The 2014 White House Teacher Social was a life-changing experience.

Arne Duncan Group Photo

Last week, my class was asked by a professor what led us to our current doctoral program. My wheels started turning….what led me here?

It took a little while, but I started to backtrack through my recent memories. And I started thinking about Twitter, which made me think back to the White House Teacher Social…

I recalled our conversation with Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.  He had just visited with Finland’s Minister of Education, and had become convinced that our higher education system was not doing enough for preservice teachers to be successful after they became professionals. In Finland, they teach to lead. In the United States, they leave teaching.  Secretary Duncan told us on that day that we “need to look at education as an investment, not an expense.”

I recalled our conversation with Eric Waldo, who worked with Michelle Obama on creating equitable college entrance experiences for all students of all socioeconomic classes, races, and backgrounds.



And finally, I recalled our conversation with Dr. Jill Biden (after our super exciting photo op!) and I remember her enthusiasm and zeal for supporting veteran teachers. She asked, “how do we lift teachers up?” She even invited us to email her suggestions on how to best support teachers. (Sadly, I don’t think I ever did this.)


These conversations, plus the many others that took place among us that day, replayed in my mind the whole ride home back to Charlotte, North Carolina. Fortunately, those conversations stuck with me for a while after that. Soon after that fateful day in May, I guess I realized that I wanted to make a greater impact in education than within the four walls of my classroom. So, I applied to go back to school to advance my education. Once I graduate, I hope I can make progress in the areas that Sec. Duncan, Dr. Biden, the White House staff, and we discussed back in 2014.

So, yeah. The 2014 White House Teacher Social was a life-changing experience.


Well Now… 4 years (or so) later… What is UP? #WHsoc20

Twitter Shot
@ThatMathLady, aka Mandy Casto, got the conversation started up again from the White House 20 about how their lives have been moved forward since their meeting almost 4 years ago in Washington D.C.

The conversations have begun again – almost 4 years since we first met on the corner in front of the Office of the Executive Branch in Washington D.C, With some PhD’s, book publications, children, changes in jobs,  more teaching, and the like, it will be interesting to read what has come from that event. What a four years it has been. I remember the day I was invited – heck – I remember the day I applied! I’ve stayed in touch with D.C. over the past year – calling my senators daily since Jan. 20 (or so) of 2017. What about you? Let me recap and update…

Frank and Julie Korb as members of the Ripon Parent’s Network, Ripon College, WI.

I’m Frank Korb and one of the 20 or so teachers that was invited to the White House and the OEB to meet with Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan back in… what was it, 2014? The teachers I met ranged from elementary to high school, parochial to public, and we all had a common goal in mind… to talk about the state of education, how we saw our place in it, and where we hoped it would be headed. Since then what has happened in my neck of the woods – and your neck of the woods?


I’ve become a board member of the Wisconsin Art Education Association which involves organizing the regional and state level Youth Art Month exhibitions in WI. I help to organize and run the state level WAEA Conference and present a few sessions for teachers to learn about various things in the world of art education (AutoCrat – an add on to Google Forms, Standards Based Assessment, WordPress and blogging in the art studio). I have worked with and written for education consultant Janie Pollock and been a featured teacher in two of her books The i5 Approach (2018) and the Hinge That Joins Teaching and Learning (2012) before we met (perhaps that was part of me coming to Washington). I’m still a runner and an artist ( and teacher in the same district I have been for almost 20 years now. Cross Country Assistant Coach, set designer and local go to artist for 2 of our high school musical programs, fund raiser at musicals and M.C. at show choir competitions… the days in the school do not end when the final bell rings for the day.


My wife, Julie, and I are together now since 1995 and after all that time we’ve finally got got a dog (Birk – there he is on the left). Our daughter has graduated from high school and is a sophomore leader in the Feminist Club and the College Democratic Party  in college. A lot has happened, and a lot has stayed the same. My blog has continued and is a daily post in my classroom and I’ve moved my teaching opportunities around to include Yearbook, Stained Glass, and Computer Illustration and Drawing in addition to my classes of Drawing, Advanced Drawing, Studio Art 360, and AP Studio Art. A great year at my high school. Summer School of Plein Air Art and field trips to Taliesin in Spring Green, WI (Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and school) as well as becoming a member of the planning group with Taliesin Preservation and our reborn Plein Air Event there (coming in the fall of 2018).

Ok… that’s enough about me. What have you been up to over the past fours years?

And a small painting, I am an artist after all… “Primary History in the Round” Frank Korb, Acrylic on Canvas. 2018.



Hello, all!

It has been a while since we all tweeted and blogged! I just wanted to say to all of those fantastic teachers that I spent that magical day with, I hope your year is going wonderful, the days are spent in happiness and satisfaction. Your ideas are flowing and that your jobs are just as fantastic and fulfilling as they were that magical May day at the White House!

The holidays are right around the corner and I just want to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving!


free stuff for teachers

30 Days… What have YOU done?

This is a bit past it’s due date, but in the larger scheme of things, to me it isn’t surprising. October 3 was my last posting… 3 days ago and I missed it. I look at all that has happened in the past 30 days and consider it a very VERY busy month. What have you done? Me PERSONALLY? Hundreds of miles run (as I plan to run the Chicago Marathon this Sunday). 5 weeks of lesson plans built. Countless hours of musical set decorating. Chasing my daughter all over God’s green earth. WONDERFUL Twitter Chats with my friends and colleagues from around the country (#WHSoc20 on Wednesday Nights at 9:00EST). Dinners, lunches, breakfasts for my friends and family. Fights and making up. Screen Time. Sleep Time. Relaxation (well… maybe not as much as I should have there). All the blog post readings… these have been great.

Thank you to ALL the contributors to this 30 day blog challenge. Did we hit each and every day? No. That is ok thought. Goals are just that, goals. To hit every goal in life is a pretty high mark. I am pleased with all that we did accomplish. Student writer, teacher writer, guest writers, contacts made out in the other parts of the digital world. It has all been good. I am thankful for all that has been shared and offered.

What is happening in the next 30 days? I do not know. I hope that on Wednesday we can all have that conversation about the ideas behind this blog. Will there be more posts here? I am certain about that. Regardless… thank you to all that contributed to the conversation and all those who read our thoughts. Please offer your feedback about this site. We are all very proud of the work we have done, the friendships we have made, the collaborations we have begun. Blog on my friends, blog on!

Parent- Teacher Conferences


Next week my high school has parent teacher conferences. With that you hear the awful stories of my parents going to be mad at me oh no! Then you hear the actual story of how they inform the parent of their students progress. Most of the time I enjoy going to parent teacher conferences because this is the time when you have a good grade or are doing something right you get noticed by the teacher. Often in a classroom it is sometimes hard for teachers to get time to say nice job to a student. This is also the time for the parents who don’t have overly informing children to see what is going on and how they can help.

One of the things that I see when going with my parents to the conference is the too many parents that don’t have their child with them. I have always believed that a student should be a part of that process because it is about the student. It also gives a chance for the student if they come to get a nice job or for the teacher to give constructive criticism.

Parent teacher conferences are one of the best communication opportunities for the parents and for the student. Hope to see you all there!


Mary Heebsh