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I Came for the WHY… I Stayed for the WHO!

A chat with one of our new Ed Techs prompted me to reflect on my last two years with Eanes ISD. And that led me to resurrect an unpublished post I drafted on the plane a few weeks ago…

While preparing for last month’s presentation “AWESOME ePortfolios” at Ed Tech Teacher’s Summit in Chicago, I found myself listening to Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” Ted Talk and reading Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work”.

Start with the WHY

Simon’s states, “People don’t buy WHAT you do… they buy WHY you do it and that WHAT you do should prove WHAT you believe.”

ePortfolios are AWESome_ETT.003

Discovering the Golden Circle

His Golden Circle centers with a “Why”. The “How” and “What” must then revolve around the “Why”.

What is the WHY?


Applying his tenets and words of wisdom to my own sessions, I couldn’t help but flip the frame of reference on myself.

As I wind down from a very eventFULL summer and become entrenched in my third year as an Educational Technologist for Eanes ISD, I found myself reflecting on my decision to pick up my family and move to Austin to be part of what I very much now feel is my family and by far the best job on earth.

My First Year at Eanes ISD

At my previous job, I knew in my heart that personalized learning was here to stay and that a 1:1 with mobile devices would facilitate that ideal. But what really made me take the Eanes leap… was a very distinct feeling that Eanes special sauce was passion and a clear and compelling vision.

I Came for the WHY

During an inspiring site visit to WHS, I discovered that Eanes ISD didn’t start with the WHAT on a whim: Let’s buy a bunch of devices. They started with the WHY (Learning and Engaging through Access and Personalization) and then moved towards the decision to initiate an iPad pilot. They didn’t say let’s buy this cool mobile furniture… they asked how do we support collaboration and creativity and then designed flexible learning environments to facilitate that. As I dive in to year 3, I have to say their WHY is always at the forefront of their decision-making and I am overjoyed that the 3 C’s as well as social and emotional intelligence will be threaded through instruction as we support the whole child.

After a very reaffirming convocation… I ventured to add a layer to Simon’s Golden Circle… the Who…



I Stay for the WHO

But truly beyond the WHY…. is now the WHO, the people that get the vision and work tirelessly to support it and integrate the devices to transform and redefine the classroom. I feel very blessed to be in a place that supports big ideas, pushing the boundaries, and people that want to challenge the status quo. We hire the WHO to support the WHY.

Our amazing teacher of the year, Norm Morgan, devotes himself to our robotics program at the HS and gave an amazing speech… reminding us all that what students learn in the classroom has the impact to change the world.


While we lost two members of our iVengers team this year, we gained two new members. One of which created by far my favorite interview video of all time:

These are just a few of the people (the WHO) that truly support our WHY.

“So as we embark on the 2014-2015 academic year… I ask you to reflect on your WHY… and the HOW, WHAT, and even the WHO that support that vision.” – Lisa Johnson

As you begin to choose tools and apps, plan student projects, attend conferences, embark on new initiatives, and do what you do best… consider your WHY when making these HOW and WHAT decisions.

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