studies teacher and then as a school administrator.
He has also been a school system staff development trainer and a faculty member for AMLE’s Leadership Institute, believing firmly in the power of professional learning. For his work, Dru has been recognized as a school system Teacher of the Year and as Georgia’s Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year.
As the Director of Middle Level Services for the Association of Middle Level Education, Dru Tomlin, Ph.D. has a commitment to educational improvement and a passion for teaching, learning, and middle school. In 1994, Dru began his 20 year career in education as an English teacher at Harrisonburg High School in Virginia and then, in 1998, he discovered the joys of middle school in Georgia as a language arts, reading, and social
With 30 years spent as a teacher, staff development instructor, and university professor, Debbie Silver doesn’t just know her way around the classroom – she is familiar with the challenges educators face at every level, from kindergarten to college. The former Louisiana Teacher of the Year has given presentations around the world (including 49 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia), helping audiences to interact with students on a deeper level.
Debbie’s best-selling book, Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers: Finding the Rhythm for Differentiated Learning, has been recognized for its insights into research-based models, teaching strategies, management tips, and inspirational “from-the-heart” lessons for addressing individual differences. It is her humor, her practicality, and her ability to connect with students, teachers, parents, and administrators, however, that has made her a popular choice for keynotes, workshops, and breakout sessions.
Her newest release, Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8: Teaching Kids to Succeed, is being heralded by parents, teachers, and administrators as a “fresh approach to getting kids to work smarter and better.” In it she explains motivational theory and provides down-to-earth examples of concrete, applicable guidelines for helping students overcome setbacks and failure to foster lifelong success.
Her mission is to remind teachers of how important they are in the lives of children, highlighting both learning theory as well as tools for communication. She makes important points while sharing poignant stories and lots of laughs. She firmly believes that teachers need to be having fun and staying in touch with their passion, to make their biggest impact in the classroom.
When she’s not working as an educational speaker and writer, Debbie enjoys spending time in Texas with her husband, Dr. Lawrence Silver, and with their five sons and their families in five different states.
Jack served as a judge for the Disney American Teacher Awards and the selection committee for the USA TODAY All-Teacher Team.
Jack Berckemeyer is known for his motivating, practical ideas communicating a message of hope, laughter, and insight into education.
Jack was also the Assistant Executive Director for the National Middle School Association for 13 years and is the author of Managing the Madness - A Practical Guide to Middle Grades Classrooms. He is also the co-author of H.E.L.P. for Teachers. His most recent publications are Taming of the Team - How Great Teams Work Together and Deliberate Optimism - Reclaiming the Joy in Education, co-authored with Dr. Debbie Silver and Judith Baenen.
Jack is currently the Owner and Director of NUTS and BOLTS - Ready to Lead, Teach and Learn Conference located in Destin, Florida.
Jack lives in Denver, Colorado and has no pets or plants
A nationally-recognized presenter, author, and humorist, Jack Berckemeyer, began his career as a middle school teacher in Denver, Colorado. After two years of teaching he was named as an outstanding educator at his school, and shortly thereafter he was identified as one of the outstanding educators in the district. In 2003, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Falcon School District. Jack brings his energy, humor, and expertise to all staff development as he helps teachers and administrators remember why this job makes a difference.
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Schools to Watch are on a sustained trajectory of improvement, and can serve as models for other schools.