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One of our most popular posts is our Connected Educators list. Our followers love connected educators who are willing to share there knowledge and experience, however our list only includes twitter profiles. Many of our followers want to learn more about some of these incredible individuals! That is why we will highlight one connected educator during each week of 2013 – 2014 School year. So here it is!
What is your current job of position?
Teacher, IT Director. I teach Grades 8-10, have a senior homeroom, advise the National Honor Society and administer PowerSchool and serve as webmaster.

What is your educational background?

I had no plans to go into business but graduated first in my class from Georgia Tech with a BS in Management and went into business. While at Georgia Tech, I was a research assistant for Dr. Danny Boston who studied the economic challenges of the underclass and a teaching assistant for Dr. Phil Adler who had the entire management wing named after him. I started by teaching  adults, teachers through grants and being hired by school systems to help teach teachers how to use technology. I love technology and love teaching, so the curriculum director at my school told me I’d be a great teacher. After becoming a teacher, I’ve taken more than 150 hours of education-related professional development in educational theory and practices.

Describe your educational philosophy and educational vision?

Some students teach themselves. For me, as a teacher, the question is not whether I can teach kids who teach themselves but can I teach students who may not be interested in my subject or who have challenges with traditional learning in schools. On the first day of school, I tell my students that I’m mining for precious gems inside each of them and that my purpose is to find shining gems of talent that we will pull out, polish, and begin to share with the world. It is my job to hook students into learning – I have to be excited and organized each day so they can learn and get excited too. Whatever I have, they’ll catch so I guard my attitude and enthusiasm so it is something I can be proud to transmit to a new generation. I love my students and no, love is not a four letter word.

How do you grow and engage your professional learning network?

As teachers we can no longer blame “the media” for how they depict teachers. We ARE THE MEDIA now. We depict the lives and nobility of teachers (or lack of it) with every tweet, status update, or like. Our lives shout so loudly that the world can’t hear our words. So for me, I want to be the kind of teacher who inspires, encourages and helps other teachers to keep at it and remember the IMPORTANCE of their job. Teachers are important because kids are priceless. So, I look to add teachers to my PLN who are helpful, encouraging, and noble. The greatest teachers get up every day, go to work, stay late grading or planning lessons and engage kids day in and day out. They are fantastic, helpful people and those “real” teachers are the ones that I want in my PLN. In return, I want to be the helpful, noble teacher that my profession deserves. People ask me how I got so many “followers” but if you think you “get” followers you’re missing the point. Be helpful. Be kind. Be encouraging. Right now on the back porch, my light is burning waiting for my daughter to come home from cheerleading — and moths are flocking to the light. If you’re a beacon, you’ll attract followers but you shine because that is what you’re made to do. I pray to be such a beacon for the profession that I love with all my heart and work to clear my schedule to make time to write and encourage the teachers across the world who deserve the admiration of an ungrateful world. The world may be ungrateful but as teachers, we must show gratitude to each other. We need to be the media we wish we had by telling great stories. This is why I started my new show Every Classroom Matters on BAM Radio – to tell more great stories of amazing teachers.

What is the greatest benefit of your professional network?

I’m a better teacher as I learn new things, get inspired, and find new books to read. Teachers are awesome, amazing people who give so much and work ridiculous hours.
But perhaps the greatest thing for me as the lone teacher who teaches technology, I’m no longer an island – I’m full of a vibrant metropolis of other technology teachers who connect through the Net.

If you blog, what is the focus of it? How long have you been writing? Who is your audience?

I have two blogs. In 2005, I started writing at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog – named by my students (we’re the Westwood Wildcats.) I began writing my blog to learn how to blog and to share my experiences learning new things. I figured there was a place for someone like me who didn’t know everything but who liked to learn new things. I write to inspire anyone who teaches with technology tips, inspiration for living an amazing life, productivity tips, and thoughts about education. I also have a blog on Tumblr at where I just post random apps and such in a Tumblr type fashion. I’m moving my blog to as this is being written and will have my blog on wordpress. It is just the next progression for me. I”m amazed at home many teachers subscribe to my blog over email.
As for writing, I’ve been journaling since I was 8 – writing is who I am. I’m glad I get to do it and teach – two things I love so much.

How do you use social media to connect with other educators? What is your advice to teachers on social media and education?

Read my “7 Golden Rules of Twitter” –
and my “Easy Guide to Following and Being Followed on Twitter – These guidelines fit almost any site.

What advice in general do you have to teachers today?

1. Take time to read and learn about teaching and your content area. An interested teacher is an interesting teacher.
2. Learn to love and appreciate your students. Get to know them. Enjoy them. We don’t work with widgets we work with wonderful, breathing, fun students learn to breathe in their youth and engage them where they are. Get to know them and let yourself care. They know if you care and they respond when you do.
3. Never settle. The greatest teachers I know are always reinventing and recreating. I teach next door to one of the greatest literature teachers on the planet – she taught me and now she’s teaching my own children. Every week she’s creating or doing something new and she rocks her classroom. She never gives up and is always willing to change it up when she things she isn’t reaching kids.
4. Leave a legacy. Know the important things that you want to reinforce. Say them over and over. Habits, character, and stories about life are important things to integrate into your lessons.

Describe a teacher who has had a significant impact on your professional development?

My life is full of amazing teachers but in college, Dr. Phil Adler was head and shoulders above some real giants. He taught Socraticly and never gave a test because ever day in class was a test. I remember so much of what he taught me more than 20 years later. Who can do that? I want to do that with my own and remember that I don’t have to test to ingrain things in the minds of my students.

What book would you recommend to teachers?

So many books – of course, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds (a book I coauthored) and my new book Reinventing Writing is something I’m excited about but right now I have 3 books that have helped me this year:
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Invent to Learn by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager
Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers
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