Director of Academic Technology & teacher
Year Honored: 2017
Brawerman Elementary School
Los Angeles, CA
Technology takes Adrienne Coffield's students at Brawerman Elementary School to extraordinary places. Sixth-graders build robots based on Egyptian and Greek mythology, while fifth-graders build, program and showcase robots made with EV3 Lego sets. Younger students build paper hovercrafts and pasta cars to study motion mechanics, explore tenement life via virtual reality, design buildings, make art with recycled materials and electronic parts, and create stop-motion animation that brings science, art, library and music specialists into the classroom. Students create hundreds of projects each year. Ms. Coffield's goal: igniting students' imagination. "Anything is possible," she tells them. "Enjoy the ride while making it so."
Ms. Coffield, a teacher for 22 years, has spent a decade as director of academic technology for Brawerman's 265 K-6 students. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and art history from the University of California Santa Cruz and a master's in educational psychology from the University of California Los Angeles. Ms. Coffield took an indirect route to the classroom, working in market research, paperless recordkeeping, retail and translation before embarking on a career in the classroom. Before Brawerman, she served in a similar role at Valley Beth Shalom Day School, creating curricula centered around emerging technologies. She credits her parents, both of whom chose education, with guiding her to teaching: "My mother's patience with young children was inspiring."
In addition to teaching more than a dozen classes per week at Brawerman, Ms. Coffield maintains a large department website, works with legal counsel to create academic technology policies for Brawerman's two campuses, maintains 400+ student accounts on Google and other applications, and oversees the entire academic technology department, including personnel, computer labs, vendors and physical equipment such as robots, hard drives, cameras, headsets, mice and tablets. "I am thankful that I found my dream job when I did," she says. "I've been able to grow with the students, and with the field itself, all of these years."
Note: This biography was current at the time this educator received the Award