9 Inspiring Educators Shaping the Future with Tech

May 06, 2024

9 Inspiring Educators Shaping the Future with Tech

In the vast landscape of education, integrating technology in the classroom can sometimes feel like navigating uncharted territory, particularly in fields like coding and AI. Yet, amidst the waves of uncertainty, there exists a beacon of inspiration – the extraordinary teachers who lead with unwavering dedication and innovation. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re so happy to share some of the stories from educators in our community who transcend the ordinary, elevating learning experiences for students, teachers, and families alike. Join us in celebrating the proud moments of these visionary educators this year, whose tireless efforts illuminate the path forward in STEM education. We hope you're left inspired, uplifted, and reminded of the profound impact teachers and educational leaders wield beyond the confines of the classroom.


1. Artur Coelho - ICT teacher, Digital Projects Coordinator 

As an ICT teacher from Portugal, Artur loves to teach and explore art and digital tools through creative coding, robotics and 3D. He is also a proud member of Lab Aberto Fablab, EU Codeweek Leading Teacher,  and a teacher trainer at ANPRI and CFAERC. 

Artur’s Proud Teacher Moment: “Very nervously, I was teaching a coding workshop to one of our primary school classrooms, a group of eager 9 year olds that had very little prior experience with coding. Earlier, we did a session using visual environments, but this was their very first time coding in text. I feared that their enthusiasm would be lost while navigating the difficulties of internet access, understanding coordinate systems, connecting bluetooth, and combining keys, which they hadn't used previously to write code. I kept glancing at the students, struggling with the keyboards, and their primary school teacher, to gauge the reaction. To make matters worse, I'd chosen a rather long coding challenge for their first experience, and it was proving to be taking too long with these children. And then, the first connections were made, and imagiCharms lit up with their code. The classroom exploded in a chorus of excited “ooooohs!” and “aaaahs!”, and from then on, things started to speed up, in almost complete autonomy. 'This is what we live for' , commented my primary school colleague, while her students were entranced and happy, showing us their code running on the Charm. ‘These moments make up for the hardships of being a teacher.’ ”

For a glimpse of the tech magic in his classrooms, follow him on at @artur.coelho on Instagram. 


2. Chelsea Clagg - Instructional Technology Coach 

Chelsea is an Instructional Technology Coach from Frederick County, VA, where she works and teaches at Robert E. Aylor Middle School. She became a coach after 9 years teaching 7th grade E.L.A. and has done incredible work in bringing coding education to her district. Outside of being a tech nerd, she enjoys reading, camping, and spending time with her 3 kiddos.

Chelsea’s Proud Teacher Moment: “I was very proud of some of my students in special education this year who  completed  the Entrepreneurship Challenge for imagi. These students were not confident writers  and often struggle academically, but when it came to this challenge, a few really got creative and gave brainstorming a business idea, writing a pitch, and then designing and coding a logo in Python their very best effort. I am also  very proud of my Forensics Team kiddos for placing 1st in 4/5 categories in the county Forensics Competition for public speaking.” 

Follow Robert E. Aylor Middle School’s Facebook Page to see the amazing things Chelsea and her team are working on with students!


3. Denise Orndorff - Instructional Technology Coach 

With a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education (K-3 certification),  a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Computer Education, and over 25 years in the classroom, Denise serves as an Instructional Technology Coach at Middletown Elementary School and Northwestern Regional Educational Program in Frederick County, VA. She's also actively involved with Assistive Technology and is a Google Certified Trainer and part of the VSTE Professional Services Team. 

Denise’s Proud Teacher Moment: “This year, my most significant achievement has been delving into the world of assistive technology. I've learned the art of creating adaptive books, modifying toys for enhanced accessibility, and crafting custom switches tailored to the needs of students. Assistive technology has become my passion, and witnessing students gain access to tools that facilitate their learning and development brings me immense joy.”

Connect with her on Twitter at @dhorndorff for teaching insights and inspiration.


4. Kelly Powers - Middle School Computer Science Teacher 

Currently a CS teacher at The Hackley School, Kelly's teaching and learning transcends to those whom she works with including students, teachers and colleagues nationwide. She enjoys the challenge of creating an engaging curriculum aligned to the national CS standards. Her teaching philosophy is that learning should be engaging, drive creativity from those we serve, demand inquiry and discovery, while ensuring equity and access to all students. Kelly's background in teaching and motivation to be a lifelong learner to advance the practice of teaching to include Computational Thinking, Problem Solving, and Creativity allows her to provide a rigorous and joyous experience in computing to all students!

Kelly’s Proud Teacher Moment: “I really enjoyed the Coding is Art Challenge hosted by imagi, because it showed how creative our students are when given the opportunity to express themselves, and teachers could witness the incredible student engagement in learning coding!” 

For wonderful teaching insights and creative examples of student CS work, follow Kelly at @kelpowers5 on Twitter. 


5. Laurie Guyon - Lead Coordinator for Instructional Technology Programs

Laurie Guyon is the Lead Coordinator for Instructional Technology Programs at WSWHE BOCES in Saratoga Springs, New York. She also serves as the Capital Region Director and trainer for NYSCATE. Laurie has authored "SMILE Learning: Leveraging the Power of Educational Technology" and co-hosts the SMILE Factor podcast. In 2023 she was awarded the Leader in Digital Education Award from SAANYS and ISTE's '20 to Watch.

Laurie’s Proud Teacher Moment: “I am so proud of the work we’ve done to get teachers and students used to using AI effectively. Also, this is the first year I have a team of edtech coaches to work with and I am beyond impressed with what they have been able to accomplish this year. They are amazing!” 

Follow Laurie at @SMILELearning on Twitter or visit her website  for fantastic  resources and learning opportunities.


6. Margret Thorsteinsdottir - Volunteer and STEM Ambassador UK

Margret is a  technologist, passionate about making Computing Science accessible to all. She believes teaching computing and programming early on in a fun and interactive way is the key to that.

Margret’s Proud Teacher Moment: “Having students challenging me with coding exercises and us all learning from it!”

Connect with her at @MargretAsgerdur on Twitter.


7. Sarah Fortino - Engineering and Technology Teacher 

Sarah Fortino has been teaching engineering, robotics, and technology to students aged three through grade nine; for well over a decade, her teaching career has taken her to several different countries. She has been at the Chestnut Hill School since the fall of 2014 teaching computer science, engineering, and technology to kids aged 3 to 12. Sarah worked at the Boston Science Museum as a Teacher in Residence during the summer of 2017, focusing on Computer Science. She has an M.Ed. in Elementary Education & Instruction from UMass Boston; a Bachelor's Degree in Photographic Electronic Imaging with a concentration in Computer Animation from UMass Dartmouth. 

Sarah’s Proud Teacher Moment: “This year, I added a new end-of-year project with my 6th graders, in which they were able to  design and laser cut their own LED lamps!”

For inspiring STEM project ideas, be sure to follow her at @edtechbitsandbytes on Instagram.


8. Wendie Turner - Media Technology Specialist

Wendie Turner is currently in her 23rd year of teaching at Whitehouse ISD. She spent 17 years in the general education classroom and now serves as an elementary Media Technology Specialist for Pre-K through 5th grade, which includes teaching students in the life skills classes. One look at her classroom, and you’ll be able to tell immediately her passion for using innovative ways to meet the needs of students goes above and beyond. Through STEM, literature, and magical classroom setups, she fosters absolutely memorable and engaging learning experiences for her kids. 

Wendie’s Proud Teacher Moment: “In my position, I am blessed to see so many of those "ah-ha" moments with kids. Just seeing them make a connection in the learning moment brings me pure joy. Whether it is  a Pre-K kiddo excited that they can find the letters to make their name, a 3rd grader who is blown away by circuits and how we are conductors, or girls that have bonded through our Code Charmers club ... my heart is always full.”

For classroom inspiration and a dose of authentic student joy, follow her at @elementarymountainmoverswisd on Instagram. 


9. Tracy Lescault - Ed Tech Integration Coach

Tracy has taught in New York public schools for the past 15 years. Having begun her career as a school librarian, she recently became an Ed Tech coach. Tracy loves seeing the way that technology tools can empower students to become creators on their own, and how it opens up the door to their imagination and ingenuity. 

Tracy’s Proud Teacher Moment: “This is my first year as an ed tech coach after 15 years as a school librarian, so my accomplishment this year was being able to connect with so many classroom teachers to schedule visits to their classrooms to introduce students and teachers to new technology tools or systems. It's been so much fun and so rewarding to see kids light up when they make connections and realize that technology is something that they can all use!” 

Check out Tracy’s  blog, “Tech Savvy Teaching” for some great technology tips for the classroom. 


While we have been privileged to get to work with many wonderful educators like the ones featured in this post, we know there are so many more inspiring teachers who are doing incredible work in their classrooms and communities.  We hope to get to work with many more of them and be inspired by them in the times to come! 

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