The Journey to Becoming a Connected Educator
Part two in a two-part series. View part one here.
In part two of our interview with Marlena Gross-Taylor, founder of EduGladiators, she provides detail on becoming a connected educator and the role earlier conferences played in preparation for her sessions at this month’s Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Miami.
Although social media is seen as a regular part of our lives, when Marlena first began her journey as a connected educator, the acceptance of social media took some time. She was very protective of her family and reluctant to open her life up for all to see. It wasn’t until her move to Nashville as a principal that she became willing to try social media platforms in a different way.
“I started connecting with incredible educators,” she says. “I [could] hear, see, and have thought partners on things that I wanted to do as a leader and things I wanted my teachers to do that they had questions about.”
At first, she was excited about establishing connections, but soon the apprehension crept back in as she realized her students were also watching. They reached out on Twitter, Facebook, and found her on Instagram, the final platform she started. She became uncomfortable, not knowing whether it was the right choice to be connecting with students through social media. But soon, she accepted the inevitable.
“I realized I had to because they’re going to ‘Google’ me regardless. Their parents are going to ‘Google’ me,” she says. “I want to make sure I always have something positive for my students. [I want] the parents to find that I am reinforcing a message that I truly love their child like they’re my own.”
When it came to launching her consultancy, Marlena’s motivation arrived through attending conferences. It wasn’t until 12 to 13 years in that she attended her first conference, but it soon led to the emergence of additional talent. She was surprised to learn that many leaders and teachers were experiencing issues that her school had already figured out. It led her to come forward and share her knowledge with other attendees.
As she recalls, “Organizers pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, who are you? Why have we not heard about you before? Where do you speak?’ I responded, ‘What? I’m a principal. I’m in classrooms; I’m in schools.’ They saw it first. They said, ‘You need to share your message in a larger way, and we want to partner with you and help you do that.’”
At the time, Marlena had no idea that her encounter at the conference would mark the beginning of a new journey as a consultant with EduGladiators, focused on a continued effort to improve student outcomes.
About Marlena Gross-Taylor
Marlena Gross-Taylor is the founder of EduGladiators and a nationally recognized EdLeader with a proven track record of improving educational and operational performance through vision, strategic planning, leadership, and team building. A Nashville transplant originally from southern Louisiana, Marlena’s educational experience spans several states allowing her to have served K-12 students in both rural and urban districts.
She has been recognized as a middle school master teacher and innovative administrator at the elementary, middle, high school and district levels. Because of her sound knowledge of both elementary and secondary education, Marlena has broad-based experience creating and implementing dynamic interactive programs to transform the student learning experience.
As a proud Louisiana State University alumni, she is committed to excellence and believes all students can achieve.
Marlena Gross-Taylor’s FETC Sessions:
- C336 | Creating Conditions for Success & Learning
- C254 | How to Brand Schools Like a Start-Up
- C392 | Engaging Gen Z
- C160 | Leading in the Digital Revolution
- MEET05 | Meet the Author
The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)