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January 2013

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Joni Samples

Dr. Joni Samples is the Chief Academic Officer of Family Friendly Schools. Developing an impressive background that combines prestigious academic credentials with practical service as a lifelong educator, Dr. Joni has served as a superintendent of schools, special education administrator, curriculum and instruction director, CEO for early childhood, coordinator of career and technical programs, and a teacher for regular and special education, as well as university teaching programs. Dr. Joni knows from first hand experience what a difference positive interaction and communication can make in a school system. She utilizes her skills in facilitation and presentation along with her abilities to coach and mentor to create a climate where collaboration can be built and strengthened. Having served in almost every aspect of education from teacher’s aide to superintendent as well as being the mom of four children, she understands all sides of teaching, learning and supporting children’s success. Dr. Joni is a popular keynote speaker and trainer in the area of family engagement. She has authored books about parent involvement in the education of their children. Her interest in parent involvement began with her children-twin sons James and Christopher, and daughters Jennifer and Carolyn. The kids provided her daily learning "ahas" that she translated into a weekly newspaper column. An article about learning fractions came from measuring ingredients to make muffins with Christopher. James' science fair project about rat reproduction resulted in several articles on how to develop a scientific hypothesis and test it out. The popularity of the newspaper column led to Dr. Joni's first book, Taking the Guesswork out of School Success. This book stresses the importance of parent involvement in a child's learning, and shows schools and parents how they can help each other. The Parent Playbook series, books with home-based activities matched to state learning standards, followed. Teachers, preschool to grade eight, have been delighted with the results when parents use the materials at home. Nikki Lleneras, a Parent Playbook fan and first grade teacher from Live Oak Unified School District, was out of her classroom for six weeks. The first thing her kids asked when she returned was, "Can we have our Parent Playbook games for home now?" Evidently, her substitute did not include the home activities in her lesson plans. Engage! Press released Dr. Joni's latest book, The Parent Connection, to rave reviews. The Parent Playbook series has just been revamped matching parent activities to the National Core Standards. When Dr. Joni Samples came on board at FFS, Sam Bartlett former CEO of Family Friendly Schools, had this to say about her: "Dr. Samples puts research into practice and actually shows parents and schools how to do it. Her experience as a teacher and administrator also makes her the perfect practitioner to help school districts implement programs for creating a family engagement culture.” View Guest page

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Tomeko L. Vick

Tomeko L. Vick is a committed educator, with 10 years of experience as a middle school teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Science in Administration degree in Educational Administration from Trinity Washington University and is currently working towards a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction. A quote that defines her philosophy on education is: "What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow". -Lev Vygotsky, Developmental Psychologist. Tomeko currently serves as an Instructional Coach for an urban school system and as "mommy" to one of the most energetic and introspective seven year olds the world has ever known; both are jobs that she absolutely honors and adores! View Guest page

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Chalk Talk

January 24, 2013
Hosted by Erick Hamilton

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Chalk Talk

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel

On Chalk Talk Radio Show, Erick is redefining the role of parents in schools by providing them with information, guidance, and a venue to learn from each other. The three pillars of his approach to parent engagement are academics, accountability, and advocacy which empower parents to better support success at the child, school, and system level.

Each show will include an interview with an educational thought leader or discussion of a current event or report of relevance to parents of school age children; “Talk Back,” where you can call in or email comments and questions for response and discussion by Erick and his guests; “News You Can Use,” which provides education news relevant to parents; and “Spotlight on Education,” which highlights schools and systems that are taking an innovative approach to parent engagement.

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Erick Hamilton

Erick began his career in program management with the Boys and Girls Clubs in his native Atlanta. He managed and evaluated educational, cultural, physical fitness, and enrichment after school programs for approximately 100 children ages 6 to 15 from diverse backgrounds. He also directed summer program sites that provided students with fun, educational, and safe experiences. His time with the Boys and Girls Clubs enabled him to cultivate strong relationships with children and their families and contributes to his understanding of how effective support systems help families thrive.

In 2002, Erick transitioned to education as a way to have greater impact on the lives of young people. Initially he managed an in-school reading and math tutoring program at five middle schools in Atlanta Public Schools. Since then, he has taught social studies in public and charter high schools in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C., spending the last 5 years teaching in a rigorous high school International Baccalaureate program. As a teacher and eventually as a parent himself, Erick came to realize the confusion many parents face in trying to understand schools and make wise choices for their child’s education.

Erick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Science in Educational Administration from Trinity Washington University. He is married to a nonprofit executive and is the father of a daughter in elementary school.

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