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Alex Hirbe

Education Integrations Manager, 10 years in education

"I have always been a more reserved teacher that stayed near the safety of my desk. Teaching Gaming Concepts helped me to step out of my comfort zone and allowed me to connect with the students in a very engaging way."

  • 10 years in education

  • 6-12 grade

  • Intro to Industrial Technology

  • Computer Applications

  • Video Broadcasting

  • Intro to Cinema

  • Blender Animation

  • Intro to Technology 

  • 3D Design in Blender

  • Unity Game Design

  • Intro to Woodshop

  • Mass Production

  • District Technology Integration Specialist

Alex Hirbe
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Alexander Earley

Scholastic Account Executive

"I want to help kids like me find their WHY. I think having an esports program at every school would benefit so many kids on the outside, like myself, and give them the tools that they need to be successful."

  • Lifelong Gamer

  • Founded an esports non profit organization and served as a board member, secretary and treasurer

  • Expanded an esports LMS from Sweden into US markets

  • Currently working to help schools across the country build esports programs

When I was in high school I was an outsider. I tried to fit in with traditional sports and for the first two years, I never made a team. I spent a lot of time alone gaming after school while my friends all competed in their various sports. It wasn’t until my junior year that I joined our crew team and found my self confidence. I am doing this because I want to help kids like me find their WHY. I think having an esports program at every school would benefit so many kids on the outside, like myself, and give them the tools that they need to be successful.

Alexander Earley
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Andrew Lombardo

Scholastic Account Executive, 21 years in education

"I love seeing students’ lives transformed and improved by what they learn and experience from Generation Esports resources."

  • 6 years teaching, 7-12 Social Studies

  • 9 years Early Childhood/Preschool Administrator

  • Family and Teen Counselor

  • Pastor

  • Life Coach

  • International Teacher in China

  • School Board Member

  • Character Education Task Force

Andrew Lombardo
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Barry DeSain

Ambassador

"Bringing esports to our region in NYS is a passion of mine. I am so happy and proud to be able to support the amazing work that GenE is doing to support the youth of America."

  • Barry DeSain  is supporting educational technology integration by utilizing fourteen years of teaching and coaching experience to engage beyond the classroom to create immersive experiences for varied audiences. 

Barry DeSain
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Bubba Gaeddert

Gaming Concepts Writer & Executive Director of VEF, 11 years in education

"I am passionate about education and supporting students on their academic journey. I love seeing students earn scholarships for competing in esports, as it reflects their hard work and dedication. It's truly gratifying to see them succeed in something they are passionate about."

  • 11 years in education

  • Higher education adjunct professor in sports, coaching, and officiating

  • Online course educator specializing in esports and sports officiating

  • Executive Director, Varsity Esports Foundation

  • Professional broadcaster, host, consultant, entrepreneur, and content creator

  • Founder Jolumi Media

Bubba Gaeddert
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David Stone

Service Agent and Tournament Coordinator

"In esports, I found my community AND my competitive spirit. I’m so thankful for the privilege I had in school where I was able to explore my musical passion, and I want to play a role providing that same opportunity to the students now, tomorrow, and forever. I want to give students a reason to come to school, just like I had."

  • Former Rocket League tournament coordinator for Kansas City Esports

  • Organized Smash Ultimate tournaments

  • Hours upon hours of time spent playing/studying/watching top tier esports such as Rocket League, Valorant, Overwatch, etc

Growing up as an only child of divorced parents, gaming became a true solace for me to explore worlds and inspire my imagination. I grew up playing sports like basketball, soccer, baseball, and lacrosse because I love competing, but found that I never truly fit in with my teammates. Switching tracks to music and the arts helped me find my community and home. These are things generally –and unfortunately– seen as “non essential” or at the very least “lesser than” your typical general education course. Yet, for so many including myself, these “extracurriculars” are what keep them coming to school every day. 

I never lost my passion for competition, and rediscovered esports when the pandemic hit. My fiance (now wife) and I were living in central New York, isolated from all of our friends, and the only method of true communication and connection we had with them was through gaming. Sessions of Overwatch, Rocket League, Call of Duty, you name it! This was when my epiphany hit: In esports, I found my community AND my competitive spirit. I’m so thankful for the privilege I had in school where I was able to explore my musical passion, and I want to play a role providing that same opportunity to the students now, tomorrow, and forever. I want to give students a reason to come to school, just like I had.

David Stone
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Dr. Kristen Craft

Scholastic Account Executive, 27 years in education

"I love seeing students thrive when odds are against them. Celebrating the numerous successes of students in the arts, activities and athletics, cheering teachers' growth and accomplishments as they work magic every day in the classroom knowing the hard work it takes to make it all look effortless, and being a mentor to so many exceptional leaders in education and seeing them flourish fills my cup!"

  • 27 years in education

  • Social Studies

  • High School Administrator

  • Middle School Administrator

  • District Level Administrator

  • Kansas Principal of the Year

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Dr. Kristy Custer

President Educational Innovation, Gaming Concepts Author, 24 years in education

Kristy has spent 20 years in alternative education for at-risk students turning their dislike for school into a love of learning. She believes that if you meet students where they are at, they will lead you where they need to go.

  • 24 years in education

  • 6-12 English teacher

  • Creative Writing

  • Drivers Education

  • Family & Consumer Science

  • Speech/Theater

  • 6-12 Journalism

  • High School Administrator

  • Kansas Principal of the Year

Kristy Custer
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Dr. Michael Russell

President Esports Education and Esports Integration, 6 years in education

Honors/Awards

Horizon Award 2015

Mid-American Computer Educator of the Year 2018

Best memory in education:

Tough question for me. So many student success stories, but I would have to say it was the day we received the grant from the Maize Education Foundation to fund our lab. They always called people up in order from lowest to highest, according to the grant amount. I knew we would be close to the last one called because our grant request was $9,997.00 and the max award was $10,000. The entire school district is present for the end of year celebration, so it was a big deal! There was one last check on the table and they called out Mike Russell from Complete High School Maize! I am not a runner, but I walked briskly to the stage and held that big check while taking a few photos. As part of our end of year celebration we walked on the track for a mile for the American Heart Association, and I carried that big check around the track four times! People were so happy for our school and I was excited to begin offering scholastic gaming courses and esports competition to our students that following year! I never envisioned it would evolve into Gaming Concepts and reach thousands of students around the world.   

Worst memory in education:

My worst memory in education was the very beginning of the Covid pandemic. Working with students in high risk categories requires individualized and in person instruction. It was difficult to watch the students try to navigate school remotely. While we did see them everyday virtually, it was difficult to maintain the connections we built, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. I am thankful we have made it through, but I remain concerned, as I know we will continue to see the impact of the pandemic on educators and students long after the pandemic ends. 

What’s your “Why” for being at GenE?

My “why” is very personal. I grew up gaming, and credit gaming with saving my life, particularly as I navigated my middle school and early high school years. Most people would say things like “you're wasting your life”, or “that will never benefit you in the future”. I knew from my own experience that these statements could not be more incorrect. Convincing people I was right has been the tricky part and until eight years ago, I was ok with letting people believe that. Eight years ago I decided to become a teacher, I was 37 years old at the time, and still gaming. I was fortunate to land a social studies position (big shout out to the Civilization video game series) at Complete High School Maize. As part of the interview I was asked about my passion, what would I do that was unique to the school and great for kids? As Dr. Kristy Custer describes it, “Mike said I like video games.” Kristy loved the idea and told me to run with it. During my six years at Complete High School we wrote 40 grants, built an amazing lab, participated in local and national competitions, and wrote a course titled Gaming Concepts. Initially, we wrote the book because we could not find any courses centered on scholastic gaming or esports. We also wanted something that could be taught for credit during the school day, a course that did not exist at that time. During this time we began to talk to the founders of the High School Esports League. Our esports teams competed in their league and we were quite happy with the competitive aspects of the platform and love their passion for students. The founders heard we were teaching the Gaming Concepts course for credit and wanted to know how they could provide this opportunity to more students and teachers in their network. Fast forward six years and I now work for Generation Esports, helping to lead their education department. A career that is embedded in education and has an esports focus. I would say my “why” has evolved from “I am going to prove to people that gaming and the skills learned while gaming are beneficial”, to “How can I help more students utilize the skills they learn from gaming to positively impact their career, college, and personal goals”.

Biography

Michael Russell has been an avid gamer for nearly 40 years. After a successful career in sales, Dr. Russell entered the field of education as a social studies teacher at Complete High School Maize in 2015. After his first year of teaching, Dr. Russell was awarded the Horizon Award for Kansas in 2015.  This award is given to first-year teachers to recognize excellence in the classroom. In 2018, Dr. Russell also received the Making IT Happen Award at the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education Conference for his work developing and implementing a video game curriculum in the classroom.

Dr. Russell has also been a speaker at the 2019 ISTE Conference, the 2022 Future of Education Technology Conference, Global Esports Clinic, the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education Conference, and NAECAD. In 2018, Dr. Russell completed his master’s degree in building administration from Fort Hays State University and earned his doctoral degree in District Leadership from Baker University in 2021. Dr. Russell is the Vice-President of Curriculum and Esports Integration at High School Esports League, working to develop curriculum for educators around the world. Dr. Russell is the co-author of Gaming Concepts: Foundations, Gaming Concepts: Interactive Media and Esports Topics, and Gaming Concepts Middle School: Exploring Life Skills Through Scholastic Gaming.

Michael Russell
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Heidi Albin

Gaming Concepts Writer, 14 years in education

"There is an art to motivating students, and it begins with discovering their interests. All students have the capacity to be motivated and the use of Gaming Concepts in the classroom is the key to unlocking effort and performance in an entire cohort of students whose interests and skills have been largely underutilized in schools...until now."

  • 14 years in education

  • 7-12 Science

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Earth Science

  • Space Science

  • Physical Science

  • Agriculture

  • Health

  • Career Education

  • Character Education

  • Master Angler with Fishing's Future

  • Milken Educator

  • Presidential Award for Excellence In Mathematics and Science Teaching

Heidi Albin
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James Rand

Generation Esports Ambassador

"Gaming Concepts has provided students with compelling opportunities in both STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and 21st century skills that have transformed the way students look at school.  Using the lens of gaming, many students have now found their place in scholastic esports, and have developed a sense of community in a school environment.  It’s been amazing to watch students who previously had little interaction with peers join in a friendly game in class, building lasting relationships and a sense of belonging, all while giving students a window into the skillsets and opportunities that esports and related career paths provide.  Using esports as a teaching tool, the computer skills required for college and career become embedded in the excitement of gaming, where learning intersects with fun.  With high demand for these prebuilt courses, we hope to continue expanding our scholastic esports program with Generation Esports and Gaming Concepts."

Jim Rand is a veteran educator with 18 years of experience in the classroom, and five seasons coaching esports at Griswold Public Schools in Griswold, Ct.  He was one of the designers of the Nexus lab at Griswold High School, and has implemented credit-bearing scholastic esports classes into the district’s course offerings.  Jim is currently working on the expansion of Griswold’s program, including instruction on streaming, shoutcasting, cybersecurity, and 3D modeling.  He has spoken at numerous regional conferences, advocating for esports in education, and has assisted districts implementing their own scholastic esports programs.

James Rand
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John Morais

Platform Service Agent

"People I grew up with did not have opportunities for growth in gaming nor a pathway to take this hobby that we all loved and make something out of it to better ourselves and our lives. I wanted to give that opportunity to today’s students in any way possible, with Generation Esports being the most logical choice to impact as many students as I could."

  • Managed LAN tournaments in Houston, TX

  • Avid gamer since childhood with over 5000 hours in both Rocket League and Rainbow 6 Siege

  • Top 25 sales in the nation for Microsoft gaming (Xbox and PC)

When I was in high school and even college, esports did not really exist on a widespread basis. Where it was present, it seemed like it was only for people such as professional gamers from places nowhere near where my friends and I lived. People I grew up with did not have opportunities for growth in gaming nor a pathway to take this hobby that we all loved and make something out of it to better ourselves and our lives. I wanted to give that opportunity to today’s students in any way possible, with Generation Esports being the most logical choice to impact as many students as I could.

John Morais
Joshua Michaels
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Joshua Michaels

Platform Service Agent

"I grew up playing video games. In my time with Generation Esports, I’ve seen how powerful the effects of scholastic gaming can be, especially to young people. To be able to work with teachers and students directly is truly amazing! "

​​"I have a passion for what we provide to the esports community and the stories and relationships I have made with our educators will stay with me for the rest of my life. I love being a part of this team and couldn’t imagine doing anything else."

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Joshua Tabor

Generation Esports Ambassador

"What brought us to Gaming Concepts was the education first approach. Many of the companies that approached us talked about esports competition and educating our students was an afterthought. Gaming Concepts is the exact opposite, which is how it should be. They are teachers first and their curriculum is student and educator focused. If your program is interested in competition, they can help, but it is not something they have ever pushed. All my dealings have been positive and I always walk away knowing they want what is best for students."

Dr. Joshua Tabor is a digital learning specialist and district esports lead in the Denton Independent School District in Denton, Texas. He has been in education for over 22 years, and, prior to his current role, taught social studies and coached volleyball and softball. His research fields include effective online learning, AI in the classroom, and gamification. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas in the Department of Learning Technologies. Joshua lives in McKinney, Texas, with his wife, Amanda, their son, Braxton, and their four furry children.

Joshua Tabor
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Julie Mavrogeorge

Generation Esports Ambassador

Why do you think teachers like teaching the Gaming Concepts curriculum?

 

Engaging students in the classroom is difficult post-pandemic. We've had to implement policies and procedures to pull students away from their phones, and we continually search for ways to connect them emotionally and intellectually to the idea of life after high school. We want to see our students succeed and find the passion that will lead them to college or a career that they find meaningful and rewarding. I hear it all the time, "I've tried everything, they just won't engage."

 

My answer is always: have you considered implementing Gaming Concepts as part of your curriculum? Because Gaming Concepts covers topics students are interested in, like streaming, video games, and shout casting (talking about the games they are watching on-screen), it's easy to hold their attention and provides a "hook" for learning.

 

Teachers can embed Gaming Concepts curriculum into many mainstream classes and use it as a linked learning tool through English, Speech, Marketing, Video, and Multimedia courses. It can also be its own stand-alone class. The coursework is aligned to all state and national standards and encompasses, health and wellness, social/emotional and mental health exercises, as well as provides the most interesting and engaging content that is relevant to the lives of our post-pandemic students.

 

Teachers/coaches in our district find that when using Gaming Concepts, students are learning the college and career-ready skills they need to flourish in our 21st-century society and are eager to learn because the content is genuinely relevant to them and the careers that interest them.

Julie Mavrogeorge’s passion in education is assisting in the creation of innovative STEAM programs that provide access to flourishing college and career opportunities. She is privileged to collaborate with global esports and technology industry professional partners and colleges to assist school districts in developing personalized esports solutions and programs. For Fresno Unified, Julie is a CTE Pathway Coordinator, where she has introduced drones for careers in aerial photography and drone racing for exploring aviation. She is concurrently developing a comprehensive K-12 CTE esports pathway which includes writing inclusive and diverse, social/emotional K-6 esports curriculum, and integrating curriculum in existing CTE courses.

Julie Mavrogeorge
Michael Watson
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Michael Watson

Platform Service Manager, 6 years in education

"I have witnessed firsthand how powerful esports can be in reaching an unreachable group of students. The story of a specific student comes to mind. This student was almost nonverbal because of crippling anxiety in 10th grade. Esports gave this student a way to connect with friends at school. By 12th grade, this student was on the leadership team in our esports club, had become a social person, and earned a scholarship to play Overwatch and design the branding for a college esports team. I want to be able to bring this life-changing experience to as many students as possible."

  • 6 years in education

  • 9-12 English

  • Esports club advisor

  • Esports coach

Neal Doolin
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Neal Doolin

Director of Platform Operations, 8 years in education

“I saw the immense growth in my esports students at Blue Valley Southwest. I wanted to grow the program, increase its legitimacy, and spread it to other schools in the district and state. I came to Generation Esports because I wanted to become theperson that could have helped me reach more kids at my school. That will always be my goal at GenE–to improve the experiences and lives of as many students as possible.”

  • 8 years in education

  • General Physics

  • Intervention Algebra

  • AP Calculus BC

  • Esports program founder, sponsor, and coach

  • Blue Valley Southwest Teacher of the Year (2018)

  • Blue Valley Southwest Master Teacher of the Year (2019)

  • University of Kansas School of Education Wolfe Family Teaching Award (2020)

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Sharon Seaton

Generation Esports Ambassador

Sharon Seaton is a 29-year veteran of the education profession. She earned her BA in Secondary Education from Grandview University in 1994 and her MS in Science Education where she majored in Integrating Technology Into the Classroom from Walden University in 2011. She currently teaches Science and Computer Science for Weld North Education in addition to her teaching duties at Expedition Academy and Green River High Schools in Green River, Wyoming where she offers 27 different science classes, eight math classes and four computer science classes. She holds endorsements in Life Science, Physical Science, Earth/Space Science, Computer Science, English as a Second Language and At-Risk/Alternative Education. She also serves as a mentor and reviewer for the Wyoming Department of Education’s Microcredential Program. Her hobbies include gardening, crocheting, quilting, doing crafts, hiking, fishing, and being outdoors. Mrs. Seaton currently resides in Green River, Wyoming with her husband Michael.

Sharon Seaton
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Wacey Tobler

Generation Esports Ambassador

Wacey Tobler is a 13 year veteran of education who started his career teaching secondary ELAR before transitioning into his role as a Digital Learning Coach. Entering into his 5th year as the Secondary Digital Learning Coach for Fort Sam Houston ISD in San Antonio, TX, he is the Dell Student TechCrew facilitator and the head Esports Coach for the Robert G. Cole Cougar Esports Club. In addition to his many roles at FSHISD, he also serves as the TCEA Area 20 Director and had the honor of being named the TCEA Instructional Tech Specialist of the Year for the 2021-22 school year.

Wacey Tobler
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