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Journeys.

Andreas started his educational journey in Torekov, Sweden, a fishing village of 800 inhabitants, where he attended Kindergarten through 6th grade at Sandlyckeskolan.

Much like a one-room schoolhouse, each grade level had only one class, and he had the same teacher for grades one through third, and another (in her first year of teaching) for grades four through six in a looping model.

It was here that Andreas’ love of learning took hold, albeit with some shaky performance, especially regarding mathematics. He excelled at foreign language instruction (English), and place-based instruction – often based in the woods or along the oceanfront.

One of his fondest memories from this time was constructing a scale model burned-out canoe when studying geography and the history of the stone-age era. The Vikings, naturally, represented another core memory.

Middle School at Strandängsskolan in Båstad, Sweden, grades 7-9 saw Andreas grow in his leadership skills, and he joined the student council, among other activities. In addition to English, he studied French as a second foreign language, along with the core curriculum.

He helped design and arrange a simulation for the 9th-grade class focused on war refugees and their experiences – an activity delivered completely in English and run by students, for students. He traveled on several class trips, including a week spent on a sailboat with his classmates and another week spent in and around Copenhagen, Denmark.

In middle school, Andreas fell off the math bandwagon, too… now we call that a failure to scaffold by the teacher, but at the time, it felt like being left behind. Only later would he find out math is for everyone and almost anything can be solved with a spreadsheet!

All students in grades 7-9 participated in week-long internships as well, and Andreas spent a week each in grades 7, 8, and 9 working at an electrical component factory, a bank, and as a groundskeeper at a golf course, respectively. He also joined the Swedish Youth National Guard (Hemvärnet), and enjoyed many a night out in the woods or at survival camps – both summer and winter editions!

In Swedish middle schools, in preparation for high school, kids choose a track for the next step in their education. Students can pick from either an academic track or vocational track, and Andreas enrolled in the social studies track with a focus on history.

He attended the first year of Swedish High School at Rönnegymnasiet in Ängelholm, Sweden. A highlight here was creating his first website in 1995, coded in straight HTML around a class project on permafrost, where a project component was an unchaperoned trip to Lund to interview a university professor.

During the summer of 1996, after eight weeks in Penang, Malaysia, Andreas moved with his family (mom and sister) to Stow, OH, and he enrolled at Stow High School. Quite the culture shock, with a student population of over 2,000 students, Andreas managed to settle in, and after the first year as a Junior, teachers quickly figured out he wasn’t exchanging, just foreign. 😉

While in high school, Andreas enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard, and spent the summers in basic training in Fort Knox, KY, eventually serving six years as a 19D Cavalry Scout (1997-2003) stationed with the 1/107th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Stow, OH.

After graduating high school, he enrolled at Kent State University, first as a chemistry major (mistake!), and very quickly changed to study international relations under the expert tutelage of Dr. Mark Rubin.

After a short deployment post 9/11 with the National Guard, he graduated in 2002, and worked in the private sector (IT and QA) for a while until hearing the call for more learning and a career track switch.

In 2006, Andreas was admitted to the graduate program at Kent State for the Master’s in Teaching cohort, focused on the social studies 7-12 licensure track. Dr. Janice Hutchison had a profound impact on Andreas’ understanding and appreciation for the art of teaching and educating others and set him on a trajectory toward a wonderful and beautiful life as an educator and administrator.

He found employment as a teacher, first teaching 6-8 at Fairless Middle School, and later at Nordonia High School, teaching U.S. History and Economics.

Post-Master’s, Andreas continued to seek coursework and professional development opportunities wherever they presented themselves, and he racked up 30+ graduate credit hours through various programs, often involving week-long residential workshops during the summer, or weekend trips to Washington, D.C. for workshops in teaching economics, often with his teaching partners at the time, Steve Testa and Nate Loman.

After receiving tenure and being reduced in force at the same Board meeting after three levy failures at Nordonia, Andreas rebounded and worked for two years at the Educational Service Center of Lorain County, providing technical expertise and leading workshops for hundreds of teachers across Northeast Ohio. Later, he joined Kenston Schools as a Director of Technology Intergration, and finally ended up in Streetsboro as the Director of Technology, then took on Transportation, and more and more, until being named Director of Operations.

In 2018 he was admitted to the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership under the watchful eyes of Dr. Rosie Gornik, and later Dr. Mandy Cenker and Associate Dean Dr. Steve Mitchell. He hopes to finish up with a qualitative exploration of transitional leadership and the support mechanisms that exist (or not) when we promote from within, especially within non-instructional departments in public schools like school transportation, food service, maintenance, and central office positions.

Andreas has led hundreds of workshops for teachers and adults on a variety of topics from technology to leadership to process improvement and has given conference presentations at local, state, and national levels. He continues to build systems, design experiences for others, and lead forward progress. Andreas holds an Ohio Teaching License for 7-12 Integrated Social Studies and an Ohio Professional Superintendent’s License.

He’s come quite a long way from that little blond boy with the orange Fjällräven backpack (he still has it!) on the doorsteps of his first school. No longer blond, but with lots of salt in his pepper, his passion for education burns ever brighter, and if you’re ever in the same location, he’s hard to miss.