2015 -16 Imagination Chapters Program

Meet our Imagination Chapter Leaders

These are the talented teachers, librarians, and business and community leaders who are helping to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids around the world through Imagination Chapters. To learn more, please visit www.imagination.is/chapters.


Amy FLeury

M.C. Riley Elementary | Bluffton, SC

For the past 5 years, I have had the privilege of teaching at M.C. Riley Elementary in Bluffton,SC; first as a second grade teacher and now as a K-2 STEM lab teacher. As I enter my second year as an Imagination Chapter leader, I am forever thankful that I was presented with this opportunity. Hosting an Imagination chapter has provided a new opportunity for my students to become leaders in our school and community, and also to express themselves creatively in a world-wide forum.

Fun facts:
1) I am a tv junkie, with my favorite show being The League! 2) Teaching is a second career for me. I began my professional career in hospitality management.

amy.fleury@beaufort.k12.sc.us  |  @2ndgrteachamy

Amy Saldanha

Amy Saldanha

Kiddywampus | Hopkins, Minnesota

Amy Saldanha is the owner and founder of kiddywampus, an inspired toy store & art studio, in Hopkins, MN. Amy served as a trial attorney after graduating from law school then worked at several IT start ups, opening kiddywampus in 2006 as the toy store she always wanted for her 3 kids. Amy has been hosting cardboard camps for kids for years and is pumped to be a part of the 2015 Global Cardboard Challenge. She can’t wait to see what comes next.

Fun facts:
1) Amy grew up on a farm in Nebraska and is adept at welding. 2) Favorite artist: Dale Chihuly

amy@kiddywampus.com | http://www.kiddywampus.com


Andrew Tapia

Hollenbeck Middle School | Los Angeles, CA

I am often referred to as “Mr. Hollenbeck” due to my passion and tireless commitment to Hollenbeck Middle School (LAUSD). Having been raised in Boyle Heights, I work hard to bring opportunities to youth that I didn’t have growing up. I believe this engages students in school and motivates them to participate in their community. Some of the opportunities I have spearheaded are our Edible Community Garden, Students Run LA Running Team, and Student Leadership. I also work throughout the summer for the “Summer Night Lights” program under the GRYD Foundation for Mayor Eric Garcetti at various parks in Los Angeles. In my spare time I enjoy running, art, 80s music and spending time with loved ones.

Fun facts:
1) I have run 7 marathons. 2) I enjoy going to concerts.

axt1247@lausd.net  |  www.hollenbeckms.org


Ann Akif

Comly Elementary School | Philadelphia, PA

Ann Akif is an art educator in the School District of Philadelphia with additional certification in English as a Second Language and Middle School/High School English. She is interested in the student-centered model of teaching art. She also oversees the school garden and teaches gifted children. In her spare time she studies French and writing for children.

Fun facts:
1) I’ve liked collecting caterpillars since I was a kid. 2) A goat herder once invited me to hang out with him in the gorges of Morocco.


Ann Masibo

ByGrace School | Nairobi, Kenya

I am a passionate soul that works as a Christian educator and a design entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya. I’m an out-of-the-box teacher and take great pride when my students are creating and designing because that’s when learning happens best. I love it when my students are engaged with effective tools and processes.

I’m excited to make learning a fun and exciting experience through this Chapter. My educational background is in Geo-informatics Engineering. I am deeply interested in developing curricula for students in developing economies.

Fun facts:
1) I find frogs so endearing. 2) Brown ugali and great art make life beautiful!

@Ann_Em1 | http://imagineby.wordpress.com

Annelie Roux

Annelie Roux

Anasa Community Wellness Centre | Paphos,Cypress

I have been involved with children’s programmes from a young age, assisting my mother with church and community programmes for children. With little funding we had to be resourceful. The skills I learned came in really handy when I trained as a Montessori teacher in the Nursery Foundation stage. Throughout my life I have been involved with community and children’s programmes in one way or another and have always enjoyed getting creative with kids. Here in Cyprus I am involved in a community centre and the Imagination Foundation and the cardboard challenge are a perfect fit for our vision, mission and aims.

Fun facts:
1) As a child I had a pet spider named Lord Ariston. 2) When I was young I did type setting with lead letters in my farther’s print shop. I can still read mirror image.



Ashley Baylor

North Grove Elementary | Indianapolis, Indiana

I am an elementary art educator living in Indianapolis. I graduated from Marshall University in West Virginia where I spent the first three years of my teaching career. During that time, I spent a summer in Africa teaching with Invisible Children’s Teacher Exchange program and volunteering at Rhino Fund Uganda. When I’m not keeping up with my #teacherdiaries, I enjoy writing blogs for IndyHub.org and teaching gymnastics. I aspire to be a lifelong learner and I am excited to see what’s next for Imagination Chapter Year 2!

Fun facts:
1) I take a handstand photo everywhere I go! 2) I’m obsessed with the author George Eliot and I am trying to work my way through the rest of her oeuvre.


Annick Charlot

Annick Charlot

The Conservatory School | North Palm Beach, Florida

Annick Charlot serves as the Gifted Education Teacher and the Arts Department Head at The Conservatory School @ North Palm Beach. She attended Duke University, earning a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and Elementary Education, and continued on to the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, earning an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching. In her 9 years in the classroom, she has taught in dual-language, inclusion, and gifted education settings.

Ms. Charlot implements project-based learning through inquiry, encouraging students to question and explore the world around them. She is a career-long student of teaching; researching and reading about best practices in education to implement with her students and share with her colleagues.

Fun facts:
1) I played on a coed flag football team! It was great until I collided with a 250-pound player. Luckily, no concussion! 2) I love the beach and the outdoors! I’m blessed to live in a place where I can hike, bike, and run 5Ks near the ocean.

annick.charlot@palmbeachschools.org | @Exploration_Lab | www.TheExplorationLab.org

Antoaneta Milanova

Antoaneta Milanova

SOU ”Hristo Toprakchiev”” | Sofia, Bulgaria

I am an elementary school teacher from Bulgaria. Currently I work two jobs: schoolteacher in school and editor at the largest publishing house in Bulgaria. I have two wonderful children and I hope soon to have a fantastic grandchildren. I love time with my family. We love to travel and have fun.
I am an avid blogger and fan of new technologies. I love to create educational resources for children to provoke their thinking and develop their imagination. I love children and time spent in their company makes me feel happy and energized. Most inspire me fantasies and dreams of children.

Fun facts:
1) I love to travel. I dream of traveling in space. I believe there is extraterrestrial intelligent beings. 2) When I was little, I lied my mother that I study my lessons and in fact I read other book

antoineta@abv.bg | @antoineta66 | antoineta.wordpress.com/

Audra Lewis

Audra Lewis

William Allen School | Rochester, New Hampshire

I am a brand new Library Media Specialist in a new (to me) school. I am a former technology teacher and I love to tinker and make. I love to craft and create, and I am planning to add a makerspace to my library very soon!

Fun facts:
1) I love to read, I have no idea why it took me so long to become a librarian! 2) I love to experiment with food. I always want to try new and interesting restaurants.

@audrallurvey https://sites.google.com/a/nottingham.k12.nh.us/ms-lewis-library-adventure/

Beatrice Komolafe

Beatrice Komolafe

Inspiring Aspirations Media | Lagos, Nigeria

My love and passion for Education can be traced to various events, most significantly home-schooling and working at one of Nigeria’s foremost educational institutions. Some of my job functions then, required visiting, telling stories, reporting activities and events of the Seven Schools owned by the institution. I enjoyed this and soon realised I wanted to do more. I started an organisation for Kids and Co-founded an NGO.
When I am not inspiring the next generation, I am a Creative Writer/Communications/PR/Brands & Strategy Consultant. Emilie Wapnick tells me I might be a ‘Multipotentialite’ however; my love to reach and expand the horizon of Children in my Community and Country is second to none.

Fun facts:
1) I was once left-handed, now right-handed 2) Our organisation’s name was inspired by words written on a celebration cake on World Teachers Day in 2009

beatrice@inspiringaspirationsmedia.com | @betricebunoluwa | inspiringaspirationsmedia.com


Beth Cohen

Cherry Creek School District | Denver, CO

My experiences have been exciting and eclectic. I began my career in education in 1988 with a Commodore 64 and a dream to guide children to find their strengths and passions. I left teaching for a number of years to work in the imaginative worlds of network television and feature film production. Writing and all things creative are my passion. Hikes in the mountains surrounded by nature and daydreaming have planted the seeds to many a new adventure. I am thrilled to bring my many experiences and limitless enthusiasm for seeing the world through the eyes of a child to the Imagination Chapter Pilot Program!

Fun facts:
1) I spent many hours aspiring to make curved drawings on my Etch-a-Sketch. 2) Favorite childhood book: ‘James and the Giant Peach’ 3) Song I belt out at the top of my lungs when driving alone: “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp


Beverly Litke

China Grove Elementary | China Grove, North Carolina

It seems my interest in tinkering, exploring and science goes back a long ways as my baby picture shows me helping my dad work on his engineering degree. I’m the Library Media Specialist for a school of around 600 K-5 students in a small town in North Carolina. This is my 9th year in this second career of librarianship.

This is an exciting time to be involved in libraries as the maker movement takes hold in education. In addition to reading, I’ve always loved music, art, crafts, gardening, sewing, and more! Now there’s a legitimate reason to bring all these into the library space!

Fun facts:
1) Lived: Michigan, Iowa, South Carolina, Wyoming, Illinois, North Carolina, & Great Britain! 2) Have 3 precious grandchildren with whom I can enjoy childhood all over again!

@CGESMedia | http://cgemedia.webs.com

Ceilidh Galloway-Kane

Ceilidh Galloway-Kane

The Art House | Craftsbury, Vermont

Hello, my name is Ceilidh (kay-lee). I live in an extremely rural part of the United States, called The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It is possible, no likely, that there are more cows here than people. Fortunately, I like cows. Currently, I am the director of an arts non-profit called The Art House. We provide art classes and events to children & adults in the town of Craftsbury. I have always been an artist. There is nothing I enjoy more than experimenting, building, creating, failing, and learning. The most rewarding aspect of being in the arts non-profit world is the ability to feed the imagination of my community.

Fun facts:
1) My first name means ‘dance party’ in gaelic 2) I try not to wear matching socks 🙂

ceilidh.g.kane@gmail.com |  www.vermontarthouse.org/

Cerc Imagines: Allie Brudner, Noor AlRadi, Nancy Tarshis

Cerc Imagines: Allie Brudner, Noor AlRadi, Nancy Tarshis

CERC | NYC (The Bronx), New York

Being a grown-up kids, play continues to be a relished home for flights of ideas. As SLPs at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) in the Bronx we try to infuse all therapy with opportunities for that sense of wonder when tinkering, solving and all other -ings. CERC is a clinic that serves children from birth-21 with a range of needs and histories, including developmental and congenital disabilities, traumas and chronic illnesses.The “What ifs” generated make for some of the best adventures, barrier-free for those with special needs. It is beyond exciting to be able to provide our kids with a diving board into the imagined and build upon the magic of possibilities.

Fun facts:
1) When not working we love to have 30 second dance parties and play the Mallory family fun game. 2) Noor feeds a family of squirrels that knock on her window in NYC. (Allie and Nan think this is a little weird.)

cercimagines@gmail.com | @CERC_Imagines | www.cercimagines.com/


Cheryl Atwater

Creative Problem Solving Society (CPSS) | Burnaby, BC

In my role as President of CPSS, which sponsors the Odyssey of the Mind program in B.C., I have the opportunity to work with many other dedicated volunteers in fulfilling the Society’s mission to “Generate Future Problem Solvers”.

I’m an elementary/middle school teacher and have taught for the past 17 years at a Challenge Centre for Gifted Learners. I have a passion for engaging kids in fun, hands-on activities in order to encourage and develop their creativity and innovative thinking. I have never outgrown my own love of “playing around with things” and encourage a lot of designing, tinkering, constructing and divergent thinking at the Centre.

I love living on the west coast, am married to a creative thinking engineer and am the proud mom of an entrepreneur /inventor.

Favorite day of the year: International Mud Day
Food I would win an eating challenge with: Brownies

cpss.ca@gmail.com | www.odysseybc.ca


Chris Kiewra

Dimensions Learning Center | Lincoln, NE

In my role with the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation/Nature Explore, I devote my time to initiatives that create connections between families and nature as well as expand quality educational opportunities for children. With a Master’s degree in early childhood special education, I coach teachers, develop Nature Explore resources, and coordinate research initiatives. The highlight of my workday almost always is time I spend in outdoor classrooms with children and teachers. As a child, I grew up on a Nebraska farm and enjoyed helping my dad. My husband and I love to spend time with our three children who amaze and delight us with their adventures!

Favorite day of the year: International Mud Day
Food I would win an eating challenge with: Brownies

chrisk@natureexplore.org | dimensionsfoundation.org | natureexplore.org


Chris Koppensteiner

Creekside Elementary School | Surrey, British Columbia

I have been teaching elementary school for the last 15 years. Five years ago, I made the switch from being a primary grade teacher to teacher-librarian. It was a great switch for me because one of my favourite activities is reading aloud and sharing books with children. I love books! Also, being a teacher-librarian has given me the flexibility to create a learning commons area in my school where students can come create, collaborate, and communicate about their amazing ideas. When I am not teaching, I am a busy mom to two awesome kids. As one of my favourite literary characters, Pete the Cat says,”It’s all good!”

Fun facts:
1) Growing up, I always wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew. 2) My favourite book of all time is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

@CreeksideLC | http://creeksidelearningcommons.weebly.com


Christina Ung

Extera Public School | Los Angeles, CA

I am currently a 4th grade teacher in the historical neighborhood of Boyle Heights located in East Los Angeles. I love what I do every day because I am as much a learner as I am the teacher. I have worked in various educational capacities from New Orleans to the San Francisco Bay Area. Echoing Paulo Freire, I truly believe that education is the practice of freedom and that it can be a vehicle for social change. I was born and raised in Long Beach, California. I received two Bachelors of the Arts from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Education and California Teaching Credential from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Fun facts:
1) My favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 2) I have a blind pug named Wilbur, and he is named after the pig from ‘Charlotte’s Web’.



Collette Murray

The Hatch and Tinker Club | Manchester, UK

I currently teach acting, voice and directing in a BA and MA programme.

I live in Manchester with my husband, Chris, a photographer, writer and saxophonist and our four year old son, Gabriel, who informs me he is going to act, direct and build the set of the next trilogy of Star Wars films. I recently have trained as a Forest School Practitioner and am working as an atelierista in a Reggio Emilia school in Manchester, UK. I am also a active member of our regional home education network.

I am a genuine believer in the vital role that engagement with the arts plays in the development of our selves as individuals participating in a society. We are reminded that there are many ways to achieve our desired outcomes; we are only limited by our imaginations.

Our group will be made up of local kids both schooled and home-ed, and has been titled The Hatch and Tinker Club.

Fun facts:
1) My party trick is that I can sing two (sometimes three) notes at once. 2) My Mastermind specialist subject would be The West Wing (I am obsessed!)


Dave Hartzell

Shamrock Gardens Elementary | Charlotte, NC

I grew up in the Philadelphia area and have been teaching in high-promise areas for 7+ years. I am currently a Master Reach Teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. My wife, Kristina, and I are so, so proud of our 4 month old son Calvin. When I grow up I want to be a world traveler, visiting schools around the world and helping to spread innovative ideas to education everywhere.

Fun facts:
1) I tried to secretly invent things in my parents’ basement when I was younger. As a result, I almost blinded my best friend. 2) One of my college roommates was Joe Flacco–Baltimore Ravens QB, Super Bowl MVP, and all around nice guy.

dfhartzell@gmail.com  |  @40BookProject  |  @MrHartzell1


David Tominsky

Iowa Startup Accelerator | Cedar Rapids, IA

I am a 15-year veteran of the technical staffing industry: 10 years with the largest IT staffing company in the country, and an independent recruiter since 2010, focused on technology, engineering, and other tough to find talent. I am a father and entrepreneur who’s passionate about education and finding innovative ways to develop critical skills through events that are fun, engaging, and beyond awesome. I am actively building the startup community in Iowa’s Creative Corridor through organizing events like open coffee meetups, barcamps, and Startup Weekends. I currently serve as the Program Manager of the Iowa Startup Accelerator and am an organizer for CoderDojo Cedar Rapids and Startup Weekend Iowa City.

Favorite book: ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger
Hero: Robby Novak, Caine Monroy, and Elon Musk

david.tominsky@gmail. com  | @tominsky

Dee Kimbrell

Dee Kimbrell

Children Are People, Inc. | Hendersonville, Tennessee

I am an Educational Play Specialist, Teaching Artist and the founder of the educational consulting company, Creative Genius In You. It is my goal to bring playful and experiential learning back into the classroom through working with students, leading professional development and coordinating community activities that ignite the passion for play. I work a lot with low income groups and I especially love working with recycled and open ended materials because they provide equal opportunity for creativity!

I live in the Nashville, TN area with my husband and my socially challenged boxer named Molly.

Fun facts:
1) In my first job, I was a tour guide at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. I have seen Donald Duck without his head.
2) I collect heart shaped rocks from nature. I once brought back over 50lb of rocks from the Maryland shore in my suitcase.

dee@creativegeniusinyou.com | @deekimbrell | creativegeniusinyou.com/

Diana Fedora Tucci

Diana Tucci

Tinder Forest Nature School | Woodbridge, Ontario

In my role as the founder of the Tinder Forest Nature School, which is supported by the CGNC, the Common Ground Nature Collective, I have the opportunity to share my work with many brilliant educators, naturalists, artists, crafts people, techies and play advocates to fulfill our mandate towards building capacity as well as increasing access to outdoor play though experiential, child-led, place-based learning in nearby nature. Our newly formed monthly LILO Atelier Series blends creative maker spaces with outdoor risky play, tool use, technology, and literacy connection in our local woodland as a way of leaning into learning outdoors.

Fun facts:
1) Favourite read: Kith The Riddle of the Childscape by Jay Griffiths 2) Favourite childhood memory: Skating on our community, homemade, winter, woodland, skating rink.

@tinderforest | www.dianafedoratucci.blogspot.com

Denise Krebs

Denise Krebs

Al Raja School | Manama, Bahrain

I’ve been a teacher in private and public schools and community centers for over 20 years in California, Michigan, Arizona and Iowa. I’ve taught several grade levels between Kindergarten and grade 8. Currently, I’m teaching grade 2 English in a private school in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We were born to create since we were created in the image of the Creator. Therefore, I encourage children to create–from letting Kindergarten makers explore, to helping children re-create rubbish into playthings, to encouraging junior highers to create a positive digital footprint. Our Imagination Chapter is teeming with creative builders in grades 3-5.

Fun facts:
1) I’ve been to Paris, London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, but have never left the airport! 2) I am the chief learner in my classroom; it’s made all the difference.

@mrsdkrebs | imaginationbh.edublogs.org/

Dina Bey

Dina Bey

Ralph J. Bunche Academy | Detroit, Michigan

Dina Maria Bey is a native Detroiter. She served 15 years with the Detroit Police Department as an officer & an investigator, and she worked over 13 years as an educator. Currently, Ms. Dina Bey is an elementary teacher at Ralph J. Bunche Academy in Ecorse, MI.

Ms. Bey holds a Bachelors of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University (2000), & a Masters of Science degree in Education from City College of New York of the CUNY (2004).

Fun facts:
1) I love making documentary films. However, I don’t like being photographed. 2) My favorite children’s author is Kate DiCamillo


Doug Schmidt

Doug Schmidt

Victor Central Schools | Victor, New York

I ‘m an upstate New York native. After high school I joined the U.S. Navy and traveled the world mostly underwater in submarines. After the Navy I worked in a variety of jobs from restaurant manager of a national chain to bakery trainer for Wegman’s Supermarkets where I created new ideas for their bakeries. When I turned 32, I went back to school to get my degree to teach from St. John Fisher College. I spent a summer teaching in a school in Northern Hokkaido Japan. I’m entering my 21st year of teaching. I now teach enrichment classes to 1st through 3rd grade students. Ideas abound and I am never still for long. I love to kayak, canoe, backpack, hike and do almost anything in the outdoors.

Fun facts:
1) I once traveled under the North Pole for a few months.
USN 2) I was once a lavender farmer and built a full size gypsy wagon by hand to sell the lavender products out of.


Ella Gozie-Iwudoh

Ella Gozie-Iwudoh

eRead Africa | Lagos, Nigeria

My name is Ella Gozie-Iwudoh. A mother of three energy crackers. I love traveling, collecting keepsakes from countries that i visit and meeting people. My journey into education came about as a result of a need to redefine learning in my country using technology. I am passionate about fostering 21st century skills in kids in any possible way, thus I am a volunteer in Fliplearn Kids Programme. My dream is that one day through collaboration, kids in Africa will be able to create the world they dream of.

Fun Facts:
1) I love roller skating with my 3 kids. A nice way to get the breeze through my hair. 2) My greatest past time activity is trying out new recipes with my 3 happy helpers. 3)My best childhood hero: Wonder Woman

Ellie O'Keefe

Ellie O’Keefe

Rawlings Library | Pueblo, Colorado

I am an avid reader with a passion for inquiry-based learning, creative play and process art. I found my calling in librarianship, where I work with youth aged 8-18 in Pueblo, Colorado. I feel very privileged to develop programs and provide opportunities for our local youth, such as through our new Imagination Chapter. I love helping youth see their ideas brought to reality, especially when they realize how little adult assistance they need. Youth librarians are also known to hoard anything we think can be used for a craft or project, so it is always great to see our supplies being put to great use!

Fun facts:
1) I’m always reading at least two books: one audiobook and one print. 2) I’m a total waterbug – I love swimming, kayaking and most of all, sailing!


Erum Khan

Erum Khan

CNNA | Karachi, Pakistan

Erum is determined to bring back the Montessori Method in our classrooms by connecting modern Scientific Research and Maria’a philosophy to bring a Paradigm shift in our failing education system.

Her work has seen international acclaim in Malaysia, Turkey, USA, and Gulf and is regularly features across print and radio media. Her Vision is to see Pakistan achieve Global Success in the field of Education and build a path for Teachers and Parents to follow by helping Children achieve Success in Life.
Erum is available for Local and International schools to help build a generation of leaders, Innovators and creative problem solvers.

Fun facts:
1) Let’s bring lots of card boards to your child to accelerate his Imaginative process much earlier than Einstein. 2) Let’s count till 50 and see what a child can do with a cardboard.

paradigmshiftineducation@gmail.com | @erum_18 | http://erum18.blogspot.com/


Evie O’Dor

Rashkis Elementary School | Chapel Hill, NC

I’ve worked as an artist and educator all of my life. In the 1990’s my husband and I, along with our three young children, worked as professional puppeteers, writing and performing original shows in museums and theaters across the state of North Carolina. I am an elementary school teacher striving to amplify the power of creativity and imagination in my students. I love a classroom buzzing with the sound of collaborative conversation and the productive clutter of creative projects.

Favorite book: Everything written by E. B. White
Favorite art medium: papier mache



Gina Silveira

Schaefer Elementary  |  Sonoma, CA

I am an elementary school principal in Santa Rosa, California, who is excited to be a part of this journey with the Imagination Foundation! I taught grades K-8 for 16 years, have a Masters Degree in English, and have been an administrator for the past 3 years. As a mother of a 9 year old daughter, an 11 year old son, and a 17 year old stepson, I can speak first-hand about the positive effect creative play has on children of all ages. I love to see the light in students’ eyes when they discover new things, and I have recently become a Maker Movement enthusiast! #LoveMakerEd

Favorite book: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
Favorite superhero: Thor
Favorite kind of music: Country

@GSilveira007 | school website + FB


Heather Schuster

Heather Schuster

Anclote High School | Holiday, Florida

I am entering my 6th year as an educator and 2nd as a Learning Design Coach. I believe that learning is a lifelong journey and creating that felt need in children occurs with passionate teachers in engaging classrooms. I currently hold a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership and intend to gain additional degrees in Instructional Design/Curriculum and Instruction.

I am a self professed lover of all things Star Wars (my heart belongs to Chewbacca) and Dr. Who. I am also connoisseur of 90’s hip hop and electronica and love to dance in the car. I try to bring my love and knowledge of pop culture into my interactions with students so they can feel a connection beyond educator/student.

Fun facts:
1) I used to modify import cars for car shows and race them. 2) I can do the Chewbacca sound and have the nickname Schubacca for that reason


Holly Jackson

Holly Jackson

Portneuf District Library | Chubbuck, Idaho

I am currently the Young Adult/Adult Services Librarian at the Portneuf District Library in Chubbuck, Idaho and have been with the Portneuf District Library for over 6 years. I am studying to receive my Masters in Library Science as well as working hard at the Portneuf Library to expand hands-on STEAM programming and the maker movement. I am very lucky to have wonderfully supportive coworkers who put up with all of my antics to expand creativity in the community, and I also have an amazing husband and two fantastic kids who help spark my imagination and make life grand.

Fun facts:
1) I love crafting and photography which work remarkably well together as I craft things for my photography sessions. 2) I love Disney movies and Superhero movies and it is my goal to make sure my kids know all the classics!



Holly Murdoch

Dimensions Learning Center | Lincoln, NE

I have been teaching at Dimensions since 1994. My additional roles include serving as a research analysis team member and supporting our Nature Explore Classrooms. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education with an endorsement in Special Education and a minor in Music. I believe that helping children find out who they are and what they have to contribute to the world is the most important role of educators. Children have taught me how important it is to provide an array of plenty of interesting natural materials and allow learners the time they need to blossom with support. Supporting the imagination of children is exciting because their involvement is whole-hearted and tells us more about them than we could ever know otherwise.

Favorite obscure recipe: Homemade PawPaw Ice Cream
Section I browse for in bookstores: Bird and Insect Field-Guides

hollym@dimensionsfoundation.org | dimensionsfoundation.org

Izzy Duranceau Jowett

Izzy Duranceau Jowett

Scuola Primaria Santa Maria di Leuca (through Puglia Glamping) | Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy

Entrepreneur mum with 20+ years in global event and brand management, living the Italian dream with my husband and two kids. Since viewing Sir Ken’s 2006 TED talk, inspired to help children discover their passion, get their hands dirty, mess up, yet be confident and proud of what they can achieve. The Chapter is a chance to offer them hope, to open up their world to new possibilities.

First Cardboard Challenge in 2014 and currently volunteering to help launch UK charity STEAM Co. I love making stuff, finding solutions and discovering fascinating minds around me. The Imagination Foundation has been a real gift and I’m thrilled to be part of this awesome movement. Auguri to all other Imagination Chapters!

Fun facts:
1) I produce organic maple syrup in my home country Canada and extra virgin olive oil in my adoptive Italy 2) In my previous life (pre-kids) I travelled the world as a member of the WilliamsF1 racing team (sadly, not as a driver!)

izzyfactor@hotmail.com | @IzzyDJ | www.facebook.com/imaginationchaptersLeuca

Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker

Norwood Imagination| Cincinnati, OH

“Today, I am an architect. I work with a design firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA called SHP Leading Design. There I get to design and help build schools for children to learn in. But I have always loved to make things. As a boy I spent countless hours building space ships and forts and anything else I could dream up. Fortunately mom didn’t mind the mess too much, and was always willing to replenish my supply of tape, glue, boxes and band-aids.

I learned then that the only difference between success and failure on a project was whether or not I stuck with it. To this day I still love to make, and I love helping others cultivate that same passion.”

Fun facts:
1) I played outfield for the 2nd grade champion baseball team, and promptly retired from baseball. 2) During college I worked for the planning division of Disneyworld.

jparker@shp.com | https://www.facebook.com/imaginationlabnorwood/

Jefferey Sweeton

Jefferey Sweeton

WYTEC / CodeCreate | Chicago, Illinois

Jeff founded and facilitates CodeCreate Technology Education with many partners including Intel Start Making, the Art Institute of Chicago, Google and area Maker Faires. At Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, Jeff’s taught a variety of media, electronics and engineering courses. Previously, he redesigned a Community Technology Center to integrate project-based, multimedia and Pop-Up learning and he served for over seven years in the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, started at MIT and administered by the Boston Museum of Science. Before earning his Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Jeff produced his first commissioned videos, produced around the world, while still in high school.

Fun facts:
1) I like to make art out of trash or music out of holding an accordion and hammered dulcimer hammers at the same time. 2) My wife and I gladly don’t own a car.

jeff@codecreate.us | http://codecreate.us


Jean Kaneko

The Exploratory  |  Culver City, CA

Chief Tinkerer at The Exploratory. Mom of Hudson Kaneko. Protector of Creativity and Innovation. Obsessed with Making! I started The Exploratory to give my son and other kids a chance to do hands on, inquiry-based learning that uses both sides of the brain.

Fun fact: The first time I got a Mac (in the late 80’s), I didn’t go home for 3 days.

jean@theexploratory.com | @theexploratory | www.theexploratory.com


Jennifer Bond

Hornung Elementary  |  Brighton, MI

In my 15+ years as an elementary teacher, creativity has always been a driving force in my instruction. I have embraced BYOD Days, Genius Hour, and the Maker Movement to engage students, nurture passion, and connect them to world beyond the classroom walls. I have also been a team manager and coordinator for Destination Imagination since 1999, guiding students in the creative problem solving process. My classroom was featured in the documentary, ‘Look I’m Learning,’ which highlights the impact of digital learning. My favorite things to do are sing (I was in a classic rock band), hang out with my husband and 2 kids, and utilize the gift of gab that was given to me by my mom!

Favorite books: ‘The Secret Zoo’ series by Bryan Chick
Teacher that most impacted my creativity: Ms. Maddren

@TeamBond | www.TheEdTechCheerleader.com

Jenifer Eoff

Belle Forest Community School | Memphis, Tennessee

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2001, I moved to Washington, DC to go to graduate school. While there, I became a teacher, but realized I had to move back to Memphis. There is no other place like it. I taught 4th and 5th grade for several years before becoming an Assistant Principal. I am now in my 3rd year as the AP at Belle Forest Community School, a Title 1 school serving over 1,200 PreK to 5th grade students in the Hickory Hill community. I absolutely love what I do and look forward to having a very successful year with our new Imagination Chapter!

Fun facts:
1) I love the Seattle Seahawks, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Tigers! 2) I love to travel & to try new things. I’ll eat anything at least once, which has led me to eat really strange things.

@JeniferEoff | http://www.belleforestcommunityschool.com

Jennifer & Diana Flores de Stephenson

League City Elementary | League City, Texas

We are, two teaching sisters! Our roots are from El Salvador, and love our second nation, the United States. Family, music, food, and coffee, all run through our veins! We want to provide opportunities for our students in which they thrive academically, but also emotionally. We strongly believe that our students are the future of our world, and our responsibility is to allow them to maximize their potential!

Fun facts:
1) We get asked if we are twins, but we are 9 years apart. 2) We love crafts, HGTV, and family time!


Jennifer Place

Jennifer Place

Wintergreen School | Hamden, Connecticut

As a kid I transformed cardboard boxes into castles, rockets and dragons on a regular basis. My grandmother would rumble up in her Rambler with a huge cardboard box tied to the top and every kid in the neighborhood would come running, ready to play. Now I bring the cardboard boxes, lots of other found objects, and materials for my students to transform via their imaginations and problem solving skills. I work in an inter-district magnet school and I am fortunate to teach my other three favorite subjects & visual arts

Jessica Krachenfels

Jessica Krachenfels

Fort Knox Community Schools | Fort Knox, KY

I “played school” with my stuffed animals at a young age, loved tinkering and gaming as early as I can remember, and I always said “Teacher” when asked about my future. Through computer programming,robotics, monthly at-home DIY STEM challenges, Engineering is Elementary kits, tinkering events, community collaborations, StarLab planetarium and fostering curiosity, my (shared) goal is to cultivate our STEMcredible students into global citizens that are prepared to thrive as problem solvers and innovators.

As an Imagination Chapter we want to ignite and energize the passion in power of play, increase hands-on 21st century learning, model how to embrace the noise that comes with excitement, and grow just as much as the minds we stimulate on a daily basis.

Fun facts:
1) I speak Romanian thanks to my experience as a TEFL Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Moldova. 2) I represent the Kentucky District for the 2015 Department of Defense Teacher of the Year.

knox_stem@am.dodea.edu | @Pa55i0n4ed

Justin Yarrow

Justin Yarrow

CodeMakers | Durban, South Africa

Living and working in South Africa for the past eight years, I recently started the NGO CodeMakers, to help kids in low-resource schools close their books and learn by doing. Our programmes include: hands-on STEM workshops that teach fundamentals of coding, building and robotics; video interviews of young inspiring South Africans that we plan to distribute to schools; and providing schools with off-line internet resources. We’ve only started this year, but it’s been fantastic to see eighth grade learners who have never used a computer or built a cardboard machine, create fun and creative projects. More importantly I’ve seen them become confident that they can take on scary, unknown challenges and make their ideas real.

Fun facts:
1) My son is an earth rat and my daughter a water dragon. They remind each other of this rather often. 2) A Zuni wildland fire crew once smeared charcoal all over my face. They didn’t say it was a joke, I’m not sure.

justin@codemakers.org.za | http://www.codemakers.org.za

Kaan Sonat

Kaan Sonat

YAP Egitim | Izmir, Turkey

Trainer. Professional Coach. Consultant. The best friend and the worst enemy of children:) Acknowledges the potential of all learners and YAPs:) (does:) his best to support their journey in life and enjoys celebration all together. Believes strongly in the idea that we should focus more on developing the skills of children like communication, collaboration, creativity… This is his WHY he is in love with Imagination Foundation:) He also trains professionals in business world, works with schools to flip the classroom, leads social responsibility projects for students with special needs. Professional Certified Coach (accredited by ICF), plays tennis (has more than 50 trophies), travels a lot, likes eating more than cooking and adores Asnate;)

Fun facts:
1) He deployed his reserve parachute in his 143th skydive jump! He was calm, because he knew he would land in any means:P 2) He trekked to Everest base camp many years ago. After then, he has a big potential to hit anyone if invited again.

kaan@yap.com.tr | @kaansonat | www.facebook.com/Imagination-Foundation-Chapter-Türkiye-1608733806045164/

Keith Parker

Keith Parker

New Hope Christian Academy | Memphis, Tennessee

After the small software company I worked for was purchased by a Fortune 500 company, I spent a few years managing projects and training adults, then became a consultant. One of my clients was New Hope Christian Academy, an urban, independent school in Memphis, Tennessee filled with some amazing children and dedicated staff. I fell in love with the kids 11 years ago, and joined full time 9 years ago. As director of technology, my main responsibilities are to get morning hugs and walk through the hallways teasing students and leaving an energetic mess for their classroom teachers to deal with. As a chapter leader, I’m hoping to have a more “constructive” influence on our students in our makerspace!

Fun facts:
1) My friends and I devised a plan to fly a piece of playground equipment to the moon using CO2 cartridges. It didn’t work. 2) My wife and I like to visit Eastern Orthodox monasteries.

kparker@newhopememphis.org | @keith_j_parker

Kelly Tenkely

Kelly Tenkely

Anastasis academy | Centennial, Colorado

Kelly Tenkely is an educational change maker. Kelly has been a teacher, technology integration specialist, educational consultant, prolific blogger, education reform conference organizer, and speaker. Most recently, Kelly imagined a new model of education, one that is honoring to students as unique individuals. Kelly started a preschool through 8th grade school, Anastasis Academy, based on this model. She is diligently working on her latest invention, The Learning Genome Project, to make the Anastasis model of education available to all children.

Fun facts:
1) I spent childhood summers building and launching wooden model rockets with my family. 2) I stop every day at sunset to just be still.

ktenkely@anastasisacademy.us | ktenkely | dreamsofeducation.wordpress.com

Kimbra Power

Kimbra Power

Shanghai American School | Shanghai, China

I’m an Aussie teaching at the Shanghai American School in China for over a decade now. Originally a Drama, Media and English high school teacher, I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering my calling as the Barefoot Librarian in Shanghai. In the library, I get to be literary while incorporating media, and drama, into everything I do. In my role, I’ve run the Cardboard Challenge three times and I love managing school-wide projects like this and my annual Books to Eat competition as they both tap in to kids imagination and creativity. You can follow my exploits on instagram @barefootlibrarian

Fun facts:
1) I’ve broken my left arm 4 times; playing, netball, wrestling and ice-skating! #creativebreakingskills 2) My Dad has 19 brothers and sisters so I have many many many cousins and a huge extended family.

kimbra.power@saschina.org | @kimbrap | sites.saschina.org/kpower

Kristina Holzweiss

Kristina Holzweiss

Bay Shore Middle School | Bay Shore, New York

I am a school library media specialist at Bay Shore Middle School, as well as a presenter, author, and professional developer. Last year I created a Genius Hour program in my school library and also organized SLIME – Students of Long Island Maker Expo. I enjoy connecting and learning from other educators through Voxer and twitter, and through my blog. This year I have been honored to be the recipient of the 2015 NYSCATE Outstanding Teacher of the Year and the Long Island Technology Summit Fred Podolski Leadership Innovation Award. I was also selected as the 2015 School Librarian of the Year by School Library Journal and Scholastic.

I strongly believe that we should encourage students to experience learning first hand. They need to know how to make mistakes and to learn from them in a safe, supportive environment. True learning cannot be quantified or assessed through tests.

Fun facts:
1) My favorite color is purple. 2) My favorite book is The Giver. 3) I enjoy spending time with my husband Mike and three children Tyler, Riley, and Lexy.


Jessica Walrath

Jessica Walrath

Colson Elementary | Seffner, Florida

I have been teaching since 1999. I have taught second grade in three states — New York, South Carolina,and now Florida. Working in different areas of the country has taught me a lot about what is right for students. Over the years, I have developed a love for STEM education. I try to incorporate as many hands on activities throughout the day whenever possible. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family. Three kids keep me and my husband very busy!

Fun Facts
1) I will always miss New York pizza, bagels, and Chinese food. 2) My favorite children’s book is Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. I love having my students send their Stanley to friends and family!



Julie Byrnes

Stevenson Elementary | Fate, TX

I am an elementary educator who loves to give students hands on experiences and develop real world skills. I’ve started several after school clubs including a building club, robotics, garden club and ECO club. I love that I live in a community where I can see my students grow into young adults. Photography is a passion of mine and I am fortunate to have opportunities to help people capture their family memories. I enjoy being outdoors and traveling with my husband and two boys.

Favorite singer & musician: Keith Urban
Only movie I’ve watched over and over: ‘The Princess Bride’

julie.byrnes@rockwallisd.org | @byrnes_julie


Kerstin Rao

The Westport Library… |  Westport, CT

Nicknamed “the paper and tape princess” as a kid, I majored in Fine Art at Vassar, earned my Master’s at Bank Street, and began a joyful teaching career. My students and I have made stop-motion Lego films, painted Australian Dreamtime images, explored 3D printing, enacted mock trials, simulated archaeological digs, improvised comedy scenes, and laughed every day. The Maker movement caught my attention in 2010, and I helped launch our Westport Mini Maker Faire, with our own branch of Caine’s Arcade.

Favorite book: ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey
Obsession: Improv comedy classes at Upright Citizens Brigade and The Magnet Theater
Childhood hobby: Collecting and drawing Wonder Woman comics


Linda Reuling

Linda Reuling

Hawthorne School | Boise, Idaho

I have been in education the past 40 years. I spent 35 years teaching kindergarten, first, second and fifth grades. I have been on countless school and district committees, sat on the Professional Standards Board for the State of Idaho and served as president of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters local chapter. I am a diehard Vandals fan (GO IDAHO!), pet therapy volunteer, and avid beach lover. For the past 5 years I have also had the privilege of being the librarian and technology integration specialist at Hawthorne Elementary School. I still believe in 398.2!

Fun facts:
1) I love heavy-weight boxing and scream my lungs out ringside! 2) My favorite bookstore is Powell’s in Portland, Oregon and could easily get lost for days between the stacks!


Lisa Bramhall

Save Our Children | Elyria, Ohio

I am the Executive Director of a non-profit called Save Our Children located in Elyria, Ohio. We serve at-risk youth and teens in our after-school and summer programs. I’m passionate about narrowing the opportunity gap for children living in poverty. We are committed to exposing our students to experiences and opportunities many of us take for granted; we dare them to dream beyond their zip code and strive to connect them with something that lights their souls on fire. Every child has the potential to defy the odds despite environment or statistics. I wholeheartedly believe in the resilience of children and the amazing things that can happen when they believe in themselves. I’m happily married and run a house full of teenage boys.

Fun facts:
1) Favorite Children’s Books: Goodnight Moon, Where The Sidewalk Ends. Favorite Poem: Listen To The Mustn’ts 2) I have a penchant for pushing the envelope and defying the odds– I enjoy trying new things to challenge myself.

lisabramhall@socelyria.com | http://www.socelyria.com

Lisa Belkzyc and Jordan Mroziac

Lisa Belkzyc & Jordan Mroziac

Snap | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jordan and Lisa are the co-founders of Snap, an informal learning organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Snap cultivates student creativity through the exploration of music and the arts in an inquiry-based, active learning environment. Our day jobs are also in the arts: Jordan directs admissions/student services and teaches a rock and roll history class at the Duquesne University School of Music. Lisa is the Director of Learning at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In our spare time, we also book local music acts and teach people about the finer points of tasting craft whiskey at Wigle Whiskey.

Fun facts:
1) Jordan collects vintage vinyl and has over 1000 records in his collection. 2) Lisa was once Curious George in a parade and was nearly mobbed by small children wanting to hug that lovable monkey.

@jmroziak & @lisabelczyk

Lynne Cassidy

Lynne Cassidy

Inky Hands Studio | New Castle, Colorado

Growing up in New Jersey I would spend my days playing outside (until I heard my Mom’s “it’s time to come home” whistle) or busily making things in my room. Not much has changed! Today I am an art educator and the owner of Inky Hands Studio. I hold a Bachelors degree in Art and a M.Ed. in Educating for Sustainability. At Inky Hands Studio I look to integrate the arts and sustainability by designing community art programs that utilize the power of creative play to foster happy people and a healthy planet.

Fun facts:
1) I LOVE the Jersey Shore! 2) When I’m not in “making mode” you will find me soaking in the natural world via biking, hiking or lounging on a rock.


Marcie Blatt

Marcie Blatt

16th & Haak Elementary School | Reading, Pennsylvania

I am an Elementary Art Teacher in Reading, Pennsylvania. Our Imagination Chapter is comprised of Fifth Grade students who are working on a yearlong S.T.E.A.M. unit. We hope to invite the community to celebrate our love of building and to play our Cardboard Arcade In the spring.

Fun facts:
1) I live in a geodesic dome with my husband and our two Westies. 2) I enjoy celebrating my Native American heritage and sharing the art of my Iroquois ancestors.


Matea Peric

SPES | Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

I am an economist by profession. But in a last couple of years I have started searching for a new creative way to spend my free time and to be useful to my community as well. Considering that our schools lack such programs, I am very grateful that I can be a mediator between Imagination Foundation and kids in our country. I love the words from Sir Ken Robinson: “We all live in two worlds. One world exists with or without you. And the other world exists only because you exist. It is the world of your dreams, talents, ambitions. Before we explore the world around us we must explore the world within us.” So my dream is that one day every person will realize how important and unique they are and that they matter and can make a difference. In my free time I love to travel with my boyfriend, learn new stuff, explore new places.

Fun facts:
1) What I wanted to be when a grow up: a professional dancer 2) Favorite cake: profiteroles 3) Favorite movie: ‘La Vita e Bella’


Mayra Herrera

Will Rogers Learning Community | Santa Monica, CA

I was born in Guatemala City and moved to the USA at the age of 7. On my first sighting of snow I saw possibilities for snow cones. It is this way of thinking that excites me as a 1st grade teacher at a STEM school in the Santa Monica School District. I have been teaching for about 20 years and love what I do. Before becoming a teacher I was a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department and before that I was a clothing designer. I know I’m a very lucky person in that I have been able to remake myself a few times. I believe that it is my background that enables me to see how the future of education is more than just reading, writing and math. We are shaping the ways students see themselves in the future as natural leaders, inventors, and scientists.

Fun facts:
1) I learned to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia but am afraid of going in the ocean. 2) I dress up my dog in costumes and take pictures of her to send to friends and family for the holidays.

Miriam Kelley

Miriam Kelley

Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Buffalo, NY

I’m a professional creative problem solver! I have spent 3 decades of my life as a toy designer, mentor, coach, and leader of creative professionals. Now, after receiving my Masters Degree in Creative Studies, I teach Creativity to college undergrads as well as teach Inventive Thinking to elementary school children in a variety of workshop and mentorship programs. I serve on the Board of Western New York Invention Convention; my role is Education and Outreach.

Fun facts:
1) I love words, word games, and puns. 2) My family is creative- husband is an inventor, son is an animator, and daughter is studying to be a web designer.


Misbran Moradel

Misbran Moradel

LA Conservation Corps | Los Angeles, California

I remember the first time I worked with a youth group of girls. I was their coach for the basketball season in 1997. They impacted my life in a way that my future path was changed completely. Someone care enough for me when I was young and knowing that I can make a difference in a young person life is so precious. I currently work for LA CONSERVATION CORPS AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM as a Program Coordinator. I love that our programs are able to do activities/programs that a lot of the districts no longer do during the school day.

Fun facts:
1) My husband is my high school sweetheart and we have been together over 26 years. 2) I love watching sports. “I’m an LA GIRL”


Pamell Gallagher

Pamell Gallagher

Olivet Charter School | Santa Rosa, California

I am a sixth grader teacher in northern California and, suddenly, this is my 20th year in the profession. Prior to teaching I received a degree in psychology with a music minor, I sampled 34 different jobs, and I traveled to over 20 countries with my nomadic husband. I teach because it keeps me in a constant state of learning, because it is the most meaningful work I can think of, and because it is never boring. I work hard to develop a community of self-directed learners and risk-takers, and I am happy to be integrating creative play into my curriculum.

Patricia Karlin

Patricia Karlin

Southwest Middle School | San Diego, California

I am a teacher at Southwest Middle School in San Diego, CA. Our school is about 5 miles away from the USA/Mexico Border. I help support our STEAM Academy students at being successful in school and enjoying learning at the same time! I love working with innovative programs!

Fun facts:
1) My family are original settlers in Imperial Valley. 2) I have stayed on the Isle of Skye.

patricia.karlin@sweetwaterschools.org | @pmkarlin


Patti Wick

Sonoma Country Day School | Sonoma, CA

I am the Director of Innovation in Learning at Sonoma Country Day School, a K-8 independent school in Santa Rosa, California. I am fortunate to work with a team of incredible colleagues to incorporate new and innovative practices into teaching and learning. My passion for education and interacting with children has spanned more than twenty five years as a bilingual teacher, administrator, and educational consultant in public, charter, and private schools. I love reading, dancing, hiking, yoga, and spending time with family, friends, and our dog. Very recently I seem to have developed a strong interest in creating things out of cardboard! I wonder why?

Fun facts:
1) I used to do lots of arts and crafts, including building stained glass windows. 2) I flew a hang glider for a short time but eventually traded it in for a guitar.


Paul Solarz

Westgate Elementary | Arlington Heights, IL

I’m a 5th grade teacher from Arlington Heights, Illinois who has been teaching for 15 years. I recently won the 2014 ICE Educator of the Year Award and will publish my first book in early 2015. My areas of focus are empowering students to lead their learning, effectively integrating EdTech into the curriculum, and providing students opportunities to pursue their personal interests through Passion Time. We focus on 21st Century skills in our classroom, especially creativity, problem-solving, reflection, & collaboration. On a personal note, I love spending every possible moment with my extended family, and never miss a Cubs or Blackhawks game!

Fun facts:
1) I love to travel so much (esp. internationally)! I’ve been to China, Finland, Sweden, England, France, Monaco, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji & more. 2) I spend my Monday evenings cooking for around 100 people at a local soup kitchen.

@PaulSolarz | psolarz@sd25.org | http://psolarz.weebly.com/mr-solarz-eportfolio

Priyanka Parekh

Priyanka Parekh

Phoenix Public Library Burton Barr | Phoenix, Arizona

I am a graduate student at Arizona State University; passionate about children, learning, art, and science. Cardboard, broken toys, and usable trash keep me busy when I am not busy with my research. I love meeting fellow art-science enthusiasts.

Fun facts:
1) I collect pencils for fun. 2) I can survive on apples alone for days. Sometimes I add diet soda for some variety.

pnparekh@asu.edu | @flusteRED | http://makescienceart.blogspot.com

Rachel Messersmith

Rachel Messersmith

Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County | Fort Collins, Colorado

Rachel is the S.T.E.A.M. specialist at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, in Fort Collins Colorado. She has a background in Elementary Education and Studio Art. Growing up she watched her father build their family home, she got an interactive, hands-on learning experience that ignited her passion for building and creating. As the dry wall went up so did large drawings on them and her passion for making was discovered. In the STEAM program that she has developed, children learn problem solving skills, innovative thinking and 21st century skills. She enjoys watching the children’s curiosity grow and develop as they create their own inventions!

Fun facts:
1) I sing constantly, turning every word into a song. I am the lady that gets that song stuck in your head! 2) I prefer being outside, hiking and camping in the woods is my ideal location.

Rachel Garber

Rachel Garber

Duct Tape Network / Wellington School | Belmont, Massachusetts

What a thrill to join this team of imagination experts! I am an educational designer, with many years of experience creating and running programs for kids and families in both after-school and school-based programs. I love helping young people build their creative confidence and, in the process, discovering more about themselves! I live just outside Boston and have two very creative boys who always give me new ideas for my work. Recently, I helped to start, a new organization called Duct Tape Network. We emphasize building, creating, and tinkering with low-cost, everyday materials. We are working in Boston and just started a chapter in Brazil!

Fun facts:
1) I have loved the color purple for over 30 years! 2) I once had a job measuring fish at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

rgarberburd@gmail.com | http://ducttapenetwork.org/

Ronit Halevy

Ronit Halevy

CET | Tel Aviv, israel

For the past 20 years i have worked with children of all ages. I started my professional career at the science museum in jerusalem and for the past 10 years I’m working at the center of educational technology in Tel-Aviv.
Ever day I’m learning something new from kids and teachers i interact with. But my 4 privte kids are my real inspiration.

Fun facts:
1) I can make the best cheese cake ever… 2) On weekend you will probably find me at the beach, even in the most cold days in winter.


Rudy Ruggles

Rudy Ruggles

Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation | Waltham, Massachusetts

Rudy is the founder and president of Future Fixers, LLC, an organization dedicated to empowering young people all over the world to use their creativity and knowledge to identify and solve problems. He is committed to teaching and reinforcing the skills & attitudes that enable kids to create compelling, positive futures for themselves and those around them, avoiding being victims of the many problems they may face. For more background information, see http://www.futurefixers.com/who-we-are.html

Fun facts:
1) I completed the Japan Ironman Triathlon in 1991. 2) My current hobbies include aikido, tracking, bonsai, guitar, and magic.

rruggles3@me.com | @FutureFixers | www.charlesrivermuseum.org/innovation-adventure/


Samuel Reed, III

U School | Philadelphia, PA

I teach my students at the U School to read write and make (sense of the world) and I lead the Highlight Innovation Lab. My passions include arts in education, media literacy and understanding youth culture. I blog for the ‘Philadelphia Public School Notebook’ and recently published an article titled, ‘Connected Learning and the Rules of Engagement’ for ‘Heinemann’s Digital Campus’. I organize Boys.Write.Now and Girls.On.Fire, Art and Writing Workshops, and I organized a 2013 Cardboard Challenge in Philadelphia. I attended Philadelphia public schools, and have been fortunate to live and travel abroad to such places as Botswana, Kenya and Russia. I enjoy playing secret agent games with my 5 year old grandson.

Favorite book: Anything by Walter Dean Myers (R.I.P.)
Guilty pleasure: Salsa Dancing

@Sriii2000 | @PhillyBoysWrite | thenotebook.org/users/sriii2000

Sarah Neely

Sarah Neely

Maire Elementary School | Grosse Point, Michigan

I am the lucky mom of two wonderful daughters. I learned that I loved teaching kids while I was a nature camp counselor. I love nature…trees, birds and butterflies! I have been teaching for 22 years. I currently am teaching second grade, but have taught grades 2-8 except for 7th grade. I am a Girl Scout leader as well. Additionally, before I had my daughters, I coached track and field at the local high school.I have big huge ideas that I feel compelled to make happen. Creating fun projects is a passion.

Fun facts:
1) This summer I raised and released over 140 Monarch butterflies. 2) I have hugged a koala bear in Australia.

sarah.neely@gpschools.org | Msneely204 | https://www.facebook.com/imaginationstation?ref=profile

Sergio A. Hernández Villalvazo

Sergio A. Hernández Villalvazo

Asociación de Colonos El Manantial | Jalisco, Mexico

Dad. I love spending time with my kids. Teacher. I have been teaching computer science at a university in Guadalajara, México since 2005. Technology. I’m working at international organisation developing a virtual education centre. Imagination. I like to read, go to cultural events and I love to experiment and learn new things. Dream. I’m convinced that we can build a better world for our children.

Fun facts:
1) Favorite Book that I like to read to my kids: The Witches, Roald Dahl. Favorite Movie: The Goonies 2) One of my favorite book: “El Olvido que Seremos” by Héctor Abad Faciolince


Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams

Taft Elementary School | Santa Ana, California

I teach 4th grade in California, and have been teaching for about 15 years. I’m a Sooner, that is, born in Oklahoma but moved to California (not at the time of the original ones). My favorite mantra is “It’s never too late.” In that vein, I got into music later than most people, and I love it. I play the cornet and horn in two bands at a local community college. I’m a bone-ifide dog lover, with two of the cutest dogs in the world, an airedale and a fox terrier.

Fun facts:
1) When I win the lottery, I’m going to go to Germany to buy an expensive horn right from the factory. 2) Then I’m going to live in France for at least a year and learn the language by total immersion.

Sharon Rice

Sharon Rice

Fort Worth Academy | Fort Worth, Texas

I have worked at Fort Worth Academy, a small K-8 independent school since 1992. I serve as the Associate Head of School for Programs, 5th grade math teacher and facilitator the Creativity Lab. Each grade level at the Academy is a “sub-chapter” of our Imagination Foundation Chapter, as creating, making, innovating, inventing are part of our daily activities. I am the mother of one (31 year, Joe) and the wife of one (Ken- retiree). My undergraduate degree from WKU and my graduate degree from TCU in Fort Worth. My house reflects my brain as it is cluttered with many projects in process. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. I enjoy reading, Words with Friends, and geocaching.

Fun facts:
1) I was born in the same rural Kentucky town as Abraham Lincoln, just a few years later. 2) My students find it amusing that I once possessed a motorcycle license.

srice@fwacademy.org | @sricefwa

Shauna Hamman

Shauna Hamman

Four Peaks Elementary School | Apache Junction, Arizona

I am a fifth grade teacher in Apache Junction, Arizona, near the base of the beautiful Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix.This is my ninth year of teaching. Prior to that I worked as a paralegal in a law firm, but I always was drawn to the field of education. I finally decided to go back to college and earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in 2007.

My goal is for my students to exercise their creativity every day. I like to challenge them and give them opportunities to solve problems, both independently and collaboratively. I’m a strong believer in experiential learning and in the power of play. I’m passionate about using the power of technology to expand my students’ horizons.

Fun facts:
1) I’ve been to 49 of the 50 US states. The only one I’m missing is Hawaii. 2) Over the years I’ve had tarantulas, scorpions, a snake, and a quail family as uninvited guests in my desert classrooms.

@shammanaj | http://blogs.goaj.org/mrshamman/


Steve Sherman

Living Maths | Cape Town, South Africa

Steve is the CEO of an Educational NGO in South Africa called Living Maths. He teaches approximately 4500 students weekly in schools around Cape Town and now recently, the world. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and empowering young people. He is also a multi-award purchasing educator and was voted third best-looking educational innovator by his mother. He feels that it is his destiny to spread the joy of numbers to anyone who is willing to listen and even to those who are not. He knows Karate, Ju-jitsu and 2 other Japanese words.

livmath@iafrica.com | @livingmaths | www.livingmaths.com


Steve Auslander

Allisonville Elementary | Indianapolis, IN

I teach 5th grade at Allisonville Elementary School in Indianapolis, where my rock star alias is Mr. A-LO (I teach Math concepts to the tunes of popular music). My passion involves integrating engaging technology in classroom instruction. I love watching my students create to show what they know, and I enjoy connecting them with various classes and people all over the world. Last year I was named a PBS Digital Innovator, one of 100 in the country, as well as an Indiana University Jacobs Educator. I am happily married and a father of two amazing kids and two great dogs.

Fun facts:
1) I love Karaoke, and my go to song is “Livin’ on a Prayer”.
2) My Favorite book is Exodus, written by Leon Uris.


Tyson Spraul

Tyson Spraul

Shanghai American School | Shanghai, Shanghai

Born and raised near the convergence of Ol’ Man River and Big Muddy, where I enjoyed long walks along sandbars and howling at the moon. After teaching elementary for six years in the homeland, I picked up and moved to the Pearl of the Orient to continue my teaching career in the City Upon the Sea. Perpetually bored by the status quo–exploring, playing, experimenting, and innovating are my life-blood.

Fun facts:
1) There is a simple cardboard box in the National Toy Hall of Fame. 2) LEGO is the world’s largest tire manufacturer.


Theresa Lee

Theresa Lee

Charles Sumner Elementary | Roslindale, Massachusetts

I’ve been teaching at the Sumner for over 10 years. I enjoy the relationships that I’ve developed with staff, students and their families. I feel privileged to be part of the Sumner community. Our school is in a great location that is convenient (via MBTA) to many local institutions including : Arnold Arboretum, Museum of Science, Boston Society of Architects, and The Boston Nature Center.
I believe children should experience learning in a way that is developmentally appropriate. It is also important to consider different learning styles in order to make content available to all learners. I strive to develop a community of learners whose interest in STEAM extends beyond the walls of our school and into our community.

Fun facts:
1) Copacabana is my go to Karaoke song. 2) I’ve held a number of jobs prior to teaching including political aide and Chanel makeup artist.

tlee2@bostonpublicschools.org | @sumsci

Tonya Fletcher

Tonya Fletcher

Franklin Elementary | Mount Airy, North Carolina

From a young age my passions have included stories, making, and technology. My role as a school media coordinator allows me to help my students find their own passions. This is my 17th year at Franklin Elementary School in Mount Airy, North Carolina. My children and my school kids inspire me and make me smile every single day. They rock! I am thrilled to be part of this creativity movement!

Fun facts:
1) My idea of a perfect present while growing up would have been any kind of craft supplies. 2) Me in 1988: Tried to get homework banned; programmed our Commodore 64; visited the library every day; loved Mr. Wizard

@tonya_nc | genimagination.blogspot.com/

Troy Cockrum

Troy Cockrum

Little Flower School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Troy Cockrum is the Director of Innovative Teaching for Little Flower School. He is the author of “Flipping Your English Class to Reach All Learners” and specializes in incorporating technology in the classroom. He is a recognized leader in the Flipped Learning movement and also working on his doctorate at Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology. In 2011, Troy became a Google Certified Teacher (now known as Google Certified Innovator). In 2013, he was a recipient of the Jacobs Educator Award from Indiana University recognizing innovative ways to use inquiry and technology in the classroom. In 2015, he was selected as one of only 28 educators to be part of NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador Program and is going to fly in the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy in November.

Fun facts:
1) I’ve personally met nearly 60 former contestants from the show “Survivor” and hope to one day be on the show myself. 2) I attended the start of the very first Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska in 1973 (I was -2 months old) 3) And, I’m addicted to Amazon Prime.


Valerie Fernández

Gimnasio Fontana | Bogotá, Colombia

My name is Valerie Fernández Díaz and I’m from Bogotá, Colombia. I studied Languages and Sociocultural Studies. I love getting to know other people, new cultures, new places and different languages: which is why traveling if one of the things I like the most. I’m a Christian, I love God above all and I have always enjoyed working with kids at church and as a volunteer in different projects. Nevertheless, a couple of years ago I started working as a 6th grade Social Studies teacher and to be honest, I didn’t think I would like it and enjoy it this much! I look forward to being part of this year’s Cardboard Challenge!

Fun facts:
1) I never thought I could learn so much from teaching. 2) I love reading and always have a book with me; one of my favorite authors is J.R.R. Tolkien.

vaferdi@gmail.com | @vaferdiaz

Viviana Cadavid

Viviana Cadavid Orrego

Cadavida | Medellin, Colombia

I am former corporate world worker turned social entrepreneur. After being away from my home country, Colombia, for over fourteen years while living the USA, France, Spain and China, I moved back to Medellin almost two-years ago to focus my efforts fully on CadaVida, a foundation dedicated to improving the lives of single women thru job opportunities and educational/entrepreneurial training. When not in the learning center at CadaVida, you can usually find me doing something to make my body feel sore the next day – love tennis, biking up the steep hills around Medellin and running half-marathons. I have a strong belief that each life in this world holds an infinite amount of value and beauty to those around.

Fun (and perhaps embarrassing) facts: 1) I have a good memory, but it is short…have had to reset my forgotten email password over 20 times this year already! 2) I am Colombian and I cannot Salsa!3) I love Hello Kitty but am allergic to cats.

Viviana.cadavida@cadavida.org | @vivicadavid