Gary Obermeyer, Professional Profile
I have been in the business of supporting and facilitating virtual learning communities since 1986, guided by a vision of transforming education through networking – first articulated in a paper/presentation titled: Growing Into Schools of the Future (1982). Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of working with leading organizations and consortia in education reform. Trained as an educator, I bring a unique combination of knowledge and skills to this work: a systems thinker with a deep understanding of education, organizational development, and networking technology.
My work includes:
- creating specifications for virtual group workspace;
- working with designers & programmers to actualize the plans,
- providing user support for a wide range of IT and networking tools;
- designing/facilitating online and blended learning; and
- designing, promoting, and managing websites.
Most importantly, I am a skilled facilitator of online collaboration and virtual learning communities – with a focus on clients/projects that promote/leverage transformational change.
Since 1986 I have worked as an independent contractor for a wide range of clients: schools, districts, state departments of public instruction, and not-for profit organizations engaged in school improvement efforts that expand space for professional learning and better serve the diverse needs of our young fellow-citizens.
- Special Education Support Center – www.specialeducationsupportcenter.org – Consulting in the design and development of a website to support and promote the efforts of the Washington Education Association as they provide training in issues related to special education for parents and school personnel across the state of Washington. Includes facilitating online support for the cadre of trainers; designing blended online workshops; promoting/managing registration; and generating/analyzing data for reports to funders. (2007 to present)
- Closing the Knowledge Equity Gap – A project sponsored by the Washington Education Association with funding from the National Education Association – whereby educators are empowered to make general education classrooms more accessible to special populations; simultaneously, improving instruction and learning outcomes for all students. Key strategies include unpacking content and performance standards, designing learning progressions, and tracking student progress through authentic assessments. Gary’s work includes designing a web-based support system, providing customized access/delivery of timely/relevant resources, and capturing/telling the success stories.
- SchoolHack Solutions – http://www.schoolhack.io/ SchoolHack Solutions is a Vermont-based company – founded by educators – creators of a software platform called LiFT™ that facilitates authentic, personalized learning for students and personalized professional development for teachers and administrators. Gary served as a School Design Advisor to help identify opportunities to expand the transformative potential of LiFT™, with a special focus on the Northwest.
- Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (one of five UN Regional Centers of Expertise in the U.S. and over 140 internationally) – Gary served in several positions: member of the marketing/development team, leader of the social media strategies team, co-designer of the website (GPSEN.org), and a member of the Board. He continues to serve as an Advisor to the Board.
- Product Development Associate for Green River Data Analysis – For almost 20 years, Gary has been a client of Green River collaborating in the development of custom software to support action research, virtual learning communities, and continuous school improvement. The lessons learned from that work were captured and codified in a series of thought pieces and proposals that have since become the basis for continuing work (including the Closing the Gap project, described under Current Work/Projects).
- Camp Snowball Community (a Ning site) – helped to promote and facilitate the online community in conjunction with Camp Snowball – sponsored by the Waters Foundation, the SolEd Partnership, and others (March 2014 – July 2015).
- NEA Keys to Excellence for Your School (KEYS) – www.keysonline.org – Served as liaison to programming team building and developing an online survey, reporting system, and user support. Current work includes consulting in the development of an online workshop to guide school improvement teams through the process of interpreting survey results and incorporating the findings into school improvement plans. (2000 to 2014)
- Nevada PLC Forum – www.schoolchange.net/groupspaces/nde – Provided on-going consulting and facilitation of an online professional learning community for administrators across the state of Nevada, featuring virtual seminars with guest experts and online consultancies with Nevada practitioners. (2006 to 2013)
- Teacher Union Reform Network – www.turnexchange.net – Provided network consulting services and served as webmaster for a network of 30 of AFT and NEA’s largest and most innovative urban locals in a multi-year effort to examine the changing role of teacher unions in education reform and to facilitate the transformation of teacher unions. (1995 to present) Gary also provided consulting services and website support as TURN evolved into a network of five regional networks connecting several hundred local teacher unions.
- Washoe County (NV) School District: School Improvement Website – Coordinated development of a website designed to make school improvement more continuous and job-embedded; enabling online revision and submission of plans, continuous monitoring & articulation of action plans, continuous evaluation & revision of action steps, facilitation of job-embedded professional development, more thorough mid- and end-of-year reviews, and more timely district response to needs & barriers. (2005-2009)
- Virtual Reading Academy – Designed, implemented, and facilitated the online equivalent of the Nevada Reading First Virtual Reading Academy. Over the past three years, the Virtual Reading Academy has successfully served almost 50 teams from schools across the state of Nevada. (2005-2009)
- City U Leadership Seminar – (2006-2010) Designed, implemented, and facilitated a Leadership Seminar in conjunction with pilot effort for Literacy in the Diverse Classroom, a masters program at City University of Seattle. My role was to assist students in synthesizing the learnings and producing a portfolio.
- City U MEd Masters Cohort – (2005-2007) Designed prompts and facilitated the online learning experiences for a series of hybrid courses referred to as the Integrated Core, leading to M.Ed. degrees and Professional Certification for two cohorts of teachers.
- National Education Association School System Capacity Network – developed networking strategies to support National Education Association initiatives and partnerships with Baldrige In Education, KEYS, Priority Schools, and Whole Systems Change. (1995-2000)
- Urban Educator Corps – designed and implemented website and networking plan for the, a network of P-16 partnership teams in 17 urban universities – focused on teacher recruitment, preparation, induction, and retention. Also providied technical support for teams developing virtual curriculum modules. (2001-2005)
- Great Cities Universities (GCU) – Director of GCU’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology (PT3) Catalyst Grant – serving 17 public, urban university’s efforts in technology planning, integration, and virtual curriculum development. (2001-2004)
- National Institute for Community Innovations – designed and facilitated net seminars for the Virtual Professional Development Schools Consortium, including: “Using Data in School Change”, “Action Research for School Improvement”, and “Instructional Applications of Technology”. (1999-2002)
- Nevada Reading Excellence Act Network – designed and deployed a website and networking plan to build school capacity for balanced literacy (K-3) in 52 Nevada schools through a federally funded project. (2001-2004)
- National Writing Project Network Design Team – consultant to NWP Network Design Team – designed online resources and seminars for a network of 160 school/university partnerships – each supporting Teacher Consultants as writers, teachers of writing, classroom researchers, and professional developers. (1992-1998)
- The AOL Foundation IEI Innovators Network, supporting the work of 105 technology grantee teams in 39 states. (1999-2001)
- The Appalachia Educational Laboratory CSRDnet, consulted in design of a multi-state network to support comprehensive school reform. (1999)
- NEA National Center for Innovation’s Coalition for District Excellence – network of state-level networks supporting school districts around “Hard Lessons of Educational Change”. (1996-2000)
- The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education A Change of Course, consulted in development of networking plan for six strands of work related to the report, “Teachers Take Charge of their Learning.”
- NEA National Center for Innovation — Networking Consultant for innovative projects: Mastery In Learning (school renewal), Learning Labs (district-level change), and Teacher Ed Initiative (school/teacher ed partnerships). Synergist for the NEA School Renewal Network. Designed the Virtual Symposium, a networking model designed to connect and develop local networking resources to support systemic reform of teaching/learning. (1989-96)
- The National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) — Networking Consultant for the Four Seasons Project and the professional Development Schools Network, two of NCREST’s Intentional Networks. Designed and developed the NCREST Network Model – integrating email, conferencing, and networked data bases. Co-Facilitator of Four Seasons Transition Process and newly organized Four Seasons Network. (1992-95)
- Washington Education Association “Perspectives on Restructuring”– designed a hyperlinked, multi-media data base on restructuring intended to connect People, Places, Practices, and Partnerships engaged in the work of restructuring. (1994-95)
- National Foundation for the Improvement of Education — Consultant and trainer for “Learning Tomorrow” (1992-96), “Road Ahead” (1993-96), and “A Change of Course” (1996-97) Projects.
- Washington Office of Public Instruction / Center for the Improvement of Student Learning — Networking for 11 schools involved in “Extending the Vision” Project – a pilot exploring state role in networking and facilitating school-centered change, (1993-94)
- Bellevue (WA) School District — Consulted in design, provided training and facilitation for a the first district-sponsored computer network designed to support school-centered change (1990-93)
- Foxfire Teacher Outreach — Consulted in development of networking plan linking and supporting Foxfire Outreach Centers. (1991-92)
- Puget Sound Educational Consortium (a school/university partnership based at the University of Washington) — Linked Consortium project activists via CIGnet, a Seattle-based computer conferencing system. (1988-92)
- Accelerated Schools — Consulting in the development of a networking plan for affiliated schools and satellite centers. (1991)
- American Federation of Teachers, Center for Restructuring — Consulting, training, and on-line support for a project to link Professional Practices Schools via Iris Network. (1990)
- USWest Communications/Government and Education Services — consulted in the development of a concept paper on telecommunications in education. (1989)
- Institute for Educational Leadership — Consulted in the design of a select seminar and facilitated on-line action research project with LEAD Directors Restructuring Task Force. (Jan-April, 1989)
- McGraw-Hill Information Exchange (MIX) – part of the initial cohort of online facilitators for a network of teachers supporting innovative practice, especially related to the use of technology. Created the MIX Teacher Center. (1988-2000)
- Apple Computer and Washington State Office of Public Instruction — Consultant, facilitator and lead trainer for the “Educational Technology Institute,” (August 1988)
- Indiana Education Association – Consulted in conference design, presented and facilitated symposia on Restructuring Schools (1987 & 1988)
- Prairie Fire, the Nebraska Symposium on Education — designed, promoted and coordinated a conference, “Schools in a Learning Revolution,” (August 1987)
Papers, articles & reports:
- “Growing Into Schools of the Future” a paper presented to the National Council of States on In-service Education, co-author, Nancy Lee, Nov. `85.
- “Mastering School Reform,” Ed Leadership, Sept. `86, co-author, Nancy Lee.
- “Report on the Status of School-based Decision-Making,” a 50-state study designed and conducted for the National Education Association, August `87.
- “Visions of Renewal,” report of NEA Symposium on School-Based School Reform, co-author, Dr. Robert McClure, NEA Mastery In Learning Project, Oct.`87.
- “Teaching with Passion” and “Teaching Beyond the Classroom,” author and instructor of courses through Portland State University, Spring and Summer, `88.
- “School Restructuring: Initiatives and Opportunities,” paper prepared for USWest, Government and Education Services, June `88.
- “PSEC 21st Century Schools On-line,” a report of USWest-funded and Puget Sound Educational Consortium-sponsored project linking innovative schools, Sept. `90.
- “Individualizing Staff Development: In the Context of School Renewal,” manuscript written w/ Sharon Robinson, NEA National Center for Innovation, March, `90.
- “Computer Conferencing and the Role of School Librarians,” Research and Technology, Mechler Publishing, March, 1991.
- “Computer Conferencing and School-Centered Change: in the Bellevue School District, Bellevue School District, Bellevue WA, September, 1991.
- “Teacher Growth Through On-Line Dialogue,” a paper and presentation for the Third International Symposium for Action Research, Portland OR, April, 1992.
- “Computer Networking as Community: Practitioners and Researchers Affecting Schools,” co-authored with Steven Selden for presentation to an invited symposium of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco CA, April 1992.
- “Four Seasons Project: Distance, Change, and Collaboration,” co-authored with Terry Baker for presentation to an invited symposium of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco CA, April 1993.
- “Toward Authentic Dialogue: a Case Study of Interactive Journaling,” a paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 1994.
- “The Four Seasons of Networking,” a paper presented to the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco CA, April 1995.
Secondary Art Teacher: beginning 1968, with Educational Service Unit #16, Ogallala, NE; and from 1971 to 1986, with Seward Public Schools, Seward, NE.
Director of Community Education for Seward Public Schools (1977-81) — reporting directly to the superintendent and Board of Education; working with an advisory group in developing and promoting the program; recruiting, training, supporting and supervising instructors; developing and administering a budget; meeting deadlines with printers; and, during the four years, sustaining growth and a leadership position among the other area schools.
Teacher leader — elected and appointed positions at all levels of the National Education Association; most notably, president of the Nebraska affiliate in 1978-79, and a member (1980-86) of the NEA Executive Committee. In these positions, he made frequent presentations and conducted workshops on Association programs. Gary has interview experience with both print and electronic media, and speaking experience with groups of eight to eight thousand.
- 1964-Graduated Auburn High School, Auburn, NE.
- 1968-Graduated Peru State College, Peru NE., BFA in Ed.
- 1975-Graduated University of Nebraska, Lincoln NE, MEd in Sec Ed.