Schedule a conversation – Eric Isselhardt


Meeting the 2013s


This will be a short note as I am focusing on getting things ready for our Web site launch.  I am feeling a bit like characters from the picture books I love so much as I combined my painstakingly developed database of STOY email addresses – cleaned and free of kickbacks – with Jon Quam’s 17 databases (one for each STOY year from 1996 forward).  This was so complex a task that I had to develop a project plan and flowchart to keep it all straight.

I veered from Demi’s One Grain of Rice and Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats as STOY entries multiplied and I had to end up with 17 different distribution lists so that they would send through Outlook (millions and billions and trillions of STOYs!) to Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to Chicken Little (the sky is falling!) as I lost about a third of the data halfway through.  However, I ended up like the Little Engine That Could (I think I can, I think I can, I know I can) and finally was able to provide our Web designer with a cohesive list of wonderful, inspiring STOYs to start our site with.

Once the site is up, you will be asked to go in and update your profile, pay your dues if need be, and gain access to the Member’s page of the site.  There are quite a few STOYs whose email addresses did not work, and I will ask for help in finding them as we move forward.

Two things that I do want to make sure to share with you are an article that was released last night by CCSSO’s Chris Minnich, and, my impressions from the first conference of the 2013 STOYs.

Chris, the new Executive Director of CCSSO, has called our Congressional legislators to task for their lack of movement on Federal education legislation.  He notes that while the use of waivers has resulted in progress in a number of states, waivers are not a substitute for solid, guiding Federal legislation that states then can take and enact.  NNSTOY members from the class of 2007 actually drafted a piece of legislation called Teachers at the Table, which was supported by a number of legislators in the House and Senate and made it to both Education Committees; it ended up appended to the ESEA reauthorization legislation and has languished in limbo ever since.

Chris is a thoughtful, reasoned leader who is passionate about the role of education for all children in advancing our goals.  Please check out his article here: http://www.rollcall.com/news/minnich_update_our_education_legislation-222213-1.html.

Justin Minkel (AR 2007), Sarah Brown Wessling (IA and NTOY 2010), Michelle Shearing (MD and NTOY 2011), Holly Boffy (LA 2010), Cindi Rigsbee (NC 2009), and Rebecca Mielwocki (CA and NTOY 2012) were honored to participate in the first conference of the 2013 STOYs, our newest brothers and sisters.  What an amazing group of educators!  Spending four days together, I was able to personally speak with about half of the newest class of STOYs; their stories, their vision, and their passion for their students and for their profession were deeply inspiring.

I have been blessed to participate in this conference for the past eight years or so; every year, as the new STOYs introduce themselves, I see the faces of my class of 2000 STOYs superimposed over these newest members’ faces.  This class includes individuals who will carry forward the recognition they are receiving by making a difference for other teachers.  They are already so far ahead of where I was in 2000 in terms of their knowledge of policy and ‘the bigger picture’ in the education landscape.  Watching the realization of the opportunities now offered and of the expectations anticipated, is always a bit emotional for me, and again it was this year.

Sarah, Michelle, Holly, and Rebecca ably led the homeroom sessions and helped our newest STOYs in navigating this new landscape.  As always, Jon Quam and Andy Drewlinger made them feel comfortable yet challenged, and most of all, valued. What an incredible experience they will have; and they are well up to the task.

The four finalists, who will represent their class, are:  Alex Lopes from Florida; Roxanne Holmes-Blakenship from Maryland; Heidi Welch from NH; Jeffrey Charbonneau from WA. Read their bios at this link:  http://www.ccsso.org/ntoy/News/Educators_from_FL_MD_NH_and_WA_are_Finalists_for_Nation%E2%80%99s_Top_Teaching_Honor.html

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