20 Phenomenal Educators Share Their Exemplary Teaching Expertise [ Expert Roundup in 2022]

The world really celebrates teachers who have gone the extra mile in educating young people and who have inspired millions of other educators in the world. These passionate people have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the success of every child. 

Right here on this page, I will talk about how phenomenal educators share their exemplary teaching expertise.

an inspiring quote about great teachers

Great educators who have extended beyond their means to reach out to learners and to make a difference in their lives are really remarkable. They affect eternity. They are the life-changers in society who render their selfless services. Their love for teaching is enormous and their passion is infinite.

These incredible people are the noble heroes of the world. Their dedication and passion for teaching truly inspire greatness. They give their best and they celebrate their hard work.

They are our phenomenal educators.

It’s a surefire that great teachers do exemplary work; thus, they are worthy of emulation. They are not afraid to dig in on what’s best for the education of the child.

They amazingly inspire other educators to make great contributions and to perform extraordinary things. Moreover, most of them are proponents of teacher collaboration.

And it’s a pleasure to sit down momentarily and read about them. Certainly, their examples and stories motivate us to get to work each day.


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Collaboration Exemplified

Collaboration in teaching has a significant impact on promoting high-quality student learning.  It’s one of the most amazing entries of teachers in the teaching field. The minutiae of teaching has to be made inspiring rather than overwhelming. 

Hence, this expert-teacher round-up is created to your heart’s content. I know many teachers out there are looking for inspiration to continue moving forward despite how challenging the teaching profession is.

 For most educators, teamwork can be done by taking a look at one another’s best teaching practices, and by imitating them. I have been a teacher for a decade now, and I really absorbed some of the best practices of my superiors and colleagues. 

Learning from expert teachers has expanded my horizons in teaching. Their knowledge and expertise in teaching serve as my guiding light in choosing the most appropriate strategies and actions to help students achieve their learning goals and to become successful learners. 

Thus, we are very lucky to hear from these 20 great educators as they share their best teaching practices and remarkable experiences. Taking a glimpse of their inspiring teaching stories will truly ignite our passion for teaching. Learning about them can be a great motivation as well. 

Although we know that expertise in teaching takes in different valuable forms, knowing each one of them can make a big difference in our teaching career. 

motivating lines about a great teacher

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The acquisition of the best teaching expertise has been made easy. And regardless of your position in the teaching profession, you need to collaborate with others, especially with those experts in the field of teaching.  

Gladly, we have curated the brilliant voices we all want to hear. They expressed their fundamental teaching expertise. Interestingly, we want to hear it. We need to listen to their voices so we can establish our own meaningful sounds. One day, we can be like them. 

These experts in the teaching field also offer us amazing opportunities to get better in our teaching efforts. Their good examples can guide us, motivate us, and encourage us to hurdle all the challenges along the way. 


20 Phenomenal Educators Share Their Exemplary Teaching Expertise [Expert Roundup]

Experts in the field of education have been around for ages and they have spread their wings of innovations and successful teaching stories. To me, it’s more than authentic to know their variety of insights and effective teaching styles.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie or a seasoned educator, for as long as you have the passion to teach and the dedication to change lives, you can best learn from these education experts. 

Hence, we have this round-up article with unbelievably in-depth teaching innovations for you. And their stories are extremely good. 

In no particular order, let’s all witness the education guides and lights. Spend quite a moment and listen to them all. 

Education Experts’ In-depth Showcase of Passion, Dedication, Commitment, and Competence


1. Lisa Godwin

delightful message of Lisa Godwin

Awesome Kindergarten Teacher

Inspiring educators have wonderful stories to tell. Lisa Godwin is a  brilliant educator in the Onslow County School District of North Carolina. She is a kindergarten teacher at Dixon Elementary School who received the prestigious award as 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year’. 

From 2017 to 2019, Ms. Godwin was then a teacher advisor to the North Carolina State Board of Education. She is currently a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council and North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).

Her inspiration as a teacher is deeply rooted in her father, whose services as a minister of the Baptist church in their community lit her path, which according to her “shaped her educational philosophy and beliefs.”  At a young age, Lisa Godwin grasped the thought of “loving with an open heart and serving with open hands.”

Interestingly, this is how she composes herself as an educator.

She turns out to be one of the greatest advocates for children and for teachers. Lisa Godwin meaningfully shares in her talk: How teachers can help students navigate trauma, “To make a difference in the life of a child … I made the commitment to tell my personal story.”

By sharing her personal story, she finds effective ways on how to sympathize and to reach out to her learners.

With her childhood experience of overcoming trauma through the help of her teacher and guidance counselor, she is all inspired to do the same for her young learners.

Yes, she was a victim of sexual abuse which had made her experience childhood trauma. But she was able to overcome her anxieties and fears. Thanks to her equally passionate teacher and school counselor.

Inspiringly, her teacher and counselor helped her to find her voice through their silent yet impactful support.

Yes, she shares her story with her students, and her listeners love it. Godwin’s ways of winning over her students’ trust and confidence are remarkable and inspiring.

She gladly shows other teachers around the world that they can help their students ‘navigate trauma’ and be the best that they can be by sharing their own personal stories and by actively listening to the stories of their students.

Teachers can do it! It’s her perspective and I believe in her. Delightfully, sharing your piece with your students and listening to their stories as well can create harmonious relationships and create meaningful bonds out of respect and genuine care.

Fulfilling Her Great Roles

In essence, she shares during an interview when she won the 2017 N.C. Teacher of the Year, “I love children and I love everything about education, so I don’t consider it a job. I already consider it more like a mission field”.

Her statement makes me realize that as an educator I can make a difference in the lives of my young learners by loving them and by altruistically fulfilling my role as a teacher through hard work and resilience. 

She also shared her piece on overcoming her childhood trauma at TedTalk, which moved millions of viewers.  Yes, I watched it and my tears fell. Not that I pity her, for what happened when she was a child but because of her undying love and care for children who are for me very vulnerable and fragile. This made me reflect on my practices as a teacher. To me, this is what we call influence.

I get emotional because I feel the intensity of my role as an educator. That, with my sincerity to help learners, I can make a positive impact on their lives. Indeed, Lisa Godwin is an inspiration who gives me a timely thought.

Her best teaching practices, which highlight building relationships with children by listening to their stories, and her one-of-a-kind advocacy for these young learners, make her a known educator worldwide. 

For her, teaching has brought her life’s purpose. She nurtures children so they become the best that they can be. According to Godwin, building a strong emotional relationship with children will help them become successful in their academic lives. 

Interestingly, her great passion for teaching has served as enlightenment for those teachers who have experienced setbacks and trauma in their lives that could somehow affect their teaching career. 

In her famous speech at TED Talk, she discusses impressive ways on how teachers can help students navigate trauma and help them become successful.

All we need, according to her, is to listen to their stories and ask them. One of the delightful ways she recommends is to approach children with empathy and flexibility.

She insinuates that the best way to reach children is to introduce ourselves to them and become a big part of their lives. We have to talk with our children, spend time with them, and listen to their stories. 

The most fitting to Ms. Godwin is the thoughts of Horace Mann, ”Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care.” 

She shares her story and she actively listens to other stories because she truly cares.

“How can I be a better teacher by listening to their voices?”, shares Godwin.

As teachers, can we delve into the same question too?  Lisa Godwin encourages us all “to take the time to be curious” about how our students might be behaving in a particular way because they are bothered by something. And we have to take the position of asking them by knowing their story and to take action.

“Ask them why, and you may find out that there’s a reason behind it,” says Godwin.

I am personally delighted with these words. It made me think of ways on how to take time and be with my students to interact with them. I have to take to the fore of my responsibility as a teacher and make my young learners enjoy learning, free from anxieties and fears.

Such is the influence of Lisa Godwin on students and on teachers. She is indeed an exemplary primary school teacher who deserves the best.


2. Dr. Matthew Lynch

Here’s another expert on education that continues to inspire educators of the world through his advocacy, great examples, and education reforms. 

Dr. Matthew Lynch is a famous advocate, teacher, scholar, activist,  and investor. Moreover, his being a writer creates inspiration and innovation among other educators. 

inspiring words of Dr. Matthew Lynch

Dr. Lynch’s research-based activities are known to many, which accumulated positive and improved results. Hence, this famous educator is among the best of the best in the global arena.

His greatness as an educator has been proven in the different roles he has under multiple institutions.

Isn’t he amazing?

Great Influencer

Well, Dr. Lynch is not only a teacher but also an awakener and an enabler. To me, he is the most fitting to Henry B. Adam’s food for thought, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

He’s not just a role model whom every teacher must know but also an education advocate that everyone must admire. He is the motivation we’ve been looking for. He’s the extra inspiration we’ve been delving into a lot. 

Dr. Lynch is a former Dean of the School of Education, Psychology, and Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Union University. His brilliance as an educator was amplified when he was a K-12 teacher. His 7  years of experience as a K-12 teacher gives him insights into the provocations of education reform.

Also, Dr. Lynch has written numerous books and one of the famous lists that really stimulates my teaching prowess is the gem entitled, “Understanding Key Issues: How We Got Here and Where We Go from Here”.

You can read about his innate passion for education through his informative and highly motivational podcasts. Listening to him can make us love the teaching profession more and more. 

Invigorating Listening Piece

The Edvocate Podcasts by Dr. Matthew Lynch serves as my stress reliever. When I feel a teacher burnout as it can’t be avoided, I just sit calmly and take my phone and headset.

I listen to his thoughts.

As a fact, Episode 13: How I Avoid Burning Out, really gives me incredible ways of overcoming stress. Dr. Lynch’s regimen to combat stress has had a positive impact on my well-being as a teacher. Communing with nature is the best for me! Baking a red velvet cake is quite fantastic as well!

Exceptional Writer

As the owner and editor of ‘The Edvocate’ and ‘The Tech Edvocate’, he spread his innovative educational leadership while his articles are read regularly in Education Week, Huffington Post, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Through his two online education magazines, Dr. Lynch magnified his goal of providing educational support to the P-20 market.  

Being so, I am very proud that I am a regular subscriber of ‘The Edvocate’. Everything is there.

Just visit  https://www.theedadvocate.org/author/drmatt/ and you will be surprised by what he can deliver both as a writer and an educator. 

Gladly, I read Dr. Lynch’s article, “60 Inspirational Quotes for Teachers”. I feel energized and more optimistic about my teaching career. At times when I feel very low, all I have to do is read and reflect on Dr. Lynch’s all-time favorite inspirational thoughts about teaching.

In fact, I selected my favorites and put them on top of my working table. This delights my heart and motivates me to keep going no matter what.

The most famous educator that we’ve been talking about is the owner and CEO  of the Lynch Consulting Group which offers education consulting services to P-20 students. Furthermore, his book, “The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching,” can serve as the guiding light for freshers in education. Even the seasoned ones can be delighted with that material. 

Amazingly, Dr. Lynch has contributed a lot to education reform which can become our enlightenment as well. I am one of his followers and I do believe in his advocacies especially promoting equal access to quality education. 

Into the bargain, Dr. Lynch’s programs and activities wrapped up the three paramount areas of education, namely: school reform, closing the  achievement gap, and improved teacher education.’

To me, Dr. Lynch serves as a great inspiration and motivation not only to the P-20 students but also to teachers and the whole educational community. 

Dr. Lynch, I say, gives us a deep enthusiasm to get to the pinnacle of our teaching career. A great inspiration indeed.


3. Kalena Baker

inspiring words of Kalena Baker

It is for the love of gymnastics that Kalena Baker has been known for the love of teaching young children. This passion remains her strongest stance that if you’ll ask her today, she’ll tell you there are no trampolines, uneven bars, or balance beams that can pose hazards to learners as young as 3-year olds when there is proper child management.

Teaching as an Achievement

Reaching her goals, it’s amazing how she has put things together – pursuing a degree in elementary education and teaching at the same time. She continued in the job and landed teaching 3rd grade after graduation. Noted on her keen direction, she got a break when asked to be a lead teacher — for which she took as an opportunity to help and support new teachers in their first year of teaching. 

It has been 6 years of teaching in Kansas when the family decided to move to Charleston, South Carolina, in support of her husband’s work. Figuring mid-year was not the perfect time to find a job, she positively devoted full-time work on her Teacher Pay Teachers Store, instead,  as it provides so much for the family.

The flexibility of time has allowed her to create as many practical teaching resources. She has also happily volunteered to teach at her church and at a Literacy Center teaching adults who are trying to get their GED.

Sharing Her Best Approaches for Learning

As the sole author and creator of “Teaching Made Practical, Ms. Baker believes the best approaches to learning come directly from educators who themselves have been teaching and connecting with students. In fact, she has created many of these resources FREE to any teacher who wants them.

Among her valuable articles are Back-to-School Ideas, Classroom Management, and Scaffolding Instructions. She also touches on mini lessons for teaching Point of View. If you’re among the busiest teachers, she has practical resources for you, too. Ms. Baker wants all teachers to never stress about sub plans again. In fact, she is willing to share her reusable sub plans for FREE!

One of Ms. Baker’s inspiring message is “It’s not about the money – it’s about changing the lives of kids.

This determination is fresh from her strong background teaching 3rd and 4th grade at urban, low-income schools. With this, she aims educators to know that her heart is with teachers serving in these schools, where paper and pencils are a precious supply, and where teachers double time in motivating kids that come to school with a lot of baggage.

Her Goals as a Teacher

Ms. Baker is constantly aware of teachers who work unpaid for the love of wanting a safer and welcoming classroom for their students. This has always been the motivating factor in her quest to support as many teachers as she can who work at high-poverty schools. 

Kalena Baker has a strong conviction that “When teachers work together, incredible things happen.” Her goal in compiling the learning resources for upper elementary students is to impart doable methods, ideas, activities, and even freebies so that many teachers can teach more effectively while protecting their time.

For Kalena Baker, whose passion revolves around children, teaching must not only be confined to managing a group of young learners, but it is about making things work effectively and practically in the classroom.

Thanks to her Teaching Made Practical with hands-on tips and cute activities — any teacher can maximize learning and teaching time in a more practical way. 


4. Lisa Nielsen

Lisa Nielsen has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer, best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator which started in March of 2008.

Nielsen is the author of several books, and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tech & Learning, and T.H.E. Journal.

delightful words of Lisa Nielsen


Folks, let’s meet  The Innovative Educator. Her name is Lisa Nielsen. One of the multi-awarded education influencers in the US and has been sharing her inspiration, innovation, and creativity with all the educators in the world.  

With her incredible qualities as an educator, she has been recognized as one of the top 100 influencers in education in the United States. In fact, the United States Department of Education recognized her as an admirable ‘connected educator’. Certainly, being a connected educator is among her great passions. 

Thus, she deserves to be on the list. She shares, “Something that I am passionate about is empowering students with the freedom to learn with the tools and resources of their world.”  To her, giving students access to resources that are available such as technology for them to do amazing things with their teachers. 

Amazingly, she collaborates with other educators and signifies the use of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as tools in connecting to others and to the world. Moreover, she clearly emphasizes the use of Social Media for ‘social action and social good’, so students can express their thoughts and share them with the world. 

One of her favorite groups on social media, she continues to talk about in her work is the Student Voice, which has reached the world. The group allows students to make a voice in conversations that directly impacts their world. 

Nielsen, as an innovative educator, helps teachers navigate the world of educational innovations such as social media with its grand array of powerful resources and tools. According to her, educators have to be savvy in using Social Media “to change the way that things are run where we live, work, or play.” 

On that account, Nielsen, shares her creative innovations in education to help educators perform their duties with their students today specifically through using Social Media ‘appropriately, responsibly, and effectively.’ Likewise, she inspires educators to use Social Media as an incredible tool to engage their students in the classroom and in the real-life world. 

To elaborate on the collaboration among teachers, parents, and students, Nielsen recommends using tagboards where parents can get more involved with their children’s activities by using hashtags. It’s an interesting way for parents to connect with their children and with the teachers. 

Furthermore, it’s a fun way for teachers to build strong relationships with their students’ parents which is very important too. This can keep students engaged and excited about learning as they can visualize the support and great involvement of their parents. 

Personally, I find this innovation in education really interesting and I am inspired to use it in my classroom as well. 

Significantly, Nielsen encourages teachers to magnify their techy skills by starting with simple resources such as Facebook and joining different groups related to the subject matter being taught. In fact, she heartily recommends her Facebook group, The Innovative Teacher, which interests me as well. 

Incredible Tech Savvy Educator

Being a phenomenal teacher, Lisa Nielsen presents equally remarkable tips in her post “Strategies & Platforms for a Workplace with Virtual Staff.” These amazing reliable platforms are a big help to businesses and institutions. She certainly emphasizes elaborate ways on how to collaborate effectively amidst the Coronavirus pandemic we are in. 

Among the most highly recommended platforms are G Suite & Whiteboards for Collaboration, Microsoft Teams for Meetings, Facebook and Teams for Chance Encounters, and a lot more. Notably, the common denominator of shared strategies and platforms for virtual encounters is that it makes learning interactive, effective, accessible, and meaningful. 

Hence, teachers have to get acquainted with these tools to further enhance the quality of education, especially in the New Normal. The connection between teachers and students is further enhanced and made stronger by these reliable platforms. 

Phenomenal Educator

What’s more interesting about Lisa Nielsen is her initial perception about school that according to her, “school is boring and irrelevant.” This is quite ironic to what she has become as an educator. With this conviction, she manages to create and to lead an amazing educational transformation that benefits teachers, school administrators, students, parents, and the whole education sector.

In her recent post, ‘Join Me at the Emergency #HomeLearningSummit’, she is able to look in on salient conversations on how teachers and parents collaborate to enhance and promote student learning. Her line states that “understanding when, where, and how learning takes place has never been more important.”

Engagingly, Lisa Nielsen is among the 150 speakers who share meaningful conversations on different topics which include Blended Learning, Mindful teaching and learning, and many other important topics. 

Great Inspiration

Lisa Nielsen is a great inspiration to an educator like me. In fact, her article, Gesticulation as a Strategy to Engage Learners,  helps me make my online classes more interesting and productive. Gestures really matter. Her gesture of innovation and creativity is spectacular.

Her high-quality ideals and examples in education have established changes that greatly impact the education sector not only in the US but also in other countries. 

As she aims for full-level student achievement by empowering them and encouraging them to join in worthwhile conversations, she is telling the educators in the world to be more proactive and be the best that they can be. I can be one of these proactive educators. And, I feel great. 

Nielsen’s dedication to teaching is highly contagious and it greatly impacts other teachers’ perspectives. It’s a good thing and we can say that more great things are about to happen in the field of education.

Thus, we express our profound gratitude to Lisa Nielsen, a great education influencer at all times.  


5. Zarreta Hammond

National Education Consultant, Instructional Coach, Passionate Teacher Educator, Writer, Speaker

I am appropriately reminded of the thought shared by Zarreta Hammond,  “As teachers of culturally diverse students, we need to educate ourselves about the realities of social racialization in society and recognizing how colorblindness is just another form of implicit bias.”

food for thought from Zaretta Hammond

She is another exceptional educator that has reached out and has greatly influenced millions of educators.

Zarreta Hammond is one of the Board of Trustees for the Center of Collaborative Classroom and has spread her zeal across the country and to the whole world.

Reading the exceptional experiences of another committed and dedicated educator makes me realize that teaching is indeed a very fulfilling mission. Ms. Hammond experienced being a high school and writing educator. It’s a manifestation that we can greatly learn from her. 

Meet the Defender of Educational Equity

Zarreta Hammond believes in the capacity of each child, especially the under-served ones. Notably, she has greatly emphasized that teachers can give their learners maximum learning opportunities by making them competent, and by applying the science of learning. 

Ms.Hammond is very passionate about teaching and learning. Evidently, her blogs reveal how compassionate she is about teaching culturally diverse students.

As a National Education Consultant, Ms. Hammond has extended her coaching expertise to all educators around the world who are greatly inspired by her mission. 

Essentially, Ms. Hammond extended her help to educators so they could manage their diverse classrooms, especially in meeting the needs of their culturally diverse learners.

Let’s meet another exceptional educator whose primary goal is to help students enjoy and lead their own learning.  Zarreta Hammond’s brilliance is reflected in her book: Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students.

Greatly passionate about reading and writing, Ms. Hammond aptly shares her thoughts and extraordinary teaching perspectives through her blogs.

Hence, we’ll talk about her. Listening to her and reading about her will make us rethink our teaching practices and modify our resilience and perseverance.

Upholder of Culturally Responsive Teaching

For Zarreta Hammond, embracing students with real care makes a big difference. Being in the teaching industry for 20 years and still counting, Hammond magnifies the importance of equity in the classroom.

Certainly, to amplify her best perspectives, she meaningfully shared, Equity Through Inquiry: Helping Students Lead Their Own Learning Difference?” during her speech at the San Francisco Library.  

She makes her students feel safe and cared for. I agree with her, definitely. Having been a teacher for a decade now, I realize the value of ‘authentic care’, just like what Hammond specified. 

Her article enlightens me. And, I read several times the part where she mentions the ‘neuroscience of caring and being cared for.’

Meet the  Exceptional Writer

As a writer, she explicitly shared her passion for teaching and learning by giving out tips, especially about cultural responsiveness. Pertinently, Ms. Hammond noted, “culturally responsive teaching is really about building relationships and validating students to ensure their academic success.”

And, it begins with warmhearted caring from the teacher.

 One of the best articles I have read that Ms. Hammond authored is “What’s Your Plan for Managing Difference.” She shared realistic and very relevant strategies for managing ‘multicultural and multiracial classes’. It’s a fact that teachers really find it challenging to manage a class with students of different personalities and are multilinguistic. 

According to Ms. Hammond, when differences seem to affect interaction and as ‘emotional temperature’ begins to jump up, “teachers must not be caught off guard and must adopt the tips to create an action plan.” Designing an action plan, shares Hammond, should be the first step in the culturally responsive tool kit.

Meet the Eloquent Speaker

Zarreta Hammond shares her teaching prowess at the Teaching Learning Coaching Conference, the largest international coaching conference in the world. 

Amazingly, our committed educator is one of the most effective keynote presenters at this international conference.  Being one of the education experts, Ms. Hammond intensifies her high-quality teaching expertise around the world.  

Ms. Hammond has been involved in instructional coaching for educators to share her proven instructional wit and provide educators with helpful classroom teaching tips. 

Evidently, her commitment to teaching has been reflected in her speech and actions which have positively impacted teachers’ teaching strategies and the students’ lives as a whole. 

Thoroughly, Ms. Hammond has cultivated in the educators of the world a deep understanding of excellent teaching practices that can help accelerate student learning to engage them more so they realize their full potential. 

Extra-ordinary Educator

In a post by Maggie Johnson of Partnership Schools (PNYC), entitled: Academic Spotlight: Lessons from Zaretta Hammond, she amplifies the encouraging words from Ms. Hammond that teachers have to be ‘fundamentally unchanged’ despite the pandemic and to give students effective instructional delivery even at a distance. 

Johnson shared Ms. Hammond’s thoughts in her podcast about giving importance to collaboration and building strong relationships between families and educators during the uncertainty of the lockdown and quarantine.

Indeed, listening to an interesting conversation through Apollo 13’ing it with Zarreta Hammond, helps me see the amazing opportunities amidst the crisis. She also emphasized the importance of ‘equity education especially to marginalized students,’  which is, for me, usually ignored.

“The student is the center of learning and only the learner learns. Give them a packet and encourage students to become independent learners”, she continued. 

“Encourage kids to use their brains every day.” This is such an absorbing thought from Ms. Hammond.

“Helping the brain become curious and not compliant.”, Ms. Hammond shares. Kids at home during distance learning must be encouraged to explore and to think. 

“Parents are the children’s first teachers and we need to honor them”, Ms. Hammond said. This resonates in my mind because I am a parent too. 

Teachers have to collaborate with parents and be more elaborate about co-constructing. This is a true collaboration, according to Ms. Hammond.  It’s not about telling after all.

Furthermore, Ms. Hammond encourages teachers to design distance learning opportunities for kids and involve parents. This way can spark a meaningful collaboration between teachers and parents. 

Bearing it rear, providing students with instruction and opportunities that amplify autonomy should always be at goal whether face-to-face or distance learning. This establishes a powerful way to give students valuable opportunities to ‘own their own learning’. 

As Ms. Hammond remarks, “students must be taught how to improve their learning moves leading to deeper learning.”


6. Julie Margretta Wilson

Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for the Future of Learning, Alumnus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Introducing another excellent educator who manifests the rethinking and remodifying of curriculum and teaching pedagogy for sustainable change in education.

motivating words of Julie Wilson

Perhaps you are familiar with the book, The Human Side of Changing Education: How to Lead Change with Clarity, Conviction, and Courage which was published in 2018.  It is authored by a phenomenal educator, Julie M. Wilson, a coach, and advisor to school leaders. 

She has been a trainer and leadership consultant for over 15 years and her in-depth experience is spread all across the United States and Europe. 

When she was invited to MassCue Spring Leadership Conference 2019 in an interactive keynote, she deliberately articulated the question to reflect “What works and what doesn’t when leading change in schools?”  Her presentation in a 45-minute session made classroom and educational leaders reflect on the critical issues of education through the ‘practical tools ‘ introduced in the conference.

Definitely, she’s after a positive transformation of the education system and to improve the performance of schools despite the expected resistance of others to lead change.  Her appetite for leading change in schools is really commendable.

And, it’s fine well to dig into her excellent teaching ideas for improvement and transformation of the educational system. 

Interestingly, we have Julie Margretta Wilson in the roundup of experts and truly, you’ll gain insights from the awardee of ‘Harvard Hero’. She received the prestigious award for her exemplary contributions to the university. 

Additionally, Julie Wilson earned her Master’s degree in  Education at  Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where she specialized in ‘adult development, technology, and behavioral change’.  

No wonder her innovative expertise in education is well-known and has helped schools increase their performance. 

In an interview with Justin Baeder, Director and host of Principal Center Radio, Julie Wilson shares her inspiration and perceptions for writing her famous book “The Human Side of Changing “Education.

The conversation is made interactive and interesting as Ms. Wilson presents her thoughts on the question “How do we redesign an existing system in education? 

Meet the Exceptional  Pragmatist

As a teacher myself, I am deeply curious about Ms. Wilson’s presentation models and opportunities in education. And, I’m longing to get engaged and build my capacity for sustainable change. This is one of Ms. Wilson’s great advocacies in education. 

Certainly, Ms. Julie’s conviction that education leaders should be helped in transforming the industrial system of education because it ‘is not serving our children anymore’ has indeed a major impact in every facet of modern education.

My profound interest in her goal for sustainable education reform is highly supported by the concept of  Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovations,  that “Julie Wilson is both a visionary and a pragmatist. Her book is a wonderfully clear and concise guide for leaders who seek to navigate the road to educational transformation.”

Notably, my major takeaway from the podcast is that  “ Principals and superintendents should aim to change the education system and take the major shift from the industrial model by ‘engaging the hearts and minds of educators in the implementation of the school plan.”  This manifests how crucial our role is as educators of the world. 

According to Ms. Wilson, “to build that capacity for change is a great deal of a deep culture change,” for the reason that schools need to make a dramatic switch from the traditional model of education to what we call a sustainable change in education.

Advocate of Self-directed Learning

Ms. Wilson depicts a scenario where students are helped get better and become self-directed learners who are incredibly honed with critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and more especially, they need to embark on the journey of collaboration.

Certainly, she quips, that teachers have to promote personalized learning and help students thrive with learning.

To do this, teachers, as Ms. Wilson insinuates, must learn how to work away from their comfort zones and embed interdisciplinary projects with other teachers in the field for collaboration. These are her words, “taking me out of my known world to my unknown world”. 

In other words, principals and superintendents, as education leaders, need to encourage their teachers and provide appropriate resources for them to “unlearn the industrial system in education”.

How to transform the industrial model of education?

With the mission of reshaping the K- 12 education system, Ms. Wilson, as an advisor to school leaders, encourages principals and superintendents to articulate motivation in their teachers to embrace the big twist in education through a supportive environment. 

The implementation of the action plan for change should greatly involve teachers as they are directly involved in educating the child. As for her words, “there should be attention as to the implementation of that plan.”

School leaders should ‘engage the head and the hearts of educators’. Each one, according to Ms. Wilson, is a ‘mission-centered person. Therefore, they have to be provided with appropriate resources and support. 

To stand with the sustainable change in education, educators should be given assistance and should be engaged in conversations. Into the bargain, educators should be actively involved in the action plan for them to ‘rethink the outcomes’ to promote self-directed and personalized student learning. 

This manner will enable teachers to educate students efficiently. Hence, redesigning an existing education system is a must. 

21st-century learners should be honed with 21st-century skills so they magnify independence and become more productive. Thus, teachers should take away from their comfort zones and expand their horizons. 

Ms. Wilson emphasizes that teachers and leaders should be provided with opportunities to ‘take risks and to fail’ in a supportive environment. Therefore, failure is tolerated and perfection should never be the main goal.

To boot, navigating change and building the capacity to change should vastly mean building an environment that makes it ‘safe to experiment and try new things, which is essentially, to learn.’

According to Dr. Justin Baeder, his major takeaway with his interactive conversation with Ms. Wilson is that “change is developmental work and it’s work that we need to build capacity for. In order to succeed, you need to know how much it costs in terms of time, mental bandwidth, resources, understanding the situation, and investing in building teacher’s expertise”.


7. Dr. Victor Rios 

Dr. Victor Rios is an award-winning professor, author, speaker, and life influencer. He is the Dean of Social Sciences and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2005, he obtained his Ph.D. in comparative ethnic studies at the University of California Berkeley. 

encouraging words of Dr. Victor Rios

A former high school dropout and juvenile delinquent himself, the professor uses this personal experience to develop interventions and personal transformations for the young people living in a society that labels certain people as outside the norm. He scrutinizes the role of values and education in the well-being of marginalized youths.

As a Famous Author

Dr. Rios has authored books on juvenile justice, masculinity, race, and crime. He is the notable creator of sociological theories, one of which is the famous Youth Control Complex.

The book asserts the overwhelming system of criminalization and how the state prison system and education system work in stigmatizing young inner-city boys and men.

His zeal strongly reflects in the book Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys, a classic ethnography that reveals how black and Latino boys encountered a rampant system of punitive social control and the effect of juvenile crime policies and criminalization in the lives of urban youth.

Dr. Rios is the winner of various book awards. His book, Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys,  won the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award in 2013 presented by the American Sociological Association. It is an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award and a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Book Award in 2012. 

In his latest publication Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth, he cites poverty-stricken Latino youth as a human target and enemy burdened by stigma and punishment. He argues for the role of authorities and institutions in providing resources for young people. Human Targets is among the selections for the 2017 L.A. Times Festival of Books.

The professor has published 6 other books including Let’s Be Real Man: Masculinity in a Culture of Violence. One of his greatest masterpieces, it exposes the realities of male roles and their existing masculinities in their contribution to a culture of violence. The book gears towards dismantling the belief that masculinity should be violent to be able to command respect.

An Anti-Racist Educator

A full-hearted educator, Dr. Rios not only envisions engaging students through a justified framework in a remote learning world but also providing educators with some reflexive strategies about anti-racism. He encourages the importance of valiant conversations with his students and colleagues.

He has been conducting research on the education and welfare of marginalized young people focusing on social control and its consequences across institutional settings. The intention is to examine resiliency among young people and their response to this marginalization.

These goals have led the professor to develop a curriculum, based on ten years of professional research, Project GRIT (Generating Resilience to Inspire Transformation). It’s a growth program that inspires leadership among educators, civic engagement, personal and academic empowerment that can positively impact the lives of the young people they serve. 

The series of research has been implemented by educators in several school districts in cities such as Los Angeles and Concord in California; Weslaco, Texas, and Omaha in Nebraska, to name a few. Topics include Cultural relevance and proficiency, Emotional Support, and Teacher Well-Being.

Why You Should Listen

As a famous TED speaker, the professor talks about the dire need for kids that the education system ignores. He speaks to uncover how to best support the lives of young people who experience poverty and social exclusion. On top of the challenges for black and Latino youth, he also discusses minors who are “pushed out” of school beyond their control and how to provide services in that aspect.

His Visit to the White House

Dr. Rios’ has given the honor of being invited to the White House for a discussion pertaining to Gun Violence, its issues, and solutions, along with Policing and Mass Detention. He met with the Obama Administration’s Policy Council to address his cause for youth who are stigmatized by aggressive policing. The dialog made him the subject of a documentary film by The Pushouts.

As a True Influencer

Dr. Rios’ inspiring juvenile to professor history and strong causes have reached thousands of people who are out of school and out of work. Many have thanked him for this amazing influence on the lives of the unwanted and underserved youth of this generation. His narratives of tragedy and victimization are helping youth unveil grit and resilience. 

Examples of Dr. Rios have inspired schools and universities to join in the quest to help young students and other kids from their communities to learn about the privilege of being heard and allowed to speak.

Now, Dr. Rios is a rising star, hailed for his in-depth studies on the lives of African American and Latino youth. His work truly highlights the vast potential of young people to thrive with adults who care. 


8. Dr. Yong Zhao

Professor, Author, Entrepreneur & Education Influencer

innovative thoughts of Dr. Yong Zhao

Dr. Yong Zhao is a Distinguished Foundational Educator at the School of Education, University of Kansas.

Before joining The University of Kansas, Dr. Zhao served at different Universities. He worked as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education and at the same time professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. His work focuses on the implications and influence of globalization and technology in education.

He has also served as a University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education at Michigan State University, where he performed as the Founding Director of the Center for Teaching and Technology and Executive Director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. He stayed until December of 2010.

The Professor’s Journey

Born and raised in Sichuan, China, Dr. Zhao studied the English language at the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages where he also received his B.A. in English Language Education in 1986. He taught English in China for six years before becoming a Linfield College scholar in 1992. 

He attended graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, obtaining his A.M. in Education in 1994, and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1996. In the same year he worked as a Language Coordinator at Willamette University, and as a Language Specialist at Hamilton College. He then joined the MSU faculty.

Dr. Zhao has established a unique educator’s observation based on his experience as a student in China and as a parent of children attending school in the United States. This led him to the conclusion that “American education is at a crossroads” and changing course may be what it needs to nurture leadership in the middle of a fast-changing world.

As Author & Educator

As a professor, Dr. Zhao has a strong conviction to impart the knowledge and skills that students need in a global society. He authored more than 100 journal articles including 30 books and textbooks in English and Chinese. His work covers a variety of views and topics that unlock the secrets of cultivating independent thinkers. His interest is to discover how remodeling education can produce great results in student success both in and out of school.

His most recent books include Teaching Students to Become Self-Determined Learners, a 2020 publication on self-determined learning in the classroom. In 2019 he created An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success, featuring real-life stories of students and teachers’ innovations. His That Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education in 2018 is a book about educational systems and how they can do harm to students.

His Work & Influence

Dr. Zhao is a recipient of several awards. A proud awardee of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, Outstanding Public Educator from Horace Mann League of USA, and Distinguished Achievement Award in Professional Development from the Association of Education Publishers. Being recognized as one of the most influential scholars of education, Dr. Zhao has been elected at the International Academy for Education.

The professor also created articles in the blog category. He has featured blog posts on Creativity in Crisis, Speaking a Different Language and its Grammar, Accessing Creativity in the Classroom, and Tofu is not Cheese: Reimagine Education without Schools During Covid19, along with the blog Question Raised about Education.

Among his greatest contributions is the ICEE Camp (Innovation Creativity Entrepreneurship Education), a new educational paradigm with the mission to educate each and every child so as to help them realize their uniqueness, allow them to find their interests, and develop their strengths. 

Dr. Yong Zhao himself designed the YEE Festivals ICEE Camp 2019 Video Collection in Chinese. The videos compile the different activities of children and their teachers as chosen students become inspirational role models as they mix with international and Chinese students in their 1st official tour of Chongqing, China.

One of the fundamental doctrines Dr. Zhao has always wanted to raise is how the recent education changes are still based on a system that protects and favors the elite. For example,  “preparedness for college” or are there efforts that address problems such as “achievement gaps?” A paradigm shift, he explains, is needed in order to achieve true social mobility and change. 


9. Elisa Guerra

Founder of Colegio Valle de Filadelfia in Metepec Mexico; Author; Member of UNESCO

inspiring message from Elisa Guerra


This is such a compelling thought of an ordinary mother who has become an outstanding woman of education in reiterating and reimagining the futures of education. She is encouraging everyone to contribute, share ideas, and participate in the global debate on the future of education. 

Elisa Guerra serves as a member of UNESCO’S International Commission for the Futures of Education. In 2015, the International American Development Bank recognized her with an international acclamation as the  “Best Educator in Latin America.” Incredibly, Ms. Guerra was also one of the top 50  finalists for the 2015 Global Teacher Prize.

Just ponder on her thought, “How might education need to be reimagined and rethought amidst the world’s increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity.”

Why is it indispensable to think about education with regard to the future?

Every child has to be helped to achieve his or her fullest potential. This is the future of education. 

Strong-willed mother and a determined educator

This passionate mother never had dreamed of becoming an educator, yet she was able to start her own kindergarten.

When Elisa Guerra became a teacher her main purpose was to offer quality education to her own children and to the young learners in her community. Hence, she became a full-fledged teacher and has excelled in the field of education through her excellent teaching practices. 

By studying at home, Ms. Guerra earned her teaching degree and made it to the national examinations, and was able to pursue her Master’s degree. 

In a matter of her greatest interest and vision for the future of education, Ms. Guerra set up her own school and opened a network of schools across Latin America. 

Really a phenomenal woman of education and keeping to her main purpose, she became the first teacher to her son. 

She authored 12 learning books for preschoolers which were published by Pearson Education and she has been an exemplary international speaker. Ms. Guerra’s vision in education has been amplified by the Commission’s goal of reimagining education and ‘co-constructing the futures of education across the globe.

A Great Futurist

In a video message, Ms. Guerra shares “we need to think about the future to come, and not just what will happen, but what we together can make happen.” This, in particular, calls for “global citizenship and sustainable development”, as she insinuated. 

Elisa Guerra encourages everyone, especially the teachers, students, and parents to act as one for they have, according to her, the ‘key role’ in the futures of education. Hence, she manifests for collaboration and for sharing of good practices in education. 

Furthermore, with great emphasis, she is asking for great ideas to re-imagine the future of education. She makes a point of having you share your  “ideas, inputs, expectations, and challenges” as a way of contributing to the future of education. 

Your great interests and views of expressing your best ideas for reimagining and rethinking the futures of education are most welcome at https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/how-contribute

Your coordination matters a lot and can have a positive impact on the Commission’s goal of leading a global discussion on the futures of education to address challenges and amplify opportunities. 

Excellent Teaching Methods

Her exceptional teaching methods make children have fun learning.

Elisa Guerra shares her best teaching expertise that makes her successful. She adapted techniques that she learned from her readings and studies on how to make young children enjoy reading, math, appreciate the arts, and learning foreign languages. 

Ms. Guerra’s conviction of giving children quality learning experiences, she created her own teaching materials and curriculum focusing on enjoyable learning of diverse children. 

Through continuous exploration and learning concepts and techniques, Ms. Guerra was able to create an enriching curriculum at Colegio Valle de Filadelfia. She elaborated on the conceptualization of ‘opportunity and stimulation’ on children. 

Among the best ideas I get from Ms. Guerra, which I deeply appreciate as a teacher, is her ‘no-no for testing’. She believes that children will be at their best when they are given opportunities to solve problems and explore their skills. 

The hands-on activities make young learners enjoy their learning environment. Moreover, the school’s program includes free play which kids enjoy. Playing and learning could mean developing brains in a very supportive and safe learning environment. 

Another important highlight of Ms. Guerro’s method is introducing children to early reading, maths, writing, and playing the violin. This receives repercussions from critics, but Ms. Guerra is resilient to her goal of giving children enriching learning opportunities by making teaching and learning both ‘natural and happy processes.’ 

On top of that, playing always has a key role in the natural process of learning.

Furthermore, Ms. Guerra’s buoyant methods of teaching are supported by her conviction for “how powerful the brain is and how babies and little kids are wired for learning.”

When asked about her hopes for the future, Ms. Guerro willingly shared her vision of reaching out to underprivileged children across the globe. 

Ultimately, her most striking statement is “developing brains in developing countries”, which is the best way there is to change the world. 

In fine, Elisa Guerra is one of the outstanding educators in the world and lived with her decision of venturing into the field of education. As to her, it’s the most gratifying decision she has ever made in her life.

Folks, we truly learned a lot from a woman who became a teacher by accident yet made us internalize her gems for thought that could change our perspectives for the better. Her amazing belief in a child’s capacity is encapsulated in her statement that, “Every child bears the seed of genius within.”

Let’s be inspired by her words in becoming a teacher, “You get to change so many lives in a good way that your own life changes for the better.”


10. Peter Mokaya Tabichi

Franciscan Brother, Winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2019

“Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.” – Brother Peter Tabichi

Teacher Peter Tabichi is the first African educator to win the Global Teacher Prize. Such pride and joy of Kenya and Africa!

Winning the Global Teacher Prize of 2019 according to Brother Peter Tabichi, is a way of doing better and inspiring others, and empowering students to do better to realize their full potential. 

inspiring words of Brother Peter Tabichi

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This highly principled man is mostly admired both as a teacher and a brother. His greatest joy as a teacher is seeing his students succeed and are determined to rise above the tides of life. He is indeed a hope enabler and a very inspiring teacher. Hence, he is one of the best teachers in the world.

Brother Peter Tabichi is an outstanding educator and a Franciscan friar from Kenya. He teaches Math and Physics at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani. He came from a family of teachers which is his main source of inspiration for becoming one. Hence, we’ll talk about his passion and great examples in this round-up of experts. 

With his great passion to teach and help students in the village, he donates 80% of his salary to underprivileged students and to community projects. This is truly an act of a great and phenomenal teacher. 

Despite the challenges, Brother Tabichi remains steadfast in unlocking his students’ potential and always optimistic in achieving the educational goals.  Having students who come from very poor families, he always sets for what’s best for his learners. He is helping them regain balance out of their hopeless situations.

He puts emphasis on educating the girls. As a fact, the enrollment of the school where he is teaching has doubled which is a manifestation that Brother Tabichi has been successful in motivating young people to get educated. 

Yes, he is incredibly an expert in motivating students to learn and achieve at their best. Brother Tabichi has strong confidence in the students that they can do better and they can achieve more if teachers just believe in their capacity. 

A Kenyan Teacher-Hero

Uhuru Kenyata, the President of Kenya, extended his words of support to Brother Tabichi: “Peter, your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology, and all fields of human endeavor.”

Brother Peter Tabichi’s great optimism and altruism have been bearing remarkable results as his students won an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry and became finalists in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)  in the United States. 

In fact, he plans to share his $1 million Global Teacher Prize with the school and the community. 

To him, teaching is an important job he could do. 

Exceptional Optimist and an Inspiring Teacher

According to Brother Tabichi, teachers have to go above and beyond teaching and get involved in community activities. Thus, he led by example. He extended his expertise in local communities by sharing inputs on how to raise crops that are famine-resistant. 

His peaceful bearing made him chosen as the Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crisis in April 2019. Along with this, he initiated a peace club as a way of uniting students who were involved in violence. 

In an interview by Quentin Wodon, Brother Tabichi shares that his role of being a teacher resides in his passion, commitment, and dedication. To him, teaching is a calling. 

Teachers should do their best as they have the opportunity to transform society and be inspired by the teachings in the church and follow the great example of Jesus as the best teacher, shares Teacher Peter.

He accentuates the importance of teaching students values and relevant life skills so they become responsible individuals in the future. They should be helped with character formation so they can become respectful of humanity and the environment. 

To Brother Tabichi, as teachers, every day is an opportunity to improve ourselves. There is power embedded in our passion to teach and help children. We just have to change our mindset and it will happen and if we really plan for it and it will happen. 

Teaching Perspectives: What makes a good teacher?

I quote from his moving speech during the event, The Power of Teachers: Supporting Teachers in Tackling the Global Learning Crisis, “Teachers have to believe in the students’ potential. And, every child regardless of where they come from has a gift, and has a talent.” 

“Once you believe in students they can end up shining”, such a very inspiring thought from an ordinary teacher with a big heart for the students and an extraordinary mission in education. 

His greatest stance is encouraging teachers to have confidence in their students and believe in what they can do. Evidently, Brother Tabichi has shown this perspective when his students made it to the national and international science competitions. 

What an inspiration to all educators in the world.

As teachers, we have to make sure that we have confidence in our students and we should let them know that we believe in them. This, according to him, requires creativity. 

In fact, Brother Tabichi is able to establish the Talent Nurturing Club which has been successful in gathering talented students. Despite the very limited resources they have, Brother Tabichi and his students are able to design science outputs like renewable energy and other research projects that are a big help to people with disabilities. 

This is how remarkable his confidence is for his students. 

Teaching Countenance

Brother Tabichi always finds ways to make his lessons interesting and engaging. The lack of techy gadgets is never a hindrance to push through his mission for his students and make them victorious in their endeavors.

His influence had a positive impact on students as they emerged as national champ in the 2018 Kenya Science and Engineering Fair. 

Notably, he encourages teachers to integrate ICT into their lessons as he has proven its efficacy. This is what he has been doing to engage his learners despite the fact that the school has only one desktop computer and no internet connection.

In fact, in one of his recent tweets, he mentioned,  “It is not enough to create & connect children to technology and trust that learning is continuing/happening. I learned to keep all of my classes on video – to ensure children are present, attentive, and engaged.”

His being resourceful has been admired by many. Wonderfully, Brother Tabichi is able to integrate technology into his strategies. His effort is magnificent like he has to visit internet cafes to download materials and present them to the students using the only projector of the school. In fact, the majority of his lesson presentations are ICT integrated. 

Indeed, he has given his best and continues to do so. His passion for what he is doing is really admirable and beyond comparison.

Really, there’s so much to learn from the pride of Kenya and Africa.

We can really get so much inspiration from this passionate and resilient Kenyan teacher.  His dedication to helping others, especially the students, has been very remarkable. 

In a nutshell,  his greatness and commitment are expressed by the Varkey Foundation in these quoted lines, “He’s changed the lives of his students in many ways, including the introduction of science clubs and the promotion of peace between different ethnic groups and religions. His dedication, hard work, and passionate belief in his student’s talent have led his poorly-resourced school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions.”  


11. Ranjitsinh Disale

inspiring words of Disale

Meet Teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, the first Indian to win the 2020 Global Teacher Prize. His efforts in modifying textbooks and transforming the life chances of young girls in one of India’s village schools, have named him the prizewinner of over 12,000 nominations coming from 140 countries.

The Global Teacher Prize, in partnership with UNESCO, is an annual event of the Varkey Foundation that presents a $1-Million dollar award to a teacher who has made an extraordinary contribution to the profession. It serves to underline the important role teachers play in society and how they deserve to be recognized and celebrated. 

Ranjithsinh Disale said:

“Teachers are the world’s real change-makers. The covid-19 pandemic has exposed education and the communities it serves in a multitude of ways. But in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education.”

Teacher Disale’s determination in reshaping the extremely poor-performing Zilla Parishad Primary school to becoming a best-school awardee is one of the amazing interventions that served a great impact on the lives of students. He gave and shared all his knowledge and capability that remarkably lifted and saved the school from being an impossible dream.

The Great Achievement

Zilla Parishad Primary School is a central school in the village of Kardelwadi, Pune Maharashtra, India. Housed in an almost damaged building, the school also has recorded girls’ attendance as low as 2%. With a curriculum that does not use their primary language, many students could not catch up, leaving them unable to learn. The village is also known for teenage marriage.

The Global Teacher Prize said Teacher Disale’s hard work in learning the village language in order to translate the textbooks into his pupils’ mother tongue is such a profound commitment. In addition, embedding unique QR codes also opened the door for his class to access digital lessons, video lectures, audio poems, stories, and homework. 

According to Teacher Disale, when a child has a mobile phone, he can scan the QR code and can study anywhere and anytime, while enjoying the process of learning.

Seeing how his modified system improved the class performance, Teacher Disale also customized the QR-coded textbooks with the immersive reader and Flipgrid tools to assist those with special needs. The endeavor resulted in a turnaround of a 100% attendance in girls and a lessened number of teenage marriages. In fact, the school has been awarded the best school in the district with 85% of its students achieving A grades in annual exams.

Recognizing QR-Coded Textbooks in India

The Zilla Parishad Primary School is the first in Maharashtra to introduce the QR program. Following its success, the state ministry approved Teacher Disale’s proposal to use the scheme for all grades in 2017. With his QR technology being rolled out widely across the country, India’s National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) announced that all NCERT textbooks would be embedded with QR Codes. 

Ranjitsinh Disale went on spreading the use of QR coded textbooks throughout India. He continued helping his students to apply their learning in real life. The success of his school has also addressed the issue of desertification. Not only has it increased greenland from 25% to 33% in the last ten years, but it earned the Zilla Parishad Primary School the “Wipro Nature for Society” award in 2018.

Awards & Achievements

Teacher Disale is well known for his contemporary scientific experiments from a science lab he himself has built, as well as for adding QR codes to primary category books to ensure that his students can get links while using their mobile phones.

The Global Teacher Prize is Teacher Disale’s latest award for another exemplary achievement. He also won the title Innovative Researcher of the Year in 2016, and the National Innovation Foundation Innovator of the Year award in 2018. His Global Peace-Building Program is an initiative awarded at Microsoft’s Education Exchange event in Paris the same year.

Other than his incredible teaching passion, Teacher Disale has reached out to train and educate more than 16,000 in-service teachers throughout the state of Maharashtra. The goal is on how to incorporate technology and elevate the effectiveness of their teaching. This dedication has called the attention of Satya Nadella and featured Disale’s story in his 2017 book called “Hit Refresh.”

Rather than keeping all his prizes, Teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, in his speech, happily announced that he would share the prize with the other nine finalists. He said sharing the money with the teachers will help scale up their work and together they can lighten the lives of as many students as they can. This is the first time a winner has done so in the award’s history.


12. Melissa Salguero 

Educator.Speaker.Consultant. Teacher at Public School 48, Joseph R. Drake Elementary School; USF Music Education Alumna

Melissa Salguero is a determined and resilient music teacher. She is the first music teacher who has made it to the global stage for educators. 

delightful words of Melissa Salguero

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

She is one of the Top 10 finalists in the Global Teacher Prize 2019. Her enthusiasm for teaching music to kids has gathered attendance and has helped kids overcome their shyness and develop their self-esteem.

The transformation she makes in her young learners is coupled with genuine care and understanding of their diverse backgrounds and individual needs. 

Melissa’s great contributions to the teaching profession are very inspiring and she has received appreciation and recognition. 

Amazingly, in 2018, Melissa received the GRAMMY Music Educator Award for her highly regarded contributions to the field of music education. Her innate brilliance and outstanding efforts really make her and her students shine. 

Her endeavors are highly favored and she is recognized as Lincoln Center  Arts of the Year.

Persevering Attributes

Despite facing her own battles, she emerges to be triumphant in her goals of making young learners become highly motivated. She has dyslexia but it’s never a hindrance to keep going. She’s very grateful to her teacher who believed in her capacity and made her improve. Hence, she wants to do the same for her students.

Yes, she was inspired by her 5th-grade teacher, Deborah Bauer, who according to her, believed in her and empowered her.  Melissa has always been thankful to her for the wonderful connection Bauer had established which inspired her to become a passionate teacher.

According to her, when her students open up to her and share their stories, she actively listens. And it’s extremely necessary. These kids are dealing with different situations at home. They need understanding, love, and care.

Melissa wants to spread the influence of perseverance and commitment that she was able to initiate for the Public School 48 band program for the very first time in the school’s history. 

The lack of instruments and resources never stops her from being decisive with her goal of establishing the band program. She is esteemed for being resourceful and determined. Melissa raised money by doing all the possible means she has thought of to purchase instruments and to put up the said program. 

Unfortunately, in the spring break of 2014, the school’s band program was interrupted when the school was broken into and the musical instruments were stolen which really made Melissa and her students sad but not hopeless. This made the school lose about $30,000 worth. It was indeed disheartening. Yet, Melissa never loses hope and always sets forth to find a way.

Her students, despite what happened, still displayed their enormous love for music as they were able to craft the lyrics of the song “We Will Rise” which was recorded and used in their fundraising campaign to purchase a new set of instruments.

The melody goes, “We will rise from the ashes,

                                       Stronger than before”

This is according to Melissa, “creating something beautiful out of the tragedy.” Teary-eyed Melissa shares her indomitable will with her students to get up and get going no matter what.

Triumphantly, the Crowdfunding campaign made Melissa be invited to The Ellen DeGeneres Show where she received generous and heartwarming donations for P.S. 48 Band $10,000 worth of brand new instruments from Shutterfly Inc. and a $50,000 check signed by DeGeneres.  

Well, the program is very exceptional as well, as they get involved in a mission initiated by Melissa, our very inspirational teacher here in the roundup. 

Educator of Exceptional Quality

Melissa’s appearance on The DeGeneres show has been the beginning of her other TV invites like CBS This Morning, Pix11 News

She wants to give her students the opportunity to work hard. To her, teaching has to be ‘something dramatic and has to grab students’ attention.’ Her musical innovations, like her musical carrot and keyboard of bananas and play-doh, mesmerized young kids. 

Furthermore, her distinctive teaching styles include incorporating science and music really make a difference especially in student’s motivation and engagement. She makes learning totally fun.

“I never had a teacher like this. She’s different in so many different ways, like amazing,” says Iseel Sierra in an interview. She is one of her 5th Grade learners who keeps track of her success with Melissa. 

This is how powerful, influential, and talented our Bronx teacher is. Her students really cherish her as she equally adores them too. Hence, her commitment, creativity, and excellence are duly recognized. 


13. Dr. Andrew Moffat (British Teacher, Author)

motivating message from Andrew Moffat

Dr. Andrew Moffat is the Assistant Headteacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, UK. He is a British educator who at the same time authors numerous books and teaching resources and approaches, especially on early and inclusive education. 

His laudable program on inclusivity and diversity in education receives appreciation from the international stage as he is nominated for the Global Teacher Prize.

Breadth of Education Background

Dr. Andrew Moffat had his humble beginnings as a student at John Willmott School Sutton Coldfield. He graduated college in 1990 from Josiah Mason College. 

In 1993, Dr. Moffat gained his BA in English with Drama and American Studies from the University of Derby. In the same university, he also earned his Postgraduate Certificate in Education.  

He also finished his master’s degree in Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties at the University of Birmingham.

In 2019, he began his highest university degree or PhD and his studies encapsulated “The Role of Schools in Reducing Potential for Radicalisation.”

Early Teaching Career

Dr. Moffat had a very challenging teaching career right from the beginning. He started in the West Midlands where he dealt with deeply challenged youths who were members of gangs. 

Before he became an assistant headteacher in 2009 at Chilworth Croft Academy, a primary school in Birmingham, he had been connected to different schools. 

Dr. Moffat had written books to deal with homophobic bullying, which he experienced in his early education. Using his resources and that of other teachers, he conducted training for primary teachers in managing homophobic bullying. 

Teaching Challenges

In 2014,  the school received objections and complaints from parents regarding the content of the lessons ‘tolerance for people of different sexual orientations. It was a really tough time in his career when he introduced LGBT Rights to children. He received backlash from the parents but it didn’t affect his resiliency.

Reportedly, parents who were mostly Christians and Muslims were against the notion of incorporating concepts of homosexuality. Accordingly, parents didn’t like the idea that children were made to think that “it’s okay to be gay”. 

This caused Dr. Moffat to resign from the said school but never stopped his teaching advocacies. 

In fact, in 2016, Parkfield School was named “Outstanding” by Ofsted, and Dr. Moffat was then the assistant headteacher. His program for inclusivity earned the praise “The provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a strength and permeates the school’s work. This is an inclusive school that celebrates diversity.”

Dr. Moffat’s challenges never stopped even after he was nominated for the Global Teacher Prize in 2019. Moreover, the ‘No Outsider Program’ temporarily halted in March 2019. 

In September 2019, after a series of consultations, the program resumed bearing the title, “No Outsiders for a Faith Community.”

While Dr. Moffat has been openly known to the public as gay and although he has received threats because of his sexuality throughout the protest period, he still describes teaching as the best job in the world.

He shares, “ This is the best job in the world – it really is because you get to be around kids every day. You are learning, you take them from A to B and you are learning with them. I see kids when they’re 4 years old when they’re starting at our school and I see them at 11 years old and I’m part of that life experience. It is an honor to be part of that journey.”

To amplify the role of teachers in ensuring equality in education, Dr. Moffat has been training teachers about the No Outsider program. Indeed, he’s able to train over 2000 adults and has shared lesson plans online which are used in different schools and institutions free of charge. 

In 2020, in keeping with his intense dedication to spreading equality and inclusivity in education through a safe learning environment, he led another program called Right Respecting Schools (RRSA) initiated by UNICEF UK.

No Outsiders Program

Students might be all different but they are all welcome. 

Dr. Moffat has popularized a highly useful program named “No Outsiders”. Essentially, this is the program this hailed British teacher is known for.  

This is to highlight his vision of reducing hate crimes and promoting inclusivity in education, as he designed it “to address issues of inclusion and in conjunction with topics covered by the 2010 Equality Act.”

The ‘No Outsiders’ program is supported by age-appropriate books written by winning and known authors like Rob Biddulph with his ‘Odd Dog Out’, and  Jessica Love with her award-winning ‘Julian is a Mermaid’, and other famous writers. 

Practically, this program amplifies inclusivity and tolerance in early education. Although the said program receives protests and criticism, Dr. Moffat has proven its efficacy. 

Inspiringly, Dr. Moffat reinforces this through his advocacy and programs on equity in education. He is truly a committed teacher who deserves to be in every conversation for fairness and equality. 

In November 2017, Her Majesty the Queen awarded Dr. Moffat an MBE for his major contributions and services for promoting quality and celebrating diversity in education. 

Just recently, in April 2020, Dr. Moffat released an update about the program, his second book “No Outsiders: Everyone Different, Everyone Welcome.”

Among the World’s Best Teachers

No wonder Dr. Andrew Moffat is highly considered one of the World’s Best Teachers. “As a teacher, we’ve got to find ways to prepare children for life in modern Britain”, shares Dr. Moffat. The way he celebrates diversity in primary schools truly inspires other educators. 

His persevering efforts, despite the resistance he received for the program he designed, are very remarkable. He is such an inspiring teacher worthy of praise and recognition. 


14. Dr. Jamie Frost

In this section, let’s meet other top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019 and a multi-awarded Math teacher. He is the pride of Oxford University and his amazing skills and expertise made him win the ‘Microsoft Research Prize’ for his best undergraduate dissertation. He continued his journey as he finished his Ph.D. in Computer Science.

inspiring words of Dr. Jamie Frost

Dr. Jamie Frost is another phenomenal educator who has been known for his exceptional classroom and online teaching practices that have transformed students’ lives for the better. An inspiring teacher who works at Tiffin School, Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK.  Dr. Frost offers free online learning which has been much appreciated by the students and parents.

In 2012, he established his own website, DrFrostMaths which has become the best resource for UK schools for free learning materials. In fact, his website has been internationally acclaimed and appreciated all over the world for Dr. Frost provides free teaching and learning resources.

Amazingly, the website has helped almost a million users, especially during times of pandemic when schools are temporarily shut down. DrFrostMaths has gathered millions of followers and up to “15 million page views daily”.

In other words, Dr. Frost has helped thousands of users, especially teachers, parents, and students during homeschooling. As an online learning genius, he gives out pointers and free instructional materials.

This is how exemplary our internationally recognized maths teacher is. His commitment to the teaching profession and his dedication to helping students appreciate and learn maths can really inspire greatness in others.

As a Subject Leader in Mathematics at Tiffin School, Dr. Frost shares his innovations in teaching maths to the students and making it a lot more enjoyable. his remarkable ways of teaching make students love math.

To help children learn math in an innovative and easy way, Dr. Frost establishes his tutoring business and offers his excellent teaching expertise to a wide range of ability levels.

His excellent means of teaching make him popular and notable. In fact, he has TV appearances  like the BBC News and he has been featured in  different publications such as The Evening Standard and The i  news article:  Meet one of the world’s best maths teachers: “After day one, the pupils were mature about it all.”

Excellent Tutor: a Promising Beginning

He started his teaching career at Oxford University as a tutor for undergraduate and PhD students. They gave him messages of appreciation for his sincere services and valuable support in their education. This made Dr. Frost push through with his passion for teaching.

Truly, his enthusiasm in teaching and in making his students learn maths in an enjoyable way made him go beyond his roles as an educator.

Probing of his passion for teaching, an undergraduate student thanked him, “Dear Jamie, I just wanted to thank you for being by far the best teacher I have had so far at Oxford. I scored 82 and 86 in IS and ML [Machine Learning] respectively and hence moved up to a 2:1 overall. Your future pupils will be very lucky to have you.”

Dr. Frost’s exceptional services and contributions to departmental and college teaching were recognized by the Vice-Chancellor as he received the Oxford University Teaching Excellence Award.

Furthermore, in 2017, Dr. Frost also received the Jack Petchey Leaders Award for his commitment to teaching.

His dedication and drive have a major impact on student achievement, especially in learning maths.

A parent even expressed gratitude for Dr. Frost’s commitment, “Thanks so much for all your help. I can see that he has come on by leaps and bounds in his maths, but more than that he is more confident, positive and has learned better study habits. You’ve been such a positive influence for which I am very grateful.

Hope Amidst the Pandemic

Dr. Jamie Frost has extended his brilliance ever since and has been more profound in his mission of helping students by bringing forth online learning innovations during the global crisis.

The pandemic has created fear and intimidation among students, but Dr. Frost’s optimism brings enlightenment and hope. His innovations have made schooling continue despite the global crisis. Moreover, his ways of teaching maths have inspired other teachers across the globe. Greatly, his teaching math pedagogies have made teaching math change forever for the better.

According to him, it is during this critical time that teachers have to be more diligent in their roles in providing quality learning experiences to the students. “Maintaining face-to-face contact via video link is critical, says Dr. Frost.

With his goal of making learning maths interesting and less intimidating, he designed online learning tools and resources which are very helpful to students and teachers.

An Outstanding Teacher

Dr. Jaimie Frost has been receiving compliments from his former students who have achieved exceptional learning through his very supportive efforts.

Accordingly, Dr. Frost never gets tired of explaining concepts and always wears a smile. He is very much willing to go the extra mile to meet the individual needs of his learners.

Being described by a visiting student from Princeton University as remarkable, “Jamie is truly a remarkable teacher–enthusiastic, patient, and above all dedicated, and it has certainly been a pleasure to have him as my tutor.”

Thus, Dr. Frost should be given the best appreciation he deserves. On top of that, he firmly believes that teaching is right for him. He wants to teach and his passion for teaching is very remarkable. With that, Dr. Frost willingly shares his skill set with the whole world.

This made him amazing!


15. Linda Rost. 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year

A phenomenal science teacher, Linda Rost teaches Science at Baker High School in Baker, Montana. After being honored as the 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year in September, it was announced that Mrs. Rost is one of the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year recognition. The competition is joined by teachers from 55 states.

encouraging thoughts from Linda Rost

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The highly distinguished National Teacher of the Year is a professional award in the United States given to exceptional teachers across the country. It is annually presented by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) with the aim to reward excellence in teaching and to celebrate teachers’ work in and outside the school.

As a Student Inspiration

In 2007, Linda Rost was hired as an 8-12 Science teacher at Carter High School in Ekalaka, Montana. She received her M.Ed. in 2010, and in 2014 became a science teacher at Baker High School, M.T. where she taught anatomy, biology, AP biology, chemistry, physiology, and science research for grades 10-12.

She has successfully facilitated a Science Research Program that opened doors for students to compete and place at national and international science competitions. In her twelve-year career, twenty-two of her students competed nationally and internationally.

In 2012, one of her students got 1st place at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, and another placed 3rd in 2019. During the International Science and Engineering Fair, one place 3rd and four have placed 4th.

Her Passion for Teaching & Service

According to Mrs. Rost, teaching is her passion, and being raised by passionate educators has instilled in her an ardent desire for learning. So she would like to infuse the same passion in her students.

She is hoping an advanced degree will intensify her research skills and be more efficient in teaching her research students.

With such a love for science, Mrs. Rost has been working toward her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Texas Tech University focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

She, as well, completed an M.S. in Science Education from Montana State University in 2018. Her thesis is about phage therapy as an alternative to antibiotics.

She plans to teach pre-service teachers in undergraduate programs to help reduce the shortage of rural teachers in Montana. It is her yearning to take part in STEM’s professional-development Grant Programs both as a researcher and grant writer.

Mrs. Rost believes that the best way for students to learn science is to ask their own original questions arising from clearly stated hypotheses, use their own original experiments, and answer their own questions through their data analysis. 

Born Achiever & Leader

Linda Rost is the chairperson of the Baker Public Schools Professional Development Committee. She has created this panel to focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) along with Indian Education for All (IEFA) K-12 collaborations and grant projects. 

Serving on the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for Student Assessment, she likewise has presented at numerous conferences and workshops, including the National Science Teachers Association STEM Meetings in Minneapolis, MN 

Linda Rost also participated in three science grants beginning with Bringing Research into the Classroom (BRIC), a program that involves students in microbiology and phage discovery research, where she serves as key personnel. 

Her service extends to being a certified trainer for the Montana Partnerships with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES), a program that offers classes and workshops to Montana teachers under the new Montana Science Standards. She is also a member of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP),  a grant that offers science standards training to Montana teachers. 

You will find Ms. Rost working with the Montana Science task Force and the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS), a project tasked with the creation of new science assessments for the new Montana Science standards. 

An Excellent Winner & Awardee

Linda Rost has won a variety of other awards. She was the Ekalaka Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2012. She has been awarded Junior Science and Humanities Teacher in two consecutive years 2011 & 2012. She was also a winner of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Recognition of Excellence in 2009.

A full-hearted science educator, she is the six-time awardee of the Society for Petroleum Engineers Grant, a three-time winner of the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Teacher Award, and a two-time Continental Cares grant recipient.

Montana is blessed to have some of the highest quality educators in the country, and Linda Rost is proof of that, one Superintendent says, congratulating Mrs. Rost on her remarkable national achievement and for making the Baker Community and Montana proud.


16. Leah Juelke

Another inspiration to meet is Leah Juelke, whose great passion for helping has given voice to refugee students.

kind words from Leah Juelke

Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

 Leah Juelke is an English teacher at North Dakota’s Fargo South High School, serving in one of the largest English Language High School programs in her state. She also teaches personal learning strategies, projects, and team exercises to immigrants and refugees to transition them to mainstream classrooms.

Ms. Juelke is only a child when she started helping families of refugees from Sudan. Seeing how her friend Sara struggled to survive in a closed-minded community, she has developed a strong passion to help.

While in nursing school, she started extending herself as a medic in the Army National Guard and also volunteered at a school with refugee and immigrant students. The friendly encounter opened her eyes to how she is making a difference, and that is when Leah Juelke chose to devote herself to teaching.

As an Educator

Serving in the state’s refugee resettlement program, many of Ms. Julke’s students are refugees who have come from war-torn countries where education has been interrupted and students with low language ability. Almost half of the school’s population lives below the poverty line with unattended learning disabilities.

While helping them develop critical skills, Ms. Juelke’s innovative teaching methods built a strong connection, trust, and inspiration among her students. Her personal approach has inspired them to believe in themselves, to not be ashamed of where they come from, and to understand that they alone set their limitations.

Inspiring Her Students to Write

By listening to her students, she heard different incredible stories that were not being told. In 2013, Ms. Juelke inspired them to write their own life stories. The essays include the children’s difficult journeys from leaving their homes, dangerous places, losing loved ones to war, and their escape; along with how they come to America, lived in refugee camps, and the asylum in the United States. 

The gentle and quiet young people’s book has shared a lot of good historical insights that many, including American children, who have read the book got away profoundly moved by the stories. Part of the narrative includes some students testifying against banning refugees in North Dakota.

The writing project successfully evolved into a national program that speaks of cultural awareness. The stories have been featured on the radio and in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, including sharing their stories at conferences and important events. To help students work and cope with their trauma, Ms. Juelke collaborated with NDSU faculty who have provided tutoring to help students throughout their writing process.

Over the last six years, Ms. Juelke’s students have published six different volumes of the book. The great thing is that during the project’s culmination, the children have had the opportunity to read their poems and stories in public and local universities. 

Achievements & Awards

One of Leah Juelke’s biggest accomplishments has been the Journey to America, a book containing her students’ poems and stories of poverty, deprivation, hope, and resilience. In 2014, she received a literacy grant to publish a project to reach and educate the community about diversity, relationships, and empowering young students. The published book has also featured Fargo South students from many different countries.

Journey to America teaches students to not only speak but to have a voice. Through their writing, Ms. Juelke said, they feel empowered to help them advocate and make changes for themselves. Writing and sharing their stories, she added, has created an extremely positive impact that has made them realize the value of having a voice and being heard.”

With her passion for teaching and with her goal of helping students, Juelke worked with Green Card Voices to feature them in their 2017 book, Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from Fargo South High. This book features 31 students from 21 different countries.

In 2018, Leah Juelke has been honored at the White House as the 2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year and also nominated for the National Teacher of the Year award. After a year, she got the 2019 National NEA Foundation California Casualty and received the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. 

If Leah Juelke had won the Global Teacher Prize, she would create a foundation and recognize the hard work of American students living in North Dakota by awarding scholarships to those who dream of becoming teachers.


17. Dr. Trevor Boffone

Educator, Writer, Producer & Dancing Teacher

inspiring thoughts from Dr. Trevor Boffone

This is a quote from Dr. Trevor Boffone, an American educator, writer, scholar, producer, and social media influencer. He teaches Spanish at Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas, and just recently received national recognition for his dancing moves. In fact, he is engaging other educators about incorporating his methods into their classrooms.

The Dancing Educator

Dr. Boffone said this interest was sparked after noting his students’ inclination to make Dubsmash and TikTok videos. His curiosity prompted them to teach him which became a way for them to build a strong teacher-student relationship and better community learning.

He thought dancing could be a great way to connect with his students. After doing Dubsmash and TikTok dance videos with them, as seen on his Instagram account,  50,000 followed him in just six weeks. Today,  he has gained millions of views and followers around the country.

His dance moves in the classroom have gone viral that featured him on Good Morning America and ABC13 Houston. He has since been in the spotlight broadcast on ABC News, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, The Shade Room, and Localish in addition to several other local channels.

Mr. Buffone would tell his students they could go and dance as soon as they finished their work.

It’s a kind of incentive that just motivates them to get their work done, a student said. The dancing teacher likewise said he loves how his unique teaching strategy has inspired his students. Thus, calling himself the Beyoncé of Bellaire High School.

His Writing Engagements

Other than being a writer and producer, Dr. Trevor Boffone is also a dramaturge. He has co-founded Amaranto Productions and is also an active member of the Latina/o Theatre Commons Steering Committee. His Performing Eastside Latinidad, is a dissertation exploring the impact of theatre in the community, and how it is used as a framework to promote social change.

Among his original publications include the Chicana Feminist Teatro, Queer La Trinidad, the Deaf Latinidad along with the theater of Nilo Cruz, Adelina Anthony, Virginia Grise, Cherríe Moraga and Monica Palacios, Carmen Peláez, as well as Josefina López,

An author by heart, he has co-editored Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater (Northwestern University Press, 2019), the Teatro Latino: Nuevas obras de los Estados Unidos (La Casita Grande, 2019), including the Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks: Outsiders in Chicanx/Latinx Young Adult Literature (University Press of Mississippi, 2020), and of course, the Shakespeare and Latinidad (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). 

In his project, Bridging Women in Mexican-American Theater from Villalongín to Tafolla (1848-2014), he rendered himself a Research Fellow at LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at Austin’s University of Texas. From 2008 to the present, Dr. Trevor Boffone has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, blog posts, book and performance reviews, manuscripts, and web-based publications. 

As dances go viral on TikTok, Dr. Boffone’s books also conform with the trendHis current book project, the TikTok Broadway: Musical Theatre in the Digital Age, presents how Broadway musicals correlate with the social media app TikTok — with special emphasis on Generation Z. He also created the book Renegades: Digital Dance Cultures from Dubsmash to Tiktok (Oxford University Pres, 2021). 

His Advocacy

As a public intellectual with a strong voice in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and community in theatre and performance, Dr. Boffone has attracted the attention of media publications. He appeared in American Theater Magazine, Latin American Theatre Review, and Theatre Journal. His appearance continued in the HowlRound, Arts+Culture Texas, and the Houston Press, among other publications.

With a Ph.D. in Latinx theatre and literature, he has established the 50 Playwrights Project. It’s an advocacy organization aimed at developing new work and interviewing contemporary Latinx playwrights. As of 2020, the project has successfully interviewed more than 100 playwrights at all career stages.

Since 2018-2020, Dr. Boffone has produced “The Sin Muros: A Latinx Theatre Festival at Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Texas.

There’s basically nothing bigger right now. While teenagers are doing the dance in the halls of high schools and even colleges, Dr. Trevor Boffone has found a way to connect with the youth by using dance, dubsmash, TikTok, and music as part of his teaching strategy and in making classroom learning in line with the interests of today’s generation.

“You too want to learn if you have a teacher like that,” a comment from most high school students who have known and seen Mr. Boffone’s videos.


18. Maggie MacDonnell

Maggie MacDonnell is the 2017 Global Teacher Prize winner. She is the third who has been awarded the lauded $1,000,000 Nobel Peace Prize for educators from over 20,000 nominated teachers from 179 countries.

enlightening thoughts from Maggie MacDonnell

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

It has been a great honor to have the Prime minister of UAE and Emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, present the prize to her. Her win was also made known at the Global Education and Skills Forum via satellite by astronaut Thomas Pesquet.‬‬

Born and raised in Canada, Ms. McDonnell is a development practitioner whose educational approach is rooted in community growth and feminist practice. Her work has spanned diverse communities and populations teaching “especially girls” and boys at higher secondary level aged between 13 to 18. 

She has been traveling to the mountains of the Canadian Arctic that are only accessible by plane. Her development approach uses a teaching style where people come together to take action on what’s important to them. 

Believing that education can be used to remove gendered barriers in learning environments, she has resorted to “physical activity” as a tool to engage with the youth.

Her Dedication as a Teacher

Maggie MacDonnell is strongly impassioned about working with indigenous groups who demonstrate resilience in overcoming the heirloom of colonization. She works with communities alike to teach and establish resourcefulness among its children and young people.

In fact, she has put to life a running club where her student runners have turned into young philanthropists raising over $100,000 while running in different sponsored marathons like in Hawaii and Barbados. Such a good cause brought Inuit-led solutions that brought all of Nunavik together for the Nunavik suicide prevention strategy.

For the last 15 years, she has worked with various populations in the most remote corners of the earth including the Congolese and Burundian refugees, Tanzanian youth living with HIV, to the Inuit youth of the Northern Canadian Arctic. She has reached the isolated Inuit village called Salluit where the temperature often drops as low as -13 °C to -25°C in the winter. 

Work & Achievements

Part of Maggie MacDonnell’s educational attainment is studying at St. Francis Xavier University and the Coady International Development Institute. She has also spent her education at the University of Toronto and McGill during her time as a member of Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program Fellowship.

Taking part in agencies aimed at reducing poverty through sustainability projects, as well as promoting human rights, she worked with the Canadian International Development Agency, CARE International, and the Youth Challenge International. 

Ms. McDonnell simply loves movements that encourage children and their youth to be outside with mother nature. She supports young people in realizing their dreams and aspirations in life. 

As a result of all these endeavors, she has received recognition as one of the BBC Top 100 Women, a British public service broadcaster that names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year. She is also a Visionary with the Albert Einstein Institute. 

Her advocacy

Also known as the “multi-million dollar teacher,” Maggie MacDonnell aims to use her prize money to fund a QAJAQ/KAYAK program and help raise awareness about climate change while reigniting cultural pride and hope within the Inuit youth. 

Before traveling to Saluit Inuit, Maggie MacDonnell has first worked as a teacher in Sub-Saharan, Africa. She was able to conduct social awareness programs to train, equip, and guide young people who were victims of depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Slowly she has learned their language. Today she is a proud, fluent Swahili speaker.

At that time, Salluit dropouts recorded were due to a lack of interest in males and pregnancy among females. Ms. MacDonnell’s programs for young women at the school level have lifted a 500% increase in enrollment of girls at Inuit schools. 

This selfless dedication and service have restored the “act of kindness” which has brought improvements in the Canadian communities where she teaches.

To Maggie Macdonnell, teaching at the Canadian Arctic, where not every classroom has four walls and children have to overcome many obstacles just to get to class, it is such a noble call that gives hope to a young person’s dream that seems unworkable. 

Her words resonate in my mind and heart when she says, “Whenever I’m working with young people my goal is to be able to give them the tools that they need to be masters of their own destiny.”

I’m glad that you took the time to read her virtuosity just like what I’m doing. I am inspired by her greatness and you can be too!


19. Sydney Clark Jensen

Ms. Jensen holds a Bachelor in English Education from the University of Georgia and is presently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership from Doane University. Other than these, she travels to speak to young and veteran educators, administrators, and educational personnel. Her goal is to facilitate and inspire through focus, self-reflection, and confidence.

delightful thoughts of Sydney Jensen

Photo by Kristin Brown on Unsplash

As an Educator

Ms. Jensen’s career started teaching 7th and 8th-grade students at Dawes Middle School in Lincoln before joining as a 9th-grade teacher at Lincoln High School in 2014.

In addition to her classroom experience, Sydney Jensen is an Adjunct Professor, Writer, TED speaker, Instructional Coach, and a certified Trainer of Trainers for the Classroom Instruction that Works model. To her, teaching is a passion that is strongly formed out of the desire to never stop learning. 

Ms. Jensen’s classroom airs an environment for students who actively talk and raise questions about collaborative project-based learning. She uses academic discourse to boost students’ capacity to dialog and understand the language they use in order to facilitate a high level of communication in the classroom.

To her, students will grow academically, socially, and emotionally with a classroom strategy that molds their ability to live, work, and advocate for themselves when faced with different people, values, behaviors, and approaches in life. 

Instructional Coach

Ms. Jensen believes that teachers need coaches to get better in their fields. Believing that teachers can relate to feelings of stagnation, Ms. Jensen devoted herself to serving as an instructional coach to new and veteran teachers in providing support and mentorship that advocates for mental and emotional wellness. 

At Lincoln High School, Ms. Jensen shares, they are fortunate to be provided with three instructional coaches for about 160 teachers. It has created a culture that accepts coaching for all teachers, acknowledging their strengths, and using those strengths to positively recognize other teachers — an action that gives coaches a glimpse at what they are working with.

Shifting Culture at Lincoln High

As a coach and teacher who has received coaching, Ms. Jensen pushes that, coaches should come up with options on when, where, and how often they should meet with their coaches. It’s a matter of lightening the load on teachers and allowing them to set the terms right before the coaching relationship begins. 

When coaches base their learning sessions on self-identified areas for growth, not only will this bring coaching to a broader pool, but it can also lead to a more responsive professional development. At Lincoln High, she said, their culture has shifted toward coaching in many ways, where teachers, old and new, work together to identify strengths in their respective goals.

The instructional coaches in their building perform as tour guides that help facilitate when teachers discuss methods, observe model classrooms, and then reflect on their learning together. As teachers learn and become more willing to work with colleagues in growing targeted areas, their culture of coaching also spreads across, she added.

As TED Speaker

Sydney Jensen’s journey to the TED Talk stage has given her massive online attention. Since her debut in February, many educators, academic personnel, administrators, and professionals have enjoyed hearing Sydney Jensen speak.

One of her powerful talks obtained more than 500,000 views since it has been posted online is on the emotional and mental impact of teaching students who have experienced trauma. Ms. Jensen has heard from people in Lincoln and across the country how they were moved by her message.

According to Miss Jensen, teachers emotionally support students but who is supporting the teachers? Her eye-opening talk explores how teachers may absorb the emotional weight of their students’ experiences and undergo “secondary trauma” themselves.

Recognition & Awards 

She has also received honors as one of the guests at Google headquarters where she participated in a storytelling workshop. Seeing her potential, TED representatives encouraged her to submit a proposal and join TED Masterclass, a program designed to assist educators in identifying, developing, and presenting their ideas.

Ms. Jensen’s proposal has been selected in August for which she put in 200 hours of preparation, including five revisions and numerous coaching sessions, before traveling to New York City in October. 

She has also been awarded a Golden Telephone Award from Lincoln High and the 2018 LPS Inspire Educator Award.

Exceptionally dedicated to her advocacy, it opened the way for her to be chosen as one of the two finalists for Nebraska Teacher of the Year. She is also participating in the National Teacher of the Year competition.


20. Andria Zafirakou

Another Global Teacher Prize Winner is Andria Zafirakou who got the title in 2018. She is an Arts and Textiles teacher at Alperton Community School, a coeducational secondary school in the Alperton area in the inner city of London’s Borough of Brent, England.

motivating message of Andria Zafirakou

She has spent her entire teaching career of 14 years at Alperton Community School. Despite having to deal with students from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, Andria uses her passion for art as a language-free method of communication.

Engaging the Students in Her Community

To Andria, it’s no easy task as Brent is one of the most diverse places in the country with different people speaking about 130 languages. Every single culture exists in her school with approximately 35 different languages being spoken. With 85% of students having English as an additional language — to unlock the barriers of language provides challenges.

She has pupils that come from the poorest families, with many coming to school already feeling isolated from teachers and classmates. Some students have been exposed to gang violence in the London borough where Brent has seen the highest recorded murder rates.

Andria, finding all these more difficult to engage with the students, resisted the notion, and earned their trust, instead. She used art as a language-free method of communication, appreciated their work, and encouraged them to believe in themselves.

With the help of other teachers, she initiated redesigning the curriculum across all subjects to incorporate things that best resonate with pupils. 

Learning some of the basic languages spoken by the school population, including Ghanaian, Gujarati, Hindi, Nigerian, and Punjabi, Andria has been able to reach out to students and parents who feel disregarded and sidelined in the community. 

Desiring to understand her students beyond their school life, Andria has extended herself by standing at the school gates with police officers to welcome pupils as they arrive at school, riding with them on the bus, and visiting their homes.

Career & Achievements

Born in London and educated in Brent and Camden, Ms. Zafirakou has worked her entire teaching career for 12 years at Alperton Community School both as a teacher and member of the senior leadership team. Just within a year after her arrival, she was promoted to Deputy Head of Art and later as the Associate Deputy Headteacher, leading and initiating staff professional development. 

Winning the Global Teacher Prize is Ms. Zafirakou’s extraordinary contribution to London’s education. As a teacher for arts and textiles, educating the children through creativity has helped them achieve and develop skills and confidence. The students were seen transitioning from low starting points to how fast they progressed during their five to seven years at the school.

The inspection team and headteacher say they are amazed at how and where Andia Zafirakou is getting all the energy in doing a fantastic job in the classroom. She would go the extra mile to help the students outside of school and on their way home, and in whatever she could to help.

There is a gang culture outside the school gates that recruits young students to join the gang. Andria wants to get them safely and calmly on the bus, ensuring the students are bound home. 

Aside from helping a music teacher launch a Somali school choir, Andria has also created an alternative approach to allow girls-only sports that are acceptable to the more conservative communities. The new-found girls’ cricket team has brought honor to the school by winning the McKenzie Cup.

Awards & Recognitions

thoughts about art education

Thanks to her efforts, Alperton now belongs to the top 5 schools in England and Wales for students’ achievements. Andria also helps teachers to develop their own practices in the classroom. She leads in professional development to grow the talents of the future by helping them improve their skills.

Andria’s success in winning the $1million Global Teacher Prize 2018 has made her community school recognized internationally. 

The school has also been shortlisted for the TES School of the Year 2018 and won the TES Maths Team of the Year 2017. In fact, it is one of the four UK schools to hold the Platinum Professional Development Mark.

Alperton Community has become one of the 100 schools to get the Inclusion Quality Mark Centre of Excellence, a reward that recognizes excellence of history provision of the teachers, the curriculum, as well as what is offered to the children.

Using the prize money award from the Global Teacher prize, Andria has launched an initiative that can promote creativity in schools. She founded a charity called Artists in Residence (AiR) with the objective to boost and upgrade the study of arts in schools.

Educator Andria Zafirakou has also been named among the top ten of The Evening Standard’s 1000 Londoners List, a prestigious list of the most influential people in London.


It’s a wrap-up!

These phenomenal educators have reached the global stage and have inspired teachers all around the globe. Reading about them is an opportunity to enrich ourselves with remarkable teaching practices that can inspire us to make a big difference in the lives of our students.

Molding impressionable children is a noble act that teachers can do. Remember, not everyone has been given the chance to become a teacher. So, if you are a teacher and you have reached this part of this page, you are very lucky enough for we have encapsulated the significant details that you ought to know.

Doing your work with great pride and joy will make you fulfill your mission of giving children quality education and the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Give them a voice and let them be heard!

Just like the parade of phenomenal educators in this post, you can also make a difference in education and be known in the global arena for your greatness and innovations.

However different we may be in our ways as teachers, I still believe in Maya Angelou’s words that, “At our best, we are all teachers.” And as our young learners say, “You have unleashed our potential, you give us voice, and thank you for making a difference.” I am certain that our influence has been strong and we’ve got them covered.

Now, if you have this chance, never let it go!


  1. Irene B. Bohol May 6, 2021
    • Oscar June 2, 2021
  2. HABIB May 26, 2021
    • Oscar June 2, 2021