Tch Management Team
I became a teacher because of Ruth Emery, my high school English teacher. She helped me understand the relationship between literature and contemporary life. When she opened the pages of a book, my classmates and I encountered big ideas and worlds we had not yet seen. She helped prepare us for our own lives. When I became a teacher, Ruth helped me plan in the summers, rolling out lines of butcher paper on her living room carpet, working with me to create a map of the coming year. Together we determined where the kids needed to be at the end of the year and then worked backwards day by day. She was my first collaborative partner—helping me to improve my practice while she worked to improve her own.
I came to Teaching Channel from a career's worth of work as a teacher, a public school administrator, a researcher, an author, and a dean of two colleges of education because I believe that Teaching Channel can do for many teachers what Ruth Emery did for me. She was always sharing her approaches and she was always looking for collaborators to boost her skills and knowledge about teaching.
While Ruth is no longer on this earth, if Teaching Channel can capture teachers in Washington working to improve their practices and share those concepts with teachers in Florida and Maine, and then, capture the ways in which those teachers are working on their practice and send those images to teachers in South Dakota and Texas, we have a chance to help teachers all across the U.S. create livelier, more engaging classrooms for kids. This, I know, would give Ruth real satisfaction.
Chief Operating Officer
Back in high school, I had the good fortune of landing a seat in Mr. O'Rourke's English class. Mr. O was one of those snappy teachers that kids like, respect and are naturally drawn to. I was no different than my classmates, and over the course of the year we found ourselves diving head first into literature. Mr. O let the work captivate us, and we did more reading, thinking, writing and debating than we had done in any class before. English was the last class of the day, and I remember how great it was to end the day on a high note.
In addition to teaching, Mr. O'Rourke coached the high school tennis and speech teams. At the time, I hadn't played much competitive tennis, and I certainly never thought about public speaking for fun. Nonetheless, Mr. O encouraged me to join both and, of course, I did. As it turns out, I grew to love both tennis and public speaking and became the captain of both teams. Years later, I have many reasons to thank Mr. O -- including the opportunity to begin the lifelong, hands-on process of leadership and teambuilding at a young age. Those are skills I continue to work on today.
Chief Content Officer
Whoever said you should make your living doing the things you were passionate about as a kid was certainly right. Since I was eight and became the self-appointed "executive producer" of the neighborhood fair and circus, my passion has been about engaging an audience. I've been doing it ever since: producing newscasts for CBS and ABC television, launching the first national cable channel on technology (TechTV, which became G4) and running CNET.com, the world's largest consumer technology website where I was Senior Vice President.
I can think of no better audience than teachers because I owe a tremendous debt to one in particular: Bill Sanders, the now-retired debate coach at New Trier West High School in Northfield, Illinois. Mr. Sanders converted a lackluster student into someone who believed in herself, could build arguments and convince an audience to her point of view -- basically a kid who found her success muscle. Thank you Mr. Sanders, and thank you to the teachers at Berkeley High School who gave my daughter, Lily, the same care and support.
Erika Nielsen Andrew
Chief Academic Officer
As a small child I always knew that I was meant to be a teacher, but it took me a while to figure that out. I went to a large, small-town high school with a huge and competitive marching band. We earned physical education credit so that we could take two periods of music: one for marching, one for sectionals based on instrument type. One day, our fearless leader Mr. Stratton asked me if I would lead the flute session in our daily sectional. Suddenly I found myself standing before 25 flute players looking to me for guidance about both the flute and the music. It was here that I had my first lessons in classroom management. I also discovered my fascination with teaching. I felt the power of what it means when a teacher believes in you, even in a task well beyond your years. I felt deep purpose and satisfaction in passing on this belief to my new “students.” I was immediately absorbed in learning the craft of teaching, a feeling that has not left me in the 34 years that have followed.
I also knew at a very early age the power and importance of teams. As an eight-year-old volunteer at the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Fresno, California, I had my first experience on a team that mattered. I loved how it felt to accomplish something important, and how we egged each other on to be better than we thought we could be. I brought that same spirit to my classroom teaching and subsequent leadership roles. The opportunity to create vibrancy and inspiration for teachers in an infinitely knowable craft, is also what drew me to Teaching Channel.
Chief Product Officer
What can I say? I'm a big fan of teachers - they've shaped who I am as much as anyone outside of my parents. Across four states, two countries, and five different public school systems, they have provided a wealth of perspectives, encouragement, and belief that I could do whatever I wanted. I remember them all and continue to heed lessons I've learned from them. In particular, Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Cermin, Ms. Raymond, Mr. Fisher, Mrs. Brewer, Mrs. Owens, Mr. Stanton, Mr. White, Mr. Diorites, and Ms. Cooper all inspired me to learn, from first grade through my senior year in high school.
I think what really separated these teachers in my memory are the times when they asked me to try new things, to explore areas that might be a little out of the mainstream of the curriculum. That's when school was the most exciting for me -- when I wasn't sure where things were going to go, and knowing that my teachers were going to be there to help me out. I'm hopeful that working at Teaching Channel might return that favor -- creating a safe and challenging place to try new things and learn in the process.
Vice President & General Manager, Teaching Channel Teams
My second grade teacher, Mrs. Johnston, was the first teacher I remember who had an impact on me. At the time, my uncle was running for U.S. Congress and political discussion was a part of our family dinner conversation. As a result, I seemed to be one of the only second graders somewhat fluent in electoral politics (surprise?). Mrs. Johnston asked me to share this knowledge, providing and encouraging me with opportunities to share what I knew with my classmates. The point being, she did one thing that I believe all great teachers do: help a student to find a strength, bolster it, and support it, giving a student an opportunity to be a star for a given a moment.
All students need chances to shine, to build their confidence and self-esteem. We know everything doesn’t come easy in school, and students across a given classroom struggle and excel at their own pace. A good teacher creates an environment where students can take risks, rise to the occasion and be provided with opportunities to show their strengths and be recognized for them, thus building a foundation and confidence for taking on the next learning challenge.
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