I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico where after graduating High School I enlisted in the United States Army, June 1988. I first came to the United States to attend an English language course at the Defense Language Institute, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After graduating English school, I attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I would say it was those early years of my life that most significantly influenced the person I am today.
Likewise, it was my first military assignment to Bad Kreuznach, Germany that gave shape to the adventure my life has turned out to be. I was only 18 back then, and for the next 21 years, it was an honor to serve our nation. My military career helped me acquired increasing levels of responsibility and expertise through my assignments, training, and continued education. During my time in the military, I traveled all over the world serving 13 years overseas. I participated in combat operations three times, once in Bosnia, and most recently in Iraq deploying there twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to defend our nation’s interests abroad for the safety and security of our loved ones back home. The journey that started with me as an English Language Learner (ELL) Army private ended September 2008 when I retired from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer Three. After retiring I worked as a senior logistics management specialist in the Army, but this time as a contractor.
I worked in that capacity for one year before deciding it was time to do something on my bucket list, so I left that job to attend flight school. Becoming a Pilot was a childhood dream of mine, and I became a FAA Certified Private Pilot in July 2009. I now fly all over Tennessee and beyond, enjoying the freedom of being able to travel with my family without having to go through those annoying TSA checkpoints. There is nothing that compares to the freedom of enjoying open skies on a pleasant flight soaking in the sights of nature from above.
Later that year, I completed an Associate’s Degree in General Studies with Barton Community College. After graduation, I was fortunate enough to present in front of the faculty body and talked to them about Instructional Technology, Web applications, and student engagement tools. Luckily for me, they liked what they heard, and I was asked to come back to present twice during their Professional Development in-service days. Eventually, this led to my hiring as a Multimedia Specialist for the College working in the Distance Learning Division under a Title III grant to increase the use of technology for online learning. While I readily admit that I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of technology with others, it was in that job that I found this to be my true professional calling.
Although this was a rewarding and career enhancing job, I decided to leave Barton Community College in June 2012 and moved to Clarksville, Tennessee the following year after my wife retired from the Army. That same year I enrolled at Ashford University to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Design. I chose an online program of study due to the asynchronous nature of the platform and because it afforded me the flexibility to continue my work as a professional speaker and technology integration consultant. After four long years, lots of hard work and commitment to the learning experience I finally graduated October 2016. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college and walking across the stage to receive my diploma was certainly a memorable experience. I did it for myself and to set an example for my daughter and son; instilling in them that anything is possible when you set goals for yourself and work towards them.
My job as a consultant has allowed me to present at several professional educational conferences including the C2C Spring Forum, ElevateEdu (formerly KCTechNet), ICCOC Spring Forum, ISTE #HackEdu, NISOD, Pearson Cite, PET, SIDLIT and WATC iTrac. These experiences have afforded me the opportunity to network with other educators, instructional designers, and technology integrators in the education community. Conversely, they have become part of my Professional Learning Network (PLN). Over the last seven years, all of these connections have helped me grow both professionally and as a person. Undoubtedly none of this would have been possible had I chosen not to further my education. I firmly believe that learning needs to be a lifelong pursuit that transforms our way of thinking paving the way ahead for the future. For this reason, I decided to attend Austin Peay State University online to pursue a Masters Degree in Education with an Instructional Technology specialization. I am more than halfway done with their program and look forward to graduating next year.
I love to help educators become connected, to grow and develop themselves with the aid of like-minded collaborators who are passionate about sharing their knowledge. Moreover through the exploration of best practices for classroom instruction that is infused with EdTech to meet a learning need. I help educators understand the use of technology for education and the integration of Social Media into the learning curriculum. I look forward to learning and collaborating with you.