Having lunch with Derrick Gay at the Plaza Hotel gave us the opportunity to chat everything education... and more. We’ve been Voxing for close to a year but nothing beats having a conversation face to face. Do you know that conversation that has you thinking long after the talking ceases? You may wonder who he is and how I know him.
It’s simple – Think of Kevin Bacon and 6 degrees of separation. I was introduced to Derrick by Dr Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza (who I will finally meet this week). Joe asked if I could organise a visit of my school for Derrick. Joe was introduced to me by Jeannette James (JJ) through Twitter. JJ was introduced to me by Cameron Patersen, who I connected with after he presented at my school, Wenona. Cameron was invited to present by Mark Staker, who advised me to connect with him via Twitter. Mark is the Dean of Professional Studies at Wenona. And there you have it! We’ve come full circle. All connected in some way.
It's been close to a year since Derrick visited Wenona and at the time, my students were developing their awareness of the United Nations and global issues. Interviewed by Year 5 students, Derrick shared his passions (food, travel & education) and attempted an Australian accent (very successfully I might add). They learnt about various cultures, cities and the other countries he had visited. He shared his love of Smores and serenaded them with some opera classics. This meeting or connection was a highlight of the year, illustrating that connecting and speaking with people enhances student learning.
Professionally Derrick is an educational consultant with 15 years of independent school experience as a senior administrator and teacher. He serves as a resource to independent schools all around the world, delivering keynote presentations, providing professional development opportunities, conducting inclusivity assessments, working with student groups, training administration and boards on issues of community life, diversity and inclusion. With a great love of music and theatre, Derrick also he speaks many languages – English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
What are the benefits of social networking and connecting with educators? It’s this! Through making connections, you meet and learn from people like Derrick, whose expertise is shared so generously and ultimately, it is the students who benefit. It all about connecting, sharing and adding value.
Dr Joe Mazza