Who has a hobby farm, loves technology, and is passionate about music? Andy Ellis, technology teacher at Landmark Academy at Reunion, would raise his hand.
“Mr. Ellis is a pillar of support for our school,” said Jessica Laue, middle school dean at Landmark. “He goes above and beyond to ensure that teachers have what they need regarding technology. He provides students with unique opportunities for tech application and is a stellar addition to Landmark and a true leader in our school!”
In his 10 years at Landmark, he has taught music for three and technology for seven, though he keeps his musical side alive by teaching orchestra before and after school.
As a technology teacher, Mr. Ellis focuses on being an interventionist as his students spend a lot of time working on their own projects, allowing them to learn independently.
“I customize my curriculum to each student before they walk in,” said Mr. Ellis. “The computer tells students where they are at based on their progress within a project, online lesson, or assessment. This frees me up to spend the majority of each class walking around the room and assisting students if and when they need help. I try to give hints and ideas to students, not answers, allowing them to reach their own conclusions.”
He believes that student success is completely dependent on what they invest in a classroom like his. “It’s just them vs. their goals,” said Mr. Ellis.
He allows his students to choose their own projects for the end of class, including designing 2D/3D images or slide shows, studying various topics from education sites, or working on strategy games that contribute to their typing, programming, and puzzle-solving skills.
Mr. Ellis recognizes that technology often has problems, so he has a zero-tolerance frustration policy. He often says, “Technology fails. One should assume that it is not going to work, then they are pleasantly surprised when it does.”
He believes the more you look at a problem like a game or puzzle, the more exciting it is to solve. It’s no surprise that he enjoys tinkering on various tractors and trucks in his free time, stating that he always needs a project to work on.
“Mr. Ellis is to be commended for his dedication to the students at Landmark,” said Principal Peg Kastberg. “He is a coach, mentor, and leader of student learning. He is always looking for the best in every individual. I am grateful to have him as a leader on our team.”
Keep up the amazing work, Mr. Ellis!