this series.) This series was my personal way to give back to the hundreds of educators I have connected with throughout my career. There are many inspiring educators doing what’s best for kids around the globe, this was just a small sampling of those I hold dear in my PLN. The resources, collaboration, and passion from these women often goes unnoticed; now is the time to celebrate! These trailblazers are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education and I am truly honored to know all of them!
Starr Sackstein, Hybrid teach/teacher coach
- “I’ve been a long-time advocate for every child/teacher to be an active participant in his/her learning experience, including their voices in everything from curriculum development to assessment.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, Voxer, GSuite
- Advice: Develop relationships with your students and really listen when they tell you what they need. The more present you are for them, the more they will be for themselves.
- Connect with Starr: Twitter @mssackstein or EdWeek Blog “Work in Progress”
Fran McVeigh, Literacy Consultant for Great Prairie AEA
- “Being literate is the key to having the power to learn from text (books, stories, print, art, video, and nonverbal cues of people) and is within the realm of possibilities for EACH and EVERY student in school and for the rest of their lives.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Hyperdocs, Twitter, Voxer
- Advice: Relationships, relationships, relationships! Treat everyone with the respect and dignity that you want to be treated with.
- Connect with Fran: Twitter @franmcveigh Blog, franmcveigh.wordpress.com
Dr. Melissa Nixon, Director of Title I
- “Being an educator is committing to children and their families with a life of service and dedication for a better tomorrow.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Voxer
- Advice: You make a difference to someone every day. Be kind. Be generous. Don’t be afraid to care deeply.
- Connect with Melissa: Twitter @mmnixon73 Email email@example.com
Katie Siemer, Director of Curriculum and Technology Integration at Forward Edge. I serve districts in Ohio as an integration consultant and edtech coach!
- “I face each new day in education with determination to make a small impact one teacher at a time, all while finding humor every step of the way!”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Eric Curts’ Resources, ISTE EdTech Coaches PLN
- Advice: Be passionate about something… your content area, using technology, an after school club with the kids… anything! Education is going to be really hard sometimes, so you need something you really care about to pull you through the not-so-glamorous times or you will burn out really quickly. Every kid needs a champion, and you can’t be a champion if you’re just going through the motions. Love what you do, do what you love, and don’t forget to laugh along the way!
- Connect with Katie: Twitter @Katie_M_Ritter Blog http://talktechwithme.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kharima Richards, Education Consultant
- “My goal is to continue connecting with other educators & leaders as well as learn new and innovative ways to provide our students with 21st-century learning experiences.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, GSuite, Canva
- Advice: Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. ~unknown
- Connect with Kharima: Twitter & Instagram @Kharima4 Linkedin or Email email@example.com
Mandi Tolen, HS Math Teacher
- “I want to make education better for students by making myself better and helping those around me be better.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Bitmoji, Desmos, GSuite
- Advice: Learn something every day and be willing to share it with others.
- Connect with Mandi: Twitter @TTmomTT Blog Infinitely Teaching Instagram Snapchat
Erin Olson, Instructional Leader and Curriculum Director
- “I do not want my students and my children to be the best in the world, I want my students and my children to be the best FOR the world. ”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Tweetdeck, Flipgrid, AdobeSpark
- Advice: The learning experiences we design and the environment we create stays with students long after they leave our rooms…our students still learn from those experiences and that environment long after they leave our rooms. Bring love, compassion, and grace to the classroom.
- Connect with Erin: Twitter@eolsonteacher Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Bridge, Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA
- “As an educator, I love to explore and create different learning structures and see the outcomes of risk-taking, creativity, and problem-solving in those structures.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Makerspace Movement, Green Screen by DoInk, Google Keep
- Advice: Every individual in a classroom is a learner and a teacher if you chose to listen.
- Connect with Amber: Twitter & Instagram @abridgesmith
Clara Galan, Community and Content Marketing Lead, Amazon Education K-12
- “My passion is to help teachers and schools nurture students to become the next generation of independent creative problem solvers.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Remind, Kahoot, GAFE, OER Commons, Padlet. Buck Institute for Education, Common Sense Media and Edutopia
- Advice: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone – you never know where it will lead! Also, there isn’t one silver bullet (or tech tool) to solve the issues in education. Each group of learners (and each student) is unique in their needs and approaches.
- Connect with Clara: Twitter @MsClaraGalan
Amanda Dykes, Instructional Technology
- “My goal is to help as many people as possible while keeping the focus on students and remembering school isn’t a place for adults to work but for students to learn.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: GSuite, YouTube Creator Studio, Adobe Spark
- Advice: Don’t forget they are kids. They are not always going to sit still or stay quiet, they are not wired that way. Compliance isn’t what they are created to do. But they are created to make a difference and it takes understanding and love.
- Connect with Amanda: Twitter h@amandacdykes
Stacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning, GWAEA
- “You can’t steal second with your foot on first, take risks and keep on learning to make a difference for students.“
- Current Edtech Favorites: Google Expeditions/VR, Voxer, Google Keep
- Advice: Relationships are essential, get to know your students, parents and other educators and what passions they have and what type of learners they are because it enables you to better support and also builds your PLN!
- Connect with Stacy: Twitter @sbehmer
Meghan Zigmond, 1st Grade Teacher & ITS
- “Create an environment where all learners are encouraged to share their passions and curiosities, then build and grow them as a community.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Koma Koma Koma, Student Skechnotes / Doodles for visible thinking, & SeeSaw
- Advice: Find your own passions and interests outside the classroom, then share them with your learners. Your passion and excitement for lifelong learning breeds more excitement! I think it makes learning more authentic for you and them, no matter if they are 6 or 36.
- Connect with Meghan: Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat at @MeghanZigmond Blog zigzagstech.com
Beth Still, Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist
- “My passion is to help educators discover the amazing things that can happen when they allow their students to have a voice.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Google Sites (new), and Google Keep
- Advice: Be brave enough to follow your dreams.
- Connect with Beth: Twitter@BethStill
Andrea Townsley, Curriculum / PD Leader and Instructional Coach at Benton CSD
- “Everyone has something valuable to share and bring to the table, so making connections with colleagues within and outside of the district, community members, and families is a passion to help me to continue to learn, grow, and recharge.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw – as a parent and as a coach, Podcasts – Cult of Pedagogy & HACK Learning, & Train Ugly
- Advice: Dance with your fears; don’t be content with your comfort zone. Be a Jungle Tiger
- Connect with Andrea: Twitter@townsleyaj Blog townsleyaj.blogspot.com Instagram @ajtownsley
Wanda Terral, District Technology Coordinator
- “By empowering others, I empower myself.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, Twitter
- Advice: Embrace your imperfections. Many of us are perfectionists and, while that quality often makes us great at what we do, it also fuels our stress and frustration. Continue to strive to do your best and push the envelope while also embracing your imperfections. Remember, your imperfections are the stepping stones on your growth journey. Without them, personal growth stagnates.
- Connect with Wanda: Twitter @wterral Google+ (+WandaTerral) Blog ignitionEDU.com), and a variety of other spots which are detailed on about.me/edtech
Valerie Brinkman, 1:1 Coordinator/Tech Specialist
- “My passion as an educator is to spark a lifelong interest in a topic or issue for students.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Bloxels, Digital Breakouts, Socrative
- Advice: Remember that each student in an individual and comes to you with their own story. Take time to learn their story and connect with them on a personal level to allow for great learning and better educational experience.
- Connect with Valerie: Twitter @BrinkmanValerie
Kristin Ziemke, Teacher & Author
Jennifer Williams, Professor, GlobalEd Program Developer, ILA Board of Directors
- “To take action for social good and transformational teaching and learning through the sharing of stories, perspective, and experience in our global classrooms.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Nearpod, Participate, Global Oneness Project
- Advice: Endeavor to be a teacher where all the children of the world are your students and all lands of the earth are your classrooms.
- Connect with Jennifer: Twitter @JenWilliamsEdu Website: www.calliopeglobal.com
Juli-Anne Benjamin, Instructional Coach
- “Dedicated servant to the successful trajectory of children Everywhere.“
- Current Edtech Favorites: Kahoot. Global Goals/Teach SDG’s and all things Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.
- Advice: Work to build and curate relationships with children. KNOW them when they are in your space and ground your pedagogical practice in student choice and student voice.
- Connect with Juli-Anne: Twitter @JuliB224 Email email@example.com
Laura Gilchrist, HS Instructional Coach in Kansas City
- “I am passionate about creating a citywide ecosystem to support learner innovation, agency, and opportunity access both in schools and in cities so that our kids can walk into their futures self-identifying as connected learners and leaders.“
- Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, NYT VR app, Podcast app (subscribe & listen to podcasts)
- Advice: Believe in yourself, think big, and connect with educators and ideas beyond your school. Your unique voice and energy make a difference in many lives–a bigger difference than you will ever know! Keep leading and lighting the way for our kids and for each other!
- Connect with Laura: Twitter @LauraGilchrist4 Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/lauragilchrist4 Blog www.lauragilchrist4.com
Maria (Galanis) Arfanakis, iCoach
Ann Feldmann, District Instructional Technology Specialist, Bellevue Public Schools; Adjunct Professor, Peru State College and Doane University
- “Once upon a time I was a young girl and had a dream of being a teacher. I wanted to create a classroom that students would want to run to every day. I am happy to say, I am living my dream! I’m in a position to influence and foster a culture of teaching and learning that provides engaging, personalized, differentiated, and choice-driven learning for all students.”
- Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw Classkick Schoology Voxer and iPads
- Advice: Being an educator is an awesome responsibility and a great privilege and honor. Never forget that our job as educators is to serve our students and staff. Embrace the opportunities that are presented each day. Use your strengths and talents to encourage one another. Be present and positive while you listen, learn, and lead. Inspire all the people in your path. It’s in the spirit of working together and celebrating successes that new ideas are generated and people have the courage to implement something new. Anyone who works with me knows, that my philosophy is that we are better together and build a community strength on strength. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller
- Connect with Ann: Twitter @annfeldmann1
When I started writing this series to celebrate Edtech Women Making an Impact I realized how fortunate I am to be connected (both virtually and in-person) to Trailblazers in the field of education. From Authors to Makers, Coaches to Advocates the passion exudes from these women who put kids first, share generously, and leaving their mark on the world!