We are Roanoke County educators who are crazy about STEM (Children’s Engineering) and the Maker Movement as a way to engage all students.
Tina Coffey has been a public school teacher for nineteen years, the last eleven as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher. She holds her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech and her Bachelors from Emory & Henry College. She works with teachers at three schools in Roanoke County, helping them learn to use and integrate technology into their classrooms through inservices, small group training, and co-teaching. She is passionate about STEM activities, Project Based Learning, Makerspaces, and other technology and hands-on methods to engage students, make learning relevant, and foster 21st Century skills. She presents at various local, state, and regional conferences and teaches technology and teacher recertification classes at Virginia Western Community College. She loves traveling, schnauzers, reading, hiking, camping, geocaching, backpacking, gadgets, yoga, having fun, and staying connected. She blogs about Teaching with Technology here, and Everything Else Under the Sun here.
Meg Swecker is the Coordinator of Technology Integration for Roanoke County Public Schools, in Roanoke, Virginia. She works with elementary and secondary teachers at three schools, helping them learn to use and integrate technology into their classrooms. She has been teaching for 29 years and has been an ITRT since 2000. Meg moonlights at the local community college, designing and facilitating teacher recertifcation seminars. She presents at local, regional, and state wide conferences and was the 2009 Virginia Technology Leadership Award recipient from the Virginia Department of Education. She is a scuba instructor and loves warm, tropical locations. She blogs about technology integration on the Giant Stride blog.
Jessica McClung has been in the field of education for over twenty years, with a specific focus on working with and advocating for students with disabilities. Jessica earned her bachelors and masters degrees in special education from East Tennessee State University. She then completed her doctorate at Virginia Tech in 2002. Currently, Jessica is the Director of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services in Roanoke County Public Schools. Prior to this, she was a principal, assistant principal, special education supervisor and teacher. Jessica is married and has three spunky children who keep on her toes and help her to always remember what’s really important in life. Jessica enjoys photography, geocaching, crochet, and cooking and volunteers her time working with adults with disabilities in her church.
Kimberly Bradshaw has been in public education for twenty two years. Kimberly began her career in Mecklenburg County where she taught Pre-K, first and fifth grades. In 2003, Kimberly moved to the Roanoke Valley to join the teaching staff in Roanoke County. Kimberly is in her ninth year as an administrator with Roanoke County Public Schools. She is proud to serve the teachers, staff, students and community at Oak Grove Elementary. She holds her Masters in Supervision from the University of Virginia and her Bachelors from Longwood College. Kimberly is married to Jim Bradshaw, who is an administrator at the secondary level. Together they have two children Kristen who is a senior in high school and Jason who is in middle school. When not following her children from ball field to ball field, she enjoys traveling and reading.
Patricia Gentry is a Special Education Teacher for Roanoke County Public Schools in Roanoke, Virginia. She has worked in both general and special education settings for over twenty years. Currently, she teaches in the FACES (Functional Academic and Career Education) program, focusing on functional academics and daily living skills for students with more significant disabilities. She has a masters degree in School Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix and bachelor degrees in both special education and elementary education from Montana State University- Billings. She loves hiking, camping, geocaching, crocheting, and spending quality time with her family.
Heather Balsley is the Teacher-Librarian at William Byrd Middle School. She has been in the education field for 24 years and began her career in Special Education. After graduating from Radford University with a Bachelors in early and middle education and Masters in Learning Disabilities, Heather went on to earn her National Board Certification. She is an active member in the Virginia Association of School Librarians, named Roanoke Region Librarian of the Year in 2011, and presenting educator for the Library of Congress. Heather loves her middle school students and helps them see beyond the classroom walls with Makerspace and Stem activities. She updates conference materials and projects on her website: Reading Rocks WBMS. Heather is married and has one son, Jake, who is a student at William Byrd High School. In her free time she likes to bike, hike, and read.
Susan Corbett has been in education for 27 years; 2 as an Instructional Assistant for Special Education, 2 in Gifted Resource, and the last 23 as a classroom teacher. Currently, she teaches fourth grade reading, writing, and science at Oak Grove Elementary and also serves as chairman for their SCA. Susan is married with two children. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science. She earned her teaching certificate from Roanoke College. Outside of school, Susan serves as a Girl Scout leader and high school band volunteer. She enjoys reading, singing, and hiking.
Susan is always looking for ways to incorporate technology into her lessons. She has worked closely with Tina Coffey to develop STEM and Makerspace activities for her students. Her current project focuses on the merger of Pokémon Go with her science unit on animal adaptations.
Lynda Graves has taught fourth and fifth grade for nine years with the Roanoke County Schools. She holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Hollins University and a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to her career in education, Ms. Graves worked in public information for the U.S. Navy, City of Norfolk and Newport News Shipbuilding. Ms. Graves represents mature professionals who, despite having grown up with bunny rabbit ears atop their black and white television sets, are embracing current technology and striving to provide relevant experiences for young students.
Melissa Weikle is a third grade teacher with Roanoke County Schools and has been teaching for fourteen years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Longwood University. Outside of the classroom, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and friends and vacationing at the beach.
Alisa Downey is a Special Education Teacher for Roanoke County Schools, in Roanoke, Virginia. She co-teachers with teachers in different grade levels, planning and delivering lessons to students with disabilities and students without disabilities. She has been teaching for a total of ten years. She has her Masters in Education from Liberty University and her Bachelors from ToccoaFalls College. She loves hanging out with her family, traveling, hiking, baking, art, being creative, meeting new people, photography, and learning about other cultures.
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