Ebonee English-Finley is an education leader who is ready to Cultivate Change. Thankfully, Ed Farm gets to work and learn alongside her on a daily basis through the Teacher Fellows program.
So, how did Ebonee find herself in the first ever Teacher Fellows cohort?
It starts with her college career at Tuskegee University. During her time at Tuskegee, Ebonee studied Elementary Education and, after graduating in 2015, she stayed in town and began teaching at Tuskegee Public School. She taught 5th grade math and science at Tuskegee Public until 2017 and found many ways to utilize devices in her classroom to increase student engagement. Her teaching strategies facilitated deep learning and prompted an invitation to present at the main stage at Apple’s ConnectED Leadership and Learning Conference in 2016. Ebonee’s presentation inspired educators across the country, and, throughout the remainder of the conference, she received impassioned invitations from Apple Distinguished Educators to apply for the coveted program.
The Apple Distinguished Educator program recognizes educators who are using Apple technology to transform teaching and learning. Less than 1,000 teachers in the Americas are Apple Distinguished Educators — Ebonee became one in 2017.
Soon after becoming an ADE, Ebonee moved to Birmingham, Alabama. After relocating, she started teaching at Avondale Elementary, then moved to Minor Elementary in 2018. At Minor, Ebonee uses interactive strategies to teach technology to her 3rd graders, which is why her principal, Dr. Vanessa Byrd, nominated her for Ed Farm’s first Teacher Fellows cohort. Now, through the Teacher Fellows program, Ebonee is using additional devices, curriculum, and teaching strategies to support active learning for all of her students.
“Ed Farm has provided an opportunity for my students to digitally facilitate their learning experiences,” Finley said. “It provides an innovative way for them to show their content competency in a fun, dynamic, and meaningful way — whether it’s creating visual representations, audio-derived productions, or simply using critical thinking skills to code.”
With increased access to devices and a growth mindset, Ebonee is encouraging her students to create and code in new and powerful ways. She’s also sharing her teaching strategies and resources through professional learning experiences with other Teacher Fellows across the Birmingham City Schools System. Altogether, she’s continuing her legacy as an education leader — a legacy she began in Tuskegee in 2015 — and she is finding new ways to share ideas with teachers and students in Birmingham and beyond. She hopes her students will have a chance to reach bigger audiences one day too…
“For some students, it’s an opportunity for their ideas to be expressed in a way that one day the world will appreciate,” said Finley.
Learn more about the Teacher Fellows program and keep up with Ebonee’s journey on our Stories page.