This blog post is dedicated to the 2015-2016 Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency Technology Innovation Team.
From my first tweet, I have had a team – my tribe – as a support system through my transformation from a classroom teacher to an instructional technology consultant. In addition to being a general resource for my many, many questions, they truly inspire me. This tribe always strives to #makeitbetter. Their patience with my naivety and ignorance to this new world has been unending. My tribe enveloped me from the beginning and their virtual arms of support are felt every day.
I’d like to give a quick shout-out to these amazing people.
First there’s Scott, alphabetical by last name but also because he’s been my leader. He believes in me, trusts me, guides me, coaches me and shows me possibility. Scott is leaving us for Colorado (Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado-Denver) but what an impact he’s had on my path and to the education system in Iowa.
Julie would be up next, my “official” AEA-assigned mentor;-) So much more than that. From our first hotel stay together at #ISTE2015, I was impressed by her vast knowledge of educational practices, past and present as well as her keen ability to coach. Textbook definition of mentor is: a person that advises…Julie has done that and then some by enriching our discussions with her deep expertise in such a way that is suitable and helpful to my situation and practices.
Now I would like to talk about Erin…oh, Erin, I will miss you next year (she, too, is leaving the team to explore the path of Instructional Leadership)….she is always so loving and caring, arms (and heart) open for a hug. Erin impresses and inspires daily with her ability to transform written and spoken word into poetry, exquisite word choice that when put together is true beauty. Paired with her awesome ideas on lesson redesign, I could honestly listen to or read her work all day.
Last, but definitely not least is Leslie. CSPAN Fellow, IA Social Studies Teacher of the Year, PBS Innovator, ASCD Emerging Leader, NSBA 20 To Watch, ISTE Emerging Leader…..enough said? No. She’s thoughtful and insightful. Leslie has been my “unofficial” AEA mentor with all things logistical and practical, a role that I’m sure is fairly thankless (“Leslie, what is appropriate to wear to this/that? Leslie, who is this person and what do I need to know about them? Leslie, what are your thoughts on….”) The latter question being the one that I have gotten fascinating responses. She sees potential, articulates her vision exceptionally and always considers the real-world application.
One might think our tribe is dwindling but these wonderful souls will always be connected and unbroken. States and contracts might divide us but my heart will always feel warm and full when I reflect on our work together this past year. Love to you all.