Kirkland educator inducted into Microsoft’s Expert Educator program

Bell Elementary library media specialist Julie Hembree. - Contributed photo
Bell Elementary library media specialist Julie Hembree.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Bell Elementary has announced that Julie Hembree, a Library Media Specialist in the Lake Washington School District, has been selected for the second year in a row to take part in Microsoft’s Expert Educator program, created to recognize educators and schools globally who are using technology to transform education.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators,” said Hembree. “I look forward to making the most of the mentoring and learning opportunities that are now available to me, as well as being able to connect with like-minded educators at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum. Being a Microsoft Expert Educator will help me to increase learning outcomes for my students, as well as drive technology in education on a global stage.”

Hembree was selected by Microsoft for her use of technology to drive student attainment. Her project Books to Africa: Every Child Deserves a Book integrated art, science, research and technology into a global literacy outreach program. During the course of the year, students in her library classes created a variety of interdependent multi-media projects reflecting their learning about the animals and culture of Africa. In the last eighteen months, her students have also raised enough money to send more than 1,200 books to needy schools in Ghana, Lesotho and South Africa.

“Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st Century,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. “Not only are they doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. They set an outstanding example for their peers and we are confident that they will benefit from the access to technology they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs.”

This year, the Expert Educator program selected 250 educators to be part of an exclusive global community of education leaders who use technology to positively impact learning and student outcomes. To be selected, educators undergo a rigorous application process; they are required to fill out an online application, create a learning activity and a two-to-three minute non-professionally produced video that describes their project and how they used technology and innovative teaching practices to impact student outcomes. The winners are selected by a worldwide group of judges who used a broad set of criteria to assess the educators’ evidence of learning, collaboration, knowledge construction and critical thinking among other things.

Expert Educators work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate and share their experiences with effective uses of technology in education with their peers and policy makers. In addition, they mentor other educators and help train them in education technologies and Microsoft products and tools.

To be considered for an Expert Educator, educators must demonstrate a commitment to innovation and the ability to overcome obstacles in preparing students to be 21st century learners. Educators are selected based on their innovation, leadership skills and effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes.

Expert Educators receive a range of benefits including: An invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain taking place in March 2014; Free Surface devices for their schools; Insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies; and Professional and career development opportunities and certifications including peer coaching.

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