K-12 Administrator in the U.S., Egypt, South Korea, and China. Author and Videographer.
Dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Armenia
Gulf War Veteran - U.S. Air Force Target Intelligence Captain
Educator with 27 years of experience at all levels of K-12 education, including state level regional director, school district technology director, science teacher, technology teacher, assistant principal, and international head of school.
Experienced with American Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP, and DP curriculum.
Served in the United States, Egypt, South Korea, and China. Teacher and school administrator for many diverse groups of students, including American and international students, upper economic students, poverty students, minority students, special needs students, and at-risk students. Responsible for developing and implementing school budgets, interacting with U.S. and international government agencies, initiating change in school curriculum and teacher practices, and helping students to achieve their educational goals.
I am an educator. Even before I attended college, I knew that I wanted to be an educator. My high school science teacher, Mr. Wren, was my example. He had the uncanny ability to grab the attention of his students and to lead them to self-discovery. Nearly four decades later, I still aspire to be the educator to my students that Mr. Wren was to me. Perhaps a little bit of immortality will result when my students look back on what I did for them.
How do we help our students to be successful? We must grab the attention of our students and create enthusiasm. Educators must focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and learning transfer. Through curriculum models like “Understanding by Design” (UbD), teachers can identify desired results and then determine acceptable levels that support learning, as well design activities that will produce positive results. By using quality curriculum, we can raise up the next generation of adults.
As instructional leaders, we should “think big and start small.” Nothing can destroy a teaching environment more than to have a new administrator make systemic changes, before leading and inspiring the teachers to join in the journey. We must understand the existing school culture, the capabilities of the teachers, the expectations of the parents, and the motivations of the students. Changes may be incremental and may involve just a few innovative teachers. Once they have been fully supported and successful, then it is possible to lead the rest to new techniques, curriculum, and learning opportunities. One way to describe this process is the “Oregon Trail Concept.” Just like the original software simulation program, the innovative teachers are the “trail blazers,” who want to adopt new ideas and processes. Once the trail has been established, then we can help lead the rest of the teachers to become “settlers,” who can establish a stable learning community.
An effective learning environment will involve all stakeholders, including the parents. A partnership must exist between the school and the parents, in order to help students to be successful. There must be consistent and quality communications, that originates from the school. When this is done, we can help students to obtain their dreams. The phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child,” has been used before, but it is as true and relevant today, as it has been in the past.
This is who I am. My educational philosophy is one of inclusion, celebrating diversity, expanding upon prior knowledge, building self-motivation, practicing engaged learning, and developing young men and women to become the leaders of tomorrow.