About and Contact


I’m a blogger newbie and still working on finding my voice, but I am committed to posting regularly this year.  Please connect and I hope we can grow together as fellow educators!  If you have any content suggestions for future blog posts, please let me know! 🙂

Follow on Twitter:  @smithdianemarie

Email:  smith.dianemarie@gmail.com



I was born in Buffalo, New York.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education at The Pennsylvania State University, I began my teaching career at the middle school level in Connecticut.  I regularly attended professional development sessions hosted by Greg Duncan  where I was part of a team designing performance based assessments and new thematic units for the school’s World Language curriculum.

I then moved to the Boston area where I obtained a master’s degree in Education (TESOL) from Northeastern University.  I also continued my teaching career at the middle school level and helped update curriculum roadmaps based on Grant Wiggins’s Understanding By Design.

From there, I continued my teaching career at a high school outside of Raleigh, North Carolina.  I created new AP curriculum and served as a STEM committee member at the school.  I also started tutoring various subject areas for K-12 students, as well as providing newly immigrated adults and families cultural and linguistic support.

I reached my 10th year as an educator at a K-12 Charter School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  In addition to teaching, I have the amazing opportunity to serve as a teacher mentor/coach.  I also recently discovered the power of EdCamps and have attended a few now – which I find to be a phenomenal professional development venue.

Meanwhile, I am pursuing a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of North Carolina.  At UNC, I was part of two research projects.  First, I was a facilitator for the Reconnect and Recharge program where beginning teachers come together to discuss and brain storm solutions for current problems of practice.  Second, I was part of the iPadagogy project where I provided professional development and coaching to elementary science teachers in order to combine content, pedagogy, and technology in 1:1 classrooms.  This included creating lesson plans, instructional materials, and assessments that encouraged curiosity and inquiry for students.  One of the units, “What’s Shaking? Earthquakes and other Natural Hazards” was published in  Science and Children magazine.  In 2016, I presented at the SITE (Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education) conference about “Using the GIR coaching model with Beginning and Experienced Teachers“.

My research apprenticeship focused on standards and testing alignment methods.  Related to this, I completed a program evaluation for an adult Academic ESL program focusing on the alignment between curricular, instructional, and assessment materials.  This program has recently achieved accreditation status.  I continue to serve on this organization’s curriculum committee.

My practical internship was completed at a local school district where I contributed research and feedback related to the creation, alignment, and implementation of standards-based performance tasks across content areas and grade levels.  My dissertation is focused on educator’s sensemaking and implementation of the district’s created performance tasks.  I plan to graduate with an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in May 2018.



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