An Abundance of Thanks

On Thanksgiving Eve, I’ve been thinking about what I am thankful for. Besides the obvious things, like indoor plumbing, streaming video, and dark chocolate, there are people, like my fiance and my family members whom I love and treasure beyond measure. But, since this is an educational technology blog, I want to share with my readers those people who mean most to me in that realm. The following people have helped me professionally and personally, and I want to say thanks in this post.

Ken Veon

Just out of college, and before I had secured a job in education, Ken helped me practice interviewing. He was principal at my old elementary school at the time, and now is at Beachwood as Director of Operations and Technology. Even though that was nearly a decade ago, Ken has kept me in the loop with job openings and advice throughout the years. He has helped build my confidence and standing in the Northeast Ohio EdTech community, and I am so grateful for his longstanding support.

Sean Whelan

I applied and interviewed for a Technology Integrationist position at West Geauga a few years ago, and was sad to get the call that they went with the internal candidate instead of me. The following spring, I was curious to know how that new position was working out, so I emailed the superintendent and asked if I could contact the person who got my dream job. He gave me Sean’s information and I contacted him right away about job shadowing him over my spring break.  We connected over half a day together at various schools in West G, and I found Sean to be so gracious and generous with his time. After that, we have kept in touch, and I still go to Sean to talk over ideas and prepare for interviews. I consider him to be both a mentor and a friend, and I’m truly thankful for the positive relationship I gained from not getting that job.

Andreas Johansson

I met Andreas, Kenston’s Director of Technology Integration, in February 2015, at the first ever NEOTIE conference. We’ve run in to each other IRL at multiple conferences and meetings, and kept in touch on Twitter. Like Ken and Sean, Andreas has unselfishly given his time to help me with my pursuits. When I agreed to provide professional development via Google Hangouts on Air to a school south of Columbus, Andreas met with me at a Panera one afternoon so I could get the hang of it before the big day. He hosts this very blog. He asked me to give the Ignite Speech at the 2nd NEOTIE conference, giving me a bigger stage to voice my thoughts than I’d ever had, and a vote of confidence that I was worth listening to. That’s what I am most thankful for about Andreas.


Although my dad, Nick Orlando, isn’t involved as much with technology in Buckeye Local Schools anymore, he has always supported me and been my cheerleader. He introduced me to Ken, and encouraged me to introduce myself to Andreas. In my own district, Shaun Spence and I have shared the technology co-coordinator role for a couple of years now. It’s great to be able to rely on someone to share the load. He also forwards me the same emails that my dad does…applications for conferences and committees that would help me grow. Jaymee Wittlock is the Tech Director at Cardinal, and she’s taken me under her wing. I’m her “intern”, and I love getting to spend part of early-release Wednesdays fixing Chromebooks, creating resources for our teachers, and getting to know what her day-to-day is like. Amy Roediger, tech coach and teacher in Mentor, is hilarious, sweet, and smart. One day, she shared my blog with her Lake Erie College students, and I had so many views! It was a mystery why my count went up so high until I saw her at the SPARCC conference in August and she shared that story with me. Her promotion of my blog was touching and I was so excited to know that other people were finding my writing useful. I recently spent the day with her at WVIZ’s Technology and Learning Conference and I hope we will get to hang out again soon!

Thank you all!

I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my corner. I hope you realize how much you are appreciated.

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