Ask the Schoology Ambassadors: What Are You Thankful For?

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Ask the Schoology Ambassadors: What Are You Thankful For?

Posted in Community | November 24, 2015

As many of us in the US venture off to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, it's easy to overlook one of the more important aspects of this holiday. Even though "thanks" is in the name, I must admit that, in the past, I've been so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that I have failed to really take advantage of this opportunity to look inward, (re)set my priorities, and share my gratitude.


Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, taking a few moments for real introspection is something everyone can benefit from, especially in a world where we are constantly on the go. It's a chance to dig out what you truly hold dear from the slew of priorities life piles on top of you at every turn.

Personally, I also find it beneficial to look forward and adjust my daily strategy to put these newly discovered insights into action. After all, what's the point of knowledge if it sits on your cognitive shelf collecting dust?

Let's Ask the Ambassadors!

We thought it would be fun (and enlightening) for the Schoology Ambassadors to get this started by sharing what they are thankful for and how they plan to apply their revelations in the future. Below are 10 we selected from the bunch.


Carol Lawrence |@Carol_Lawrence_

Instructional Technology Integration Specialist
San Juan Unified School District, California

I am most thankful for blended online professional development. I am one of two Technology TOSA's in our District responsible for providing instructional technology training and support to nearly 3000 teachers and administrators. Developing and implementing a blended learning, self-paced model (delivered through Schoology) will help me to accomplish this daunting task.

Keith Sorensen |@keithosorensen

Technology Coordinator
G.A. McElroy Administration Center, Fremd High School, Illinois

I am thankful that most of the faculty at our high school are receptive to trying out new technology ideas in their classrooms. Some will take big steps towards integrating technology, others small steps, but they are willing to at least start taking those steps.

I will encourage some of the innovators and early adopters to show more leadership in helping drive the organizational change that occurs when a school is involved in a one to one program. Teachers feel safe when they see their colleagues trying new things, instead of always being nudged forward by "the technology guy." 

Rachel Murat | @MrsMurat

Maine-Endwell Central School District, New York

I am most thankful for what the edtech in my life affords me. For example, I have more ways to communicate with students; I can provide them more ways to access information, I can provide them with more platforms to express themselves and I can provide them with a classroom that is not confined by brick and mortar or a clock.

I now need to utilize all of those things I mentioned and provide a more rich and deep experience for the students.

Natasha Monsaas-Daly |@TashaRTW44

iLearn Specialist
Eden Prairie Schools, Minnesota

I am most thankful for the teachers that have taken the plunge and tried to transform and expand their Schoology use. I've been inspired by their willingness to try new things to give students new and varied opportunities.

This has caused me to shift my focus to find new and innovative ways to use Schoology in the classroom. As a result, I have made a concerted effort to learn and grow from other Schoology users!

Rod Kirby | @kirbyeducation

Academic Dean
Cherokee Christian School, Georgia

I'm thankful to be in a school where the administration allows me to focus on my areas of strength, rather than trying to fit me into a pre-conceived job description. Now I want to find ways (including through Schoology PLCs) to maximize and grow in my areas of strength.

Kellie Ady | @kellie80

District Instructional Technology Coordinator
Cherry Creek School District, Colorado

I am most thankful for the ability to collaborate with others, both near & far. It's made learning so much more powerful. One thing this changes in my approach is being intentional about sharing and collaborating with a wider audience than our own classrooms, schools, and/or district. I think we need to be more intentional about seeking out those opportunities with others and leveraging the power of truly connected learning.

Smita Kolhatkar |@SKolhatkar

Educational Technology TOSA
Palo Alto Unified School District, California

This year I am thankful to be able to work with teachers who are excited and motivated to implement 1:1 iPads in primary grades in addition to upper grades to make it a complete 1:1 environment, thereby giving quick and easy student access to a variety of effective, educational technology tools. I am also grateful for getting into our second year of the Makerspace, continuing to expand the program. The other aspect of gratitude I would like to add is towards all the different educational technology partners in making the programs effective.

My gratitude changes my approach in the coming year with a renewed motivation to continue to learn and improvise on all of the aspects I deal with on a daily basis, continuing to improvise on already existing programs and relationships. 

Erin Mayer | @Erinsmayer

Oberon Middle School, Colorado

I am thankful for the willingness of so many educators to post their thoughts, ideas and reflections on social media. The ability to connect with and learn from and with educators all around the world has pushed both my thinking and my practice over the last several years. These connections have given me the confidence and the drive to step outside of my comfort zone and reinvent my classroom in order to help my students reach their fullest potential.

When things get tough and life gets busy and I get tired or overwhelmed, I will look towards social media to remind me why I teach - to help kids become passionate, driven, excited and engaged life-long learners.

Nichole Carter |@MrsCarterHLA

TOSA Innovation Strategist
Beaverton School District, Oregon

I am thankful for getting more information about blended learning, going beyond the flipped classroom model, and building online content for more student autonomy.

Moving forward as a TOSA Innovation Strategist I am looking at building those skills in other teachers, getting teachers to start thinking about standards based mastery, and on the broader scope looking at building their content online where students can self-pace and prove their knowledge.

Thomas Gavin | @tomgavin

Supervisor of Instructional Technology
Colonial School District, Delaware

In our district we cultivate the mindset around the ‘Power of We’ - that nothing great occurs in isolation and as a collective group we can accomplish great things. I am most thankful for the dedicated educators that I am fortunate to work along side.

I think at times all jobs can be very stressful which can lead to self-doubt, especially around the holidays. For me, it is great to know that we have a team of educators who can help guide our work when we are in need of their support.


According to research by Robert Emmons at the University of California, Davisregular grateful thinking can increase happiness by 25%. So ...

 What are you thankful for? And how does that affect your life strategy moving forward?


Schoology Ambassadors are passionate, engaged, and knowledgeable leaders who are the voice of our community. In the Ask the Schoology Ambassadors blog series, we pose a question to the group that appeals to their collective expertise. Join the conversation by offering your own ideas in the comments, or send us questions you would like us to ask the Ambassadors by emailing

Join the Conversation