Genevieve Columbo

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Genevieve has been a Spanish teacher for twelve years. Frustrated every June that her students would freeze in the hallway when she greeted them with, “Hola. She was ready to give up teaching. Willing to try anything, she took a risk and started using OWL and she saw major results. First year seventh graders were speaking more Spanish than their older siblings who had studied over 6 years of traditional language instruction. The students found a space to be themselves and have fun 100% in the target language. Finally, she found the connection that she was craving with her students. Most importantly the whole class was having encouraging and positive social experiences in school.  Inspired  by the results, she continued to attend OWL workshops year after year. Grateful for the tremendous support from the OWL community, she would love to dedicate her energy guiding other teachers on their OWL journey.

Brooke Carlson

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Brooke is an experienced classroom teacher of 17 years, having spent 5 of those years as an OWL teacher. She completed both her undergraduate degree and her M.Ed. with Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in conjunction with the Concordia Language Villages and their immersion-based language programs. Originally from the Dakotas, she now lives and teaches in Mahtomedi, MN.  After discovering OWL by pure happenstance at her state conference, she instantly fell in love with the methodology and has been on her OWL journey ever since.   She is a fierce believer in proficiency-based language classrooms, after seeing the change in engagement and skills advancement in her students. When  not in the classroom, Brooke is an active member in her community, enjoys geocaching with her family, traveling anywhere, a good book, a great meal, theatre and the arts, and the company of good friends.

Emma Bricker

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Emma Bricker has been teaching Spanish since the year 2000. Learning the basic essentials of Spanish while traveling in Central America, she fell in love with the language and pursued a degree to allow her to share her passion through teaching. She has taught at the university level, high school and middle school levels, and discovered OWL at an educator’s conference in 2012. The methodology resonated. She leapt at the opportunity to train and learn more,
transforming her teaching and enriching her student’s experience with second language acquisition as evidenced by their enthusiasm and engagement with the language, a supporting validation of this teaching methodology. She shares the inspiration of OWL, and its proficiency-based, student-centered methodology at every opportunity.

Ricardo Linnell

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Ricardo is an experienced classroom teacher of 18 years, having spent 6 of those years as an OWL teacher. He studied Spanish in high school in a traditional setting, something that he was determined to change when he became a teacher. He also participated in the SOU/Guanajuato student exchange, where he developed his strong connection to the Spanish language and the Mexican culture. Since then, his Spanish language abilities have opened many doors for him, such as salsa dancing, traveling to Puerto Rico, and living in the Dominican barrio in New York City. In Ricardo‘s classroom, music is played throughout the class, creating a festive environment for all students to enjoy.  His belief in the value of the OWL method is strong. In May of 2011, with two weeks left in the school year, and the day after discovering how the OWL method works in a classroom environment, he cleared his desks away and did not look back. Since then, his classes, philosophy of teaching and overall attitude towards the learning environment have changed.

Christopher Sidner

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Christopher has taught Spanish for 13 of his 15 years as an educator, with two years as an instructional coach throughout the Miami Valley region of southwest Ohio. After participating in an OWL session at the Ohio Foreign Language Conference in 2014 he was instantly hooked, left with the intense feeling that OWL was the “right work” for his students to be engaged in. Currently, Christopher is teaching at Yellow Springs High School, a Project Based Learning site. Outside of the classroom he enjoys spending his time continuing his studies, gardening, spending time with family, and enjoying the sites of Dayton, Ohio where he resides.

Kate Friendly-Mares

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Kate Friendly-Mares has been teaching at Crater Academy of Health and Public Service for six years. She was part of the original cohort that developed the OWL strategies and techniques. She helped frame the essential questions for research and development and met weekly for over a year as data was collected and lab work was done in classrooms.

Kate’s High Trust Training offers unique and invaluable skills in providing feedback and framing essential questions for teachers to reflect on, while validating and honoring the work they are doing. Her strength is in building a positive and supportive community. 

David McDonie

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David (Andy) McDonie has taught French for 10 years in Chillicothe, OH, where he also serves as coordinator for the World Languages department.  He discovered OWL at a workshop in 2014 and has been using its methods to drive his students toward proficiency ever since.  When not teaching, he enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with his wife and 2 children.