PBS Announces Educators Selected for the 2017 Digital Innovators Program | PBS About

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Program recognizes 52 teachers for their game-changing integration of digital media in the classroom; Digital Innovators will partner with local PBS stations to build learning outcomes in communities across the U.S.

Arlington, VA, April 18, 2017 – Today, PBS announced the educators across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom changemakers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms in a way that sparks a love of learning for their students. Among those selected were teachers who are using 3D printers with their students to create prosthetic limbs; a technology coach whose classroom is a “STEM Bus” and co-teachers who use technology to bring their students together in one class, even though they’re in physical classrooms that are miles apart. A panel of esteemed judges selected the 52 PBS Digital Innovators from across the US, representing each of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

In partnership with PBS member stations nationwide, PBS Digital Innovators serve as education partners – deepening the connection between educator communities and their local PBS stations, while leveraging PBS’ curriculum-aligned, classroom-ready resources to support learning goals. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development; share their ideas on PBS platforms; have access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia; receive a free PBS Teacherline professional development course; and are invited to special events, including the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. This year’s summit, in San Antonio, Texas, takes place directly before the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

“We were struck by the creativity and passion of this year’s applicants,” said Sara Schapiro, Vice President of Education, PBS. “The 2017 PBS Digital Innovators are a passionate group of educators who are committed to changing the way students learn through technology and digital media. Education is at the core of PBS’ mission and as a key partner with parents and educators across America, we’re excited for the opportunity to learn from and work with these classroom change makers as they partner with PBS member stations to share content that truly engages and empowers students in every community.”

Below is a list of the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators and their local PBS stations; their profiles and photographs can be found here.

  • Amanda Walker, Northport, AL (Alabama Public Television)
  • Traci Espeland, Anchorage, AK (Alaska Public Media)
  • Amber Akapnitis, Phoenix, AZ (Arizona PBS)
  • Farrah McEntire, Star City, AR (AETN)
  • Alejandro Picazo, San Diego, CA (KPBS San Diego)
  • Bretta Loeffler, Thornton, CO (Rocky Mountain PBS)
  • Furahi Achebe, West Haven, CT (CPTV Hartford)
  • Katherine Mulrooney, Newark, DE (WHYY)
  • Paul Podraza, Kissimmee, FL (WUCF-TV)
  • Lynn Early, Roswell, GA (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
  • Leah Aiwohi, Kapaa, HI (PBS Hawaii )
  • Paige Somoza, Boise, ID (Idaho Public Television)
  • Jamila Leonard, Chicago, IL (WTTW )
  • Josie McKay, Carmel, IN (WFYI – Indianapolis)
  • Cathi (Cate) Miller, Des Moines, IA (IPTV)
  • Elizabeth Burns, Newton, KS (KPTS)
  • Ashley Judd, McKee, KY (KET)
  • Desiree Alexander, Shreveport, LA (LPB KLTS)
  • Benjamin Brigham, Manchester, ME (MPBN)
  • Tamala Stuckey, Laurel, MD (Maryland Public Television)
  • Rich Lehrer, Ipswich, MA (WGBH)
  • Melissa Kempski, Lake Orion, MI (DPTV)
  • Nathan Lund, Glenwood, MN (Lakeland Public Television)
  • Heather Montgomery, Ocean Springs, MS (Mississippi Public Broadcasting)
  • Andrea Woods, Saint Louis, MO (KETC PBS Nine Network)
  • Amy Leffler, Billings, MT (MontanaPBS)
  • Allison Pontious, Elkhorn, NE (NET)
  • Mike Lang, North Las Vegas, NV (Vegas PBS)
  • Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne, Peterborough, NH (NHPTV)
  • Sylwia Denko, Lawrenceville, NJ (NJVT)
  • Rachel Thomas and Steven Lamb, Albuquerque, NM (KNME)
  • Elisabeth Bostwick, Horseheads, NY (WSKG-TV)
  • Sebastian Byers, Kings Mountain, NC (UNC-TV)
  • Johanna Ibarra, Fargo, ND (Prairie Public Broadcasting)
  • Amy Kochensparger, Eaton, OH (PBS ThinkTV)
  • Brian Jared Morgan, Tulsa, OK (OETA)
  • Shawn Patrick Higgins, Portland, OR (OBP)
  • Steven Hartnett, North Huntingdon, PA (WQED Pittsburgh)
  • Jennifer Graham, Richmond, RI (Rhode Island PBS)
  • Ashley Fort, Batesburg, SC (SCETV)
  • Matt Christensen, Brandon, SD (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)
  • Justin Barton, Bristol, TN (East Tennessee PBS)
  • Krissy Venosdale, Missouri City, TX (Houston Public Media)
  • Sara Layton, Santa Clara, UT( KUED)
  • Sharon Davison, South Hero, VT (Vermont PBS)
  • Joe Beasley, Henrico, VA (WCVE/WHTJ)
  • Melissa Wrenchey, Kirkland, WA (KCTS)
  • Carmen Jenkins, Frazier, Washington, DC (WHUT/WETA)
  • Sandra Wiseman, Wheeling, WV (WVPB)
  • David Olson, Madison, WI (WPT)
  • Abigail Hurley, Sheridan, WY (Wyoming PBS)

More than 100,000 digital resources, including lesson plans, worksheets, video content, and more, are available through PBS LearningMedia for pre-K-12 classrooms. Teachers can access this content at www.pbslearningmedia.org.

About PBS Education

PBS Education provides all educators with access to high-quality, standards-aligned content for the classroom and professional development and peer-to-peer experiences to enrich teaching and learning opportunities in classrooms across America. Through partnerships with nearly 350 local member stations, PBS Education supports and connects prek-12 teachers, parents and communities to help students reach their full potential both in and out of the classroom. PBS Education meets the needs of today’s educator with offerings that include: PBS LearningMedia, PBS TeacherLine and the PBS Digital Innovators Program. More information about PBS Education is available at www.pbs.org/education or by following PBS Education on Twitter and Facebook.

About PBS LearningMedia

As America’s largest classroom, PBS offers digital content and services for teachers of children from pre-K through 12 th grade that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is a free and paid media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and delivers research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences to engage students in exploring curriculum concepts that align with National and Common Core State Standards. Nationwide, more than 1.8 million teachers and users have registered access to more than 100,000 digital resources available through PBS LearningMedia. More information about PBS LearningMedia is available at www.pbslearningmedia.org or by following PBS LearningMedia on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact:

PBS LearningMedia | Atiya N. Frederick | anfrederick@pbs.org | 703-739-5147

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