This is a story about the hope and heart of the teaching community. What you do matters. And this is the story of the heart of the matter.
At the heart of it, all are our teachers. In the classroom, caring for students, and doing their all to make a difference in their students’ lives. Our teachers spend the extra effort to help make a child feel heard and connected. As teachers, we hold one of the most important responsibilities known to society. But in order for our teachers to feel connected to their students, they must first feel connected with other teachers.
To be connected to something bigger than themselves. This is our story about creating community. It’s human nature to connect. And we provide a sense of community where everyone is welcome. A place where teachers can find inspiration. A place where they can find solutions from those facing similar challenges. A place where they can connect with others to learn how to become the best teacher possible. A place where every teacher in every school receives access to the highest-quality resources for their students. And we’re here to help.
Help provide a listening ear, a voice of leadership, a resource for our teachers who are spread just a little too thin. To let them know, they’re not alone. To provide top-notch resources created by our community of master teachers to help supplement everyday lesson plans. Designed by teachers for teachers, to guarantee a focus on the student. For us, it’s personal and it’s common sense. Finding and sharing resources you can use easily & simply, so you can focus on the things students
can’t learn in books.
Resources that are reflective of not just what has always been done, but world-class resources serving future educators and students yet to come.
We believe in a better future for our teachers, a better future for our students, and a better future for education. The power is in our hands.
This is Education to the Core and this is our story.
-Steven and Emily Garcia
Meet Our Team
Emily Garcia | Founder
Hey there! So glad you found ETTC! I graduated from Arizona State University with my Masters Degree in Elementary Education. I taught Kinder, 1st, and 2nd Grade in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. I strongly believe that in order to teach anything, you need to have a strong focus on relationships, classroom management, discipline, positive praise, and the magic fairy dust. Due to a major lack of funding, many teachers are not equipped with the right tools and guidance they need to succeed in the classroom. It is my goal to help as many teachers as possible so they and their students can enjoy and thrive in the classroom.
Jenn Sego | Project Manager & Teacher Support Specialist
I graduated from Illinois State University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I love going to school, so I kept going back for more. I obtained my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2010 from Concordia University and my English as a Second Language endorsement from American College of Education in 2012. I am also halfway through my 2nd Masters in Educational Technology. I believe that keeping up with my education makes sure that I am using the best possible practices and techniques to help children learn. I started off my teaching career in a south suburb of Chicago, IL. I worked in the At-Risk Pre-Kindergarten classroom for five years and then moved up to First Grade and loved every second of it! After 8 years in 1st, my husband and I relocated to Tennessee and I’m now teaching in a Kindergarten classroom. I absolutely love teaching children in this age group and being able to help them grow not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.
Janessa Fletcher | Content Manager
I come from a long line of educators, so it was no surprise when I graduated from Northern Arizona University with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. Since graduating, I have added Early Childhood, Structured English Immersion, and Reading endorsements to my certificate. I taught preschool for two years in Albuquerque, New Mexico before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, where I taught kindergarten for eight years. During my kindergarten tenure, I had the opportunity to teach self-contained English Language Development classes. After having my second child, I stepped out of the classroom to become a Reading and Mathematics Interventionist and Instructional Coach. I was able to plan with teachers and develop curriculum to help differentiate instruction for all groups of learners in their classrooms. My passion lies in watching students succeed every day, as they strive to reach their goals.
Nashella Zarek | Curriculum Writer
I have had jobs in many fields throughout my life, but when I volunteered to help out in a friend’s classroom, I knew I had found my calling! I changed my major (again!) and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University in 1995. I began teaching first grade, and went back for my Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts instruction, which I finished in 2002. I taught first grade for 24 years, and just this year switched to second. I am loving it! In addition to working as a classroom teacher, I have also served as a Literacy Coach. I love to keep current with best practices in literacy, and have a passion for early reading and writing instruction!
Trimiesha Joyner | Media Specialist
Hi! My name is Trimiesha Joyner, and I am a proud Kindergarten teacher in the DFW area of Texas. As someone who had some amazing teachers make an everlasting impact on my life, I want to be able to do that for others. Being at school wasn’t exciting to me but I had teachers who drove my desire to learn so I can become someone great one day. While attending TWU I needed to figure what age of students I wanted to teach so I dipped my toes into all grades. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with working with the mini humans of our world. I think of myself to be an upbeat, energetic individual who takes pride in creating new opportunities to learn in a variety of subjects, helping others, and gaining new knowledge. With all that our country has faced in 2020, I have a passion for making a difference in students’ lives, and I feel extremely lucky that I am able to do so through this career! I take great pride in creating a diverse environment that lets all my students of all backgrounds know that matter and are worthy of love and respect. My husband is a college football coach, so football is HUGE in our household. We have a Yorkie named Major that we love to snuggle when we aren’t busy with work. Some of my hobbies include girl’s night out, working out and, listening to music. I love Jesus, my friends and my family because I am who I am today because of them!
Christopher Olson | Blog Author
Hello! I am so glad to join the team here at ETTC. I began teaching in 2007 after graduating with a dual certificate in Elementary Education and Special Education from Alvernia College in Pennsylvania. From there, I continued to earn my Masters Degree in Special Education along with my Supervisory Certificate from Bloomsburg University, PA. During this time I worked in Early Intervention working with students aged three through five. While in this position, I found my passion working alongside students with behavioral disorders. I continued my studies at Lehigh University, PA where I worked towards a PhD in Special Education with a focus on young children with challenging behaviors. Over the past ten years I have had the opportunity to work within numerous educational environments from Emotional Support classrooms, College Adjunct, to a Supervisor of an alternative school. Most recently, I teach First Grade in a general education environment. My interests are: classroom management, behavior, social-emotional, trauma-informed practices and positive-behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). When I am not busy with work I love swimming, working out, listening to music, hiking and snuggling with my chocolate lab named Horton.
Wendy Pineo | Curriculum Designer
Hi! My name is Wendy Pineo and I have been a teacher for 16 years. I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I also have a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I have taught every grade level except for 2nd grade and am currently teaching first grade in Florida and loving every minute of it. I love teaching first grade because I get to lay the foundations for their math skills while igniting a passion for reading. I get to instill a love of school, but also help build on their social skills. My greatest reason for teaching is being able to build the excitement for learning. Children love to learn. They are eager to experience and witness new things, even if it is school work, which makes my job exciting and rewarding. I love to make learning fun and engaging, and seeing the “light bulb” turn on when my students master a concept, is the greatest feeling! Education is a gift. I give and receive the gift of learning each day as a teacher and wouldn’t want to do anything else. As a teacher, you have the unique ability to help shape students and the future, and I wanted to become a teacher because I wanted to be part of the change.
Suzanne Kelley | Community Facilitator
My name is Suzanne Kelley (Suzy). I am a mother to a wonderful daughter, my mini me. I am helping her to raise my grand baby, along with her boyfriend in Normal, IL. I received my undergrad in SED at Illinois State University in 1990, and my master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in reading and assessment in 2012. I have taught for 29 years and counting at Hammitt Elementary School in Normal, with the best co-workers anyone could ever want. Hammitt is a non-public, specialized school working with students with the most severe emotional, behavioral, learning, and mental issues as well as those students on the spectrum. Our students are unable to succeed in their school districts’ SED programs, and come to us on a referral basis. My kiddos are those 5-8 year olds that are so needing love and kindness from adults and structure and consistency in their programming. Each student becomes a member of my class and school family; expanding my heart’s capacity and teaching me new things all of the time. I cannot imagine doing anything else, anywhere else.
Trudi-Ann Lawrence | Media Specialist
I graduated from Kean University in 2014 with a Bachelors in Education and I’m certified for Pre-K to Grade 3 along with Special Education. Immediately after graduating I began teaching 2nd grade. The following year I’ve taught middle school and then finally landed with K-2 self contained. I’m also completing a Masters program for English Language Learning for grades K-12. Teaching has always been my passion. Children need a positive environment where they can learn and grow. No gain is too small or too big to not celebrate. As Ben Franklin says, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Korryna Sanchez | Media Specialist
I graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Communications in 2019. While in school I was the Editor-in-Chief of my school newspaper, and a staff writer for the school magazine. I also had the opportunity to research the effects of the media on its audience for an academic journal . Since then I have worked for a non-profit and a local newspaper, learning all the skills that eventually brought me to Education to the Core! Where I get to use my hobby of photography and my love for words all in one place! I was always the kid that read the assigned readings before they were assigned, and made sure I had my homework done before I went to soccer practice. I was the kid that always raised their hand at the end of class when the teacher asked “any more questions?” So education has always meant everything to me. The idea that a video I make or a graphic I design can help inspire a kid to love school as much as I did keeps me going.
Heather Wagoner | Curriculum Specialist
Growing up, I had the most amazing teacher, my mother. She rubbed off on me (thankfully). I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2013 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Since then, I’ve taught in three states across three grade levels. I taught First Grade for a year in Charleston, SC. Then we moved to Seattle, WA where I taught Kindergarten for two years. Most recently, I taught three years of Third Grade in Auburn, Alabama. War Eagle! My teaching passion lies with reading. I enjoy hearing the “Awe, man!” and “NO!” when a book is finished. My goal is to help teachers instill a love of reading in their students. I want students to crave books like their favorite food.
Sarah Cason | Curriculum Specialist
Hello! I graduated in 2003 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. My lifelong love for school and passion for education brought me to back to college, where I graduated in 2020 with my Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology with an emphasis in Educational Technologies. I am a proud mom of three and a teacher in southern Illinois. I am fortunate to have taught Kindergarten for the past 17 years and believe in celebrating children’s unique differences. I am passionate about encouraging growth mindset and independence among young learners. Seeing the confidence and excitement on their faces when they realize they can read, solve a math problem or write a story is an amazing gift! I was blessed to grow up with parents that value education and helped develop my love for books and learning. Sharing a book with children through an interactive and expressive read aloud is one of my favorite parts of the day! I truly love creating and sharing ideas and resources with other educators and feel extremely fortunate to collaborate as part of the ETTC team.
Kristin Halverson | Curriculum Specialist
Hi! I am thrilled to be joining Team ETTC. While I have always wanted to teach, I am also a passionate environmentalist, so I took a roundabout way to classroom teaching (where I’ve taught 4K-4th grade over the past 13 years). I completed my undergraduate work at UW-Madison in Natural Resources/Environmental Studies and am an avid Badger fan. I continued my education and now hold a masters degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist Certifications, National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist (the most transformative process I’ve undertaken when it comes to my profession) and my National Geographic Educator Certification. I love building relationships with students and helping them achieve, but most of all, I love encouraging them to connect, explore and engage with the world around them and use their voices to make positive changes in the world.
Liz Watson | Curriculum Specialist
Hi! My name is Liz Watson and I am so excited to join team ETTC! I come from a family of educators and have always known that helping students develop a love of learning was what I wanted to do. I graduated in 2017 from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. While teaching, I found that I wanted to dive deeper into social emotional learning, behaviors, and the interconnectedness of emotional and academic growth. This led me to pursue graduate school, and in 2019 I graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with my Master’s in School Counseling. I have taught first and third grades, worked as a student leadership advisor, and am currently serving as an elementary school counselor at a small school in Kansas where I live with my husband. My interests include trauma-informed practices, social emotional learning, school ethics and law, early literacy, and behavior intervention. I strive to support students not only academically, but socially, behaviorally, and emotionally as well.
Brittany Coleman | Blog Author & Graphic Designer
Hello! My name is Brittany, and I am a writer and graphic designer. I have always had a passion for working with children. I am very involved with the children’s programs at my local church and have taught small art classes for homeschool groups. This year I started homeschool with my own children, so education is a huge focus for me. I love coming up with activities, games, and new ways to teach. Reading and writing are a huge passion for me and sharing that passion with children. I strive to read to my children every day, fill our home with books, and encourage creative writing and storytelling. Learning should be fun as well as educational, that’s what keeps the love of learning alive.
Clarice Garcia | Curriculum Specialist
Hello! My name is Clarice Garcia. I have been teaching for eleven years. I have taught kindergarten through third grade. I began my teaching career in Texas where I taught 3rd grade and 1st grade where I had the opportunity to teach in a dual-language classroom. I currently teach 2nd grade in Arizona. Second grade has my heart. Each child has the ability to learn and has unique talents and strengths. As an educator, I am able to instill a love for life-long learning and guide students to reach their goals. In my class, we practice being kind, patient, and understanding to others. Most importantly, all children need to feel safe and cared about at school. Education is something that no one can take away from you and that you have for the rest of your life.
Maria Sison | Illustrator
Jenelle Gibney | Community Facilitator
Brittany Washington | Community Facilitator