Earlier this year, we sent out a call to have educators apply to become CERTIFIED Ambassadors. We wanted to create a group of education experts that you can connect with for support and ideas all year round! We received hundreds of applications, and it was incredibly difficult to choose only ten.
After much deliberation, we’re proud to present our CERTIFIED Ambassadors for 2024. Stay tuned for CERTIFIED podcast episodes, blog posts, and CERTIFIED Educator Community content from these incredible educators.
Chad McKenzie is an Associate Professor in the Information Technology division at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh and has 17 years of teaching experience within the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS). He received his MBA from Campbell University, completed his Healthcare Informatics Graduate Certificate from East Carolina University, and is currently enrolled in the Business Analytics Graduate program at UNC-Greensboro. He was awarded the 2021 Instructor of the Year Award and was a finalist for the NCCCS 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award. He is a Microsoft Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, and Microsoft Office 2019 Expert with certifications in IC3 Digital Literacy, QuickBooks, Communication Skills for Business, and Entrepreneurship and Small Business. His leadership and research led to the adoption of multiple technology platforms in his own division and across the institution including the use of LinkedIn Learning, Canva, GMetrix, VidGrid, and Yuja. As Organization Administrator for Microsoft testing, he also serves on the Pearson IT Advisory Board and the Editorial Board for the North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation. Chad’s teaching style focuses on fostering relationships with his students and creating learning environments, both virtual and seated, that are engaging, positive, and personalized.
Ms. Christina Davis is a teacher in Colorado Springs, CO. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s Degrees from the University of South Carolina – Columbia. She started out by spending her first nine years in the classroom as an English teacher in South Carolina and then moved to Colorado Springs where she has spent the last seven years. Even though her heart is in teaching Shakespeare to teenagers; she stumbled upon a computer lab in 2019 and has now transitioned completely to the world of business and computer science certification courses.
Christina has implemented a very successful Microsoft certification program. Since she started teaching Microsoft in the middle of the pandemic, she has had more than 400 students earn their Microsoft certifications. In addition, she runs a certification lab program for students to earn their Entrepreneurship and Small Business certifications and Communication Skills for Business Professional Communication certifications for college credits. More than 100 students have been able to complete those credentials in the last few years!
Last year, Christina was named Certification Coordinator for her entire Charter School Network. She is fervently excited about creating new opportunities for her students to excel as their work towards earning their associate degrees while still in high school!
Karen Coulombe has taught a variety of Career and Technical Education courses at the 8th -12th grade level as well as the Community College since the early 2000's. Her focus is on expanding hands-on and experiential learning in meaningful ways to add valuable "tools" to the students' toolbox, building confidence and a resume of tangible skills to market in the workplace. Karen has seen certifications used to enhance resumes for those who need to get right to work; as well as to differentiate students working towards competitive internships, scholarships, and college programs. The most significant connection from certification to the real world is understanding how to work to achieve goals using the resources available. Before teaching, Karen worked for over a decade as an Avionics Technician with Boeing, DynCorp Aerospace and the US Air Force on programs including Air Force 1, the B2 Bomber, and multiple F-16 deployments abroad.
You can catch a recording of Karen's 2023 CERTIFIED Educator Conference presentation, Get MORE Value from Your Certification Investment, here. You an also see her 2023 CERTIFIED Educator of the Year video here.
Laurene Klassen is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Assistant Director of IT Training & Communications at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She took her first Microsoft Office Specialist exam in 2010 for personal development and has been hooked ever since. In 2017, she spearheaded the MOS program at SMU after attending her first CERTIFIED conference. Their program has now certified over 3 5,000 students within 4 years. Laurene oversees the administrative side of their program working with over 15 faculty members to integrate the MOS exams into their curriculum. She frequently teaches Office workshops to students. She is a native of Massachusetts but now calls Texas her home.
Brian Flores is a dedicated educator with a unique blend of experience and expertise, currently working as the Robotics and Engineering Teacher at JM Hanks High School. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science with a minor in Secondary Education and is currently working on his master’s in educational administration. His professional journey is equally compelling, having worked as a Professional Aerial Videographer for the City of El Paso and spent four years at Apple, where he honed his technological acumen.
With certifications in Technology Education 7-12 grades, Microsoft Office, Google Project Management, and Autodesk Inventor, Brian ensures his students are well-prepared for the dynamic world of engineering and technology. Currently, Brian imparts his knowledge to 10-12th-grade students, teaching Engineering Design and Problem Solving, Robotics I and II, Digital Electronics, and administering Certiport certification in Autodesk Inventor and Fusion, making him an asset to both his students and the educational community at large.
Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Jenny Mohess has lived in Osceola County, FL for over 22 years. She first stepped onto Valencia’s Campus in 2000 as an international student. There she earned an A.S. in Graphic Design. While working for Apple, she earned a bachelor’s in business from the University of South Florida, and master’s in art education from Boston University. These experiences led to jobs at Apple, Microsoft, and eventually, her own design studio. Jenny currently teaches at Valencia College and has found genuine purpose in mentoring future graphic/web designers through the Valencia Graphics Program. She is now building the program at Tohopekaliga High School and sharing real-world experiences with her students.
John Beale began his educational career working in museums including the Spanish Colonial Quarter, the Florida Agriculture Museum, and the Florida Maritime Museum. After more than a decade in experiential education he brought his experiences to the classroom, first at middle school level teaching science and STEM marine science before finding his place at Allen D. Nease High School in St John's County, Florida, teaching Introduction to Engineering and Design, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing and sponsoring the Transportation Technology Club with a focus on Aerospace and Electrathon motorsports. He believes that industry certification creates a solid pathway to college, careers, and creativity and that collaboration and cooperation in and out of the classroom benefits all involved.
Rob Johnson is a media professional with over twenty years of experience, having gotten his start in live television as a producer for Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia where he was nominated for three Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards. He brought his industry experience to the classroom and has been involved in various roles as a teacher and digital strategist at La Salle College High School outside of Philadelphia, PA.
Mr. Johnson's WEXPtv Media Program has won multiple Mid-Atlantic High School Emmy Awards during his tenure with many students achieving certification in Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Photoshop.
Ashley Faulkner is a teacher at Triton High School in North Carolina, where she is a strong certification advocate. Over the past 11 years, Ashley has earned more than 40 certifications—and helped her students earn more than 1,150 individual certifications.
She has also served as an FBLA adviser and as the North Carolina Southeast Region advisor. Outside her teaching career, Ashley is the chief financial officer for Simple Web Solutions, Inc., EM Audio, Inc., and Butler Faulkner Enterprise, and she is the mother of two active children.
You can catch Ashley's 2023 CERTIFIED Educator Conference breakout presentation, A Day in the Python Classroom, on the Certiport YouTube channel.
Jessie Kalloo is a CTE Instructor and Program Approval Coordinator for the Information Technology programs at Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School located in Jamaica, Queens, New York. Jessie is also a Cisco Networking Academy Instructor Trainer for IT Essentials, CCNA, CCNA Security, and CCNA CyberOps covering areas throughout the United States. Being a product of CTE as a graduate of Thomas Edison High has provided him the opportunity to view teaching through a different lens. Through the various partnerships he has formed with the industry he is able to inspire, motivate and provide opportunities to his students that truly help them prepare for their future. The training he has done in and out of the classroom combined with his unique approach to teaching, has allowed for creative ways to spark the curiosity in students, helping them continuously challenge themselves to do better.
We can’t wait to share our CERTIFIED Ambassadors’ expertise over the coming months. Learn more about CERTIFIED here.