Who Are Responsive Classroom Educators?

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Alaina McCourt received her Responsive Classroom Educator certification in March 2021. She teaches first and second grade at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Alaina was inspired to seek her RC Educator certification to learn more about her own practice, to explore her strengths, and to focus on the “growing edges.” She also wanted to become a teacher leader and support her colleagues’ Responsive Classroom journeys through RC resources, articles, and discussion boards.

When not teaching, she spends her time being outdoors with her family, running, reading books, or advocating for racial justice.

Alaina would like to celebrate her third grade teacher, Mr. Edholm, because he made such a strong emotional connection with all of his students. “He was so nurturing that he felt like a family member,” she said. “I always felt loved and supported in his class, and it motivated me to take risks, work hard, and feel proud of myself.”

Stacy Smith received her Responsive Classroom Educator certification in March 2021. She is a Professional Learning Specialist–Behavior, SEL, and Mental Health at Broome-Tioga BOCES, in Binghamton, New York. Her career has been centered around the premise that all children can succeed when given the right support. Stacy believes that, through its caring, developmentally appropriate practices, the Responsive Classroom approach prepares adults to meet the needs of all students.

Stacy was inspired to obtain her RC Educator certification while working with teachers in her area and learning more about Responsive Classroom from them. Certification gave her the opportunity to expand her own SEL competency and the background to provide ongoing support to others who attend RC courses and utilize the RC approach. She has had the privilege of supporting teachers and administrators at multiple school districts, and as a certified RC Educator, she plans to hold monthly regional sessions for reflection on RC strategies and to share implementation ideas from the field.

When not at school, you can find her helping her husband and son build their new home, another process where she enjoys learning new things.
Stacy would like to celebrate her friend and colleague Erin Wilday, a Professional Learning Specialist in Fine Arts and Effective Teaching. Says Stacy, “She always pushes me to learn new things and clearly align my learning outcomes for the adults that I work with.”

Layne Todd is an elementary music teacher at Korea International School, Jeju Campus, in South Korea. Layne received his Responsive Classroom Educator certification in November 2020. Reflecting and receiving high-quality feedback on his own practice through the certification process has supported his continual growth as a teacher. He was inspired to seek RC Educator certification to become more deeply versed in RC philosophy and practices so that he could share what he learned with others.

Layne feels fortunate to have been able to discuss and model RC practices with small groups of his elementary school colleagues. He has always been drawn to Responsive Classroom because it supports his deeply held beliefs. RC’s guiding principles, such as “How we teach is as important as what we teach,” have inspired him and serve as a reminder of the values that he wants to shine through in his teaching. As a specialist teaching multiple grade levels, an SEL-focused approach allows him to develop deeper relationships with his students and to design learning experiences that are more responsive to them as individuals.

When not at school, he can be found doing his Korean class homework or playing his euphonium with a brass quintet of his music-teaching colleagues.

He would like to celebrate his colleague Jordanna Morrison for modeling kind, patient, and empathetic teaching, and for supporting him through continued reflection and growth.