District News ➤ Article 589
Thumbnail Image for Article 589Bill Gates' blog features Andover teacher
Posted Date: 08/26/2015

The following story is an excerpt from The Butler County Times Gazette.

Dyane Smokorowski, technology specialist and instructor for Andover Public Schools, has the distinction of being featured in video on Bill Gates’s personal blog.

Smokorowski is the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is currently serving as a PreK-12 Instructional Technology coach in the Andover Public Schools in Andover, where she supports more than 300 teachers in effective technology integration and professional development. Mrs. Smoke, as her students know her, believes in a project-based, student-centered classroom that helps students build skills in communication, planning, research and cultural awareness.

“I want our students to develop a love for learning, communication and technology, but also to understand how to use those passions to advance their own futures, as well as that of the global community,” she stated.

Bill and Melinda Gates are strong supporters of education and teachers. Their “Back to School” campaign features blog posts and video feedback from teachers.

Smokorowski, along with 10 other Kansas Teachers of the Year and Finalists for Kansas Teacher of the Year, were nominated to attend the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) national event in Seattle this past July.  At this event, exceptional teachers were invited to learn from one another and to celebrate the teaching profession with the goal to organize similar conferences in their regions.   

Additionally, Smokorowski was invited to share her teacher story at the event as a result of her teacher leadership at the local, state, national and international levels. She spoke of her passion for global collaboration, teacher leadership and how she believes teachers deserve to be recognized as professionals for their dedication and commitment to student success.  Her hopes are that Kansas educators can shine a light on the positive and amazing things happening in the classrooms so education can be celebrated in our communities.

Bill and Melinda have both stressed the importance of teachers’ voices being heard and to get the support for which they are looking.

“I enjoy talking to teachers, period. It’s a lot of fun for me. I find their enthusiasm infectious,” Melinda Gates states on her blog. “By listening to what teachers have to say about what they see in their classrooms every single day, I learn how our foundation can support them in the most effective and efficient ways.”

The content of the Gates’ blogs and information on the foundation can be viewed at www.gatesnotes.com/Education/Listening-to-Teachers.