Back to PBL Facilitators

secondary Facilitators

Rhonda Adamson

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? My “WHY” for teaching would have to be the students. I love knowing that with my best effort I can help students become adults that have the skills (both content and workforce) they need to be successful. I strive to lead them by example to find a way to make a career out of whatever they are passionate about.

Area of Expertise: My area of expertise is Mathematics and PBL.

PBL Experience: I have 4 years experience at a PBL school within a school where we did cross circular PBL’s at the 7th grade level. I have 3 years experience at a PBL community within a high school where I incorporate geometry with introduction to engineering. I also have facilitated multiple PBL trainings both virtually and in person.

Favorite Aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is students applying the skills they learned for a true purpose.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because it keeps my passion for PBL alive and fresh as I plan my own classes for the new school year. I love being able to share my experiences with PBL in the math classroom. There was not a lot of support for math PBLers when I was starting it 7 years ago, and I have learned a lot through the last 7 years.

Rachelle Antcliff

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I teach because I want to give all kids the opportunities and tools to take the world by storm.

Area of Expertise: My content expertise is English and social studies. I am also our school’s senior project coordinator. My favorite thing, however, is creating culture in my classroom, in my school, and in the teaching profession.

 PBL Experience: I just completed my tenth year of teaching in a wall-to-wall PBL school. I have also facilitated PBL training for Magnify Learning for several years and previously trained in the New Tech Network.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I love that students engage more fully in project work. I love that they find authenticity in their work. I love that they

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Life as a PBL facilitator causes me to grow as well. I don’t do the same things every day or every year. My PBL classroom necessitates growth and professionalism from me as well as from my students.

Andrea Behling 


What is your “WHY” for teaching? My goal as a teacher is to empower kids. The kids are at the center of this profession; they are the reason we get up and do what we do every day. I want to arm kids with the tools to be successful after they leave us, so that they can collaborate and communicate with people out in the “real-world.”

Area of Expertise: Social Studies (US and World History-High School)

PBL Experience: I have been teaching in the PBL classroom for 3 years and facilitating workshops for Magnify Learning for 2 years.

Favorite aspect of PBL:The authenticity and value it gives to students. They are able to take content that they might not love learning about and translate it into a real world problem (or solution).

Why do you enjoy facilitating? The best part of facilitating is seeing a student “get it” or have that “a-ha” moment when they have been working on something frustrating. They solve problems in such creative and innovative ways, and have so much insight into the world. I love hearing them use their voices and platforms to make a difference in the community and watching them work on things they are passionate about.

Pat Berkshire

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? My “WHY” for teaching is to see my students push their thinking. They amaze me with their creativity and ability to solve problems in ways that I wasn’t anticipating.

Area of Expertise: My are of expertise is in building positive relationships with my students. When facilitating PBL, I strive to meet with as many students as possible as often as possible so that I can provide them with the support that they need and  make sure that each of them knows that I see them as an individual rather than as just another student in my class.

PBL Experience: I have facilitated PBL since 2013. In that time I have had a lot of time to see what works best for me and my students as well as what hasn’t. I still continue to grow every day as a PBL facilitator.

Favorite aspect of PBL:  My favorite aspect of PBL is how it enables students to make learning meaningful to them. Each students takes the project, interprets it in their own way, and creates a solution that makes sense to them. It is this personal connection to their work that helps them find importance and meaning.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because of the students.The creativity, passion, and interest that they can bring to their work is what makes PBL facilitation fun.

Trisha Burns

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I love junior high students, and I love math.  However my “WHY” comes when both are combined.  There is something special about having a light bulb go off on a math concept with a junior high student!

Area of Expertise: My expertise is in middle school math, but my team’s focus and my recent experience is developing integrated projects with two or more disciplines involved.

PBL Experience: I’ve taught in a PBL classroom since 2009. The first three years I was in a traditional school and taught PBL in my math classroom only.  Since 2012 I’ve been a part of a fully immersive PBL culture school.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is when the students take the lead and feel the sense of accomplishment when their plan succeeds.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because it helps the students reach their full potential. They don’t need to “sit and get,” but they do need someone who will help keep them on the right track and I love to be that person!

Karina Cole

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? My “why” is simple: our students deserve the best learning opportunities we can offer. I believe in the endless capacity for improvement, and I enjoy meeting that challenge personally as I coach kids in chasing their own potential.

What is your area of expertise? My PBL experiences range primarily from grades 4-12. I am certified to teach grades 1-6 (multi-content) and 9-12 ELA. As a K-12 instructional coach, I am also trained in curriculum development and literacy implementation.

What is your PBL experience? As a classroom teacher, I implemented PBL in my high-school ELA classes, working within the constraints of scheduling at that level to take advantage of authentic problem-based learning as much as possible. As a K-12 instructional coach, I work closely with teams, primarily at the intermediate and junior high levels, to help incorporate PBL structures into the curriculum. When I’m lucky, I get the occasional featuring role in a kick-off event video.

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? I love talking to kids about their PBL work, because they become junior experts in their project fields as they work their way through the problem-solving process. I am continually in awe of what students are capable of when they are given the flexibility to choose how to apply their learning.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? There is power in collaboration, especially in a room full of educators. I’ll admit to an ulterior motive here, as I’ve never facilitated a professional development experience from which I didn’t take some new idea or insight for myself.

Josh Giebel

Josh Giebel

What is your “WHY” for teaching? Teaching is a profession that has called to me for as long as I can remember. The influence of teachers in my life has been tremendous and I can not think of a better way to influence the world around me than by educating the future leaders of our country and our world. My hope is that when a student leaves my classroom, they have learned how to enjoy the learning process as much as I have, but more importantly, they have learned how to care for and support people who are trying to do good for this world.

Area of Expertise: Mathematics Education (High School)

PBL Experience: I have been facilitating in a PBL classroom for 8 years!

Favorite aspect of PBL: As a math facilitator, my favorite aspect of PBL is the problem-solving component. It is hard for me to admit this, but I know that most kids won’t be using the quadratic formula when they leave school (and thus may not need to memorize it); however, I do know that all of my students will be faced with difficult problems that require careful, creative, and logical thought to solve. PBL allows students to engage in authentic and meaningful problem solving and I love that.

Why do you enjoy facilitating?Working with kids every day is amazing. Facilitating in a PBL setting allows me to support students as they discover how to think, collaborate, and navigate the types of problems they will encounter when they leave our school. I love being able to imagine and picture them solving some of our global issues in the future and cannot wait to see what types of success they will have.

Katie Isch

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I have a passion for teaching and learning, and the classroom is the best place to do both every day. I love to work with my students as we discuss ideas, draw meaning from texts, organize thinking, and create meaningful learning experiences. I am inspired as I watch my students (and myself) grow during the time we spend together.

Area of Expertise: I currently teach freshmen English for half of my day and do curriculum, professional development, and grant work for my school for the other half of my day. Before this position, I co-taught a BioLit class (integrated English 9 and Biology I), dual-credit Communications, and middle school English.

PBL Experience: I have taught in a PBL environment for six years. I was trained in PBL through the New Tech Network and was a PBL facilitator and literacy coach at my school. I also have written PLB curriculum for the New Tech Network and Indiana Department of Education.

Favorite Aspect of PBL: Authentic learning! I love to see my students engaged in the process of learning and accomplishing more than they thought possible. I also love seeing students grow in life-long skills like agency, collaboration, and communication through our content-driven projects.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Empowering other educators– PBL is a powerful process for teaching and learning, and I consider it a privilege to walk with teachers on their journey of life-long learning because I believe that “in the pursuit of excellence, there is no finish line.”

Nate Langel

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? The world and its creatures are pretty amazing. Let’s learn about it and do  stuff that matters.

Area of Expertise:  Science education, educational technology, project management software, bicycles, disc sports, Peanuts comics.

PBL Experience: I taught and developed PBL curriculum for 4 years in a New Tech Network school and now am teaching and developing curriculum in a Project XQ “Super School” which focuses on place based education and design thinking. I also am an adjunct professor helping pre-service teachers design PBL units in an undergraduate ed-tech class.

Favorite aspect of PBL: Learning, doing, failing, reflecting, trying again, making it happen. All alongside my “co-workers” (students).

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Seeing teachers excited about doing PBL is almost as awesome as seeing students excited about their projects.

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Andrew Larson

What is your “WHY” for teaching? I love teaching because kids are fun; I could never do a “desk job.” 

Area of Expertise:  Science & Language Arts

PBL Experience: I have been a Project-Based Learning facilitator in science and language arts for over half of my twenty-year career.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I have come to embrace PBL as the best way to help students realize their strengths, build on their weaknesses, and apply content in awesome ways that change them and their community

Why do you enjoy facilitating? The very best school days for me are spent outdoors, doing life/ environmental science project work, recreating, or reading.

Jean Lee

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I found it to be my purpose and calling. How can you deny it when it's your calling?  

Area of Expertise: Mathematics and project-based learning research

PBL Experience: I teach college courses using PBL, research about PBL, provide PD on PBL, and wrote a book about PBL published by National Council of Teachers of Math called Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships: Making Mathematics Come Alive with Project-Based Learning.

Favorite aspect of PBL: Seeing learners take pride in their learning and advocating for themselves.  

Why do you enjoy facilitating? It allows me to grow as a professional, reflect on my own teaching practices, and develop deeper relationships with my learners. 

Blake Manuel

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I have a passion for helping kids find success, whether it is academically or personally.

Area of Expertise: My main focuses are secondary education, “school-within-a-school structures”, and professional development. 

 PBL Experience: I was a teacher in a PBL classroom for 4 years. Our program is a “school-within-a-school” where approx. 250 students do full-time PBL within a building of about 850 students. I now am the Asst. Principal of the school and serve as the Program Director for the PBL program and I have been in the role for 1 year.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is the student voice that is integrated into the classes and the projects. Seeing students grow and develop their own voices as they help to plan and carry out projects is so much fun to see.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? While working with students is what we get to do most of the time, working with teachers and helping them to dive deeper into different topics is often times just as rewarding as working with the students. Adults who give up their time to attend these trainings are clearly passionate about their students and I want to be a part of helping them to be the best teachers they can be.

Coleman Marshall

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? Often students think that they are trapped inside a box, that they can only do this and not do that. I teach in order to show students that they don’t have to live inside that box. Also, from a Social Studies perspective, I want students to leave my classroom understanding themselves, our country, our world, and gain those critical skills that the Social Studies offer to make students college and career ready.

Area of expertise: Social Studies (6-12), Community Partners, Designing Exhibition Nights

PBL Experience: I have taught with PBL for seven years, although I didn’t realize I was using PBL until my third year. I have facilitated class projects, collaborative projects within my department and with other content areas, as well as plan and execute a PBL exhibition night. My highlight would be creating a new city flag for Lexington, Kentucky.

Favorite aspect of PBL: Personally, I love the student ownership of the learning. PBL offers students the opportunity to take control of their learning, and also show that their education does matter. It is hard for students to conceptualize why studying a particular subject at this time matters, but PBL offers not only a benefit of learning for the future, but it also shows students the relevance of learning at the present time.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? My favorite aspect of facilitating is seeing teachers become excited about the PBL process. Some teachers are ready day one, for others it might take a couple of days, but when I hear teachers say, “I can’t wait to implement this project,” then I know we have done our job well. I also enjoy getting to know different educators from across the country, and seeing their talents shine through this model.

Kendra McPheeters

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What is your “Why” for teaching? My “why” for teaching has been my passion since I was in fifth grade. This was the age when I started tutoring students who were struggling in various subjects, and I felt proud and happy for my students when they achieved that lightbulb moment of clarity after struggling with a concept. Those moments are still my favorite as a high school teacher, almost a thousand students later. Being able to foster student growth in so many ways makes teaching incredibly rewarding.

Area of Expertise: I have taught students in English grades 8-12, ranging in levels from reading remediation to AP Seminar. I also worked as a literacy and PBL coach in my district with teachers of grades k-12 in professional development and in their classrooms.

 PBL Experience:  I began my PBL journey in 2013 with the Bridge Team my school formed to implement PBL instruction the following year. In June of 2014, I became a certified PBL teacher, and in July of 2015 I earned my PBL trainer certification which led to opportunities to participate as a consultant in various PBL workshops. I began facilitating with Magnify Learning in June of 2017, and my facilitations include elementary, intermediate, and secondary teachers as well as administrators in multiple states.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I love the amount of student choice in PBL. As part of my project roll out, my students and I brainstorm benchmarks together. I’ve already developed benchmarks and put them in the project briefcase, but sometimes students surprise me and come up with tasks that are more meaningful to the final product or are more rigorous than the benchmarks I envisioned. When this is the case, I am happy to revise the project briefcase to suit the needs and vision of my students. I know that we are a productive learning community when my students take so much ownership over their learning and are willing to participate in the creation of it.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Lasting, positive impact is something I strive to achieve in my interactions with people, and facilitating is one way in which I can see my impact expand exponentially. By facilitating trainings, I am not only impacting the learners in my own classroom, but (hopefully) also the students of the teachers with whom I work. Collaborating with adults is a way in which we can all improve our craft, and facilitating gives us a way to hone our skills with fellow professionals. Thank you for letting me collaborate with you!

Gail Nowels

This is one of my PBL projects in action. I’m working at a home in New Orleans helping rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

This is one of my PBL projects in action. I’m working at a home in New Orleans helping rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

What is your “WHY” for teaching? I taught for 18 years at a traditional high school and finished my career at Columbus Signature Academy which specialized in project based learning. I taught because I had a passion for sharing the information in my content area and wanted to show students how much fun it is to learn.

Area of Expertise: The content areas for which I have degrees and have taught are physics, chemistry, and biology.. I have taught all 3 subjects and have also taught Integrated Chemistry and Physics, and Astronomy at the collegiate level. For most of my career I taught physics, advanced physics, AP physics and ICP.

PBL Experience: I have taught PBL for my whole career and my masters thesis in 1997 was titled, “Project Physics”. While at CSA New Tech high school I was able to expand on the projects I developed over the 18 years at North High school by making them more authentic and involving more community involvement. I also developed new projects while at CSA. Some of the projects I have developed have won national recognition and have been featured in various media outlets.

Favorite aspect of PBL: My favorite aspect of PBL is authenticity and community involvement.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I enjoy facilitating because I like watching people learn and discover new ways of teaching.

Sara Payne 

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I want to use my time, my skills and the experiences I’ve been gifted with to help others. I believe I’m on the earth for the purpose of loving, caring for, and serving people. Teaching was one of the best career paths I could choose to deliberately and purposefully live out that calling.

Area of Expertise:  My background is Language Arts 6-12.  I taught Digital Media, American Studies (U.S. History & English 11), as well as Global Studies (Geography & World History & English 10).

PBL Experience: I spent 9 years teaching in a PBL classroom. I have been facilitating PBL workshops with Magnify Learning for almost 2 years.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I think seeing students become engaged and empowered to wrestle with and tackle problems going on in the world is an extremely fulfilling process to watch. PBL really awakens a creative force and reveals to students that they have a voice that matters and have the power to enact positive change in the world around them.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? Being a facilitator means your work is about serving others and using your knowledge and experience to benefit them. It means I get to come alongside and not only help others succeed in their work, but also help them realize their own potential. This kind of work is powerful and meaningful because it can improve the lives of kids in the classroom and impacts the community in a positive way. 

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.

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.

Joe Steele

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I went into teaching to give others the vocabulary and organization needed to express themselves clearly in all aspects of their lives.

Area of Expertise: Language Arts PBL facilitator- I studied English Education and American Literature at Ball State University.

PBL Experience: The first decade of my teaching career, I spent in a traditional classroom, and have now taught wall-to-wall PBL for the last five years, both in middle school and high school classrooms.

Favorite aspect of PBL: I love PBL because of its authenticity; students see the direct, real-world application of my course standards and never wonder when they will use it in their lives. 

Why do you enjoy facilitating? I have seen the impact that project based learning can have on students; PBL builds fully functioning individuals. I love sharing the PBL process and seeing the awakening in other teachers. I cannot wait to meet you on our PBL journey!

Ryan Steuer

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What is your “WHY” for teaching? I want students and teachers to believe in themselves and use their passion and abilities to help others. I teach because students and teachers need a positive voice that is for them (link).

What is your area of expertise? Middle School – I love 8th graders!

What is your PBL experience? I helped start the first PBL middle school (school within a school) in the country in Indianapolis in a school with 75% free and reduced lunch. I have had the privilege of presenting and training over a thousand educators across the country. I also just published a book called PBL Stories and Structures: Wins, Fails, and Where to Begin.

What is your favorite aspect of PBL? Being a former Industrial Engineer, I love the way PBL prepares learners to be empowered and to use what they are learning in the real world. As an engineer for a Fortune 50 company, I saw success in engineering did not come from knowledge of Thermodynamics but from the ability to problem solve, work in groups, and communicate with others. I have seen PBL do this for kids from all walks of life. I think this message can be a game changing equity tool.

Why do you enjoy facilitating? PBL has changed my life and the lives of thousands of kids and adults I have worked with, so I want to share it with others.