My Mistakes Were Necessary for My Good!



No matter what leg you are running in this thing called “life”, the finish line is the end goal and succeeding is the idea that always seems to wrestle with your mind. This is evident through every groan, grunt, climb, fall, contraction, insult, betrayal, slap to the face, bullet wound, lap around the field, poor grades, foreclosure, setback, poor tech connection during a presentation, divorce, separation, bad bill of health, failed friendships, suicide/death, hidden pregnancies, drug/alcohol abuse, loss of profits, feelings of abandonment or violence, whispers behind your back, natural disasters, metamorphosis of caterpillars and tadpoles, and changing of seasons……


The pain of failing and losing is never one that you want to experience for yourself or ones you choose to cheer on..but you know what???


When I think about the fact that my mom raised 3 children on her own, it was a sacrifice beyond what she could handle. Despite her mistakes (whether admitted or not) her persistence and determination led her to a Jewish family that would ultimately change the trajectory of our lives. That family blessed us in ways that I know would have taken several lifetimes to become a reality. I was able to gain from her mistakes….


I was placed in a position of leadership over my department during my teaching career and have had some of my colleagues that thought I was less deserving of that position. Maybe they were intimidated by what I had to offer or perhaps they just wanted to keep their clique tight! The lessons learned there tightened my skin and made me more aware of how to move my pieces across the chessboard. Ironically, while they were digging holes for me they lost their footing and became buried in their own “mess”  —no shade thrown but definitely shots fired– POW!!


When growth isn’t happening then it is time to change. When you feel stagnant then something new certainly needs to happen. When the very air you need to breathe becomes polluted or limited then grab a new oxygen tank so you can reach higher altitudes.

As the school year came to an end and the season shifted from Spring to Summer,  so did Season 1 and my journey on Blab with the ladies of DCTV430. We rocked 11 episodes and accomplished something in the educational space that offered something incredible to our viewers. As we part ways and move on to do great things to change the narrative of education…I come to the conclusion again that ….


Despite my imperfections and my let downs,  despite how I am perceived or how I perceive myself, despite the failures or successes I can own–I know the lesson here is one that I can and will teach my students and my children. Life will certainly throw you curve balls. There are things you plan to get right but screw it up instead. On the other hand, there are things you plan to get right and  absolutely will knock it out of the ballpark! You will be misunderstood, you will be hurt, you will feel betrayed and will go through many pains. These things shape and cultivate who you are to become. To finish strong in the end is the goal but the process leading up to that point is so valuable.

None of these things define YOU but instead they REFINE YOU!

You will learn who you are, who your supporters are, what you truly can handle or bare. Your flaws and wills and the innermost parts of you that were protected will now be exposed. Despite all of that you MUST wear courage like a shield and armor to push forward into the DESTINY that you must allow no man to threaten.

It teaches YOU that YOU are YOU and that….


I leave you with this snippet from one of my favorite singers, Fantasia. Though the appearance of the video is not high quality and imperfect in its appearance– it carries the very message that makes my point very clear. The beauty of life comes through the recognition and transformation that comes from all the mistakes and “mess” that we make. Even Mother Nature has her very way of showing us lessons through the power of change and transformation. Everything works out for our good and is truly……NECESSARY!



Many Faces of Me

I know this post is several months behind but I am glad I got around to doing it.

You know I get a little bothered when people think they have the recipe for what you should do, how to do it and how much of it you should serve up. I guess somewhere along the way they figured that they were masterminds behind our God-given talents. Though I am open to suggestions and feedback that will build me up– don’t try to puppeteer how to make me dance. I have my own set of drums and choose which rhythm I want to play!

I am cut from a cloth of many colors and because of this my tribe has helped to cultivate some AMAZING things within me –I am proud to say that I am multi-talented. I dream in rainbow colors and my passions cannot be limited to a single digit. I figure there are many of you kindred spirits that come from similar tribes and have matching drumsets.

  • I am fortunate to be bilingual. I can speak and read Creole fluently.
  • I am thorough, detailed and organized (most of the time)
  • I have a knack for connecting with people (tiniest toes to the more established feet)
  • I can help others LEARN and can be TAUGHT by them as well
  • I have an ear for music and can hold a decent tune
  • I am a juggler of hats (mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, educator, co-host to DCTV430, teacherpreneur)

The list can go on and on but I won’t—-instead I will just focus on one way I INSPIRE and UPLIFT!

All of this to say that these are The Many Faces of Me! 

When I think of this particular aspect I have to reflect on the tribe and rich legacy of my people. In February, we celebrated Black History Month which may be short-lived but everyday is a celebration for me. I do not look at this as a time to elevate one culture over another but more importantly it is necessary to look at history from everyone’s perspective— from everyone’s truth.

With these HOT times in America —it was important to resurrect the Living Museum after a 3 year hiatus. The injustices can no longer dominate because people are no longer sitting silent and watching helplessly. In fact, they are up in arms and protest vocally on a regular basis about the wrongs happening more frequently than they would like to admit. The quiet Sit ins, Stand Ups, About Faces or Turning the Other Cheek– JUST. WON’T. DO!

My husband (Xavier Lewis “The Antidote to RnB”) is an artist, a visionary and he too wears a coat of many talents. Our blended fibers hold a stinch of 16 years in the field doing great work with young people from Florida, MAryland and Georgia. Creating this production and telling the story of our tribe was not going to be in the form of a SUPER talent show –it needed to be intentional and impactful. This was just not for the attendees but also for the participants themselves.

We live in a blended society (which isn’t a bad things at all) but those church leaders often do not look like me and cannot teach the history from which my ancestors journeyed. Parents are sometimes too busy to give those rich cultural experiences that will help shape the lives of the younger generations. So the story is lost and that is problematic.

So here is my BEEF–the curriculum that is taught boasts stories usually from the powerful or the victors. A 360 view is never shared out and because of this–the story is missing important pieces or ultimately incomplete.  Their history books often do not publish the stories of inventors and innovators that look like them or have contributed in major ways. So we pride ourselves in digging in the crates and finding information on things they did not know and have not learned.

Through the process of creating we recognized that students need to own their learning (outside of our facilitation and advisement) and so we allow them to have voice and choice in their monologues. We push, pushed  and continue to push  them beyond their limits and often into places they never realized existed because “school” has placed limitations on opportunities to cultivate these talents.

To watch the students brainstorm and test out their monologues, collaborate with their peers and receive feedback from others is where the magic truly happened. This was a PBL all in itself because of the varied components involved, mutiple disciplines included, the span of time spent over several weeks researching and gathering, and revealing answers to questions that soothed a painpoint or lead to deeper understanding was the great reward.

One of my good friends Valerie Vaughn, sent me a list which was acquired from to assist us (but not limit us) in the process on determining our museum exhibits, props and setup. This was a great spark to conversation not only amongst the students but even in my EduMatch Voxer groups with other educators. The discovery of new information and the dialogue that occurs can be powerful. When you look at the list below, what things can you admit that you did not know before as inventions by African-Americans?

Black Inventors List Part1 Black Inventors List Part2 Black Inventors List Part3

This list gives me life and you can only imagine what it did for students that could see the Many Faces of People that looked like them. We are more than just athletes and rappers but are the foundation of many things within a country that for too may years kept us oppressed.

3D First Place Winner

My goal is not to sit and highlight the wrongs that were done but I also feel that those conversations still need to happen. Because of this, the production is inclusive. Not only did our high school kids participate but the elementary and middle schoolers from our cluster were involved in the production as well as the schoolwide art contests which were displayed throughout the museum. We used tech by incorporating social media, Kahoot! trivia challenges for attendees, and a GooseChase (scavenger style game) which unfortunately we could not get to activate because of the overwhelming numbers of users trying to log into the application.

This wasn’t a movement by blacks for blacks but a movement of humans for humans. Students included the contributions of other races to Black History so we can settle the ignorance that “Black History is only for the black kids!” The support from the community and many sponsors are so apprreciated and speaks to the testament that there are lots of do-gooders that exist!

2D First Place WinnerDuke Ellington

So if I had to pick one stripe to shine a light on for this blogpost then it would be the one that ENCOURAGES, INSPIRES, and UPLIFTS. This video (done by Gwinnett County TV) captures the essence of the program. You missed the whole of it if you did not attend (but there’s always next year).

I am paid in FULL from the joy that fills my heart when students give their testimonial on how much they have learned, reflected on the process, and sparked a lasting impression that has charge them to go forth into the world with their heads held high and their chests puffed outwards because they come from a tribe that celebrates them as an IMPORANT SOMEBODY!

These students, this generation of new innovators represent The Many Faces of Me and I am everyday proud and inspired mostly by them and the great things they will become.




The Power of the Scope: #passtheScopeEDU

On June 16, 2016, 30 teachers continued their new journey of exploring and applying Periscope within the educational context. This wasn’t “simply a test” but rather a thing that seems to have spread like wildfire. It was truly a thing of beauty.

Starting a fire….can be a thing of beauty!

Starting a fire can be a thing of beauty!
Starting a fire can be a thing of beauty!

At the closing of the school year, 5 educators on Voxer talked smack about battle rap rounds to show the humanly amazing side of teachers. Because of this conversation, #passtheScopeEDU was born to show the amazing things educators are doing all the time to change the narrative about what is displayed in large markets and mass media. The joy of it all is that learning should never feel like a task or chore but triggers a hunger for more in the hopes of answering questions to our most profound curiosities.

Not everyone in the group is an expert scoper and in fact, some are newbies to the practice but the learning that happens through rich dialogue is unmatched. The group isn’t a secret society either—any passionate educator, administrator, superintendent or education stakeholder is welcome to join.

This Voxer community has gotten so serious about their craft that every 3rd Thursday we (the people) are anxious to see and support each other’s scopes as a form of learning and professional development. What matters most is the content can be shared and replicated within our personal learning environments and spaces. An added bonus is that it certainly doesn’t hurt that passion and creativity are often seen and heard in these broadcasts! That is the secret sauce that is so savory and delicious!

The power behind the scope is that teachers become leaders (in their own right) and gain the ability to share what they know with an authentic audience. Educators gain a sense of community, support and validation that their voice truly matters and that they are celebrated for things that are working well in their classrooms. The conversations are rich and exciting and this passion becomes evident in the scopes. The live and replay viewers exercise the right to comment (appropriately), ask questions or simply “tap it up” by giving hearts on the right side of their screen to show that something resonates.

Jacqueline Rose (@JRose_Edu) out of Texas, Toutoule Ntoya (@ToutouleNtoya) out of California, and Sarah Thomas (@sarahdateechur) out of Virginia put a spin on supporting each other by coining the terms #tapgamestrong #supportgamestrong to continue to build the community.

Stacy Lovdahl (@braveneutrino), out of North Carolina jumped in without hesitation and began creating  visuals and video scope schedules that would assist the public viewers to plan and follow through on their day of PD accordingly. The learning that came from this using Google Maps and YouTube was a lesson in itself.

Stacy demonstrated visually how to pass the scope from person to person and place to place
Stacy demonstrated visually how to pass the     scope from person to person and place to place

Mark Barnes (@markbarnes19), out of Ohio used his skillset and added this 1 minute #HackLearning podcast (through Spreaker) which features the #passthescopeEDU and periscope tool. The power of moving beyond the classroom walls and bridging educators and global learning has certainly become possible. You can hear that podcast by clicking on the link below.

Derek Larson @lars3eb, out of Utah usually recaps about each month’s broadcast and scope schedule on his blogpost found here.

Brian Romero Smith (@1to1Brian), out of Texas blew us away by creating an aresenal of logos that we fully adopted, digital graphics and multimedia videos to help with the marketing and branding of the concept monthly. This too offered more learning opportunities through Q&As and “How To’s” for the group.

ISTE2016 Edition
ISTE2016 Edition

On the special edition scopecast,  #passthescopeEDU went on its very 1st roadtrip to ISTE2016 (Denver, CO) in order to #bridgetheworld. We were able to share in realtime with those #notatISTE workshops, panels, playgrounds, and poster sessions.  There were about 6 scopemates broadcasting consistently from different areas of the conference using the hashtag in their broadcast title to make it easy to search and find.

The viewers were most appreciative especially of the exclusive interview we gained of Ruha Benjamin (@ruha9) out of New Jersey. I am so grateful Rusul Alrubail (@RusulAlrubail)out of Canada rolled up her sleeves to bring this exclusive post keynote interview where Dr. Benjamin dropped more jewels!

Watch the full keynote address on Periscope (compliments of Jamie Russell (@james_russellMO) here!

Follow the hashtag #passthescopeEDU on Twitter and Periscope for your learning needs or even to catch scopes you have missed in the past. Then consider joining the cast for future scopes or at your leisure. No long term committments are necessary but share when you feel the need.

The next scope date is July21st but go ahead and get in now to secure your spot on the schedule as it is filling up fast.

Let’s bridge the world through learning— one scope at a time!