Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight: November 2012

Educator SpotlightEducator Spotlight:

Catapult Learning has long recognized that our teachers, coaches, specialized services professionals, and consultants are the foundation upon which our company stands. We literally wouldn’t be here without their tireless efforts to help struggling students succeed! We thank them for all that they do each and every day.

In May 2012, we introduced the Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight where we honored some of our most dedicated teachers and education professionals. They are our very own shining stars!

The Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight is a new monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their Catapult colleagues, in recognition of the positive impact they have on children throughout the country.

We are extremely excited to announce our honorees for November 2012!

  • David Dombrowski- Specialized Services Professional- Perryopolis, PA
  • Janet Guagliardo- Teacher- Louisville, KY
  • Georgiann McLellan- Teacher- Irwin, PA
  • Linda Powers- Literacy Coach- Perry, OK

Catapult Learning Specialized Services Professionals:

Educator Spotlight David DombrowskiDavid Dombrowski- Guidance Counselor

  • Perryopolis, PA
  • BS Elementary and Special Ed/MEd Educational Counseling from California University of Pennsylvania

What is your position at Catapult Learning? 

Guidance Counselor

Which Schools are you assigned to?

St. John The Baptist Scottdale, PA and Aquinas Academy Greensburg, PA

How is working for Catapult Learning important in meeting your professional goals?

It enables me to provide guidance & counseling to students in an educational setting. Using my diagnostic & assessment skills allows me to work not only with gifted students but also with students who have developmental disorders.

What is your most recent Catapult Learning success story?

I have the opportunity to provide consultation & training to other Catapult Learning counselors. I acquired certification as a Behavioral Specialist, working with Autism and Aspergers disorders. My involvement with Carnegie Mellon allows me to coordinate with parents the university’s enrichment program for gifted students.

Catapult Learning Teachers:

Educator Spotlight Janet GuagliardoJanet Guagliardo- Title I Teacher

  • Louisville, KY
  • BA in Education from the University of Louisville and MA in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Kentucky

Why did you become a teacher?

I have always truly enjoyed working with children and especially helping the students who are having difficulty in their academic skills.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

The opportunity to work with small groups of students to hopefully affect change in their academic skills and help them develop self-confidence.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

When my former students have graduated from elementary school and come back to visit me as high school students. To tell me their time in my Catapult class has made a difference in their high school work by making academics less challenging for them and they now enjoy learning.

What have you learned from your students?

One approach does not work with all students.  Each student must be approached as an individual.  Also, flexibility and patience are important each day.  Each day is a new beginning.

Georgiann McLellan- Reading and Math Specialist

  • Irwin, PA
  • Reading, English Education and Curriculum and Instruction, West Virginia University

Why did you become a teacher?

Teaching is like no other profession.  Growing up the child of two educators, I watched my parents be communicators, disciplinarians, conveyors of information, evaluators, counselors, members of many teams, decision-makers, role models and parent surrogates.  One thing, however, has always been abundantly clear.  Teaching is more than about just loving the kids; it is the ultimate challenge.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

Encouraging kids to think is a large part of what I and the Catapult program do in the classroom.  I want my students to do more than simply recite facts back to me, instead I want them to infer, compare, contrast, etc.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

My greatest teaching successes are actually my smallest ones.  Whether it is the twinkle in the eye of a kindergartener who just read a word on their own for the first time or the broad smile on the face of an 8th grader who realized that a mean is an average, each one is “giant step”.

What have you learned from your students?

My students have taught me the “P cubed”:  patience, persistence, and passion.   Patience is the tolerance for making mistakes (and we will make them), persistence is the dogged determination to stick with it and passion is the hunger to seek more.

Catapult Learning Coaches:

Educator Spotlight Linda PowersLinda Powers- Literacy Coach

  • Perry, Oklahoma
  • BS, MA, Ed.D from Oklahoma State University

What is your prior teaching experience?

I taught secondary English/Language Arts for 21 years and was an instructional specialist, as well as a site and district administrator for 14 years.

Why did you decide to become a coach?

Throughout my educational career, I have been a coach because I believe people learn best through demonstration, guidance and support.  As a classroom teacher, I coached my students in writing.   As a principal, I coached my teachers in instruction and school improvement.  As a member of the Literacy First and Catapult family, not only have I trained teachers and administrators, I have coached them through implementation of school improvement in the three-year process.   I believe that implementation is rarely successful, nor sustained without coaching.

Why do you feel coaching is a valuable professional development experience for teachers?

I have always believed that most answers teachers are seeking can be found within themselves, and my role was to help them realize or construct those answers.  That belief was confirmed in a class I took with Art Costa on Cognitive Coaching in which I learned the importance of and how to be a vehicle for helping people think and re-think situations in order to bring about change and realize their goals.  Throughout my doctoral studies, I read the scholars on reflective practice which culminated in my own study on creating reflective practitioners, the most effective form of professional development for the 21st century.  Time and time again, not only have I have seen growth come from supporting and guiding people in change by prompting reflective thought, but have experienced that benefit in my own reflective thought prompted by a colleague.

What have you learned from your students?

Recently, I had the opportunity to coach a principal on analyzing data with his staff.  That was particularly rewarding because of the self-efficacy it helped to build in that principal, the tools and power it gave to the teachers, and the culminating benefit to hundreds of students in that school.

Thanks again to all of this month’s honorees!  You can thank them too, please leave your comments for our educators below!


  1. diane November 20, 2012 Reply

    Congratulations to all!! Janet, so proud that you are a part of my staff. Thanks for all you do!!

  2. Melba Metcalf January 17, 2013 Reply

    So proud to say I have the privilege of working with this outstanding educator at Holy Family School in Louisville, Ky. She is an asset to our school. Congratulations Janet.

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