Resources and Reflections

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who am I and How did I get here?

John Dewey, a well-known educational reformer, says it best, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

My name is Craig Suttie and I was born and raised in Fairfield, Maine a small mill town bisected by the Kennebec River. Three generations of my family worked at Keyes Fiber Paper Mill (now called Huthamaki) including myself. Livermore Falls is very similar to my home surroundings. Fortunately, I knew I needed to further my education and so I attended college graduating from University of Maine at Farmington and then jumping into a masters program for curriculum development and technology.

For the past 18 years I have worked for Good Will - Hinckley (one mile from the Sappi Paper Mill) starting as a support personnel for homeless and disadvantaged youth and moving on to assisting in the creation of a Life Skills curriculum of a Independent Living Program for adolescents ages 17-21. Next, I went to the campus middle school teaching adventure- based education and project-based learning activities to diverse learners honing a constructivist pedagogy that focused on rubrics and standards-based grading: I embrace best practices like cooperative learning groups, differentiated instruction, and scaffolding to meet needs of diverse learners. After a few years in middle school I walked in to the newly renovated high school and met with the principal to discuss how we would assemble the newly delivered computers in the new media center. She told me if I could make them work, then the program would be mine. So...... from that point forward (about eight to ten years) and with very little experience, I concentrated on developing a Computer Literacy curriculum aligned with NETS, encouraged teachers to work and train with computers and engage students that used them. About a year after the introduction of the computers to our school, we underwent developing a school curriculum and participated in a comprehensive school reform program. A few years later we earned accreditation. It was throughout this process that I became very interested in pedagogy, learning theory and curriculum development and how to use technology to assist teaching and learning - and so began the experience of integrating technology, technology management, and technology support to instructors and a network administrator.

My tour of duty at Livermore Falls will follow this approach: Put students at the center of all that we do, include and support teachers (and students) regarding all things relevant to immersing technology and improve teaching and learning.

Research and experience reveals that teacher support for technology use and integration usually takes a back seat to technical difficulties and 'fires". I intend to reverse that and put teachers first and create technical support networks to maintain an adequate infrastructure. I intend to be visible, transparent, and supportive.

In sum, I will embrace this opportunity and school community. I will collaborate, communicate, and contribute. I will provide help and I will need help. I will make make my strengths stronger and my weaknesses strong.


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