“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” John Acuff
Chrissy is a veteran teacher with over 24 years experience with students in elementary and middle school. She has spent the bulk of her career teaching in Hackensack where she was born and raised. She graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in Sociology and Psychology and went on to complete the Teacher Certification program and earned a Masters in Counseling from William Paterson University.
She is dedicated to teaching the whole child as well as stimulating and supporting innovation in classrooms. Chrissy continues to be passionate about teaching and infusing technology to engage and motivate students.
Her speciality is G-Suite for Education, effectively integrating technology into the classroom, and PBL/Inquiry based instruction. She is a Google for Education Certified Trainer and provides professional development and consulting services to educators.
She is a co-host of #CoffeeEdu, an informal monthly gathering of educators, in Westwood, New Jersey, co-director of NJASCD North, a lead organizer of EdCampNJ and overall EdCamp enthusiast!
FUN FACT – Chrissy loves cats and her favorite food is pizza.
Favorite website / app:
Right now, Seesaw is my favorite “go to” platform for just about everything.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I cannot pick just one person who inspires me. My PLN, my tribe, inspires me every day with new ideas, a strong work ethic, endless energy, love for kids, and a passion for education that grows stronger every day.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Entering year 20 of teaching was a tough one for me. I was burned out and counting down to my retirement. A friend of mine asked me to accompany her to EdCampNJ that fall. Discovering the EdCamp movement was a game changer for me. I met people who truly felt teaching was a calling and not just collecting a paycheck. I met people who embraced change and all the good things that come from it. I met people who jumped on the technology bandwagon and were the early adopters in their schools and districts. I learned so much from these people and became re-energized in my career. I am entering year 25 of teaching and feel like I have another 25 great years left in me!
Describe what it means for you to be a K-12 Influencer in STEM.
I realized that STEM advocacy is critical when I first dived into PBL this past school year with my 3rd graders. We were building circuits and many of the girls picked up on it quickly and easily. Three of them came to me and told me that they wanted to help the others who were struggling. I called them my “Engineers in Training.” They were so proud of that title. Two of them wrote about that experience later in a reflection piece they were working on at the end of the school year. On the last day of school, two of their parents came up to me at pick up and expressed their gratitude for bringing coding, PBL, STEM, and engineering design into their child’s 3rd grade classroom. I hope that those experiences impacted those kids so that when they see those opportunities to learn more and take computer science classes in middle school that they don’t shy away from them but embrace them.
What knowledge would you impart to other K-12 Influencers in STEM?
Don’t be afraid to jump right in. Learn along with your students. Take the journey together and have fun!