Short Professional Bio
Leigh Cassell is an educator, adventurer, edupreneur and partner in learning with teachers and students around the world. Leigh is an education and innovation consultant currently working as the Manager of Innovation and Learning at SPARK, and she is Founder & President of Digital Human Library. Driven by her passion to inspire in others a love of learning, Leigh’s expertise is grounded in how we integrate digital technologies for the purpose of building relationships for learning, developing global competencies, designing new literacies, and preparing students to succeed as next generation learners. Leigh is Founder of the Ontario Edu Students’ Twitter Chat, Co-Founder of A Kids’ Guide to Canada and OnEdMentors Connect, and a Founding Partner of Live Learning Canada. Leigh also works as an Apple Distinguished Educator, certified Google Educator, and SMART Certified Interactive Teacher.
I always wanted to be a teacher. Well, that is of course after wanting to be a professional baseball player – first female in the major leagues I might add. Yes, I had big dreams, but after suffering a serious knee injury trying out for the OWBL (Ontario Women’s Baseball League), it was off to university to pursue a different career path.
But let’s back track a little. I grew up in London, Ontario, with my mom and younger sister, spending weekends with my Dad who lived just down the street. It was during this time in my life that I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Fred Fickling was my grade 8 teacher and my inspiration…
After graduating high school in 1995, I spent several months backpacking across Canada before attending the University of Western Ontario to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. It was later that summer that my baseball career ended. And a new chapter in my life began. I was going to be a teacher.
During my first year of university I lived off campus with some friends, and worked part-time waiting tables at a busy bar in London – a job that later paid for all of my years of post secondary education. And after my second year in the Kinesiology program, I decided to switch majors and pursue a BA, Honors degree in English Language and Literature. Writing had become my passion. After graduation in 1999 (and a season bartending in the Muskokas), I had been accepted into the 2 year B.Ed program at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was off to experience Canada’s East Coast.
In 2003 I graduated with my B. Ed and returned home to Ontario. I cozied up with my mom and stepdad as I looked for a place to live and applied for teaching jobs in Ontario. I had returned to work at that busy bar in London where I later met my husband. And it was that spring that I was hired by the Avon Maitland District School Board.
Brandon and I were married the following summer on Lake Bernard in the northern Ontario wilderness. We have 2 beautiful children, Halle and Ty, and they are the centre of our universe.
I have been an educator with the Avon Maitland District School Board now for 14 years. I have taught students in the primary and intermediate grades, and worked at the System level supporting technology-enabled learning and teaching in K-12. In 2011 I founded an educational not-for-profit, Digital Human Library to connect students with experts around the world. And in 2015 I co-founded A Kids’ Guide to Canada and Ontario Edu Students’ Twitter Chat. My passion is connections-based learning and teaching others what I believe to be one of the most important life skills today—networking.
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