Beyond the Chalk was co-founded by two educators who believe in the power of education and the need to continuously provide transformational learning experiences for our teachers and students. We feel technology, when used effectively as a tool by teachers and students, can facilitate the change from the traditional form of education to a 21st century paradigm. Beyond the Chalk is committed to providing a set of rich and diverse professional development experiences for all educators. These experiences focus on the integration of technology across grade levels, content domains, and skills levels. We offer trainings around the state and provide school-based professional development as well.
Dean, co-founder of Beyond The Chalk, is a licensed educator in the state of Montana, has had teaching and leadership experiences in all levels of education. He completed his undergraduate degrees in History and broad-field Social Studies at Washington State University where he also obtained his teaching credentials. Dean also completed his Masters Degree in Education, with an emphasis in emerging technologies and technology integration from Walden University.
Dean began his career as a middle school teacher where he continually offered his students the opportunities to learn from their environment, experiences, and real world applications of content. He created problem based lessons where his students constructed bird houses, launching machines, Rube Goldberg experiments, and even a mousetrap car competition. He also teamed with other nearby teachers and implemented an Outdoor Education program where fifth through eighth grade students spent five days in Montana’s great outdoors, learning from professionals and experts in their working environments. He was always on the cutting edge of technology as an educator, finding ways to fund classroom technology. He implemented a 1:1 program in his classroom,(before it was called 1:1), using Palm handheld devices. It is here that Dean was recognized for his ability to integrate technology effectively into classroom environments.
From his teaching experiences, Dean was recognized as an educational leader and has served on many state wide boards including the Montana Middle School Advisory Board, as well as the Montana Small Schools Alliance Curriculum Development Committee. He was recruited to become one of five regional technology integration specialists working with multiple school districts in Montana and worked in this capacity for three years. Dean also has had the opportunity to share his skills and knowledge with pre-service teachers at Montana State University. Dean also teaches various classes through Montana State Extended University, offering the opportunity for teachers who are in the classroom to continue to earn credits and engage in relevant and exciting discussions about class topics and exciting changes occurring in education.
Dean currently works as a professional speaker, technology integration specialist, and an educational coach and advisor for districts across the country. He is a Google Certified Teacher, a Google Authorized Education Trainer, and Google Geo Certified Teacher, a member of Google Geo for Higher Education, and currently sits on the Google Geo Advisory Board.
Jeff, co-founder of BeyondtheChalk, received his bachelors degree from The University of Montana in broad-field science and biology. Jeff completed his master’s in technology education from Lesley University and later received his Doctorate from The University of Montana in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on science and technology.
Jeff spent the early part of his career teaching 7-8 grade science and also served as the district technology coordinator. He spent his first 9 years as a middle school science teacher, working to develop inquiry-based science into his teaching practice. His students were involved in outdoor education projects (Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks), Odyssey of the Mind, Science Fair, and Expedition Club (a year long club that culminated with a week long trip out of state).
During his early years of teaching Jeff quickly realized the impact technology had on his teaching practice, at a personal level and at the student level. This interest led him to the position of district technology coordinator, were he spent the next four years working to integrate technology into all of the classroom within the district. Jeff was responsible in helping to bring several technology grants to the district and the resulting professional development following the implementation of these technologies experiences.
Jeff’s experiences led him to The University of Montana where he served as the assistant director on the NASA EOS Education Project. This project was responsible for disseminating NASA remotely sensed imagery and other geospatial data to K-12 educators around the state of Montana. Jeff also served as the assistant director of science and technology projects within the Division of Educational Research. These projects gave Jeff the opportunity to interact with teachers and students across the state and he continues to enjoy the many collegial contacts he made during this time.
Jeff serves as adjunct faculty for Lesley University where he travels to different location around the country to teach masters’ level classes to teachers pursuing an advanced degree. He also has serve as adjunct for The University of Montana where he taught the elementary science methods and the instructional technology courses. These experiences have reinforced the importance of sound professional development within our teaching corps both old and new.