Tim Douglas
LeeAnn Lindsey: Preparing a new generation of teachers for tomorrow' 's students

She was born in Korea, but raised in a Scottish family. As a little girl, she wanted to be a Highland dancer – understandable since her dad played in a bagpipe band. By age 10, she had eaten both haggis and kimchee.

She’s only 4 feet 11 inches tall, but she’s powerful, thanks to her dedication to CrossFit and a healthy diet.

She has a doctorate in education from Arizona State University. And she is an ex-NFL cheerleader for the Arizona Cardinals.

Even though she thoroughly enjoys her career in education technology, she shuns the digital world and all of its devices in her free time.

Meet LeeAnn Lindsey, a one-woman wrecking crew for stereotypes, who refuses to be cornered.

Even her title is outside the box. Technically, she is – get ready – an academic professional for technology infusion and professional development at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. It’s a unique, present-day description, but it’s perfectly in line with her past.

“When I was younger, I did feel a little different. I was adopted at 3 months old; I thought I was Scottish until I was 10,” explains Lindsey. “I now embrace my differences, but I don’t consciously try to break down stereotypes. This is simply who I am.”

And in her current field – education technology – she’s putting her many different facets to good use. Like Lindsey, ed tech is tough to pin down. It’s a new frontier.

According to a fact sheet issued by the White House, nearly two-thirds of new teachers feel their preparation programs weren’t as effective as they could have been, and these new teachers identify technology as the main problem because they don’t know how to use it effectively for their students. There is no uniform way of teaching ed tech, which means many universities and institutions implement their own programs.

Lindsey relishes this challenge, and it’s an excellent pairing with her passion and background.

“Right now, education is too one size fits all,” she says. “I’m drawn to education technology because it provides opportunities to bring the world into the classroom. Education technology inspires new ways for teaching and learning to take place. Ed tech is totally outside the norm. Ed tech teachers tend to be divergent thinkers, too.”

In addition to being an educator, Lindsey also considers herself a coach who is a potent conduit between the teacher in training and the faculty.

“What I’m trying to do is effectively educate a new generation of teachers, because they will teach a new generation of students,” she says.

And for Lindsey, it’s not enough to help instruct, train and coach new teachers. She hopes to spawn ideas about what it means to be a modern-day teacher who leverages technology for student-directed and personalized learning.

“I’m driven…to create a fresh and updated image of teaching,” she says.

With her background, it’s hard to bet against her. In addition to her commitment to using technology to transform education, Lindsey also has extensive professional development experience outside the classroom.

Before joining the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which Lindsey says has given her an excellent opportunity to “do what I believe in,” she managed a professional development program for the Verizon Foundation’s education platform that delivered approximately 25 online courses, 150 webinars and 30 in-person training sessions annually to roughly 4,000 trainers and 65,000 users.

She is also an ISTE faculty member (with a primary focus on professional development) and a member of the ISTE Standards refresh core working team, which is leading efforts to update the standards, a year-long process that engages educators from many countries at every level.

With her professional career speeding along, she still finds time to enjoy a happy marriage, spoil her 100-pound dog named Rudy B. and pursue the perfect meal.

“I love anything and everything to do with food,” she says. “I love shopping for it; I love preparing it; I love cooking it; and of course, I love eating it.”

While her present is busy and fulfilling, what’s next for LeeAnn Lindsey?

“Technology opens so many doors for students,” she says. “I’m really thinking about more effective uses of mobile technology for learning – with the emphasis on ‘mobile,’ not ‘technology.’ I see it as a powerful catalyst to break down the walls of the traditional classroom. It’s important because learning takes place everywhere; it happens in the world.”

What chance do a few walls have against LeeAnn Lindsey?