Today is the last day of the school year. As I look back at my first year at Turning Point Learning Center, I think about all the changes in my life that have happened. I look at all the things that I have learned about education that I knew a little about, but grew in knowledge this year. However, there is one main person who has taught me so much.
Ginger Lewman is the founder and out-going director of Turning Point Learning Center (TPLC).
I first met Ginger in July 2010. I saw TPLC was looking for a math teacher and I applied. A few hours later I received a call from Ginger for an interview for that afternoon. She didn’t care how I looked, nor smelled for the interview. (I told her I was painting and cleaning, she told me to come in anyway.) On July 27, I was offered the job.
Ginger started pushing me from the start. I was given my school computer the following day, and was instantly told that a “requirement” for working at TPLC was that I had to be on Plurk. I had no idea what the site was, but I said alright. I soon learned that it was a social network for teachers to share ideas and anecdotes of the school day. From the Karma that is given on their, I started sharing my thoughts and learning so much from people around the world. Since then, I have also utilized Twitter for educational purposes.
As October came along, she and Charlie Mahoney were talking about putting larger harddrives into the computers that Mindelei Wuori and I had. Ginger made the comment that we didn’t need larger harddrives because we weren’t doing anything that proved we needed one. Now you may read that comment and think she’s a mean person. Well, she is, but she’s being straight forward and honest. She was pointing out that I needed to be doing more.
Now I was a little lost and confused on how to be doing more. A couple weeks later she looked at me in the eye and said, “You really should be blogging.” That was the end of that conversation. I thought about it, but didn’t start until a month later after I had gone on a trip with Kevin Honeycutt. At which point, I started my first blog.
Ginger has a great personality and a great since of humor. She enjoys kids and loves to encourage them to do their best and grow to be great citizens. Over the past 6 years she has changed the ideas of teachers, parents, and school boards about their beliefs in education. She has opened many minds to what is possible in education.
Ginger has pushed me to be a strong educator and how to further my education myself. She also pushed me to present at a conference for the first time in March 2011. With the help of her, I have not been too nervous to present again in June. She loves to push buttons and push, but it’s all in helping you become a better, stronger person.
Ginger may think that she has not made a difference in Emporia, KS, but she has made a huge impact to the world of education in town. She may be leaving TPLC, but the school will continue strong through the leadership of Mindelei, Erin Fitzpatrick and CoSandra Neely. Ginger has helped build these educators to take on a school of children and educate them in way that all students should be taught.
Ginger Lewman is moving on to help other educators learn about Project Based Learning (PBL) and the Life Practice Model. Two great things that just a few years ago were not much of a thought in her mind. Now, she lives PBL and enjoys sharing the wonderful effects that this style of learning has on students.
Ginger will be missed by all in Emporia. However, I think I can speak for many when I say that we are excited to see her go out and share her stories, anecdotes, and education beliefs with many around the country. She has reached so many people already, and will continue to do so.
I personally want to thank Ginger Lewman for the great leadership that she has provided me. She pushed me to be the educator that I am today. She has helped me to see many great things that education has to offer students and myself. Thank you for hiring me onto the staff of Turning Point Learning Center. It has been a great place to work, and it all started with you. Ginger, enjoy the adventures that lie ahead of you.
“As a teacher I’m a resource, not THE source.” – Ginger Lewman