Guest Post: Meet your PBS Teacher Ambassador

Spread the love
Share the love!

PBS and your local public television station love teachers! To celebrate that love, PBS is partnering with local public television stations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, North Dakota, and Iowa to pilot the PBS Teacher Community Program to help make teaching, particularly in rural areas, just a little bit easier. This exciting grassroots initiative empowers a local educator as the Teacher Ambassador to provide training, coordinate meet-ups, facilitate collaboration, and act as a voice for teachers throughout your state. Your local Teacher Ambassador can provide training and support for teachers in a variety of ways, especially in the areas of digital media and technology. Meet the Teacher Ambassador from your area, and find out how they can bring the love to your school!


Hello, I am Kari Wardle, and I’m the Teacher Ambassador for Idaho Public Television. I am excited, and humbled, to represent and support Idaho’s teachers. Before joining the IdahoPTV staff, I worked as a 5th grade teacher in Burley, Idaho, for 8 years, and as a combined 5th/6th teacher in Clifton, AZ for one year. I served on both my school and district technology teams and was instrumental in implementing technology throughout my school and district, including providing training for teachers. I have a great passion for empowering teachers with the knowledge and tools needed to bring their classrooms into the 21st century! I obtained my B.A. in K-8 Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Governors University and am currently pursuing my Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from Idaho State University (Go Bengals!). One of our goals at IdahoPTV is to raise awareness of the amazing free resources available to teachers throughout the state from both PBS and Idaho Public Television. I am happy to come to your school to provide PD training as a whole school, with collaborative groups, or out-of-school programs. Additionally, I can model the use of technology and/or digital media in the classroom with individual teachers or teams. Please connect with me via email at and with teachers around the state by following IdahoPTV Educates on Facebook and Pinterest as well as joining our closed Facebook group designed specifically for teachers to connect and collaborate at IdahoPTV Teacher Community.

Southern Oregon

Hello, my name is Ben Garcia and I’m privileged to serve as Southern Oregon Television’s Teacher Ambassador. I have the great opportunity to help local teachers in many ways via professional development events, station events, workshops, Facebook groups, and also through by creating general program awareness via our Facebook SOPTV-TCP page. The station is also excited about our effort to help local educators share their brilliant lessons on The synergetic use of amazing tools like this, and teacher directed collaboration in general, have greatly help to form lifelong bonds with local teachers, students, and school districts. Prior to SOPTV, from 2010 through 2012, I taught secondary ELA in Portland Public Schools earning my M.Ed. while working with 8th and 9th graders. In 2012 I moved to Mexico and taught English at the University of Aguascalientes, where my father lives, and during this year I also taught secondary ELL at a private high school in Aguascalientes. In 2013 I committed to teaching a summer semester for an IB World School in China, but I finished the last two years of my time abroad as an ELA teacher for the American School of Torreon, Mexico. In late 2016 I moved back home to verdant southern Oregon and I’m elated to be a part of the Teacher Community program where I’m lucky to be able to support local teachers. (


I am thrilled to introduce myself as the Teacher Ambassador for MontanaPBS.  As a Montana girl,  born, raised, and educated, I am proud to be representing Montana PBS as part of the Teacher Community Program. I started my career in the classroom in 2001 and have taught 4th and 5th students in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom as well as Kindergarten and First Grade in a 1:1 iPad classroom at LaMotte School, a rural school in Bozeman, MT. I am a National Board Certified teacher with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and I was the 2014 PBS Digital Innovator for Montana. I am also BrainPOP Certified Educator and was a finalist for Montana Teacher of the Year in 2017. Inspiring teaches to take risks and use technology to improve their instruction is a true passion of mine. Since 2011 I have been delivering professional development to teachers all over the state of Montana and have also presented at national conferences including NCCE in Seattle, ISTE in Denver in 2016 and San Antonio in 2017. I’m an avid Twitter user and love connecting with like minded educators online. I have the privilege of being a co-moderator of the Montana Teachers Education Chat on Twitter, #mtedchat. Join in Tuesday nights at 8pm MDT to be part of a rich conversation about teaching and learning with educators from all over the globe! As a Teacher Ambassador for MontanaPBS I am  working with three schools districts of varying sizes and populations in Montana as a technology coach.I will be helping teachers to use digital media resources to meet the needs of their learners. Teachers who work with me are helping MontanaPBS answer some important research questions about how the use of digital media is shaping modern classroom instruction. I spend a week with each school district working side by side with teachers to provide ongoing, embedded professional development within the context of their classrooms. My services  in each school include, offering coaching meetings, strategy modeling sessions, co-teaching lessons and onsite professional development. Connect with our Montana PBS Education Facebook page to stay updated on our Educational Events in the state of Montana. Email Nikki at with questions or suggestions! Follow me on Twitter too! @NVradenburg.

North Dakota

Greetings from North Dakota and Prairie Public Broadcasting.  I’m Darcy Bakkegard, a Valley City, ND native and a ten year teaching veteran.  I’ve taught in public and private, rural and suburban, and international schools, and each has taught me how to be a better learner and teacher.  Building from a BA in Theatre from Minnesota State University Moorhead, I worked in educational theatre for several years before I finally did what I knew I was meant to do and completed a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls. Ten years in and I’m still teaching high school English, Theatre, and now teachers. Throughout my time teaching, I’ve also led workshops at the National Council of Teacher of English National Convention, the International School Conference of Turkey, and the Metro Area Tech Camp and served as a curriculum coach helping teachers integrate interactive teaching strategies into their classroom.  Most recently I served as the Director of Theatre and English teacher at West Fargo High School. The PBS Teacher Community Program is allowing me to combine all the lessons I’ve learned in and out of the classroom to help teachers better support and help all learners.

Click to read more about the Teacher Community Program. If you have questions, please contact me at or check out the other educational services provided by Prairie Public.


Hello! I am Mekca Wallace-Spurgin and I am super excited to be a part of the family at Iowa Public Television (IPTV) and Centerville School District as the Teacher Ambassador. I have over 15 years of teaching experience comprised of both the elementary and secondary levels. While teaching science has been my main position, I was also a lead teacher in my past school district and served on the district technology committee. As a team we were worked to successfully lead the adoption of 1:1 devices and the 21st Century classroom that is used extensively throughout the district. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as an adjunct instructor at William Penn University teaching online courses in science. As a non-traditional student I earned Clinton Community College as marrying and having three children. I went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Ashford University (Mount St. Clare College) and in 2007 I earned  a Master’s of Science Degree from Drake University with a concentration in Curriculum and Effective Teaching. As I write this I am entering my final year at Nova Southeastern University where I am finishing my Ed.D in Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. While ever-changing, my two passions include digital storytelling and identifying the qualities students learning at a distance possess to make them successful in an online environment.

PHONE: (208) 373-7314 MOBILE: (208) 670-4076
1455 N. Orchard St., Boise, ID 83706