Karen Szymusiak

When Karen Szymusiak was young, she learned from some wonderful educators who inspired her to consider becoming a teacher. She recalls telling her fifth-grade teacher that she wanted to become a teacher when she grew up. It was meant to be. All those years she played school with her brother and sisters were preparing her for a career in education.

Karen considers herself fortunate to have spent her days alongside children because she knows there is so much to learn from them. “When we really listen to children, they tell us all there is to know about teaching wisely and well.” Karen believes in giving children voice and choice in their daily lives at school and that wonder and curiosity can promote learning in and out of school.

Karen has had a lifetime of experiences in education. She taught elementary school in Vermilion, Ohio, until her family relocated to central Ohio. She spent the remainder of her career in the Dublin City Schools, in Dublin, Ohio. Reading and writing workshops were always important routines in her classroom. She enjoyed watching her students develop their independence. Karen believes strongly that building relationships with students is the best way to promote a community of learners.

In addition to being a classroom teacher, Karen worked for several years as Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for Dublin City Schools. She was able to work with teams of teachers to design thoughtful curriculum and effective instruction in response to the changing roles of learners and teachers. She also planned and implemented professional development for teachers in the district. She understands the power of teacher collaboration and the collective wisdom that supports strong beliefs about learning and teaching.

Karen also served as a principal for the Dublin City Schools. After several years as an elementary school principal, Karen was given the opportunity to fulfill a longtime passion of hers. She was selected to open a new school in the district. Karen hired staff, welcomed new families, and sought to build a community of students, parents, and teachers who believed in the unlimited potential of every child. While she was principal of Glacier Ridge Elementary School, she and the staff were featured in The Literacy Principal in Action, a DVD produced by Choice Literacy.

Karen enjoys both professional and personal writing. She has coauthored several books and videos with Franki Sibberson. Her publications include Beyond Leveled Books (Stenhouse), Still Learning to Read (Stenhouse), Bringing Reading to Life (Stehnouse), and Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop (Scholastic). Karen also blogs at Talkworthy. She has shared her knowledge and expertise at state and national conferences.

Karen is currently retired but will always be connected to the world of learning, teaching, and leading. She spends time reading and writing, gardening, and spending time with her grandchildren, who remind her about what it means to be a learner.

Karen Szymusiak

Website: talkworthy.blogspot.com

Twitter: @karenszymusiak

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