Joey Savoy, SMART and Miramichi: 10 Years On
It’s always a privilege to have a long-standing relationship with a customer and in the case of Joey Savoy in Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada, that relationship is 10 years strong! Thanks to Joey for his years as a SMART Exemplary Educator and helping make the connection between our organization and the town of Miramichi so special! Check out the story from Joey’s perspective.
I first met Joey in 2004 when he was nominated to be a SMART Exemplary Educator. His first exposure to a SMART Board interactive whiteboard was back in 2001 when his district superintendent saw the potential of the interactive whiteboard during research into video conferencing technologies. Joey was given the product to explore its potential for math intervention and he taught himself how to use SMART Notebook software. Before long, he had district visitors dropping in on his classes and he was leading professional development efforts with the product.
Joey’s attendance at one of our first SMART Exemplary Educator Summits in 2004 opened his eyes to the community of educators using SMART products, giving him a chance to meet other tech-savvy teachers – connecting and sharing. “It was a breakthrough moment,” he says, “my current philosophy of teaching became more embedded.”
Mirimichi’s grassroots technology standardization led the way
Joey returned to his community with new ideas and passion for modeling instruction that better engages students and leverages technology effectively. The district standardized on SMART products during 2004/2005 and Joey was asked to spend part of his time outside of school to assist with presentations and parent engagement events. Bake sales, home and school associations as well as other projects raised funding to support school projects.
Word of Miramichi’s technology initiative reached other parts of the province and soon the district was hosting visitors from the provincial government and other districts in New Brunswick. The district was also tapped for professional development in the province as well.
From Miramichi to China
Joey feels the relationship between Miramichi and SMART “opened so many doors for me” and the feeling is mutual here at SMART.
For example, Canadian International Schools in China, who use the New Brunswick curriculum, learned how technology was being used to engage students in Miramichi. Dr. Francis Pang invited Joey and Rick Hayward in 2007 and 2008 to deliver professional development on using SMART products with their curriculum.
SMART Showcase Community
The prevalence of SMART products within Miramichi’s school district spread to other services in the community as well. Local tourism, hotels, police training and even the grocery store picked up on the student enthusiasm for technology and the connection with SMART eventually became a shared community experience.
This unique community spirit led to SMART’s advocacy manager Deena Zenyk proposing this 25,000-person community’s designation as the world’s first SMART Showcase Community. Members of SMART came to bestow this designation personally and the event was attended by the premier of the province, education superintendents and members of legislature.
Career readiness connections
Joey shares that the use of SMART Boards in the community became a 21st-century career readiness tool that extended to the workplace. “On the tourism side, Terry Power was interested in having summer students use SMART Boards and Notebook software in the visitor information centers and tourism venues. There are SMART Boards in 13 local information centers and tourism venues. The students create the interactive content used to highlight the community to tourists. They do such a good job that one tourism manager prefers to leave the students with the visitors and mow the lawn herself!” Often it’s the students who are employed to mow the lawn in a community, but instead they are connecting socially and putting their technology skills to use.
Thank you for all you’ve done for SMART, Joey! Thank you for continuing to be a shining example of community spirit, Miramichi!