The Academy, the tribe, the innovation, and me.

Attending a Google Innovator Academy was a goal of such magnitude that it seemed unreal. Ever since I first learn about Google Certified Innovators, I was intrigued. Following the #COL16 cohort on Twitter was the sneak peek needed for me to decide that I had to be one of them...

Someday, I was going to attend a Google Innovator Academy.

And I did. Goal reached. Ticked. And with the checkmark comes an immense feeling of accomplishment.


The fact that I am now part of this family, not just observing it and getting inspired from the outside, seems incredible. Not that long ago, I was a quiet classroom teacher not really know in my own school district. Now, I am an Innovator. A Google Certified Innovator. I have to live up to that. I am embracing my new role. I have great mentors who are showing me how to find my own way.

The Academy was not about technology. Nor was it about who had the best idea or was the geekiest. The Academy was about growth and collaboration. About stick-to-it-iveness.

At the Academy, our coaches challenged our thinking, our creativity and our teamwork through sparks of inspiration. Like masters, they weaved that fire with our vision to guide us into designing the foundations of our projects. Into building windows to always have dreams. Into crafting keys to never feel trapped. Into carving tools to always bounce back. It was exciting, overwhelming, demanding, thrilling, terrifying. It felt great. Because we were not alone. Because we were supported, cheered, strengthen, celebrated. Because it was real.

It is hard to put into words what we experienced in Toronto. My colleagues innovators and I were trying to translate into concrete words what had been the Academy, and even if we think we had some success in describing it, our picture is nothing more than a unidimensional sketch compared to the real thing.

It is impossible to render the full spectrum of an experience that was for me so powerful and yet so subtle that it literally found its way in all those empty spaces of my being. It filled me. It filled me with a strange and strong substance: belongingness. It made me whole. It made me solid and tall. It kindled a strong feeling that it was our place and our time. That as a group, we have something big to accomplish. That together, we can shoot for the moon.

As the Academy images are fading slowly, their imprints are just starting to let emerge the big picture…The Academy was about people. About connections. Human connections. I connected in ways I didn't think possible in such a short time with inspiring and passionate educators, some I admired long before, others I was eager to meet, and they became in a very quick and intense way, my new tribe. I just feel so blessed to have cross paths with all of them. I am just starting to realize the deepness of the relationship we built. We are more than a network. We are more than colleagues. We are conjoined twins, bound by a unique thread feeding us and protecting us. We are linked forever. We are #TOR16.

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