CUE is pleased to announce the appointment of Director of Academic Innovation, Joe Marquez. Joe will officially assume the role of Director of Academic Innovation for the EdTech organization on July 13th.

Marquez, who has worked as a science teacher, instructional technology coach, and most recently as a K-12 Education Strategist for CDW-G, brings educational experience, leadership, and innovation to his new role with CUE.

CUE Executive Director Pam Gildersleeve-Hernandez stated this of Marquez’s induction to the CUE team, “I’m thrilled to welcome Joe Marquez to the CUE team. Joe was the top candidate out of over 800 applicants for the position of Director of Academic Innovation. In addition to being a CUE member and CVCUE affiliate board officer, Joe is at the forefront of understanding best instructional practices and how to accelerate learning through the use of technology. He brings a strong background in STEAM with him and is an excellent fit to round out the CUE team as we support teachers, administrators, schools, and districts in providing the very best in professional learning.”

I had the opportunity to ask Marquez some questions in an effort to “Get to know Joe.” Read on to see what he’s bringing to CUE and what CUE means to him.

KO: Please describe your background in education. 

JM: I was an eighth-grade science teacher for ten years in Clovis Unified School District, as well as an instructional technology coach for four of those ten years. As an educator, I loved the challenge of having to figure out ways to make teaching and learning fun and exciting. I was always striving to find new ways to make learning more meaningful in hopes of transforming the learning experience of our students. My love of learning and love of hacking tools in ways to best help students learn and be engaged was always my favorite aspect of being a technology coach and teacher. I have always been a lifelong learner and am always looking for ways to better myself each and every day. I obtained a Masters Degree in Education Technology to better hone my skills and obtained Google Innovator and Microsoft Innovative educator certifications to best meet the needs of all schools. My last two years in education have been spent as a K-12 Education Strategist for CDW-G, collaborating with districts to get the most out of their technology for the benefit of both the teacher and the student. 

KO: When and why did you first become involved with CUE?

JM: The funny story is that I had not heard of CUE prior to 2011. On a fateful day in June 2011, I was asked to join a colleague of mine at a mixer being held for CVCUE. I joined her and I was welcomed in with open arms by individuals I had never met before – individuals like Jon Corippo and Will Kimbley, who treated me as an equal and lifelong friend. Unbeknownst to me, I had met my new family, my new friends, and my new mentors who, every day since then, have pushed me further and further out of my comfort zone to emerge as a better and more resilient educator. Long story short, if you are asked to go to a CUE mixer…GO! It will change your life – it did mine! 

KO: What does CUE mean to you?

JM: CUE means so much to me, I can hardly put it into words. CUE means family. CUE means friendship. CUE means growth, opportunity, acceptance. CUE is where I have met the people who have grown into some of my closest friends – friends like my podcasting partner, Kyle Anderson. Friends like my EDU doppelgangers Ed Campos Jr, Adam Jarez, and Martin Cisineros.

CUE made me aware that I wasn’t alone in all the crazy things I was doing in class. I was part of a group of innovators who have and continue to transform the meaning of education. CUE means possibilities. CUE means acceptance. But most of all CUE means family! – Joe Marquez

KO: What do you hope to bring to the CUE team?

JM: I will constantly strive to bring strong leadership, innovative ideas, openness of opinions, and a very loud personality. I get so excited about education and teachers. At times, I cannot contain my excitement. I will strive to be a conduit of all our past, present, and future members, to have their ideas and thoughts amplified on a national stage. I will strive to be your friend, colleague, and confidant. I will strive to gain your trust, confidence, and respect every day. I will strive to represent all that CUE stands for. 

KO: How can educators utilize CUE during these uncertain times?

JM: Educators should utilize CUE as an extension of their PLN and PLC. Educators should utilize their local affiliates as an extension of their staff and school resources. CUE is here to collaborate on pedagogy first, learning outcomes second, and technology usage third. Educators need to know that membership to CUE is free and our community is not just for technology educators. We are a resource and community for ALL educators. We may have technology in our bones, but we have students in our hearts and pedagogy in our soul. 

KO: What are you most excited about for the Fall?

JM: I am excited for the uncertainty of the Fall. I am excited for the innovative ideas and solutions teachers will be coming up with in the Fall. I see the Fall as a future with many obstacles to overcome, but that just means many success stories lie ahead. This time excites me because I foresee many teachers taking traditional methods of teaching and mashing them together with something new and innovative. This is the way teaching always needs to be – to be transformed in a manner that is fun, exciting, important, and uncertain. This fun, exciting, important and uncertain approach to teaching is TAMASHA [Tamasha is an Indian word that means fun, exciting, important and uncertainty all rolled into one] and tamasha is teacher. I think this is one of the most important aspects about tamasha –  the uncertainty. As a teacher, you don’t have to be certain your lesson is going to work. You don’t have to be certain that you know how to use a tool 100% perfectly. You don’t have to be certain at all…you just have to be willing to try new things. I think having a portion of uncertainty in any lesson is incredibly important when you’re looking at teaching in the classroom – it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact I always emphasize a great teacher doesn’t mean perfect teaching, right?

A great teacher is somebody that loves what they’re doing, makes the learning meaningful and important to their students, and tries new things to make it relevant for them. That’s it. That’s tamasha. There may be tough times ahead, but teachers are tougher. – Joe Marquez

KO: What are you currently reading?

JM: Right now I am finishing up “To the Edge: Successes and Failure in Risk Taking” authored by my friend, Kyle Anderson. I am also re-reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and looking forward to starting “The End of Average” by Todd Rose. 

KO: What do you like to do in your “off” time?

JM: In my spare time I love to play with my two little girls, Coletta (4) and Ellery (1). Since COVID hit and reduced my travel to zero, I decided to get back into shape by running and eating better. Since March, I have lost 75 pounds through hard work and constant support from my fellow educators and Sons of Technology team. Now, I would have to say that running is my favorite hobby for both my body and my mind. #FlattenTheCurveFlattenTheBelly 

Joe Marquez can be found on Twitter at @JoeMarquez70.


About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.

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