Laila Y. Sanguras, Ph.D.
I believe in the power of education because of what it has done for me. I am the first in my family to graduate college and now I sit here designing a life for myself that is full of challenge and inspiration. This website, this mission to empower teachers and improve education, is my dream.
My journey began as a middle school language arts and social studies teacher in a small Oregon town. Life took me to Texas where I taught eighth grade language arts, primarily to gifted and talented students.
I was fortunate to pilot a blended learning program in my school district, first with elite gymnasts, then with accelerated eighth graders, and then with a large group of eighth graders.
I designed a rigorous curriculum and worked with a group of innovative teachers to design a hub of technology to ensure the right mix of in-out of the classroom. Being a part of this pilot was one of the greatest experiences of my career.
However, I burned out. Things changed and our program didn't have the autonomy and resources we once had. The red tape, restrictions, and lack of support were exhausting, so I moved on.
I graduated with my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, worked a bit in program evaluation, and started constructing my ideal career: writing and working with teachers. So here I am and here you are, which makes me incredibly happy! Thank you.
If you want a dry version of my bio, click here for my CV.
Todd Kettler, Ph.D.
Some of life’s biggest decisions involve a walking away. In 1992, I made a door stop out of my civil procedure book and walked away from law school to become a teacher.
I began as a middle school English teacher. It was humbling and magical at the same time. We studied The Martian Chronicles, The Giver, and Old Man and the Sea. I learned that those are just books, and my job was to turn them into looking glasses through which teenagers examined life and culture.
Then I taught high school English. Students were alarmed to learn that The Raven was about a girl, not a bird, and The Odyssey is both a universal journey and ironically also a minivan.
My role as teacher transformed when I spent more than a decade as the director of advanced academics in two marvelous school districts. I studied the art and science of teaching from a different perspective, and eventually found my way to teaching again in a College of Education.
Over time my view of teaching changed from one who explains to one who leads. Now I teach teachers about learning designs that emphasize complex thinking and conceptual understanding. I really do read The New Yorker every week in the same order—cartoons, poems, book reviews, shouts and murmurs, and when it seems a dark November in my soul, I still take to the usedbook store. My CV details some of the technical things I do to keep professor in my title.