Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm Patrick Boylan and This is How I Work

+Patrick Boylan is the teacher you wish you had for high school Chemistry. Walk into his lab at Round Rock High School and you can't help but want to light up a Bunsen burner, grab test tubes, some chemicals and make science happen. Spend a class period with him and you will see his teaching is more than cool labs and technology. His students trust him and he creates an environment where AP students are not afraid to take risks and learn through failure. You too can learn from Mr. Boylan at the upcoming RRISD Ninja Academy on Oct. 25th. He will be teaching a class on using Educanon to flip your instruction. Check out his YouTube channel to see how he is flipping his lectures right now - and learn a little Chemistry.
Patrick Boylan

Location: Round Rock High School

Current Gig: Chemistry Teacher

Current Mobile Device: iPad

Current Personal Computer: MacBook Pro

One word that best describes how you work: Driven

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?: How did the world exist before Google? Seriously. I will quit teaching before ever using paper again.

Check our Boylan's Trailer for his Chemistry Class

What's your work space like?: Two laptops, an iPad, and a chemistry book.

What's your best time-saving trick/life-hack?: Prep all food for the week on Sunday. One and done. Food is fuel...not worth the time during the week. 

Boylan (left) guiding a student through discovering the excited state of an element

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?: iPad
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?: I am pretty phenomenal at making pancakes. The trick is in the pour...
Yes, there is learning happening here.
What do you listen to while you work?: I shuffle all my Pandora stations...

What are you currently reading?: Chemistry: A Molecular Approach

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?: Introvert

What's Your Sleep Routine Like?: Don't mess with my eight hours. Who needs caffeine when you get eight hours?
Boylan's Workspace. Simple, but effective.
Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.: +Aracely Sandoval, Secondary Science Instructional Coach


What's the best advice you've ever received?: Life is not fair.

What other interesting careers/jobs have you held? Life guard, tour guide, food service extraordinaire

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?: Chemistry>All other content...except math.

Thanks, +Patrick Boylan! Who in Round Rock ISD would you like to learn more about how they organize their daily lives and seem so productive? Comment below or send suggestions to professional_development@roundrockisd.org.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm Courtney Acosta, and This is How I Work

+Courtney Acosta  is proud to serve as the Interim Principal of McNeil High School. She is also a former assistant and associate principal in Round Rock ISD and was a Science teacher and instructional coach before entering campus leadership. She is also a family woman and former Putt Putt Party Hostess.  Notice she's has a copy of The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership on her desk and college diplomas from her grandparents adorn her walls. Courtney will also be teaching a session at the RRISD Ninja Technology Academy on Oct. 25th where she will be sharing even more of her productivity secrets using Google Apps and other tools to streamline her work life.
Courtney Acosta
Location: McNeil High School

Current Gig: Interim Principal

Current Mobile Device: iPhone 5

Current Personal Computer: I usually just use my iPad and Google Docs

One word that best describes how you work: Fast.  Once at the RRHS prom there was a fortune teller.  She said that if I were a grocery store cashier she would want to be in my lane because I work so fast.  The admin team all laughed.  So yeah, that’s my future.  

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?: Pandora
Netflix, Twitter and School Messenger App for MHS

What's your work-space like?: I usually keep it pretty neat. Scattered papers drive me crazy and if I have to make more than 1 pile, it's time to file. (I did NOT mean for that to rhyme...)   Though I do love my sticky-notes.  I’m pretty sure I keep 3M in business.

Acosta's Work Space
What's your best time-saving trick/life-hack?: I use Voxer to chat with my kids when they stay with the grandparents. They get to send me quick voice or picture messages that I can read and listen to when I get a chance. They like me to send them pictures of what I'm doing "right now". We don't have to set times to call each other while they are away but still get lots of communication in.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?: Apple TV. We fall asleep to The Office every night.  For a while we tried to switch it up to Everybody Loves Raymond and I think it caused undertones of hostility.  No worries though, we are right back to Michael Scott every night.

Thank You
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?: I am really good at training my kids to be efficient (getting dressed in the am, going to bed at night)  We have systems for everything. The secret is to be consistently bossy and give lots of hugs and kisses as praise.

What do you listen to while you work?: I stream Pandora on my phone. Usually the "Dave Matthews" or "Take Me Home Tonight" radio stations. I also really like my old Houston station, 94.5 The Buzz with Rod Ryan for morning talk- that one I get on iHeart Radio.

Acosta keeps a focus on campus culture
What are you currently reading?: I was about 300 pages into Outlander and quit... So I just finished Gone Girl- a little behind on this stuff. For work I was re-reading my autographed copy of Leaders of Learning (both DuFour and Marzano- Thanks Mario!).

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?: Extrovert

What's Your Sleep Routine Like?: My "dream" sleep routine would be to go to sleep at 9:30 and get up at 5:30 to work out. In reality I go to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 and up at 6.
Acosta's grandparents diplomas adorn the walls

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.: +Edie Binns, Principal Pond Springs Elementary.

What's the best advice you've ever received?: You have to have balance.

What other interesting careers/jobs have you held? I was a Putt Putt Party Hostess for a while in high school.

Thanks, +Courtney Acosta! Who in Round Rock ISD would you like to learn more about how they organize their daily lives and seem so productive? Comment below or send suggestions to .


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm Robert Sormani, and This is How I Work

+Robert Sormani  is proud to serve as the principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School. Robert is also an avid family man, marathon runner, and self-proclaimed sandwich-making expert.  Let's learn more about how Sormani stays productive.

Robert Sormani
Location: Chisholm Trail Middle School

Current Gig: Principal

Current Mobile Device: iPhone 4

Current Personal Computer: You don't want to know

One word that best describes how you work: Focused

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?: Mobile Email & Calendar -- I thought it would make me work too much at home, but instead, it makes me more efficient when I get to work allowing me to be home sooner.


What's your work-space like?:Full of stuff! Some of it is work related, some of it is fun stuff I have collected through-out my career. Little kids love my office because there is so much to play with.

What's your best time-saving trick/life-hack?: Stop watching TV. Waste of time. Use the extra time to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. When I'm taking better care of myself, I do a better job at work making me more efficient and focused on what matters. For example, running at 5 am may take away from my sleep, but I get to work less stressed and more focused allowing me to get more done and get home earlier.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?: My Garmin watch. I don't know why or how I used to run without one!

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?: Making sandwiches. When I bring my lunch to school, people think I bought it somewhere. The secret? A good meal has lots of bright colors in it. Recipes are for wimps!

Art by Mrs. Sormani
What do you listen to while you work?: The voices in my head. Usually they are benign but occasionally they tell me to do things like dress up as Alexander Hamilton and walk around the school as if nothing was amiss.

What are you currently reading?:The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy! My son and I love it! I'm also reading The Bell Ringer by Victor Rodriguez a former SAISD superintendent. Lots of wisdom in his life story.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?: At work, I am extroverted. At home, I am a very private person who likes to keep to himself. My wife still has trouble imagining what I must be like at work.

What's Your Sleep Routine Like?: Bed before 10pm and up at 5am when running or 6am on a regular day.

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.: +Christopher Teter/Goals   because he'd say something funny. +Gabi Nino cause I want to know her professional secrets. +Mark Gabehart  because I want to know what technology the technology guy can't live without.

What's the best advice you've ever received?: Don't wast your time complaining when you can be fixing the problem instead. Dad was so right.

What other interesting careers/jobs have you held?
Bagel Maker, Line Cook at Outback Steakhouse, & Warehouse Guy at Toys R Us. I even shoveled manure in high school for money once.


Thanks, +Robert Sormani! Who in Round Rock ISD would you like to learn more about how they organize their daily lives and seem so productive? Comment below or send suggestions to Ryan Smith


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm Jiae Kim, and This is How I Work

+Jiae Kim  is proud to serve as the principal of Spicewood Elementary School. She is in her first year as Principal at Spicewood after joining Round Rock ISD from Connally High School in Pflugerville ISD. She is a graduate of UT Austin and excited to share how she stays productive each day.


Jiae Kim
Location: Spicewood Elementary School

Current Gig: Principal

Current Mobile Device: iPhone

Current Personal Computer: MacPro

One word that best describes how you work: Promptness

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?: My phone will be my top choice for various reasons. I love taking pictures of many different occurrences of great teaching and learning throughout the classrooms at my school then collage them to share with staff, parents and community via blog posts and newsletter. I'm also constantly relying on my phone calendar, which reminds me what lies ahead of me throughout the day and week with pop-up notifications. When I am off campus or am not near a computer, I check work emails on my phone frequently in an effort to ensure effective and timely communication with all stakeholders. How did we ever live without our phones? It's amazing what the little device can do! 

And whoever made google drive with all the shared documents and forms, you're geniuses. Your teachers have taught you well, my dears.
 

Conference table in Jiae's office
What's your work-space like?: I've been told by multiple central office personnel that I have the biggest office in the district as a principal. I took full advantage of my spacious office and placed a large conference table that would seat 8+ people. Our campus uses my office to hold SST meetings, instructional leadership meetings, administrative meetings and more. Having a projector and a screen anchored in the middle of a wall on one side helps us immensely at our meetings. I'm a very organized person so everything is usually either filed away or purged within a week span to avoid cumulating piles of papers and documents. I purge a lot of paper documents, if I know an electronic copy exists somewhere. I'm not much of a decorator myself but I do take pride in being a Longhorn so I have a few UT gears displayed in my office. Overall my workspace is clean, organized and fairly simple.

What's your best time-saving trick/life-hack?: I try to put almost every task/appointment/walkthrough schedules on my google calendar so I do not waste my time throughout the day. When that pop-up notification reminds me to stay on task, I'm more likely to do so! My rule of thumb is not to exceed more than 20 new emails sitting in the Inbox. I check my email first thing in the morning when I wake up just like Laurelyn has mentioned. That's the best time to clean out your inbox and start fresh. I mark important emails that need follow-ups as 'unread' so I can go back to it later.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?: At work, it's the projector in my office. Since I like most everything in electronic format, it's super helpful to have a projector in my office for various meetings mentioned previously. It promotes most personnel to stay on task with visuals and engage themselves via active participation in meetings. 

At home, it's my iPad. It's just a bigger version of my phone- purely awesome! 

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?: I love being visible throughout the school and in classrooms, and making sure I am able to call on each and every child by his/her name. I make it a priority by standing out at the front of the school every morning- rain or shine- greeting parents and students, getting into classrooms to learn every child's name and communicating my deep care and interest in my students' education constantly. Learning every student's name has been challenging but I'm about 95% there with 770 some students of mine.

What do you listen to while you work?: At work I listen to nothing so I can hyper-focus. At home and working is a different story; I have my TV on just because I can. :)

What are you currently reading?: I'm currently reading The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I love all of his books. My favorite is Tuesdays with Morrie; I highly recommend it to all educators. Once I'm done, I plan to purchase Amy Tan's new book, The Valley of Amazement that I heard about on NPR on the way to work a few weeks ago.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert?: I can't decide on one. I can definitely be gregarious in group settings; I, however, certainly need to spend some time in solitude after spending my energy with people in order to recover and rejuvenate.

What's Your Sleep Routine Like? I usually get ready for bed around 8PM, be in bed around 8:30PM then fall asleep around 9-9:30PM on week days to wake up at 5:30AM next morning. On the weekends, I may try sleep in a little but it usually doesn't work since my body clock wakes me up so early.

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.: +Nicole Hagerty  at Canyon Vista MS, Kim Winters at Grisham MS, Terrell King at HR and +John Yonker  at McNeil (my alma mater)

What's the best advice you've ever received?: Always ask away; the worst you'll ever get in return is a no. When I have identified the needs for support or opportunities for professional growth, I've always asked my former principals and executives for help and support. For the most part, I've always received the support and guidance I needed at the time. I truly mean it when I say to my staff, students and parents, "do not hesitate to ask away!"

Is there anything else you want to add for readers?: It's been an honor to join the RRISD family this school year and I truly appreciate the support and encouragement I've been receiving from all around. Spicewood ES doors are always open to my colleagues in the district; our campus craves for constructive feedback as we're a reflective community of people. Please let us know how we can grow!



Thanks, +Jiae Kim ! Who in Round Rock ISD would you like to learn more about how they organize their daily lives and seem so productive? Comment below or send suggestions to Ryan Smith