Many new, inspiring trends have hit the world impacting how we lead and how we go about work. Education needs to adapt to these changes, which is difficult if teachers are left out of these new paradigms. The Educators' Lab aims to support the many visionary educators working within our school systems who are helping to improve teaching and learning. We believe teachers with innovative ideas for the classroom should be given the support and resources they need to develop and implement their ideas. In the same way that today’s entrepreneurs will change the way we do business, The Educators' Lab believes teachers are the change agents who will direct the future of education. We hope that by investing in teachers, we can revamp education from within and help schools to better adapt to the changing needs of the 21st Century.
Michelle Blanchet is an educator and social entrepreneur striving to improve how we treat, train, and value our teachers. After ten years of experience working with young people, she founded the Educators’ Lab, which supports teacher-driven solutions to educational challenges. Michelle earned a master’s in international relations from Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. She has taught social studies in Switzerland and the U.S., and has presented at numerous events, including SXSWedu and TEDxLausanne. Michelle is a part of the Global Shaper Community of the World Economic Forum. She has worked with organizations like PBS Education, the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, Ashoka, and the Center for Curriculum Redesign. She occasionally blogs for PBS Teacherline and Edutopia.
Darcy Bakkegard is the Teacher Ambassador for Prairie Public Broadcasting in Fargo, ND where she leads professional development workshops, webinars, and 1:1 training for teachers across the state. With 10 years of experience teaching English and Theatre in public and private, rural and suburban, and international schools, she has taught every type of learner. Building from a BA in Theatre and years in educational theatre, Darcy specializes in interactive strategies for the classroom, meaningful technology integration, and how to build meaningful relationships with students. Along with a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education, Darcy is a Level 1 Certified Google Educator and EdPuzzle Certified Teacher. She has presented workshops at the National Council of Teacher of English National Convention, the International School Conference of Turkey, and the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Area Tech Camp.
Mekca Wallace-Spurgin is the Technology Director for Centerville Community School District in Centerville, IA where she leads professional development workshops and 1:1 plan-teach-reflect opportunities for teachers across the district. With 25+ years of experience in education she has taught special education courses as well as Life Science courses at both middle and high school levels. Mekca focuses on helping educators integrate technology that deepens student cognitive engagement. Along with a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Design and Teacher Leadership, Mekca holds a Doctorate of Education in Instructional Technology and Distance Education. She has presented at numerous workshops and conferences, most recently she presented at the International Conference on Social and Education Sciences (IConSES). In addition, she has published journal papers in the International Journal of Technology in Education (IJTE) and the International Society for Technology, Education and Science (ISTES).
Brian Deters has been in education for twenty-four years teaching social studies and coaching varsity soccer in the U.S. and abroad. Brian, a co-host of the 4 A Better Tomorrow Podcast, flew back and forth from Switzerland to run in the 2018 election as a U.S. Congressional primary candidate from the 18th District of Illinois. Brian holds a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education from Illinois State University as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. He currently teaches social studies at Morton High School and is an adjunct professor at Illinois State University working in the field with student teachers.
Don Sturm has been an educator for twenty-eight years serving as both a social studies teacher and technology integration specialist. A co-host for the 4 A Better Tomorrow Podcast, Don served as Brian’s campaign manager during their U.S. Congressional run in the 2018 Primary Election. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from Illinois State University and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership with an emphasis in technology from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Chris has over twenty years of experience with law enforcement working in various agencies. His true passion however is in graphic arts and design. Although majoring in criminal justice, Chris spent countless hours formally developing his artistic abilities. He's dabbled in business logo design, graphic arts, and taken on numerous personal commissions. The Startup Teacher is his first fully illustrated work.