Elementary Facilitators

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Kate Cain

What is your “WHY” for teaching? I became a teacher to impact the world at young ages. Our children are the future. What we invest in them today we will see blossom for many years. 

Area of Expertise: I have been teaching kindergarten in a PBL school since 2012. Kindergarten is definitely my area of expertise.  

PBL Experience: I have been teaching PBL since I signed my first, official teaching contract. Before landing my first contract, I was a special education teacher in a traditional school setting. After experiencing PBL, I would find it quite difficult and unimaginative to go back to teaching in a traditional setting.  

Favorite aspect of PBL: Student voice and choice along with student empowerment guiding teacher lessons would be my favorite aspect of PBL. Students have ownership, which leads them to engagement and academic success.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating so I can watch my students grow not only academically but socially as well through teamwork and other frequent interactions with peers.

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RAven Chandler

What is your “WHY” for teaching? Since I was little I always wanted to help others and teaching was a 
perfect fit.  I love seeing those “aha” moments and working with all students to achieve their goals while making a difference in their life.

Area of Expertise: I have been teaching for 10 years at the elementary level.  I have worked with Special Ed, 3rd, and 5th grade mostly using PBL and Universal Design for Learning in the classroom.

PBL Experience: I have had the opportunity of teaching in a PBL elementary building for 8 years!

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is collaborating and working with community partners.  Seeing students practice their 21st century skills and grow as life long learners is truly inspiring.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I love facilitating because it gives students the opportunity to be
engaged and have hands on learning.  I enjoy watching ALL students grow socially and educationally.  Facilitating also allows myself, an educator, the opportunity to collaborate with others.

Kristen Chitty

What is your “WHY” for teaching?  I knew I was going to be a teacher from a young age, because every job I ever had, growing up, involved children.


Area of Expertise: I have been teaching Special Education for almost 30 years.  

PBL Experience: I have spent most of my time at the high school level, but was first introduced to Project Based Learning when I accepted a position at an elementary school in Columbus, Indiana.  I was skeptical at first but when I saw how successful my special education students were, I was sold.

Favorite aspect of PBL: PBL allows all students to be successful.  Through PBL students are able to retain the information presented to them, by applying the standards to real world problems. I was amazed by their growth both socially and academically.  With so many changes happening in education today, PBL is one initiative that really works.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I became a facilitator to spread the word about PBL.

Diane Clancy

Diane Clancy

What is your “WHY” for teaching? I have been the Director of Professional Development and a facilitator for Magnify Learning since I retired as an elementary school principal at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.  I became a teacher to help children to be all they could possibly be, academically and as productive, contributing citizens of this country.  I became an administrator, because I wanted to create a learning environment where every student would be successful.

Area of Expertise:  Implementing PBL in the elementary classroom from the perspective of the teacher and as an administrator.

PBL Experience:  I had the honor and privilege to be the principal of Columbus Signature Academy – Fodrea Campus (CSAF), a Pre-K to 6 wall-to-wall PBL school in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC), which opened in the fall of 2010 as one of two BCSC elementary schools in the first K-12 PBL pathway in the US.  In 2012, CSA Fodrea was recognized for the highest percentage of growth on the ISTEP+ assessment in the state of Indiana.  My entire staff and I received our PBL certifications during the 2014-2015 school year, Supervising the PBL Certification for Magnify Learning is one of my responsibilities as Director of Professional Development. 

Favorite aspect of PBL:  My favorite aspects of PBL are student voice and choice, student ownership and advocacy for their own learning, connecting the standards to the authentic need to learn them, and the opportunity for students to obtain employability skills that will contribute to their success in the job force.

Why do you enjoy facilitating?  I enjoy facilitating because I feel I am touching the lives of even more children through teaching a strategy I feel strongly meets the needs of all students: students from poverty, students with learning challenges, students who are English Language Learners, students from other cultures, all students.

Rachel Crawford

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I want to best prepare students not only for the next grade level but for grade-levels to come. Without a doubt, my “why” is to provide every student with the necessary skills they need for their best possible outcome in life.

Area of Expertise: I am a Seesaw Ambassador and use this platform to teach students how to use technology, to document and take ownership of their learning, to encourage more critical thinking and reflection, and provide parents with a resource to engage in their child’s learning. I also integrate coding and robotics into my students’ learning. I believe that teaching these skills at an early age will help develop their 21st century skills and better prepare them for the grades to come.

What is your PBL experience? I have been implementing PBL at Babcock Neighborhood School for two years. I taught kindergarten the first year and moved to first grade the following year. We are a new wall-to-wall PBL school located in Babcock Ranch, Florida. Babcock Ranch is the first solar powered town in America focused on sustainability and the environment. AS a result, our school has the opportunity to make amazing authentic connections to our PBLs.

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? There are so many aspects of PBL that I love. It provides an authentic and innovative education, teaches kids in an inspiring and engaging way, and it truly provides an education that reaches all academic levels. I love that PBL makes learning so applicable and fun at the same time!

Why do you enjoy facilitating?

I enjoy facilitating because I am a true believer in what PBL offers all students. I am passionate and want to share my experience with other teachers. PBL and Magnify Learning have inspired me to get out there and share what I believe is an education model that is best for kids!

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meganmarie dennis

What is your “WHY” for teaching? Making a positive impact on students, inspiring them to achieve their dreams.

Area of Expertise: Elementary school education with an emphasis in science and outdoor education. I have my Pre-K- 6th grade certification, middle school science, and Pre-K-12 special education.

PBL Experience: I received training in PBL the summer of 2010 and implemented it into my classroom from 2010-2015.  I was a facilitator from 2012-2014.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I love how students expand their knowledge through their own creativity and through real life experiences, making it a more meaningful and effective way of learning.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy sharing ideas with others on how we can be more effective educators.

Suzanne Diehn

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I love what I do and want to make a difference in a child’s life. This can be academically or social/emotionally. I want all my students to know they are loved and know they are important to the world.

Area of Expertise: I am really strong in community partners and building long lasting relationships with them. I am not afraid to ask someone to help us out or if they can suggest someone to help.

PBL Experience: I was part of one of the first cohorts to receive PBL certification in Indiana. I have been facilitating PBL workshops for the past 5 years.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is the community involvement and the ability to show how the content and skills students are learning in the classroom can apply to their lives long beyond school.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? It is an opportunity to share my passion as well as hear great ideas from other educators and hear their perspectives on PBL and its application.

Shanna Eidson

What is your “WHY” for teaching? My “WHY” for becoming an educator is quite simply THE KIDS! I want to have an impact on students. I always wanted to do something with my life that would help others. I love children and found that teaching them is one of the most rewarding things anyone could do.  Children are my passion, I can’t imagine doing anything else!

Area of Expertise: I have taught for 18 years. I taught Kindergarten, First Grade, Third Grade, Reading Recovery, and I was a reading coach.  I have been an elementary principal for 7 years.  I have a Master’s Degree in Education and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership.

PBL Experience: I received a week long training in PBL from Magnify Learning in the summer of 2016.  Two of my teachers implemented PBL the following school year.  My school hosted an academy the summer of 2017 where the teachers in my building were all trained by Magnify Learning.  The following year PBL was implemented by every grade in my school.  I have watched my teachers grow and become successful facilitators in a PBL environment.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is that it is authentic! The children understand the WHY of a project. They get on fire to learn so they can be successful in their project.  When a student knows they are going to present their final project to a real world audience they become engaged and passionate about the project. 

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I am excited to facilitate  a PBL workshop because I love sharing with other teachers new ways to engage students. Every time a teacher becomes a facilitator I know many students will now have a new love of learning!

Sherry Hashman

What is your “WHY” for teaching? Teaching opens up the world to people who wonder and ask why. I love to be able to cultivate curiosity and empower students and teachers to believe in their ability to seek and find answers through authentic settings. I want all students to be equipped to face any challenge and succeed.

Area of Expertise: Integrating Curriculum, Involving Community Partners, Universal Design for Learning

PBL Experience: I had the privilege to participate in the Design Team for CSA Fodrea in Columbus, Indiana when it transitioned from a traditional to project- based school. There I had the opportunity to facilitate a second grade classroom for six years before moving to my current role as the UDL Facilitator and PBL Coach in the building. One of my highlights has been to teach the PBL process in Beijing, China.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is that it is driven by passion. When students are actively involved in authentic learning they see relevance and the teachers are freed to facilitate. Students and facilitators are empowered to reach beyond simple tasks and are able to connect as contributing global citizens.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because I am able to share my passion for PBL. I truly believe that it is the best way for students to learn, and it is rewarding to work with other teachers who are realizing the power that exists within their own PBL journeys.

Jodi Koors

What is your “WHY” for teaching? The "WHY" for my teaching is to empower students with the ability to be in charge of their future as well as becoming a productive and positive member of their communities.  


What is your area of expertise? My area of expertise includes K-6 all subject content, 6-8 Exploring College and Careers, Service Learning, and K-12 EL.

What is your PBL experience? I have facilitated PBL for nine years+ and not quite sure how to "teach" any other way. PBL has opened up the authenticity and engagement of my students learning in a way that can not be compared to by any other teaching instruction in the school setting. 

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? My favorite aspect of PBL is the ability to have students work on authentic projects that are interesting to them while learning all of the state standards. 

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I especially enjoy facilitating when I see the "ah ha" moment in the teachers eyes. Teaching is hard and mandates make it even more difficult. I love being able to share the amazing tool of PBL to make your facilitation easier, engaging, and help breathe life back into lesson plans.  

Alyssa Lamb

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I love teaching because I want to make an impact on kids while they are young so that they will grow up to be active community members.

Area of Expertise: I primarily teach reading and writing.  I love working with the kids to come up with community partners for projects.  I also enjoy helping them execute their vision for their PBLs.

PBL Experience: I have been a PBL facilitator for four years.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite thing about PBL is developing citizenship in my students.  I get to watch them become community activists, who can recognize and fulfill the needs of others.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? My favorite thing about facilitating is that every year is different.  I never teach the same thing because every group of kids is different.  The standards are the same but the content and interests the kids have are always unique.

Heather Lankford

What is your “WHY” for teaching?  I have a love for learning that I hope to instill in my students as well.  Teaching gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact on my students’ lives each day as we learn and laugh together.

Area of Expertise: I teach at the elementary level, and primarily focus on ELA.  Currently, I am part of a PBL co-teaching classroom which involves two Gen Ed teachers, one SpEd teacher, and two paraprofessionals.

PBL Experience: In 2016, I was trained in PBL and then piloted it in my classroom.  The next summer, most of the teachers in our school were trained as we began implementing PBL school-wide. I have now been teaching in a PBL classroom for two years, and I cannot imagine ever going back.

Favorite aspect of PBL:  One of the most impactful aspects of PBL is the student empowerment.  It is truly amazing to see the students realize that, even at such a young age, they have the power to make a positive impact on their community! Another thing I love about PBL is how it levels the playing field and allows ALL students a chance to shine by using their personal strengths.

Why do you enjoy facilitating?  After seeing the success and growth in my students, I wholeheartedly believe that PBL is what’s best for kids.  I want to share that with other educators so they too can transform student learning.

Emily Lavendar

What is your “WHY” for teaching? I spent a summer in South Africa in college where I served in an elementary school. After this trip, I felt called to teaching. I want to provide a safe, fun, engaging, challenging, and loving learning environment to all of my students. I teach because I believe children can do incredible and amazing things!

Area of Expertise: I received my Bachelors of Science in Education  and Special Education at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. I have taught 3rd grade, 6th grade science, and am currently teaching 5th grade.

PBL Experience: I attended a Magnify Learning PBL 101 (now called PBL Jumpstart) Training during my first year of teaching. I began to learn more about PBL, visit schools, talk to experts, and begin meaningful projects in my own classroom.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I love nothing more than to see my students engage in a project that is meaningful and connects to the real world. I love that PBL allows my students to own their learning and challenge them in different ways. It is empowering and gives students an amazing sense of confidence.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I love facilitating and helping other educators in their PBL journey because I know the great impact it will have on their students. I love seeing educators be empowered and creative in their thinking. It is a great joy to be part of!

Gwyn Osborne

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I have felt called to work with kids my whole life and couldn't find a better fit to do that than in teaching. I love that moment when everything clicks for a student!

What is your area of expertise? Elementary is where I have spent all my days!

What is your PBL experience? I have been in a PBL classroom for three years now. I love this way of teaching, it has transformed my whole career!

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? I love the authenticity and real world connections PBL brings to my class. I love that I am not the only with the answer, in fact, sometimes I don't have the answer and my students come up with better solutions than I had! I love learning from them through PBL.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I want other teachers to get the same inspiration and renewed excitement for this awesome career that I found through PBL. It really is the best way to reach students.

Britni Purdue

Britni Purdue

What is your “WHY” for teaching? My “WHY” comes from a student who had a rough time at home and always felt like a failure. A simple lesson about character traits revealed the negative self talk she often experienced. I chose to support her, nurture her, cheer for her, and hold her accountable rather than punish her for every mistake. She became one of my most successful students and will always be a reminder of my “WHY”.

Area of Expertise: My area of expertise is Elementary Education. I graduated from USI in Evansville, IN in 2012. I have been teaching third grade for 4 years and taught 6th grade for 2 years prior to that.

What is your PBL experience? I am wrapping up my first year as a PBL teacher. In my first year I completed 4 PBL units alongside a coworker who was also going through her first year as a PBL teacher. This summer I will begin working as a facilitator for Magnified Learning.

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? My favorite aspect of PBL is the empathy my students learn from helping the community. We tackle tough issues, talk about tough topics, and solve tough problems. But, we learn to love others as we love ourselves and realize that joy comes most from what we give not what we get.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because I have the opportunity to share success stories with people who understand the struggles that teachers face each day. I enjoy sharing real success about real students with people who are passionate about teaching.

Alyssa Mentz 

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I never thought twice about which career field to go into when deciding, and PBL has proven that she chose the correct path.

Area of Expertise: I am is currently a 3rd grade teacher at New Tech demonstration site, Washington Discovery Academy.

PBL Experience: I have been teaching for 6 years, all of which have been in a PBL setting.

Favorite aspect of PBL: The deeper, real-world learning and problem solving that PBL fosters is life changing for both the teacher and the student.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Seeing solutions to problems, and the confidence students have while interacting with problems is the most enjoyable part.

Aimee Scott


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What is your “WHY” for afterschool? I believe that afterschool programs have the ability to change lives and impact communities by creating access to quality resources and building strong positive relationships within communities.

What is your area of expertise?

  • Out-of-School-Time Learning

  • Afterschool and Summer Camp programs

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? My favorite part of PBL is the authenticity. PBL offers real world learning opportunities which allows youth to learn real world problem solving and communication skills. These young people are often contributing to their world  while learning how to be successful in that world.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because I believe PBL will impact classrooms, after school programs, summer camps and communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to share what I know with other professionals who are serving youth and love knowing that they have the tools to get started. At some point in each training you start to see the shift in thinking. The seed has been planted. They start to understand why PBL will work and they want to know how to ensure they are implementing it well so that their learners get the experience. They want the tools and we get to share some of those tools with them. That is powerful.

Holli Sears

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I have always loved learning and I hope to instill that love and curiosity in my students. I love seeing students make growth, especially in areas where they struggle, and see the pride they have in themselves.

Area of Expertise: I focus on math and science.

PBL Experience: This is my second year of implementation. We have completed 3-4 projects each year. My team teacher and I started this journey and the rest of our 5th grade team joined us this year!

Favorite aspect of PBL: I am helping to create a group of students who feel empowered! I love that my students know that they can do something about issues they see in their own community!

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy helping other teachers discover project based learning and see their excitement when they see its potential in their classroom! I love learning from others and growing my own PBL knowledge in the process.

Anne Soden

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I just love working with children! I strive to be a positive character in a chapter in their book of life.

Area of Expertise: My area of expertise is teaching reading and writing. This is my 15th year of teaching and 14 of those years have been teaching 5th grade so I would say 5th grade is an area of expertise!

PBL Experience: I have taught two years in a PBL classroom and this is my first year of facilitating.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is that students in a PBL classroom have the opportunity to help others. Children are our future, but they are also our right now! They can learn to make a difference in the world and in their community for a better right now through PBL.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I like the opportunity to meet other teachers who want to embark on this PBL journey to make a change and a difference in student’s lives, their school, and their community.

Ashleigh Taylor

What is your “WHY” for teaching? Being a lifelong learner is my WHY for teaching. Everyday I get to learn something new through experiences with my students. It’s the best feeling in the world to see my students excited about learning...as I learn right along with them!  

Area of Expertise: I’ve been teaching for 10 years now. The majority of my time has been teaching 1st gr (7years), but I also have experience in 3rd grade, special education(1st-5th grade) , and specials as a media specialist. 

PBL Experience: I’ve been teaching using PBL for 9 years!

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is thinking outside the box to create community partnerships through service learning. I love making a real-world connection for my students so they can see WHY they are learning standards and skills. 

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because I whole-heartedly believe Project Based Learning is the best way for students to learn and the more we can educate teachers about PBL, the more learners we can reach!

Brittany Tinkler

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? As a student I struggled to learn; the relevance of the content never seemed to “apply” to me, I couldn’t see the “why.” By pursuing my dream of being a teacher I knew I could lead students to a “why” by making lessons and units that impact their world, that listen to their needs, and that support their futures. As a teacher leader I want to model this way of teaching for others; I want to grow my sphere of influence and help ALL people of ALL ages feel like they’re important and that there is a WHY for us all.

What is your area of expertise? I graduated from IUPUI with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. More recently I have obtained my Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership.

What is your PBL experience? Two years ago I was introduced to PBL by taking a site visit to a PBL school. Since then I have researched, attended trainings, been apart of a PBL learning team within my school, and have completed 5 PBL units. My newest journey is taking me in the direction of PBL certification through Magnify Learning with some upcoming opportunities to travel and facilitate. I have felt success and failure all of which have lead me to continue to grow my love for what PBL has done, not just for me, but for students.

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? Easy. Student ownership. PBL gives students voice, choice, and leads them to community partners who they may never have the opportunity to meet in their lives outside of school. PBL empowers students as they are facilitated through a journey to learn about things that matter to them now, and it supports students as they develop the skills they need to be successful in their futures.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Facilitating is teaching. I love teaching and by having the opportunity to facilitate I have the chance to build confidence in educators as I support them on their never-ending journey of learning, while also growing myself as I listen to others, and discover new ways to reach a variety of learners.