My Journey to #TOR16

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If I haven’t told you yet… I AM GOING TO TORONTO FOR THE GOOGLE CERTIFIED INNOVATOR ACADEMY!

I am sorry, did I say that loud?  I have always loved creating, problem-solving and building things.  I love sharing these with kids.  Over the past few years, I have worked to develop and incorporate innovative practices in my classroom.  Last summer a friend of mine through twitter, Kory Graham (@korytellers) nominated me for the Google Innovator Academy in Colorado following ISTE2016.  As exciting as this was, I was saddened.

In the summer I work. Often five or six days a week.  Giving up an extra four days of income to stay in Colorado for the Academy was not feasible.  In all honesty, I had given up on the idea.  While at ISTE I talked to another friend, Mari Venturino (@msventurino) who would be attending COL16.  I must admit I was incredibly jealous, she was a bit nervous and extremely excited.  I left ISTE with the thought of doing more big things.  I have been doing local things for almost two years, but ISTE was the first “big” event I had the chance to attend/present.  I had heard Toronto was the next Innovator Academy, but it didn’t seem like a reality.

It was an honor to have had someone appreciate what I do enough to nominate me for the Academy.  So, this summer when I got an email from Google reminding me that as a former nominee, I was encouraged to apply for the Toronto Academy, I thought… why not?

I couldn’t attend the live hangout to talk about the application and academy.  I was at work (like most of the summer.)  I reached out to two innovators I knew, Mari, and Sarah Thomas (@sarahdateechur) for feedback on my application.  They were a huge help in developing my ideas and presenting them.

While all this was going on, I was about to start a new job.  Would they let me go if I got in? Would my family be ok for me to leave for 4 days in October? There were so many variables that could stop me from going.  Fast forward one week- I must have refreshed my email over a hundred times.  I checked the #tor16 to see if anyone had heard, or if there was an expected time.  The anxiety was incredible.  I thought I would be able to ignore the rush, after all, going was fairly unlikely.  Instead, I desperately checked my email over and over until the answer arrived…

YES! Now to see how this would work.  The truth is, without my wife to whom all I had to say was, “I really want to do this” and she volunteered as superwoman to make my trip possible. She will be working nights and getting my daughter to and from school for days.  Also from my parents, who are always supporting my educational growth.  My mom is possibly the best “travel agent” I know and found me a flight that costs less than the 9-hour drive and helped with my stay as well.  Finally, my school district is allowing me 3 professional days.  Me, an employee who had worked there all of 2 days when I asked them for 3 days off to go to Google.  I can say that I am truly fortunate to be attending the Google Education Innovator Academy in Toronto this October.  I plan on making the most of my opportunity to honor all of those people who helped make this a reality for me.

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13 thoughts on “My Journey to #TOR16

  1. Mari Venturino

    I’m so ridiculously excited for you! I know you worked hard on your application, and you are such an incredible human being–TOR16 is well-deserved. You’re going to have a blast!

  2. gillianjud

    Congrats. And you must be DOUBLY excited to be coming to Canada! If I wasn’t 5 hours away by plane I’d suggest a coffee. Look forward to hearing about what you do and learn,
    Best,
    Gillian #sunchatbloggers

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