Picture Yourself in the Spotlight

Congratulations to our audition winners, Ronnie Thomas, Zackory Kirk, Casey & STrick, and Sarah bristow!

Learn about the winners.

We had such a great response to our call for submissions for the open audition. THANK YOU to every single teacher who sent us an idea and submission. Unfortunately, there's not enough time in the program to say yes to everyone, but we are beyond thrilled to announce that Ronnie Thomas will be giving a short talk from the Summit Stage; Casey & Strick will be performing the music for our opening video for the Summit; and Sarah Bristow will offer meditation techniques for teachers in the Lounge. Learn more about our winners below:

Zackory Kirk is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Atlanta Public School System. He has served as a teacher and educator for more than 15 years.

Sometimes, teachers fail to see the value of their work, the impact they have on the future, or the responsibility placed in their hands. His talk "The Call to Be Great" aims to inspire teachers towards a continuous improvement mindset grounded in the responsibility of our profession of service. Watch his audition video HERE.

Ronnie Thomas is an 18-year educator, husband, and father with a lifelong commitment to sharing his passion for science education. He almost left the field of education to pursue a career in trucking! Then his teaching career was saved due to falling in love with teaching hands-on science. He has traveled the world infecting others with his love for science, and he has committed his life to advocating for providing students and teachers with positive interactions in learning/teaching science. Watch his audition video HERE

Casey & Strick are two teachers in DeKalb County that inspire the youth: not just in education, but also in life. This year, they were featured on Channel 2 in Atlanta for creating a song called "Read a Book" to promote reading. They believe that education is the key to life. Unfortunately, we live in a generation where students look at school and immediately think negatively about it. This stereotype is what formed Casey & Strick. They want to change the outlook on education, and they want to make learning fun again. Watch their music video HERE

Sarah Bristow is a teacher with over ten years of classroom experience who understands (and can relate to) many of the challenges that come with being an educator.  Over time, schools have evolved from chalk boards to smart boards, direct instruction to student led project based learning, and even physical rooms of tables and chairs to fully equipped virtual classrooms. These changes and advances, while wonderfully productive, have also led to more pressure, stress, and anxiety than ever before.

In 2016, Sarah launched a health and wellness program called "Growing Grounded" where she began teaching yoga, mindfulness, and meditation to kids and teens. The mission of G.G. is to educate children about self-awareness, patience, and compassion in order to foster strong, grounded children. This program consists of breathing techniques, guided visualizations, and age appropriate meditations, and has quickly grown into a learning experience for students as well as their teachers.

Teachers are leaders and role models for our children, and today more than ever, we need to feel empowered to support our own health and well being in order to impart this upon our students. Learn more about Sarah HERE



About the opportunity.

The Extra Yard for Teachers Summit is full of speakers from across the country: but we are always looking for cool and compelling stories from the local community. So, we open up auditions to give you, the Atlanta home team, a chance to share your story. Feel like you have something to add to the mix, either on the main stage or in the Extra Yard for Teachers Lounge (relaxation and activation area)? We want you to submit a description and/or 90 second video telling us what you want to share. Your stories can be funny, sweet, heartwarming, learning moments, teachable moments…whatever story you have that you want to share with the audience from the Summit stage or lesson/activation you want to build in the Lounge. 

What happens next?

The curatorial committee will review ALL the submissions and ideas and let you know if we can accommodate your idea. There are always more ideas than there is space in the day, which makes the committee's job tricky. But we definitely look at each and every submission and try to build a robust day with lots of different ideas. So send us yours! 

What's the difference between the Summit and Lounge?

The Summit is a main stage session for 1,000 teachers from the Atlanta community. The talks are short (6-12 minute) TED-style talks. Want to learn more? Check out this page for the archive of past talks. Be sure to look at Lamar Mills, Lori Bradner, and Garret Maier as examples of past audition winners! 

The Lounge is an activation area that is open all day on January 6 for teachers. We'll have some fun pampering activities (think chair massages), give aways, relaxation areas, and a host of conversations and activations from local community partners and other educators as a means of giving the Atlanta educators community a chance to connect. Some examples of Lounge audition submissions in the past have been round table discussions about building self-esteem in students, and a giant floor map activity that one teachers uses to inspire creativity and delight in learning in her classroom. We're open to anything you want to suggest!