I am a proud Colorado native. In an effort to impress my friends, I attended college just outside of the windy city at Trinity International University, in Deerfield, IL. I thought my expedition into the frozen tundra of Illinois would be of the four year variety, but I was wrong! The day before my wedding I was extended the opportunity to teach American Government and U.S. History at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, IL. My 7 years teaching social studies in Lake County, IL were amazing! I was able to procure a $30,000 grant that I used to bring 21st-century learning and iPads to my social studies classroom.. Using these devices, I was able to transform the learning atmosphere from passive and teacher-focused to engaging and student-centered. Results followed– I began teaching AP Government and the number of sections grew as more and more students wanted to take part in this kind of learning. Students’ AP test scores also increased! I have many stories and examples of transformative student work from my years of teaching in a 1-to-1 iPad environment.
When my wife gave birth to our daughter Grace we decided we needed to live closer to family. We moved to Colorado where I was hired as an Instructional Technology Facilitator for the Poudre School District. There I was able to work with language arts and social studies teachers to bring passion projects (Google 20 time) to their classrooms. The student products and presentations blew me away. At PSD I grew in my knowledge and understanding of 21st-century teaching and learning. I’m so excited to bring this knowledge and experience to St. Vrain.
Some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
- Don’t leave Colorado, it’s hard to get back!
- Students are often capable of so much more than we give them credit for.
- “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”