Lead Trainer/Peer Coach, Digital Wish
After teaching grades 4 and 6 for 12 years in Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished Schools in Southern California, Eric Bird now brings his experience, knowledge, and passion gained from working in the classroom to the team at Digital Wish. Eric joined the Digital Wish team in December of 2009 as a peer coach and classroom trainer for the School Modernization Initiative pilot school program. His current role is to bring 1:1 computing technology to classrooms and communities in selected towns and provide essential training so that students, teachers, and parents can use the internet more effectively. Eric also writes a blog on the School Modernization Initiative site about his experiences with the pilot school program.
As a Technology Trainer, Eric has traveled the country to train fellow educators, administrators, and district technology experts using creative, entertaining, and easy-to-use cross-curricular technology, such as podcasting, digital cameras, digital video, and numerous educational software programs. In addition, Eric helped design hands-on seminars for educational conferences and co-authored a workbook on classroom technology.
Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine, a Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential for the State of California, and a Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development Credential. In addition, Eric spent two years working with the University of California, Irvine Writing Project.
Executive Director/Founder, Digital Wish
Heather Chirtea is Digital Wish’s founder and Executive Director. Previously, as the longstanding president of Tool Factory, an educational software publisher, Heather traveled widely throughout the United States to conduct over 400 lively seminars on classroom technology integration each year. She watched as funding for education technology continuously declined, and today over 75% of teachers classify themselves as “often in need of” or “desperate for” technology resources. Heather created Digital Wish to empower teachers to solve their own technology shortfalls at a local level, and to prepare our student workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in the changing workplace.
With a dual B.S. in communications and operations management (statistics) from Syracuse University, Heather has co-authored five books on classroom technology; designed more than 60 hands-on technology seminars for educators; launched online services for classroom clip art, worksheets, lesson plans, and formative testing and assessment; and written over 5,000 standards-based test questions. She serves on the board of directors for VITA-Learn (VT) and New England ISTE technology associations. Heather’s foray into charitable work began by setting up a $50,000 grant program with Olympus that progressively expanded each year due to overwhelming demand. Based on the success of that program, Digital Wish was born.
Meg joined the Digital Wish team in August of 2010 as the Northern Trainer. Her background is in Education, and she is a licensed High School English teacher with classroom experience both here in Vermont, and abroad in London, England. Meg did both her undergraduate and graduate work at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education as well as a Master of Education with a concentration in the Arts. The Arts concentration was highly inclusive of Digital Media, and as a result, Meg is comfortable implementing the newest tools and applications in the classroom. She is thrilled to be at Digital Wish where she can utilize both her background in Education and her great interest in Digital Media and creative uses of technology.
Celia moved to Vermont from Wisconsin in September of 2011 to join the Digital Wish team as an AmeriCorps member. She will be working both in the Digital Wish office and as a Classroom Trainer in the Southern region of Vermont. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2010 and spent a year volunteering with the AmeriCorps National Community Conservation Corps in California. Celia couldn’t be more excited to join the Digital Wish team and make a difference in the way education expands to encompass all that technology can offer.
Sky Kochenour graduated from Union College this past June with a major in political science and a minor in Japanese. He’s taking a service year working for Americorps and applying to law school this fall. Sky is working on the e-Vermont School Modernization Initiative. As a lifelong Vermont resident, Sky went through the public school system and is excited to now help modernize classrooms. Learning how to use technology has been an integral part of his academic life and also a crucial skill to have for career development. Sky believes it’s very important to instill quality technology education in children at a young age. In his spare time, he plays soccer and the guitar.
Christian joined Digital Wish in September 2011, to work alongside Meg Krohn as a northern classroom trainer, and ultimately to help implement a mentoring program between Vermont high school, and elementary school students. The program will connect elementary students with mentoring high school students in an effort to create a sustainable environment of technology integration. A native of Connecticut, Chris received his BA in Classical Civilization (Greek & Latin), and Art History at the University of Vermont (UVM). He is excited to spend the year in Vermont’s public education system, and he’s excited to apply his enthusiasm for history in a field of public service and technological development.
Sheila Marcoux has joined the Digital Wish team as the technology integrator for the expansion of the 1:1 computing initiative to New Hampshire. She is collaborating with teachers and administrators at Bicentennial School in Nashua to provide computing access for a fifth grade classroom and develop after school programs. She is very excited to teach students and educators how to effortlessly integrate current technology into the existing curriculum.
Sheila earned her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in History and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Additionally, Sheila earned her Master’s degree with distinction in Elementary and General Special Education at Rivier College in Nashua, NH. She is licensed in New Hampshire in General Special Education, K-12, as well as in Elementary Education in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Before coming to Digital Wish, Sheila taught special education in the fifth and sixth grades. The continual search for differentiated instruction and equal access for her students led Sheila to maximizing the use of technology both in the classroom and at home. Sheila is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for the use of technology in education.
Communications Manager, Digital Wish
John joined Digital Wish as the communications manager in August 2010. He graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Radio/TV/Film. He oversees Digital Wish’s social media outlets and blog, interfaces with the press, creates graphics, and produces multimedia projects.
Community Manager and Grant Writer, Digital Wish
Sarah joins the Digital Wish team after over a year working for Tool Factory, an educational technology solutions company. After receiving her B.A. in Theatre Arts and English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA, Sarah lived and worked in London, England before moving to Vermont. She has presented and trained at national educational technology conferences and has many years of writing and editing experience. As Community Manager, Sarah works to ensure that the voices of Digital Wish’s registrants are heard and serves as support for the Recycle Forward campaign.
Programmer, Digital Wish
Sean Hannon serves as the lead programmer for Digital Wish. Prior to joining the Digital Wish team, Sean constructed Tool Factory’s Digital Camera Center and Worksheet Station. In his current role at Digital Wish, Sean manages the development and implementation of the site. Additionally, Sean oversees testing of new features. Sean received a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from Siena College.
Customer Service Manager, Digital Wish
After graduating from The College of Santa Fe with a BFA in Technical Theatre, Krysta moved to New York City to work as a master electrician for several theatre companies. In June of 2007 her theatre work took her to the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she decided to relocate. She has been with Digital Wish since October of 2009 and is committed to Digital Wish’s mission of putting technology into American classrooms. She is thrilled to be a part of the organization at such an exciting time.