"I am firm in my belief that a teacher lives on and on through his students.
Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal." Jessie Stuart
As a teacher, I am constantly reminded of the importance of working with children. It is a great responsibility as well as a tremendously rich and rewarding career. I often thank the Lord for the gift of teaching and the lives that I've been able to be a part of through all of my experiences.
Professional Teaching Career
I am certified as an Elementary Teacher (grades 1-8) in the state of Ohio. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Ohio State University, I began my teaching career in the city of Springfield, Ohio in 1991. I taught eighth grade science for two years at Clark Middle School within the Springfield City School District.
In the summer of 1993, I was hired by the Chillicothe City Schools to teach computers at both middle schools in Chillicothe, Ohio.
All middle school students (including developmentally handicapped (DH), severe behavior handicapped (SBH), hearing/sight impaired, and those who are physically challenged), grades six through eight, rotate among the six unified arts courses for approximately 30 days (or 6 weeks) of instruction throughout the year. The unified arts team includes one section of art, technology education, health, computers, and two sections of physical education.
The unified arts team teaches, at both J. A. Smith and Mt. Logan Middle Schools, three periods in the morning at one school and three periods in the afternoon at the opposite school. In addition to these academic teaching periods, the team also covers an intervention period at the morning school and has time in between for planning, lunch, travel, and tear-down/set-up. The music department runs on a schedule that flip-flops with the unified arts schedule during the day. Every two years, the unified arts and music department schedules switch and begin the day at the opposite schools. During the years of 1999-2000 and 2000-2001, I will be teaching mornings at J. A. Smith Middle School and afternoons at Mt. Logan Middle School. Then during the years of 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, I will be teaching mornings classes at Mt. Logan and afternoons at Smith. And so on...
In January of 1995, Brad Basil (the middle school technology education teacher) and Terry Phillips (the middle school art teacher) approached me about teaching our three classes collaboratively. We arranged the unified arts schedule so that the art class, computer class, and technology class would be blocked together (90 days or 1 semester of instruction). This allowed us to rotate classes or students among the three courses at intervals other than every 6 weeks. We used a thematic unit and created projects that would allow us to show connections between all three classes. The ClassACT (for "Computers Art Technology") program was born and implemented in the 1995-1996 school year.
In the 1995-1996 school year, the ClassACT themes were construction and transportation. During the first "act", students spent 2 weeks in art, then 2 weeks in computers, and 2 weeks in technology education. Then the students rotated back through each class again for 1 week in each section working on a project. Then the whole process repeated for the second "act" and the students built a second project in the final rotation. This final project building rotation began known as "that's a RAP" or Research Application Production. During the transportation theme, students designed a drag race car powered by a CO2 cartridge in the art class and then constructed and raced their design in the technology class. During the construction theme, students worked in teams to design, draw, test ideas on the computer program Bridge Builder, build, and test their balsa wood bridges.
In the 1996-1997 school year, the ClassACT program underwent several changes. The greatest of these was Brad Basil accepting the position of Assistant Principal at Mt. Logan Middle School and Eric Loy being hired to replace him. In response to student input of too much movement between classes, the number of themes was reduced to one and the rotations reduced. Students would spend 4 weeks in each section and then rotate back through for 2 weeks while constructing their projects. The theme was outerspace and each grade level was given a project that was more aimed at their ability/skill level. The 6th grade students built model rockets from a kit. The seventh graders constructed model rockets from scratch materials. The 8th graders had the biggest challenge, to construct a rocket from two 2-liter soda bottles that would be capable of carrying a payload of one raw egg to a height of 100 feet and return it safely to the surface. This "bottle" rocket would be propelled by compressed air and the 6th and 7th grade projects used standard model rocket solid fuel engines.
In the 1997-1998 school year, Eric Loy accepted a teaching position in another school district and Brad Basil returned to the ClassACT Program. Learning from our past experience, themes were chosen for each grade level. The 6th grade theme would be "transportation" and each student would test care designs on the computer using Car Builder, design and race their CO2 powered dragster in the technology class. The 7th grade theme would be "construction" and students would work in teams to build a model building in art class, design a virtual building on the computer, test bridge designs and dams using the County Dam program on the computer, design, build, and test a balsa wood bridge in the technology class. The 8th grade theme would be "games and puzzles" and students would work in teams to design and create a board game in art class, program and battle a robot in computer class using the RoboWar program, design as a team and individually build a labyrinth game in the technology class.
In 1998-1999, the same themes and rotations would be repeated due to their success.
1998-1999 was the final year for the ClassACT program. During the second semester, Terry Phillips retired and was replaced by a long term sub, Nathan Crawford. In response to a request from the physical education teachers to split the two sections of physical education into separate semesters, a compromise was reached that would block schedule students together for only computers and technology classes for 12 weeks. At the same time, students in art and health classes would also be blocked together which would open up an opportunity for collaboration between these courses.
In the 1999-2000 school year, CompuTech, or a collaboration between the Computers and Technology classes, would utilize some of the same themes and rotation schedules from the ClassACT program. The students again spent 4 weeks in computers or technology class and then rotated to the opposite class for another 4 weeks. Then students rotated back to each class for 2 weeks to work on a theme-related project. The 8th grade theme of "games and puzzles" and the seventh grade theme of "construction" remained from the ClassACT program. The 6th graders no longer were taught collaboratively, but spend a straight 6 weeks on a concentration of basic skills in each area. This change came about after much discussion over the lack of 6th grade consistency between both middle schools (only 25% of the 6th graders participated in the ClassACT Program and the remaining 75% were instructed by a different set of teachers). This also would allow a stronger emphasis on "core" skills that have been rushed in order to squeeze in the collaborative project.
Due to budget cuts and increased class sizes, we have scaled back our classes to the original six week rotations during the 2000-2001 school year.
In May 2001, I graduated with my Master's Degree in the Art of Teaching from MaryGrove College (completed through distance learning).
In August 2001, I began work as a Computer Training Specialist for Horizon Computer Solutions in Chillicothe, Ohio. My friend Ed McKell had started a computer consulting business in Memphis, Tennessee several years ago and was always trying to recruit me as an employee. I resisted for a few reasons. One is that I love living in southern Ohio where I grew up, but mostly because I believe that God gave me a talent for teaching and working with children. When Ed moved the entire business to Chilllicothe and created an education division along with a job that suited my very talents it made it very apparent that maybe this was God preparing me for my next assignment.
Joining Mark Morman, I began training internal Horizon employees right away in the Horizon Chillicothe Phone Company's facility on Main Street. In September 2001, we began moving to our newly constructed Horizon Technology building on SR 104 just north of Chillicothe. Beginning in October of 2001, we were open to the public in addition to providing all the internal training for Horizon employees. A monthly schedule of courses were published on our website and weekly classes were listed in the local newspapers.
After the terrorist attacks in September 2001, the economy experienced a downturn that eventually impacted the enrollment of students. In February 2003, training was reduced to on-demand and I was assigned to work with another division of the company that was experiencing rapid growth. Sights, Sounds and Solutions was created to come alongside Sunrush Construction as a subcontractor for audio and video needs, particularly for churches. More internal repositioning at the beginning of 2004 brought Mark Morman onto the team, moved Marty Ford into a supervisor position and aligned Lauri McQuay as the team's dedicated sales consultant.
In September of 2004, the company offered early retirement (to those who were eligible) and an incentive for voluntary seperation to all other employees. Mark Morman took the voluntary leave. Mark had been asked to help research and document an internal project to create a piece of software that would be used for presenting worship lyrics. Initially, the software would be offered to customers of Sights, Sounds and Solutions. With Mark leaving, I was asked to step into his place on the software development team. In the winter of 2005, it became apparent that the software had much more potential and it was decided that we would develop it for commercial use with a target date of the National Youth Worker's Convention in Sacramento in September 2005. Our plans were to place a demo copy on every seat (15,000 copies).
In August of 2005, the company announced a major restructuring that would reduce the workforce by 33%. Sights, Sounds and Solutions and other business units would likely be spun off as independent businesses as the Horizon divisions would reorganize and become tigher under the Horizon Chillicothe Phone Company. This was to prepare for competition in the telcom industry as well as reduce overage after Horizon Personal Communications had filed for bankruptcy and then after recovering was merged with iPCS based out of Chicago.
The software project, code named "Ebenezer" went public on September 28th as "LiveWorship". Plans were in place to showcase the software at the National Youth Workers' Conventions in Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Nashville. Also, we represented Edirol as WorshipFX Expo in Nashville in October 2005. In January 2006, LiveWorship will be at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco.
The sales team consists of Ed McKell (Vice President of Horizon Technology), Marty Ford (Supervisor of LiveWorship), Alan Cook, Lauri Cook and Racquel Jones. Garfield Tupoula is the lead programmer with support from Special Projects Coordinator, John Hutton, and our Network Administror, Eli Ruggles.
In the summer of 2007, I was made the Sales and Support Administrator for the LiveWorship project. Earlier in the year, Horizon purchased National Safe & Sound to add security as a value addition to the offerings for customers. Justin Rigsby had started Safe & Sound after leaving Chillicothe Fire & Security and was now in charge of our security sales and installations. I helped out Justin over the summer on a few projects and he tagged along to San Diego for the first 2007 National Youth Workers Convention to help exhibit LiveWorship. Justin had been one of the original beta testers when he was handling technology for Trinity UMC in Chillicothe and continued to provide good feedback on the software. Eli Ruggles, Horizon's network admininstrator, drove out to St. Louis with me for the second Youth Specialties' NYWC. Ed and I worked the last NYWC show in Atlanta, although Eli and Marty Ford also attended the convention as participants so we were not entirely by ourselves.
Justin left Horizon in March of 2008 to enroll at Ohio State University and pursue his dream of teaching middle school. I was asked to help cover the workload for Safe & Sound and within a few weeks was balancing both LiveWorship and Safe & Sound adequately enough that I was offered to pick up the job responsibilities. With the economy, increased job responsibility only means more job security so it seemed like a real blessing to find myself doing more work. I am always happy to learn another skill and and had been curious about the work that Justin was doing so it been enjoyable to jump in and learn how to design and install security systems.
In 2009, LiveWorship will be experiencing a transition that will hopefully allow the team to take the project in a new level. I have been elevated to a Product Manager at Horizon and the security business unit has become my primary responsibility.
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