All About Me Bio
I love kids!
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. His name is Fred Fickling. He 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. It was then that I decided 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 later founded the 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 of today—networking.
The greatest gift we can give to others is a lifelong love of learning. And as James Comer once said, no significant learning happens without a significant relationship.
Short Professional Bio
Leigh Cassell loves kids. She is a learner, innovator, and partner in learning with teachers and students around the world. Leigh works full-time as an AMDSB Technology Coach and she is the Founder & President of the Digital Human Library. For the past 12 years Leigh has been collaborating with teachers and students with a focus on integrating innovative technologies effectively to inspire in others a love of learning, create global connections for teachers and students, develop 21st Century Competencies, and prepare students to succeed as next generation learners. Leigh is an Apple Distinguished Educator, certified Google Educator, SMART Certified Interactive Teacher, and Co-Founder of A Kids’ Guide to Canada. Leigh’s portfolio includes blogs as digital portfolios, connections-based learning, digital citizenship, 1-1 learning environments, and the new literacies.