An educator giving a spelling test with imaginary words may not seem like the most traditional method of promoting learning, but then again, there isn't much that can be considered conventional in Joe Dombrowski's - or as many know him, Mr. D - classroom.
While Dombrowski had been routinely posting creative, innovative and most importantly, fun ideas to his social media channels he executed in his fourth grade classroom since he began his teaching career, it was one in particular that captured the hearts of 20 million people: the April Fool's Prank seen around the world.
The video he shared connecting to his students through a lighthearted fake quiz with hilariously inventive words (complete with silent letters) left an impact on so many due to the obvious investment of the students, the sheer creativity, humor, and of course, the clear passion of Dombrowski for what he does. In a matter of days the viral video made its way to Good Morning America, had its own "Twitter Moment" and finally, to The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Ellen DeGeneres promoted Dombrowski's appearance on her show's social media channels by stating, "He may be one of my favorite teachers ever." Once on the show, DeGeneres praised Dombrowski when she said his lessons filled with laughter would make his students not only remember him, but what they were learning. Dombrowski also used his platform to speak about selfless teachers across the country using their own money to create a topnotch education experience.
Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University, where he was a Featured Student Teacher Spotlight Spring 2012, Dombrowski took up a residency as an improv comedy artist at Go Comedy Improv Theater. His comedic timing and improv studies have translated into the classroom. His teaching approach with humor lends itself to make the curriculum material relatable and less intimidating. He continued this residency through graduation from Oakland University with a Masters in Educational Leadership, High Honors.
Dombrowski has been highlighted on the Kelli Pickler & Ben Aarons Show where he discussed his love for education and humorous teaching style. Dombrowski speaks internationally and enjoys speaking to crowds of all walks of life, helping them reconnect to the joy of life through laughter. Joe tours with his stand up comedy show "Indoor Recess and also hosts his own podcast called Study Hall with Mr.D covering a range of topics. He can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @mrdtimes3 and on YouTube as Joe Dombrowski.
Wednesday's Keynote Speaker
Joe "Mr. D" Dombrowski
Tuesday's Keynote Speaker
Monday's Keynote Speaker
Dr. Knatokie Ford is Founder and CEO of Fly Sci Enterprise, LLC. Established in 2014, Fly Sci Enterprise is an education and media consulting organization focused on leveraging the power of storytelling to promote social change, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Biomedical Scientist. Creative Science Communicator. Midwesterner with a slightly southern twang. Lover of the arts, good music, bright lipstick, and big hair. Soul sistah. Motivator. Dreamer. Game Changer.
She previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2015 through the end of the Obama Administration in January 2017. In her role at the White House, Dr. Ford oversaw development and implementation of a national initiative, the "Image of STEM," which was designed to raise visibility and improve the image of STEM fields and careers in order to help promote diversity in the STEM workforce.
She previously served as a AAAS Science &Technology Policy Fellow at OSTP from 2012-2014 with the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) where she managed concurrent projects on education technology and improving the Nation's health care system, in addition to working with OSTP's STEM inclusion team. Prior to working at OSTP, Dr. Ford was a postdoctoral research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA.
She also spent time in Los Angeles where she had the opportunity to work as an actress in television and film and serve as a middle school teacher in an underserved community in South Central Los Angeles. Dr. Ford completed her PhD in Experimental Pathology at Harvard University where she studied age-related macular degeneration and received a BS/MS in Chemistry/Biological Chemistry from Clark Atlanta University.
Known to many as "America's Educator," Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. Ron is regularly featured on network and cable television (The Today Show, CNN and Oprah,) and was dubbed by Ms. Winfrey as her first "Phenomenal Man."
Ron Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. Ron pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation to be honored by the President of the United States.
Ron Clark's personality is marked by a sense of challenge and adventure. Upon watching a television piece chronicling low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, Ron packed his car and moved to Harlem. After being warned by the principal that his class was the least disciplined group she had seen in years, Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. Ron Clark involved his students in projects in the city and state, and his "low achievers" soon began to excel; and by the end of the year, their scores were higher than the "gifted" classes in his district.
[The Power of What We Say!]
The Power of What We Say!In 2003, Ron Clark released the New York Times Bestselling book "The Essential 55" which includes his 55 expectations of students - as well as all individuals - young and old. Ron's second book, "The Excellent 11," was released in August 2004 and further captured the attention of parents, educators and students alike.
Obviously Ron Clark did not stop there. In 2006, Ron Clark founded The Ron Clark Academy, an inner-city school serving students from across metro Atlanta. The privately-funded institution is unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on worldwide travel. Each year the students, grades 5 through 8, apply their in-class lessons to international adventures. And, by the time of graduation, each child will have visited six of the seven continents. Almost 50,000 educators, teachers and administrators from around the world visit the Academy to observe the innovative and "out-of-the-box" methods for achieving student success from all 50 states and 26 countries.
In 2011, Ron Clark released "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers." This New York Times Best Seller brought to light 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America's schools and leading our children to greatness. A must read for every teacher and parent.
In his most recent release, "Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life." This versatile best seller is attracting attention from both the world of business and education. Ron Clark applies his successful leadership principles to both worlds in this effective and accessible guidebook, perfect for anyone looking to inspire and motivate his or her team.
In addition to his many duties as an educator, Ron Clark is a much sought after keynote speaker. He shares the uncanny adventures he has had in the classroom and speaks of his experiences teaching in Harlem. Within his humorous and heartwarming stories, he delivers a message relevant to each of us. It is a message of hope, dedication and the never-say-never attitude required to achieve goals and dreams.
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