It is hard to believe that I have spent more than three decades in public education, but I have. The beginning of my career was at Stryker Local Schools in Stryker, Ohio. For six years, I was the only social studies teacher in the high school at this small, rural district in northwest Ohio. The next twenty-four years I served the students at Marion City Schools in Marion, Ohio. My teaching at Marion Harding High School ranged from the dropout prevention program of OWA (Occupational Work Adjustment) to accelerated American history. I developed a 20th Century Popular Culture course that focused on student-driven, project-based learning. While at Harding, I first learned about flipped learning in 2012. Utilizing flipped learning in my American history classes helped me become an accomplished teacher under the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. My current position, with Elgin Local Schools in Marion County as a digital media specialist, has expanded my teaching experience from high school to include elementary and middle school students as well. In my current assignment, I have converted a traditional library into a media center with a maker space.
Whether teaching in a rural or city district or teaching at risk or accelerated students, I have always looked for ways to actively engage my students in the learning process. In my early career, I located and used simulations until I discovered History Alive! from the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute. This curriculum allowed me to revolutionize my teaching by creating a more stimulating educational environment for my students. While improving my teaching, I also worked with History Alive! as a teacher consultant to help other teachers purchase the curriculum and effectively utilize the program in their classrooms, as well as presenting at the Ohio Social Studies Council and annual History Alive! professional development seminars. After my first flipped learning conference in Chicago, I employed the strategies in my classroom wholeheartedly and presented at the next two flipped conferences in Stillwater and Pittsburgh. Throughout my career, I have incorporated technology into my teaching and have helped colleagues to do the same through professional development.