Monday, March 8, 2010


On Saturday I had the amazing honor of being named ASCD's Outstanding Young Educator.

I believe that any award with the word "young" in it is a great thing but this award was truly special to me.  ASCD is an amazing organization that exemplifies the philosophy and approach needed to transform educational practices across the globe.  I had the opportunity to speak at this year's conference and I've been asked many questions about the speech.  The Jay-Z quote/reference has definitely been the topic I'm asked about most.  I thought I'd post the speech in both Wordle and text form.  This way you can see that Jay-Z was always part of the plan and also see how grateful I am to have received this honor. B

The theme of this conference is “Critical Transformations”.  Critical Transformations occur in life at the fork in the road.  I believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he stated…
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. “

As I reflect back I see that the critical transformations in my life have led me to where I am today.  I could have been led down different paths like my friends, siblings, etc.  I am the first person in my family to graduate college.  I have my master’s degree and am currently pursuing my doctorate.  Not bad for a kid whose second grade teacher said that “There must be something wrong with him”.  In the words of another hero of mine (Jay Z)….I’m not sure that’s how teachers should speak to kids…she’s on my list.

Today I stand before you as an example of what is truly possible with a whole child approach to education.  I am an example of what is possible when someone believes in you enough to see past your exterior and look inside you to see that greatness lies with.  Greatness is within all of us.  I am here because of a teacher that took an interest in a kid that others had written off.  I am here because of people like you.  I was that student sitting in your class, school, or district that is disengaged, disinterested, and determined to get out of work.  Critical transformations for 21st century learners occur at the intersection of potential and passion.  Find out what your kids are truly passionate about and start the transformation process there.  Every person deserves to have someone that gives them the courage to be the person they are meant to be. 

Nobody is passionate about bubbling in answers.  My kids want to make a difference and save the world using the tools and technologies that excite them.  Our kids are counting on us to prepare them for their future…not ours.  Their successful transformations are going to be dependent on their abilities to communicate, collaborate, create and critically think about global problems.

I have the best opportunity in the world each and every day.  I get to make a difference in the lives of 600 of the most talented kids at Hidenwood Elementary in Newport News, VA.   Our theme at Hidenwood is that nothing is impossible because I’m possible.  To the students and staff of Hidenwood and to the students and teachers across the globe…If I can stand here before you today…anything is truly possible.

We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” We have the power and potential in this room to change the course of educational history and transform classrooms across the world.  What will your next critical transformation be?   I read recently that schools will change more in the next ten years than they have in the past 100.  That transformation begins today…at this conference…with this group of determined people.

Thank you to ASCD for this tremendous honor.  The Outstanding Young Educator Award will certainly serve as another transformation in my life.

1 comment:

  1. This was a phenomenal speech. Wish I had been there to hear it in person. Great meeting you.