Name Dropping

Besides my ability to nap, my grandkids and my airport moves I don’t brag about much. But in addition to those things I often brag about my network. Part curiosity, part luck, I’ve amassed a network of people in my life that is truly stellar. People in the world of education who are bright thinkers and caring individuals who selfishly make me better as an educator and human. I once stated I’m a giant derivative.

Part of the luck of building this network has been my privilege to travel and spend time with these people. Like everyone else over the past few years, I’ve been more confined to my screen to maintain this network. But after a week of travelling from Vancouver to Toronto and back home, my drive home from the airport allowed me time to reflect and I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude and felt compelled to write about, brag and name-drop the wonderful folks I was able to interact with over 3 days. Here we go.

Chris Kennedy. Chris has been a long-time friend. Truly one of my first Canadian connections. He and I were among the first and still-standing bloggers in Canadian education. There are many things I admire about him but specifically, he’s been a wonderful sounding board in better understanding the current state of schools. He’s not afraid to challenge ideas and live in uncertainty. His curiosity is always present and I know he is highly respected among his peers. Truly one of the best leaders I know. Fun fact: He will never serve sandwiches for lunch meetings. 

Julie Foss. Julie is new to my network but is now a work colleague. She is as thoughtful as they come. This week Julie and I facilitated 100 high school leaders in the MetroVan area and I marvelled at her skill and ability to provide equal parts structure and autonomy for participants. She’s a great listener and I know she’ll always come up with a better way and idea moving forward. 

George Kozlovic, Ian Kennedy, Brooke Moore. These three leaders from three different school districts in Metro Vancouver reflect high-quality expertise and leadership in this region. But beyond that, their desire to collaborate and share sets them apart. The work they’ve led around assessment, Indigenous learning and high school transformation, in general, is exemplary. They are so generous with their time and their willingness to be vulnerable is inspiring. 

Gino Bondi. Gino and I have a special connection with obscure Canadian TV references. Beyond that, Gino is a no-nonsense leader who works tirelessly to make school better for students. He is emphatic towards all learners and pursues authentic and meaningful learning to be the staple of public education. 

After a late evening flight to Toronto, I spent the next day attending the Dell Innovative Roadshow. Katina Papulkas organized an outstanding event. Katina is indeed a mover and shaker. She and I work closely together as ALP is Dell’s Professional Learning provider. Her role as Education Strategist is about exploring innovative ways for students and organizations to leverage technology. She is the mastermind behind such initiatives as Girls Who Game and Soar with Mentor. Katina is featured in my CanadianED Leadership Show 

Robert Martellaci. Robert is the founder of MindShare Learning. Robert’s network is truly impressive. There are not many who are as committed to promoting innovation in learning across Canada as much as Robert. Robert has been very supportive of my work throughout the years and he’s done the same for many others as well. Robert is also featured on an episode of my podcast.

Jason Bucherri. Jason and I spend many years on the road together during our days at Discovery Education. Jason’s background in education and business makes gives him a special insight into the educational landscape. Beyond that, his love of philosophy and exploring ideas makes him a great find at any networking event. He and I also spend hours talking sports. Given I’ve helped turn him into a golfer, makes me proud. 

Alec Couros. Alec was the keynote speaker for the event. Alec and I go back over 20 years. We’ve keynoted and presented together and attended many conferences over the years. Apparently I’m his third brother.

Alec is a world leader in digital and information literacy. I’ll always be grateful for giving me the opportunity to teach undergrads and grad students. He’s always been generous with his time and expertise with me and with others. I’m proud to call him a friend. 

I’d say that’s a pretty good week and a pretty impressive group of people that have contributed immensely to my life both professionally and personally. Not to brag. Well, actually to brag.