In 2000, I became a secondary math teacher with a focus on supporting at-risk students. Teaching students with large skill and knowledge gaps sparked my interest in EdTech as I looked for ways to make a self-designed individualized learning system more manageable and data-driven. My students challenged me to continuously improve my practice to provide stronger learning experiences, create communities of inquiry, and develop metacognition and self-regular with (sometimes quite reluctant) learners. My early experiences shaped my teaching style, allowed me the space to innovate, and provided constant practice with methods in real time. Over the years, I have become adept at creating instructional events and materials tailored to learners' characteristics that are aligned to learning outcomes. Teaching is my jam and I haven't found any work that is as fulfilling as working with students and teachers.

The photo to the lower right is my first classroom at Bay Point Middle School in south Florida . My students were working below grade level but didn't all have the same strengths and gaps. In  2004, I was the first teacher at my school to try digital personalized learning math software with Bay Point students and it was a huge success! I also implemented project based learning and math games along and the students confidence and scores increased. Friday's math game day was another big hit. 

Other teachers took notice of my students' engagement  and success and I began training and coaching my peers. Over time, my interest in Educational Technology grew and moved out of the classroom into different roles, each one incorporating digital tools and devices to support teaching, learning, and assessment.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is another area where I get to apply instructional design. Over the years, I  have designed youth programs, youth curriculum for the belt system, and summer camps. I also teach classes, assist with tournament staffing and training, and designed the Rules for the Use of Force (RUF) bully proofing curriculum for use in youth summer camps.

My motto in life is "pay it forward" and being a part of the Jiu Jitsu community has brought opportunity to help others. I organize benefit seminars as fundraisers for those in need and work pro-bono and paid side gigs to support jiu jitsu schools across the country. 



Students Working CollaborativelyI have been fortunate to meet thousands of very bright and talented young people for whom, a different style of instruction and learning how to learn was all that was needed for them to obtain a career or college pathway. Teaching in very different settings - residential treatment centers, charter schools, and traditional schools - has deepened my understanding of students' and their family's  experiences.   Learning to effectively design curriculum, projects, and assessments for extremely disengaged students allowed me to level up as a teacher and member of a learning community.


Vertical Articulation Poster Activity for CCSSM - Big Ideas at Each Grade LevelAs my skills and knowledge grew, I stretched myself, with the encouragement of my principal, to apply for a mathematics coaching position for a math grant project at our district office.  It was 2010 and awareness of Common Core was just emerging for teachers in our area.  I landed the coaching position and spent the next several years researching, listening, watching, and asking lots of questions to learn as much as I could about the new standards and to expand my teaching methods.  After years of trying to map interventions for math students working several years below grade level, I found the new standards a to be a clear roadmap for building mathematical skills and knowledge in an intentional way. Standards akin to the NCTM's math habits of mind, technology, and literacy were now addressed and we were encouraged to use multiple methods that build to the algorithm.  Coaching fueled my passion for collaborating with teachers to share strategies, resources, and subject-area understanding.


Leading a CyberTutor Weekly Staff Meeting with a Virtual StaffI stepped out of the classroom and away from coaching a couple of times in my career. For a few years I coordinated an online tutoring program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  In a very short time I learned how to manage a staff working virtually and in-house with live students online, develop courses in Blackboard, and about the issues surrounding students who do not have access to advanced placement courses on their campuses.   It was the first time I had supported high-achieving populations yet the feeling was similar to working with at-risk students.  Each population has needs that traditional systems are not able to serve.  My interest in educational technologies grew and I entered a master's degree in education with an emphasis on technology at San Diego State University.  I was a member of the first cohort of the Cohort for Online Master's in Educational Technology (COMET).  I also worked as a graduate assistant in the Technologies for Teaching course for two of  my former professors for a few years after graduation.  As a virtual graduate assistant I graded projects and held office hours to assist pre-service teachers to learn how to integrate EdTech aligned to learning outcomes, created website with EdTech and teaching tutorials, and created rubrics for their assignments. I was incredibly fortunate to study under and work for Dr. Bernie Doge, an extraordinarily innovative educator who is also the reason why we have CUE conferences and Webquests.  


Middle School Math Teachers Exploring Modeling FractionsThe second time I stepped away from teaching and coaching was to serve as a district's K-12 math coordinator.  My first year was the year the district transitioned to Common Core and there was an incredible amount of work involved with the change in standards, curriculum, benchmarks, and state assessments.  I supervised 3 coaches and together we worked side-by-side to redesign literally every standards-based document, internal formative assessment, and district web math page for over 20,000 students and close to 1,000 teachers and support staff in 32 schools. I developed a bridge curriculum for kindergarten and summer school to be used with incoming middle school students.  

One of Many Family Math Nights

We also partnered with the staff from extended learning and provided Family Math nights across the district.  The math nights have been one of my favorite events so far - it was a pure joy to see children and parents playing games and engaging in activities together. Parents began to see the value of their children learning "new math", i.e. the why before the how. I then joined the Monterey Bay Area Math Project housed at UC Santa Cruz while working at the district office and continue to plan and facilitate mathematics professional development for teachers across the region. MBAMP provided spring and summer professional learning institutes, classroom model lessons, and resources for K12 teachers across the region.

Blended Learning with Alternative Students and Their Teacher

I returned to coaching at the county office of education with an emphasis on technology, and hybrid learning in all subject areas.  I coordinated the Chromebook distribution program an was the Google Apps for Education administrator for the alternative education program. Reconnecting with educational technologies has allowed me to level up again as an educator and build new skill sets as an educational technologist.  I've learned new models, e.g., SAMR and TPAK, applications, and that Chromebooks and Google are changing the way IT is managed for 1:1 implementations. This allows me to lead technology cohorts to transform their classrooms into highly engaging and academically rigorous 21st century work environments.

My skill set deepened as I earned my Google Apps Administrator Level I and II certification then spent many, many hours with my sleeves rolled up learning how to administer Google Apps for Education. The county initiated the implementation of the Illuminate data system and I set up the data program server then troubleshooted data connections and automations in the connection between the student information systems and the data software.  Through participation in grant work and professional development planning committees, II maintained my connection with mathematics for teachers across the the county level. 


          Exploring Beaches in Northern CA Teaching the Women's Jiu Jitsu Class Kid's Jiu Jitsu Summer Camp; Getting to Know You Activity