Meet the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators!

PBS is pleased to present the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators! This impressive group of educators from across the country will receive one year of free professional development from PBS. This yearlong professional development program will foster and grow a community of tech-savvy educators that will serve as ambassadors for integrating best practices in digital learning in classrooms across the country. In addition, one educator from every U.S. state and territory was named a Lead Digital Innovator, and will represent their state or territory at the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator Summit in Denver at the 2016 ISTE conference. Get to know our 52 Lead Digital Innovators below!

For a complete list of the 2016 PBS Digital Innovators, please click here.

 

ALABAMA

 

 
Nira Dale
 

Nira Dale

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Alabama Public Television
Florence City Schools
Florence, Alabama

Nira facilitates professional learning for teachers in areas related to ELA instruction, best practices across content, and the use of instructional technology. Her most rewarding contribution to her district is the creation and development of a digital video repository of local teachers across the district who have allowed their lessons to be filmed for the sake of sharing teaching strategies and best practices—http://www.TeachLearnConnectFCS.org/. This site has become a powerful resource that has largely contributed to putting instruction in the forefront of all we do, knocking down the figurative “walls” that formerly separated classrooms and buildings.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: From Homeless Valedictorian to College Student

 

 

ALASKA

 

Larissa Wright-Elson
 

Larissa Wright-Elson

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Alaska Public Media
South Anchorage High School
Anchorage, Alaska

Larissa’s favorite role in the classroom is that of facilitator; she helps her students with the tools and skills they need to succeed and then gets to sit back and watch them shine. She recognizes that everyone needs support and guidance but then they need space and autonomy in order to master skills.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Is To Kill A Mockingbird Still Relevant Today?

 

 

ARIZONA

 

Kaci Heins
 

Kaci Heins

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Eight, Arizona PBS
Northland Preparatory Academy
Flagstaff, Arizona

Kaci Heins is a 6th grade science teacher at Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has a passion for integrating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into the classroom through hands-on projects and engineering design challenges. Her hope for her students is that they will develop a love of learning while inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Kaci believes she has the best job because middle school is the perfect time to hook students into science and engineering. At this age they are creative and eager to learn about the world around them. In her classroom students Dare Mighty Things!

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: PBS LearningMedia Professional Development

 

 

ARKANSAS

 

Mary Beth Hatch
 

Mary Beth Hatch

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Arkansas Educational Television Network
Harrison Junior High School
Harrison, Arkansas

Mary Beth Hatch is an EAST (environmental and spatial technology) teacher at the Harrison Junior High School in the Harrison School District in Boone County in Harrison, Arkansas. In EAST her students are involved in projects that help the community and solve problems while using technology to do so. The best part of her job is seeing her junior high students use top notch technology to solve problems and help those in need, like the prosthetic arm and hands they 3D printed.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Career Connections | Prosthetist Dayton

 

 

CALIFORNIA

 

Margaret Agbowo
 

Margaret Agbowo

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KQED
Berkeley Technology Academy
Berkeley, California

Margaret is a Career Technical Education instructor at Berkeley Technology Academy, where she infuses technology to prepare students for industry standard tools and software, and students "learn to learn" to keep up with technological trends. She firmly believes every student can achieve with all necessary supports, after all, no one knows everything, and she witnesses achievement daily! And once she and her students discover their interests and talents, Margaret works to personalize learning, the best part of her job because she learns with her students and increases engagement.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: KQED's Art School

 

 

COLORADO

 

Andrea Adams
 

Andrea Adams

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Rocky Mountain PBS
Skyview Middle School
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Andrea is a seventh grade English teacher and yearbook advisor at Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The best part of her job is teaching students digital responsibility and utilizing technology in education every day! She feels blessed to teach on the seventh grade iPad team in her building. Each student on the team has an iPad and these resources do go home with the students as well. On her team, they run fully digital paperless classrooms!

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: What Are Myths? | In Search of Myths and Heroes

 

 

CONNECTICUT

 

Leon Tynes
 

Leon Tynes

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Connecticut Public Television
Engineering and Science University Magnet School
New Haven, Connecticut

Leon enjoys facilitating a project-based learning environment that incorporates mobile app development, 3D modeling, e-commerce, business and digital media. He believes that the apex of student achievement in STEM occurs when students are able to integrate knowledge and skills from multiple educational disciplines to develop innovative ideas that address important contemporary issues.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: 3D Frontiers

 

 

DELAWARE

 

Jennifer Guido
 

Jennifer Guido

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WHYY
Richard Shields Elementary School
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Jennifer is a third grade teacher at Shields Elementary School in the Cape Henlopen School District in Lewes, Delaware. Jennifer loves integrating technology in the classroom and sparking curiosity in her students. Her favorite part of teaching is letting students lead their learning and become excited and curious about new topics. She also enjoys sharing new and innovative resources with her colleagues. Jennifer is a firm believer in empowering her students to have a growth mindset and become lifelong learners.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Compare and Contrast Information from Multiple Sources - Wolong's Pandas

 

 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

 

Blair Mishleau
 

Blair Mishleau

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WHUT
KIPP DC Heights Academy
Washington, District of Columbia

Blair loves the intersections of strong logistics, operations and individualized learning. He loves to work with all three at his school to bring great things for kids. The thing that gets him out of bed in the morning is seeing students grow exponentially when they get engaging content that is just right for them.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Searching and You!

 

 

FLORIDA

 

Dan Koch
 

Dan Koch

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WUFT
Citrus Springs Middle School
Citrus Springs, Florida

Dan is an Apple Distinguished Educator, English teacher, media specialist, and technology coach in Citrus County, Florida. He’s passionate about breaking down technology barriers, empowering all learners (that includes teachers!), and believes strongly that tech truly allows us to do something different (and meaningful). With even marginal access to the internet, students can tap into the collective consciousness of countless experts on any given subject, create something new with that knowledge, and share their creativity and innovations with the world. We should be excited about this every day.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Is Futurama the Best Argument Against Transhumanism?

 

 

GEORGIA

 

Shana White
 

Shana White

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Georgia Public Broadcasting
Creekland Middle School
Lawrenceville, Georgia

Shana serves as technology coordinator at Creekland Middle School in Lawrenceville, GA as well as an adjunct teacher for Georgia Virtual School. She believes technology provides an effective means to collaborate, innovate, and open doors for all students. Shana enjoys her role as technology coordinator because it allows her to help teachers create meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for all students. She is dedicated to empowering and teaching both students and teachers how to effectively use technology as a tool to enhance and take charge of their own growth.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Body Needs

 

 

HAWAII

 

Liz Castillo
 

Liz Castillo

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Hawaii PBS
Punahou School
Honolulu, Hawaii

Liz enjoys working on a team that services students and teachers K-8. She is passionate about sharing technology integration strategies with teachers, working with students, and fostering opportunities for collaboration and global connections. Liz is dedicated to empowering students and teachers with tools that support, engage, and enhance student learning.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Get Your Tech On: Tech Resources

 

 

IDAHO

 

John Stegmaier
 

John Stegmaier

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Idaho Public Television
Timberline High school
Boise, Idaho

John loves being the guide on the side, rather than the sage on the stage. This process has challenged him to constantly hone his craft and rejuvenated him by seeing the deeper understanding in his students that goes far beyond mere standardized test scores. He has watched his students gain a greater enjoyment and active involvement in their own learning. This is what drives John.

 

 

ILLINOIS

 

Aleta Garrett
 

Aleta Garrett

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WTTW
City Incite / CPS High Schools
Chicago, Illinois

Aleta's favorite part of her job is being able to help students create their own narrative in life. The media often times portrays inner city teenagers as "troubled". Aleta loves the fact that she can help students become self sufficient in life by teaching them technology, entrepreneurship, & leaderships skills that prepare them for the real world.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Bank It or Bust

 

 

INDIANA

 

Jared Knipper
 

Jared Knipper

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WNIT
Syracuse Elementary School
Syracuse, Indiana

Jared loves to hear things in his classroom like "we can make anything in here"! He loves giving kids the opportunity to achieve much more than they think are capable of using his Maker Space to create anything kids can dream up.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Makers

 

 

IOWA

 

Joseph McCright
 

Joseph McCright

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Iowa Public Television
Stowe Elementary School
Des Moines, Iowa

Señor McCright loves to combine language learning and technology so that his students get a "two-fer". He models for his students and colleagues how to explore new tools and resources, how to learn from his mistakes, and how to share evidence of learning. He has created more than 200 websites for his students and colleagues.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Puzzle Maker

 

 

KANSAS

 

Todd Flory
 

Todd Flory

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KPTS
Wheatland Elementary School
Wichita, Kansas

As an educator, Todd focuses on providing global collaboration and real-life, passion-based learning experiences for his students. He has spoken extensively on these topics at state and national education conferences, as well as with other educational media outlets. Todd believes that teachers need to create global citizens in a global classroom to empower students to shape their future and the world’s.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Inside the Voting Booth

 

 

KENTUCKY

 

James Wampler
 

James Wampler

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KET
Shelby County High School
Louisville, Kentucky

James believes that students are naturally curious explorers. He believes that technology is a way to connect their inherent curiosity to rich content that can drive and inform their adventures in ways previously unimaginable. He loves that his job allows him to guide students away from distraction, towards discovery, and give them a lens of curious investigation that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Water Solutions

 

 

LOUISIANA

 

Cassie Krause
 

Cassie Krause

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WYES
SciTech Academy
New Orleans, Louisiana

Cassie loves watching the kids get excited about learning. She loves to find new ways for the students to show their knowledge in ways that suits their own personal learning styles. She also works hard with the kids to make sure they see the connection between what is happening in all of their classes each day to the real world.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Conquest of Mexico: Hernando Cortes

 

 

MAINE

 

Beth Heidemann
 

Beth Heidemann

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

MPBN
Cushing Community School
Rockland, Maine

Beth's project-based, passion-fueled approach to learning allows her to learn along side her students as she pushes the envelope to bring the world to her classroom. She is dedicated to global education and service learning and connects her students with experts and collaborators world-wide to solve real problems.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Everyday Learning

 

 

MARYLAND

 

Marcia Porter
 

Marcia Porter

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Maryland Public Television
Lockerman Middle School
Denton, Maryland

Marcia loves her job in the media center because each day brings new and exciting challenges. Whether sharing new technology, helping others in locating information, or fostering a love of reading, Marcia’s favorite part of her job is that it allows her to work with all members of her school community.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: PBS Election Central

 

 

MASSACHUSETTS

 

Michelle Read
 

Michelle Read

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WGBH
Oak Middle School
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Michelle is an eighth grade science teacher in a 1:1 iPad environment at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury, MA. She enjoys using technology as a tool in her science classroom to spark student curiosity, creativity, and innovation. Resource sharing with colleagues and parents is aided by the use of technology. Online collaboration allows Michelle to learn from others in order to improve her practice. In her classroom, students act as a team of scientists who discover and discuss science together as a community of learners. Her favorite part of teaching is when a student leaves class with a scientific question and returns the next day with an answer they found through engaging in online collaboration and research. She believes in the power that technology has to inspire students, increase collaboration, and promote life-long learning!

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: NOVA Elements

 

 

MICHIGAN

 

Andrew Hopkins
 

Andrew Hopkins

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Detroit Public TV
Tyrone Elementary School
Harper Woods, Michigan

Andy Hopkins is an Instructional Technology Specialist with Harper Woods Schools in Harper Woods, Michigan. Andy conducts regular teacher in-services on technology use and mentors best practices for classroom implementation. He works directly with teachers to design lessons and activities with purposeful technology integration. He also works with students in buildings across the district as they create and share creative, multimodal projects and is committed to supporting students as they learn and become autonomous and responsible users of technology. Andy facilities the elementary student news team, S.W.A.T (Students Working to Advance Technology), employing a range of video production equipment. He serves on his district’s technology committee and has worked to transition Harper Woods to a one-to-one district.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913

 

 

MINNESOTA

 

Jesse Buetow
 

Jesse Buetow

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Twin Cities Public Television
Randolph Heights Elementary School
St. Paul, Minnesota

Jesse is a fifth grade classroom teacher at Randolph Heights Elementary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He loves creating a classroom where students are given choice over how, where and when they do their learning. He believes strongly in integrating technology in a way that leverages student passion and emphasizes creation over consumption. By giving his students a voice in their own learning, Jesse is able to help his students create a variety of content across many subjects. His favorite part of the job is seeing the excitement in a student’s eye when they realize that someone in the world at large has seen and enjoyed what they created.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Outsmarting Oobleck

 

 

MISSISSIPPI

 

Carmen Christmas
 

Carmen Christmas

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Quitman County Middle School
Cleveland, Mississippi

Carmen Christmas is from Cleveland, Mississippi. She is a 2012 graduate of Jackson State University. Carmen loves to teach and inspire her students to achieve greatness. The best part of her job is not only inspiring students but also teachers too. Her students love to integrate technology in their homework, classwork, and everyday life. She is the Tech Superhero for the school and loves being able to help her fellow coworkers to reach their students by using different technology techniques.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Pollination

 

 

MISSOURI

 

Chantell Mason
 

Chantell Mason

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Nine Network
Iveland Elementary
St. Louis, Missouri

Chantell has been an elementary teacher for more than 8 years. Her classroom follows a Project Based Learning structure combined with the elements of STEAM. She has her students podcasting about their writing, social justice issues, book reviews, and their own opinions. Her students have even presented with her at a regional conference. She also enjoys sharing her knowledge of education technology with other educators. Chantell is dedicated to being culturally aware and works towards guiding others to be as well. The best part of her job is empowering her students to be confident in their skills so they can learn about the world around them and become problem solvers for themselves.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: America After Ferguson: America and Race

 

 

MONTANA

 

Shelly Stanton
 

Shelly Stanton

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Montana PBS
Billings Public Schools
Billings, Montana

Shelly comes from an education family and is proud to have joined in this legacy in her hometown of Libby, MT in 2000. She has taught business education, psychology and physical education, she holds her National Board Certification in Career and Technical Education and earned degrees from the University of Idaho. She spent 7 years working with the Take Charge America Institute writing financial literacy curriculum with amazing colleagues. She is a Google Certified Innovator and mentor of new innovators, an authorized Google Education Trainer, Nearpod Author and PioNear and a natural at failing forward. In 2012 she was Montana Business Teacher of the Year and in 2013 Montana Association of Career and Technology Association Teacher of the Year. She is currently an advisory board member of TeachingPartners, National Board Certified Teachers Ambassador and a Teacher Leadership State Coach. But, her pride and joy is her family.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Finance and Responsible Lending

 

 

NEBRASKA

 

Andrew Easton
 

Andrew Easton

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

NET
Westside High School
Omaha, Nebraska

Andrew is passionate about incorporating elements of personalized learning into his classroom because it fosters academic autonomy and allows for meaningful work relationships between the teacher and all students. Andrew uses teaching and technology as an outlet for his creativity, and he appreciates how rewarding it is to work in a profession where a person is able to have a significant impact on individuals who will go on to be leaders in a multitude of professions and pursuits.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Poetry Everywhere

 

 

NEVADA

 

Casey Korder
 

Casey Korder

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Vegas PBS
Claude & Stella Parson Elementary School
Las Vegas, Nevada

Casey enjoys watching his students discover and learn new things. The art of discovery and the joy that come with it is something which inspires Casey to go above and beyond in order for every student to succeed.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Puff Rocket | STEM Alive

 

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

Patrick Kaplo
 

Patrick Kaplo

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

New Hampshire Public Television
Windham High School
Windham, New Hampshire

Pat enjoys the art of carefully crafting the student experience in his physics classroom to take full advantage of hands-on learning opportunities. By leveraging the natural engagement that comes with seeing and touching, students are energized to forge through the more traditional complex mathematical modeling associated with being a physics problem-solver.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: The Physics of Weightless Flight, featuring Emily Calandrelli | Physics Girl

 

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Steve Isaacs
 

Steve Isaacs

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

NJTV/WNET
William Annin Middle School
Basking Ridge, New Jersey

Steve often says that he has the best job in the world as he gets to spend his days supporting students as they develop their own games. Providing students with choice in their learning pathway provides him with an opportunity to learn with and from his students daily. Steve truly revels in the accomplishments of his students and feels quite fortunate to guide them as they discover and nurture a passion for learning.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: SciGirls

 

 

NEW MEXICO

 

Dominic Pettine
 

Dominic Pettine

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

New Mexico PBS
Washington Middle School
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dominic Pettine is a videographer, public speaker, and a leader in educational technology. He believes that one of the best parts of his job is working with educators and administrators across the world and the state of New Mexico—speaking and providing training on how to empower students through the creative use of technology. He founded and leads the award-winning videography program at Washington Middle School in downtown Albuquerque, whose films are used across the country to promote social justice and community health. He feels "blessed to be a part of a vanguard of talented and passionate educators redefining global education.”

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: KQED's Art School

 

 

NEW YORK

 

Katie Jacobsen
 

Katie Jacobsen

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WCNY
Hamilton Central School
Hamilton, New York

Katie is a third grade classroom teacher at Hamilton Central School in Hamilton, NY. The best part of her job is empowering kids to take charge of their own learning adventures, particularly through project based learning. She uses technology in her classroom as a tool to connect students with the world outside their small, rural town. In her 1:1 iPad classroom, students are able to create and collaborate more efficiently and experience a more individualized learning environment. She brings her background in theater and dance into the classroom every day and strives to create a space where creativity, curiosity, and self-expression are celebrated.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Life in the Amazon Today | Children of the Amazon: Part 8

 

 

NORTH CAROLINA

 

Rebecca Goddard
 

Rebecca Goddard

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

UNC-TV
Bostian Elementary School
China Grove, North Carolina

Becky is a technology facilitator at Bostian Elementary with Rowan Salisbury Schools in China Grove, North Carolina. Becky's day is filled with inquiry and STEM. Her favorite part of her job is sharing the STREAM Lab materials with the students in her school. By collaborating with teachers within her school, she is able to bring STEM education into the many facets of learning. She spends hours playing with Legos, robotics, coding, Osmos, and many other STEM tools. She believes that challenging children with STEM activities that tie into classroom teaching prepares them for their future learning and careers.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Makers

 

 

NORTH DAKOTA

 

Kayla Delzer
 

Kayla Delzer

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Prairie Public Television
Legacy Elementary School
West Fargo, North Dakota

Kayla believes she has the best job in the world because she gets to work with 20 energetic second graders that inspire her daily. She thrives on knowing that the future of the world is in her classroom, and she instills a belief in her students that absolutely anything is possible. Kayla and her students believe their work should impact those beyond their classroom and school, so they continuously share their activities and internationally recognized learning space via Instagram, Twitter, Blab, blog posts, and more!

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Code Like a Girl Puts More Girls in the Game

 

 

OHIO

 

Kevin Cornell, Ed. S.
 

Kevin Cornell, Ed. S.

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

ThinkTV
Dayton Regional Stem Center
Dayton, Ohio

Mister C knows that every day is unique and exciting when working with students and teachers! Whether it’s creating a Digital Media Integration course for middle schoolers or working to help teachers embrace technology through professional development opportunities, Mister C knows that authentic learning should be at the core of every activity!

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: The Physics of Invisibility Cloaks | MIT's Science Out Loud

 

 

OKLAHOMA

 

Drew Robinson
 

Drew Robinson

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

OETA - The Oklahoma Network
Tulsa Public Schools
Tulsa, Oklahoma

As an instructional technology coach, my favorite part of the job is working with teachers and students across my district, helping them to leverage technology to transform classrooms into engaging learning spaces that emphasize critical thinking and creativity.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: NOVA Next | The Uncertain Future of Self-Driving Cars

 

 

OREGON

 

Ryan Wiggins
 

Ryan Wiggins

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Juniper Elementary School
Bend, Oregon

Ryan teaches first grade at Juniper Elementary, a Technology Magnet School and Title-1 School located in Bend, Oregon. Ryan’s favorite part of his job is finding creative ways to integrate technology into learning to profoundly increased his students’ sense of empowerment, community, and academic achievement. Ryan believes that learning should be fun and if we only focus on rigor that we will give our students “rigor mortis”. Ryan uses technology to blend rigor with fun and creativity.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Cultivating Creators through Coding and STEAM

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA

 

Joseph Welch
 

Joseph Welch

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WQED
North Hills Middle School
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joe enjoys working with students at the middle level, challenging them to take academic risks and to be content creators and innovators. His favorite part of his job is the energy that students bring on a daily basis combined with their excitement to use technology to collaborate and display their knowledge.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: The U.S. Presidency

 

 

PUERTO RICO

 

Glenda Lozada
 

Glenda Lozada

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WMJT Sistema
Josefina Marrero Febus Elementary School
Naranjito, Puerto Rico

From a young age, Mrs. Glenda Ivette Lozada Negrón served as catechist, a member of community groups that sought wellness of others. She studied at Lomas Vallés Elementary School, currently known as Josefina Marrero Febus Elementary School. Today she forms part of the excellent school community as a first grade teacher at that same school. Mrs. Glenda, as people affectionately call her, "remembers her loving teachers that passed through her life as student. They inspired her vocation on become a teacher, because they made a great difference. She always noticed the great love, compassion and the willingness in teaching her to grow”. Glenda earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education Arts of Elementary School and Early Childhood Learning at the University of Puerto Rico and began to work as a teacher in 1999. In 2001 she continued her Post Graduate studies in Early Childhood Education and in 2004 she obtained her Master's Degree.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: PBS KIDS Lab

 

 

RHODE ISLAND

 

Roberto Gonzalez
 

Roberto Gonzalez

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Rhode Island PBS
Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School
Riverside, Rhode Island

Bitten by a radioactive spider, Roberto Gonzalez had to learn very early... With great power, comes great responsibility. In Providence, Roberto uses his extraordinary powers to empower the youth. Roberto founded STEAM Box, where the youth are the bosses. He develops STEAM programs based entirely on their interests. Their victories have reached outer space, ridden self-made hover-boards, developed apps, videos, websites and virtual reality, and kept their school open in the face of adversary. His favorite part: hiding the learning in all the fun. All this, and he smells like peaches.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Ten Fun Facts About Engineering

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Carla Jefferson
 

Carla Jefferson

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

South Carolina ETV
Darlington County School District
Florence, South Carolina

A former teacher, curriculum facilitator, and school level administrator, Carla's goal is to level the playing field for all children through the use of technology. What Carla loves most about her job is that in her role, she has to power to positively affect over 10,000 students - preparing them to be positive and contributing citizens to our society. Students who think create, collaborate, think critically and communicate effectively. Watching the excitement in her new students, her teachers, helps her to know that she is making a difference.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: African American History: Lunch Counter Closed | History Detectives

 

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

 

Heidi Coffin
 

Heidi Coffin

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Badger Clark Elementary
Box Elder, South Dakota

Heidi Coffin believes in every student. She is dedicated to reaching students at their level and building them to achieve academic success. Heidi strives to implement research-based lessons that incorporate technology. Heidi’s favorite role as a general education educator is observing students grow and achieve throughout the academic school year.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Music Video: Reading with Feeling

 

 

TENNESSEE

 

Wanda Terral
 

Wanda Terral

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WKNO
Lakeland Elementary School
Memphis, Tennessee

Wanda is the Instructional Technology Specialist for the Lakeland School System outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Inspired by her personal learning network, she believes connecting with other educators is the life-blood of her growth as an educator and innovator. Wanda is an EdCamp organizer, Google Certified Innovator and Trainer, Google Educator Group leader, and is currently a doctoral student in Instructional Design & Technology at The University of Memphis. She not only enjoys learning from the experiences of others but also makes use of social media and her blog to share insights as well as shine the spotlight on those doing great work around the globe. Empowering students and teachers is her goal and she does so every day by sharing new ideas, methods, and technologies with everyone she knows.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning

 

 

TEXAS

 

Lisa Johnson
 

Lisa Johnson

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KLRU
Westlake HS
Austin, Texas

Just Google “iPad Lessons” and Lisa Johnson’s creations and curations can be readily found across a variety of social networks. Recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013, featured in both editions of “iPads in Education for Dummies” and Corwin’s Connected Educators Series “The Missing Voices in EdTech", Lisa thoughtfully and diligently models and shares the transformational power of mobile devices and professional learning networks within the global edusphere. Creator of the TechChef4u blog, Co-host of “Appy Hours 4 U” and “iVengers Radio”, and Co-Author of the professional development hit “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” with close to 20,000 international downloads, Lisa Johnson offers a unique perspective as she is embedded at the intersection of where all stakeholders in technology integration meet.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: MASTERPIECE

 

 

UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS

 

Sean D'Abbraccio
 

Sean D'Abbraccio

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WTJX Virgin Islands
Gifft Hill School
St. John, United States Virgin Islands

Sean is a 4th and 5th grade Math and Science teacher at Gifft Hill School on the beautiful island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The best part about his job is that he has the privilege of working with an extremely diverse student body in a vibrant island community. He has a passion for environmental education and uses his favorite PBS resource “Make a Mangrove’ to teach students about sustainability and the conservation of limited island resources. His goal as an educator is to cultivate strong minds and caring hearts through academic rigor, compassionate community and experiential learning.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Make a Mangrove: An Ecosystem Game

 

 

UTAH

 

Linda Davis
 

Linda Davis

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KUED
Hillside Middle School
Salt Lake City, Utah

Linda’s motto is “Effort creates ability!” and she reminds her students every day that they can create professional looking products in her Language Arts, Reading, and US History classes. She loves using technology resources to allow her students with learning disabilities to produce videos, print pieces, and other forms of quality writing. They feel proud when they see what amazing things they can do! In Linda’s 30 years of teaching, she finds that implementing technology can be challenging but is also very rewarding.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Nascar Goes Green

 

 

VERMONT

 

Matt Neckers
 

Matt Neckers

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Vermont PBS
Green Mountain Technology and Career Center (GMTCC)
Eden, Vermont

Matt teaches Creative Media Art & Design at Green Mountain Tech in Hyde Park, Vermont. Creative Media attracts high school students with a passion for a variety of media including photography, design, animation, filmmaking, audio, and fine art. Matt loves to see students create, communicate, and explore with digital media. He believes the more access students have to creative digital tools the more they embrace learning. He finds it especially rewarding to see students who have not done well in traditional academic settings thrive in a classroom that encourages creativity. He says, “It’s not complicated. When students have access to the tools of creative expression and operate in a classroom culture that welcomes curiosity and innovation, they are more likely to engage and achieve.”

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: OffBook: How to be Creative

 

 

VIRGINIA

 

Jacqueline Firster
 

Jacqueline Firster

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

WETA
Abingdon Elementary School
Arlington, Virginia

Jacqueline has several different roles in her current position. Not only is she responsible for providing an enriched curriculum for advanced students, she also works collaboratively with classroom teachers, modeling the use of differentiation strategies and providing higher level learning opportunities for all students. Jacqueline conducts online and face-to-face training for school community members and teachers in the county, presenting best practices in digital learning techniques in both regional and national conferences. The best part of her job is being able to integrate the use of technology as a tool to deliver and enhance instruction on a daily basis.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Math at the Core: Middle School

 

 

WASHINGTON

 

Michelle Zimmerman
 

Michelle Zimmerman

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

KCTS9
Renton Prep
Renton, Washington

Michelle’s goal was to learn as much about the brain and learning as she could to help children who didn’t find tests or school easy. She started out with early childhood education, and has taught in all the grades from Pre-K through 10th grade. Little did she know she’d end up getting a PhD in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Washington, College of Education and present original research and at tech conferences for teachers across the US and Canada, even with her students submitting their own proposals. Renton Prep is an expansion of an original school that opened in the 1960s. Almost 10 years of her design-based research along with student voice have shaped the school. The school has won multiple awards since September 2015. When she’s not designing STEM and project based learning, she’s teaching students to choreograph and dance for the all-school dance show.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Crash Course

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA

 

Rebecca Recco
 

Rebecca Recco

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Edgewood Elementary
Charleston, West Virginia

Rebecca loves teaching about working artists in her community and giving students a little peek at what it’s like to be an artist. Her favorite part of being a teacher is that moment when students realize that they have what it takes to make something valuable.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: In the Making

 

 

WISCONSIN

 

Laura Busch
 

Laura Busch

2016 Lead PBS Digital Innovator

Milwaukee Public Television/WI Media Lab
Blair Elementary School
Waukesha, Wisconsin

Laura's role as an elementary technology integrator allows her to collaborate with both teachers and students as they find innovative ways to integrate digital tools to improve student achievement and personalize learning experiences for students. She also supervises a student technology leadership team and facilitates the Makerspace at her school. Laura loves seeing how digital tools can unleash a student's creativity and allow them to design, create, and show their understanding in a variety of forms, no matter their age, ability level or language spoken.

Favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: Soft Landing Challenge

 

Looking for more? Check out the PBS Digital Innovator Class of 2015 and the Class of 2014

 

The application period for the 2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program is now closed.


Who is a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator?

  • A tech-savvy K-12 educator with a passion for using digital technology and media.
  • A leader with a desire to empower their peers and share strategies around digital media integration.
  • An active sharer of content and ideas through social media.
  • A PBS Education ambassador that embraces life-long learning, collaboration and recognizes the power technology has to inspire students.