Bert Bower has truly experienced the classroom from every perspective. He began his career as a classroom aide, then taught social studies for eight years, and finally earned a PhD in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University. For the past 20 years he has been crafting innovative K–12 social studies programs by collaborating with teachers and trying out new ideas in the classroom. His goal is to defeat the "silent violence" of stand-and-deliver teaching that leaves youth passive and bored by creating programs that teach students to ponder and participate. Bert combines proven teaching strategies with cutting-edge technology to successfully reach all learners in the diverse classroom, even the students who sit in the back of the classroom and rarely speak. Bert knows his goals are lofty, but he has witnessed the success of TCI programs around the country.
Amy Larson oversees the day-to-day operations of TCI and is essential to bringing TCI to an increasing number of classrooms each year. Her self-described non-traditional life path helps guide the very non-traditional TCI through the minefield of growing a business in a competitive marketplace. Her primary focus is to enable TCI to be financially healthy while maintaining an exceptional pedagogy-oriented culture. Amy has enjoyed working at the intersection of operations and publishing for the past twenty years. About working with TCI, she says "I wanted to use my business skills to make positive contributions in the world. I love our mission." Amy empowers our key managers to make innovative decisions, a key success factor to our fast business growth.
"Student success in the classroom!" is the rallying cry of our Co-Director of Outreach, Nancy Bredin. As a teacher, her instructional model and approach to teaching were part of a published research study at Michigan State University, showing that student involvement and interactive instruction increase student retention and result in higher test scores. Her years of teaching introduced her to TCI through piloting TCI's first basal program, History Alive! America's Past. She then became the K–5 Curriculum Specialist for her district and a trainer of the TCI Approach. Nancy applies her endless energy and enthusiasm to training teachers on how to get the most out of TCI materials and, especially, the TCI strategies. Hundreds of teachers all over the United States have her to thank for helping them create student success in the classroom!
Whenever Natasha Martin had a bad day in her middle school classroom, she would turn to her TCI methodology book, Bring Learning Alive! Calling it her "recipe book for creating interaction in the classroom," Natasha started working for TCI so she could share those magic recipes with teachers across the country. Since 1997, she has worked with countless educators to transform the way social studies is taught. She hopes her work will someday benefit her son and daughter and that they'll experience the type of interactive, hands on learning in which she believes. To learn more about Natasha's ponderings on 21st century education and digital natives, you can find her on the TCI Blog.
Our Director of Curriculum, Maria Favata, has been in the high tech world for years. Although Maria thrived in the industry, she yearned for a role where she could use her talents for a greater purpose. Lucky for us, she found TCI. Maria is the driver behind our online subscriptions. She describes her job as "creating transformational classroom technology that pushes the envelope a little." On any given afternoon you can find Maria, phone pressed to her ear, tirelessly reaching out to teachers using the Teacher Subscription, finding out what they like and their ideas for improving our technology. So if you are ever using your Teacher Subscription and have an idea, hit that "Feedback" button. Maybe someday you just might get a phone call or e-mail from Maria.
Phuong Duong has the best title in TCI. Wouldn't it be great if you got to "control" your workplace? All kidding aside, Phuong is a financial and math whiz. She oversees accounting, order entry, our warehouse, and fulfillment. "Math was always my favorite subject in school. Probably because I started school as an ESL student and math was the one subject without a language barrier." But don't worry, social studies teachers, over the years we've slowly turned Phuong into a history geek. We did it by speaking to her guilty pleasure, criminal investigation shows. Now Phuong looks forward to playing two of our Reading ChallengesCrack the Code and Primary Source Investigationtwo games perfect for someone with sharp attention to detail.
Mitzi Anderson grew up in an educational environment: her mother taught elementary school for 33 years, and Mitzi remembers helping her get the classroom ready every fall. Mitzi earned a BA degree in Education and a California teaching credential, working as a substitute teacher while earning her MBA. When she came to work at TCI, she recognized immediately the value of the TCI Approach for both students and teachers. As the Director of People, she combines her abilities as a "people" person with her love of history and teaching. "I love helping people reach their potential. Working in Human Resources is like the adult version of the classroom; different people have different needs, and I work to find the best solution for everyone. TCI's mission is similar; we work to reach all students in the classroom."
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