My professional years have been filled with many exciting and diverse teaching and consulting positions in school districts across the state. I specialize in creative, innovative and personalized, digital pedagogy that gives students more ownership of their learning. I am guided by learner-centered, constructivist, constructivist, and connectivist, project-based models. I employ Universal Design for Learning Principles to ensure that all learners can access the curriculum. I know effective ways to combine the Common Core Curriculum, MA State Frameworks, Massachusetts Digital Learning and Computer Science Standards, and ISTE Technology Standards for Students and can give specific examples when talking about rigor, technology integration, and research skills at every level K-16. Learners of all ages need access to course materials and good pedagogy. I work hard to learn something new every day about teaching and learning.
Students are best able to understand the curriculum when they connect with topics in relevant and innovative ways and are given responsibility for their own learning. We must prepare students for a new world of information, collaboration, creativity, and a sense of their place in the world. Student-centered learning with a focus on the learning rather than the teaching is a critical, yet often absent piece of the puzzle.
While I was the assistive technology specialist in Northampton, MA, my career as a physical education teacher and coach began with a Master's at Smith College. After updating and digitizing my skill set in a second Master's Program, I became an instructional technology teacher and consultant; and I have been invited to present at conferences around the country. My two divergent careers melded together when I began to specialize in assistive technology. Coaching teachers and students to expand their use of technology to create and learn comes naturally to me. I may not be a digital native, but I am a digital learner in every sense.
As a life-long learner, it is my passion to continually update my skills and advance my career to take on leadership positions. I earned a Massachusetts Supervisor/Director License in 2014. I earned the Technology Director Certification through the Massachusetts Chapter of CoSN, METAA, (Massachusetts Educational Technology Administrator's Association) in 2016. This course covered: Leadership and Vision, Strategic Planning, Ethics and Policies, Instructional Focus and Professional Development, Team Building and Staffing, Stakeholder Focus, Information Technology Management, Communications Systems Management, Business Management, and Data Management.
Throughout 2016 and 2020, I earned my Massachusetts Principal/Assistant Principal K-6 and 5-12 licenses. I completed this process under the guidance of my mentor, Dr. Patricia Martin, from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. I completed the four MA-PALs Tasks by through two consecutive years of internships at the Jackson Street and Ryan Road Schools in Northampton. Successful completion of these tasks allowed me to demonstrate my leadership and skills. Topics covered were: 1. Leadership through a Vision for High Student Achievement, 2. Instructional Leadership for a Professional Learning Culture, 3. Leadership in Observing, Assessing, and Supporting Individual Teacher Effectiveness, and 4. Leadership for Family Engagement and Community Involvement.
My career path led me to Nantucket where I accepted a position as Instructional Technology and Technology Integration Specialist at the Cyrus Peirce (yes, that is the correct spelling!) Middle School. My goal in the Nantucket Public School District was to demonstrate how careful and strategic use of technology could engage students and make the curriculum more accessible through Universal Design for Learning. I imagined all the possibilities and worked hard to make them happen with new tools, ideas, and professional learning. The position morphed into a specialist in the Encore rotation, and time to work with teachers during their planning time quickly disappeared. That this was disappointing is an understandment.
I have remade and re-imagined myself through professional learning, a 21st Century reality. I am Apple and Microsoft Certified. I earned my Google Level I and II Educator Certifications and am working toward my Google Trainer Certificate. I was part of one of the first cohorts in ISTE's new Certification Program. I completed my portfolio and became one of the first 100 ISTE Certified Educators. The rigorous digital portfolio process required for this certification took many months to complete.
Technology and social media open the world to us for unlimited, self-directed, personalized professional growth. Exceptional, high-quality professional learning must also be available to faculty and staff as part of any strategic plan. Being “Future Ready” involves a willingness to let go of ideas and concepts that no longer serve us or our current conditions and replace these with new concepts and new tools that help us develop a vision for tremendous growth. This includes re-designing learning spaces and being creative with our use of time. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to design differentiated professional learning that synthesizes the curriculum, technology, and pedagogy to improve teacher practice and ultimately increase student achievement. My experience and awareness of potential next steps allows me to build on the work I have already accomplished and keep any school or district moving forward.
It takes extensive experience, patience, and trust to help a district build upon or change its culture. One must listen and observe. Districts must hold open discussions to envision the future and prepare all students for college and career. It is critical to assemble a great team of stakeholders to set the conditions for the creation of connected classrooms or take the leap to a 1:1 or 1:Many environment. My participation in the writing of District Improvement Plans, Technology Plans, Strategic Plans, and Responsible Use Policies has taught me a great deal about true collaboration. Experience writing technology vision statements and responsible use policies are an important first step, but understanding and articulating this to the entire community is a critical part of the work.
I thrive in collaborative, distributed leadership settings and work closely with staff and administrators to map out a strategic direction for the growth of an entire program. Expanding on an excellent educational foundation makes the transition to a dynamic, digital ecosystem a realistic goal for students, staff, and community. Blending, differentiating, and personalizing the learning to reach and teach each and every student is an audacious goal and a realistic possibility when technology is combined with imaginative and dynamic pedagogy. As a visionary and transformative leader, I am working to ensure that my skill set is deep and wide enough to serve in a setting that is poised to be “Future Ready.” Whether I am working directly with students in a classroom or lab setting or leading at the district level, I openly share my ever expanding skill set with those around me.
It is an honor to continue to lead this transformation at the regional level as the President of New England ISTE. I am currently working in the IT Department at Hampshire College, where we are creating innovative programs to re-imagine our next 50 years. I am working with Professors to employ high impact practices in their Moodle Courses, classroom pedagogy, and student-centered learning. I have developed a Tech Tuesday Program with drop-in hours and a mini workshop at lunchtime. I served on the Dean of Faculty search committee and the Remote2020 committee to support Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic. I am currently serving on the HampshireForward committee to plan for a Hampshire style of hybrid learning for the fall of 2020.
Give me a call or drop me an email! gaby (at) strategy2design (dot) com.
Imagine the possibilities!