Educator Spotlight

Announcing the May 2018 Educator Spotlight honorees! Congratulations to our educators.

The Educator Spotlight is a monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their colleagues in recognition of the positive impact they have on children and schools throughout the country. They are our very own shining stars!

  • Jessica Gale – Operations Manager – Windham, CT
  • Julie Howard – ESE Teacher  – Jacksonville, FL
  • Daniel Joeckel – Teacher – Milwaukee, WI

Jessica Gale
Operations Manager

“Ms. Gale takes the time and effort to create relationships with the staff where they are comfortable asking her for help. Ms. Gale is constantly is working in her office, available for any questions, and will help support the classroom when necessary. She contacts parents, administrators, and other members of the team whenever needed: to give academic and behavioral updates, discuss strategies for students, and just let them know what is going on within the classroom. Every action that Ms. Gale makes within her job shows me her passion for the Camino Alto program and the students and staff within it.”  – Deana Tyler, Regional Director  & Caterina Campelli, Special Education Teacher

  • Windham, Connecticut 
  • Central Connecticut State University, Educational Leadership (currently enrolled).  University of Saint Joseph (Special Education)

How long have you been with Catapult Learning?
I’ve been with Catapult for four years.

To which schools are you assigned? Tell us a little about the service you provide to the students there?
I started with the company as a special education teacher at the High Road School of Hartford High (CT). Currently, I oversee the four In-District Classrooms (IDC’s) within Windham Public Schools. Working in an in-district setting has been a great experience. On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to collaborate with district representatives as well as Catapult staff members in order to determine how we can service our students most appropriately. We strive to set our students up with the tools they need in order to successfully transition back into a mainstream setting.

How is working for Catapult Learning important in meeting your professional goals?
While it may sound cliche, I am a firm believer that learning is a lifelong process that should be constantly evolving and growing. Catapult Learning has opened professional doors for me and created many growth opportunities. Beyond the formal further education that I am pursuing, Catapult constantly provides learning opportunities within the company to support professional growth.

What is your most recent Catapult Learning success story?
This question is extremely hard to answer, but for great reason! The 32 High Road students in Windham each have daily successes, and it is important to highlight them no matter how big or small.  Recently, a student was referred to our program for a 45-Day Diagnostic Placement due to significant socio-emotional and academic concerns. Throughout the duration of the diagnostic, the student made tremendous academic and social progress. The guardian of this student who was initially resistant to the trial, ended up being highly satisfied with the progress and placement in our program. The greatest success of this story is that the student has made friends within the classroom, and furthermore is a great peer influence.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning success story?
Each year our program has had students who have graduated and gone on to college. Each year our program has had students who have fully mainstreamed back into a public-school setting. Each year our program has had students who have overwhelmingly increased academic assessment data. The greatest Catapult Learning success story isn’t just one person’s story – it’s collective. We have built an environment and culture that allows students the opportunity to take risks that lead drive their successes.

Julie Howard
ESE Teacher

“Julie’s love of teaching shines through in how she interacts with her students and the joy with which she talks about their accomplishments.  Her ability to react “in the moment” to student needs allows all students to be successful. Julie also has a flare for providing differentiated support not just for her students, but other teachers as well. She provides specific program-related training to teachers new to the program, models teaching strategies in real time, and serves as a support system afterwards.” – Melissa Tatro, Instructional Excellence Coach

  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • University of Northern Iowa, Elementary Education K-6, Reading Endorsement

Why did you become a teacher?
Being a teacher has given me the opportunity to be a student. Each day I have the chance to exchange information and ideas with the brightest children, the most talented educators, and truly inspiring administrators. I am fortunate to be in a field that empowers people and encourages innovation. I am excited about the future of education and how our changing world will influence the way we communicate with each other.  I see great potential in technology. I want to explore these bold, new resources and see how they can be used to develop deeper understanding of our world.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?
In my position at Catapult, I am able to work with many school communities. I get to be a part of the professional development of our own ESE family. I am fortunate to work with a supervisor who understands that a successful ESE program requires both a business sense and a kind heart. I feel part of a group of professionals who truly care about the people they serve.

What is your greatest teaching success story?
Honestly, my most motivating moments are when I am given the opportunity to share my classroom with a new teacher or a visitor to the program. My greatest compliment is to be told that I clearly love my job.

What have you learned from your students?
I have learned that if you approach each new situation and person you encounter with an open mind and a gentle spirit, you become receptive to the wisdom and experience around you. You become both a student and teacher when you see education as sharing ideas, not delivering information.

Daniel  Joeckel

“Daniel incorporates student experiences, interests, and real-life situations in instruction. He provides essential support for students who are struggling with content. His students know they have his attention and support. When I observe Daniel in his classroom, I see and know that he has created a safe environment supported by his high expectation, his positive relationships which are fostered, and most of all active learning is promoted and going on.” – Linda Arms, Instructional Supervisor, Wisconsin Lutheran High School

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Cardinal Stritch University, MAT certification in regular and special education, Stevens Point, Bachelor of Arts, emphasis in computer graphic design

Why did you become a teacher?
To help as many students as I can to build knowledge and skill sets in math.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning/NESI or at a Catapult Learning school?
Independence and strategically networking with other teaching and administrative professionals to help make a positive impact on student growth.

What is your greatest teaching success story?
Seeing my students who were challenged and stressed build themselves up with practice and patience to a place of well-being and confidence in their academics.

What have you learned from your students?
Determination. Many of my students have factors outside of their control and they just keep on trying and working hard to succeed. I am very proud of their determination and academic growth.