This is a very exciting time for us here at Firia Labs. In our journey as an EdTech company we started out as “technologists with a heart for education”. Over the past two years we’ve learned SO much about the challenges teachers face on a day-to-day basis: classroom management, professional development, and constantly evolving standards just to name a few. From the start we’ve tried to stay very closely connected to our Teachers and Students – we want to make sure everything we create is serving our users’ needs. And in all our endeavors from developing resources like Teacher’s Manuals, Standards Alignment guidelines, pacing guides and rubrics, to online curriculum and tools, we’ve had the help of some amazingly talented teachers!
Now I have the pleasure of introducing one of the teachers with whom we’ve had a very close working relationship for some time, Amber Merrill. From our first months of beta testing the JumpStart Python curriculum to the first-ever CodeBot robotics teams, Amber has been a strong contributor to our efforts. Now we are honored to welcome her as part of our full-time Firia Labs team! Let me share a bit more about Amber’s background:
Amber received a Bachelor’s degree in education from Purdue University in 2003. She continued on to receive a Master’s degree while also working as a teacher and program specialist for Purdue’s Gifted Education Resource Institute. Her research interests included serving underrepresented gifted populations and maintaining girls’ interest in STEM in the middle grades. Moving to Madison Alabama in 2005, Amber worked as a gifted specialist and math teacher for Madison City Schools, while also serving as a math team coach and sponsor of an all-girls’ robotics team that won the Alabama tournament and competed at the World championship in Atlanta. Amber served on numerous math, technology, and instructional leadership teams and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2010 for her school. In 2017, she received National Board status for mathematics and was invited to be a reviewer for newly developed exam items. In that same year she took on a new challenge, becoming a middle school Computer Science teacher for Athens City Schools. It was there that she became acquainted with the Firia Labs team, joining the first Beta cohort with CodeSpace and Jumpstart Python! Amber’s family shares in her love of STEM; her husband Garrick is a Computer Engineer for NASA, and her daughters Amelia, 8, and Lillian, 6, are frequent sounding boards for new ideas.
Please join us in welcoming Amber to the Firia Labs team. I think you will share our excitement about the experience, creativity, and skill she brings to our efforts, and the impact that will have on our mission going forward!