As you know, each month TCEA likes to shine the spotlight on one of our incredible members. We want to give our readers the inside scoop on what real educators are doing throughout Texas to make a difference in their students’ lives. As another year winds down, we have one more member spotlight to share with you this year! Our last member spotlight of 2018 is on Mandy Taylor. Mandy is a first-year literacy specialist at Hays CISD. Previously, she was a classroom teacher for 17 years and campus-based instructional coach for three years. Read on to learn more about Mandy’s story and her favorite advice and tech tips.
The Life of a District Literacy Specialist
In her first year as a literacy specialist, Mandy is able to support teachers, coaches, and administrators at multiple campuses in Hays CISD. Each day she takes on a lot of tasks and wears many different hats. You can find her attending or leading training, attending data meetings, modeling lessons in classrooms, or PLC planning with grade level teams. As Mandy explains, “I like the fact that I never know what I’m going to learn on any given day. I get to learn from so many amazing educators. I also love how technology can help a district our size stay connected across campuses.”
Connecting Teachers Near and Far
Mandy cites Twitter as a tool that has really helped her to stay connected to all her stakeholders across the district. (You can find her @mandymtaylor.) However, she is also using other mediums available to her to create more fun ways to connect with teachers nationwide. “I host a podcast with Josh Gauthier (@mrgfactoftheday) called Stories in EDU, hosted by the Bretzmann group. We visit with teachers across the country to hear stories from inside classrooms. It’s been a fun way to connect with teachers that I’ve met in my district and through social media and has opened up lots of new questions and things for me to learn.” You can access the podcast and listen to the latest episode and all past episodes here.
Ready to Get Fully Charged?
Mandy will be attending the 2019 TCEA Convention & Exposition and getting Fully Charged in San Antonio this February. Will you? “I love learning and presenting at TCEA. I also blogged for TCEA at the conference last year!” In fact, she will be presenting on personalized PD along with colleagues Amy Storer, Kristi Daws, and Knikole Taylor. Their 90-minute panel will be held at 8 a.m. on Wednesday February 6. It promises to shake up the traditional professional development model and provide voice and choice to teachers.
Tricks of the Trade
I couldn’t interview Mandy without asking for her best advice and favorite tech tools. Naturally, Mandy is focused on making connections and working with others. “My best tech-tip in general is to connect with other coaches. Coaching is a very lonely job because you are often the only one on your campus who does what you do. Twitter is a great way to connect, as well as the TCEA Community!”
And her favorite ed tech tool? It’s Flipgrid! “It can be used across multiple content areas, with adults and kids, and is a great tool for communicating with staff and parents. It’s got so many built-in features and is very user-friendly. It also has a great community of educators to support you as you’re learning how to implement it in your classroom!”
Thanks to Mandy for answering my questions and wrapping up 2018 with some great advice and resources! To learn about other innovative educators transforming education, you can read some of our previous member spotlight posts here. Do you know a TCEA member who needs to be in the spotlight? You can always email me your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.