My story is pretty non-linear. It starts in the Philippines in the mid 80's, then moves north to Japan for a bit before coming state-side. My father was in the Air Force and his career took us to Phoenix, Arizona. I grew up in the desert playing ice hockey and was blessed to have a loving, supportive family who pushed me to be the best I person I could be. I was very lucky to have friends and family who helped me overcome many of the struggles that people face growing up in West Phoenix. Through my teens and early 20's, I worked with children and adults with various disabilities in adaptive recreation settings including summer and after-school programs and Special Olympics.
I earned my Bachelor's in Journalism at Arizona State University, moved to Florida for a bit, and then ended up in Oklahoma to pursue my Master's in Special Education. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as a Job Coach for the Dale Rogers Training Center in Oklahoma City. I assisted adults with disabilities in finding meaningful employment in the community. That job motivated me to find a way to better prepare young people for work and life, leading me to teach at a high school.
I became a Specialized Education Math Teacher at Norman High School in 2011 and have loved every minute of it! I recently saw my first class of students graduate and there's nothing quite as rewarding as watching students grow from Freshman to Senior year. In 2013, I created the Teach Like Me Campaign to help improve teacher recruitment and retention by redefining and professionalizing the educator profession. (Read more about the Teach Like Me Campaign)
I have a passion for math and specialized education and enjoy sharing my most popular presentation, "Teach Like Me". In 2014, my colleagues and I implemented a blended classroom method of instruction for our Algebra I classes. The result has been very successful and we continue to refine our work - always striving to improve our instruction methods and to make learning math more fun for struggling learners! Check out some of my presentations on the blended classroom and effective co-teaching. You can also find all of our blended classroom videos and homework here. I'm available to speak or provide professional development - just contact me!
In April of 2015, I had the honor of being selected as Norman Public Schools' Teacher of the Year. Then, in August of 2015, I was selected as Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year. And in January 2016, I was selected as one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year! With these titles, I hope to inspire teachers to take risks with their craft in an effort to innovate and become educational activitists in our field. I will continue to shine a spotlight on the educator profession and I hope to spark a Renaissance in education!
Check out my interview with Linda Cavanaugh of KFOR in Oklahoma City, OK. Fox 25 in OKC also featured me in a story about the teacher shortage and Lacey Lett interviewed me just before my interviews for NTOY. I've also been featured in Norman Magazine and Slice Magazine in Oklahoma City
I made an bid for Oklahoma State Senate, but unfortunately, did not win my election. I was honored to be featured in The Economist, however, and I also invite you to listen to the story NPR did on my campaign.
In June of 2017, my wife and I made the move to Lewisville, Texas after accepting teaching positions. The move prompted many more interview and my story appeared as the number one trending story on Reddit on July 2, 2017. Check out other articles I've been featured in on my media page.
Last, but certainly not least, in June of 2015, I married an amazing English teacher! She is my better half and we recently welcomed the arrival of our first child!