April 28, 2023
DreamBox Learning is not only unique for its ability to support educators and drive student learning. We are also unique because our team includes diverse, passionate, and bright individuals who truly care about transforming the way the world learns.
For us, it’s important to capture their stories and share what makes them special. We celebrate the people at DreamBox who bring ideas to life, make the impossible possible, and empower their teams to do well to do good.
Please meet our colleague and friend, Randi.
DreamBox Interviewer: Thank you so much for joining us today, Randi. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Randi: I truly believe that education can change the world, and because of that I am constantly learning and growing. I love teaching and leading and have had the privilege of doing both throughout my career. I’m a busy wife and mother to three amazing little boys, so my life is rather chaotic. I am also a native of the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. #YooperProud
DreamBox Interviewer: Was there a person that inspired your love of reading or math?
Randi: My father passed away when I was in 3rd grade. Reading allowed me to experience new events, people, and places, as my real world was turned upside down. Reading and literacy always came more naturally to me than math, and I would read for hours outside of school. I’ve always loved reading (and still do), but I believe that time in my life is when it really became more of a passion for me.
DreamBox Interviewer: Reading is so powerful. Were you involved with education prior to DreamBox?
Randi: Yes. I was in public education for almost 15 years as a teacher in multiple grades, a literacy coach to support Michigan's Read by Grade Three Law, and most recently, a principal at the elementary school my oldest two children attended. All these experiences have allowed me to continually learn and grow and find what my true passion is – literacy for all.
DreamBox Interviewer: Working nearly 15 years in public education is amazing! What made you choose to work for DreamBox?
Randi: I was inspired by DreamBox's mission to "radically change the way the world learns." I felt that, if given the opportunity, I could use my expertise to create lessons and opportunities that allow all children, no matter where they live or what their prior experiences have been, to learn how to read.
Although there has been more funding to public schools in recent years due to ESSER funding, rural districts, such as the one I previously worked for, didn’t have the curricular materials that our teachers needed. As educators, we were constantly trying to find ways to incorporate more fluency opportunities for our Kindergarten students, or more phonological awareness lessons for our 2nd graders.
DreamBox has allowed me to take my passion, my leadership, my experiences, and my vision to create DreamBox Reading Park, our new PreK–2 foundational reading program, alongside some of the best professionals in EdTech. Part of what inspires me most about DreamBox is that I was able to ensure that the most critical components of foundational reading that all students need, have been addressed in Reading Park, and I’m really proud of that.
DreamBox Interviewer: You’ve been such a critical part of the Reading Park journey. Now that you’ve been with DreamBox for a while, how would you describe the DreamBox Difference?
Randi: DreamBox is the first company I have ever worked for, and I was nervous about the transition from public education to EdTech. The DreamBox Difference is that I was welcomed with the most patient, kind, and nurturing colleagues and managers. Every single person at this organization wants to see you and your projects succeed. The diversity, the open conversations, and the autonomy to truly be yourself, set DreamBox apart. I feel supported, valued, and appreciated for what I can offer to the company and the role I’m in.
DreamBox Interviewer: We’re so happy to hear that. Which DreamBox value resonates the most with you?
Randi: I truly am inspired by each of the DreamBox values, but the one that resonates the most with me is constantly learning. I hold this value close to my heart. Every position I’ve held throughout my career has been driven by the need to learn and grow. I’m a firm believer in the quote, "When you know better, you do better.” The more I know, the better I can serve my team and our clients (the students) with the best possible experience in learning how to read.
DreamBox Interviewer: This is a great transition to my next question. How best do you learn?
Randi: I am definitely a visual and kinesthetic learner. I need to see it, hear it, feel it, and experience it firsthand to truly make it stick. Knowing my own learning preferences and the preferences of others allowed me to best support my own students in the classroom, teachers that I mentored, and how I currently build literacy lessons today.
When developing Reading Park, my colleagues and I ensured that real imagery is used within lessons to teach vocabulary, that voiced talent was used to teach phonemes (instead of text-to-speech), and that we have a constant visual and auditory connection to the phoneme-grapheme relationship. I know what I need to be a successful learner, and we are hoping that we have allowed all students to have the same opportunities and modalities for learning in an online world.
DreamBox Interviewer: What skills do you think are most important to thrive in a career and in life?
Randi: Everyone should learn the skill of empathy. Every interaction that we have daily could be the highlight or the lowlight of the person we interact with. Always try to be the bright spot in someone else's life. When you are understanding, empathetic, and kind, amazing things can happen!
DreamBox Interviewer: Great perspective! What are some ways you strive to improve the world beyond your role at DreamBox?
Randi: One aspect of DreamBox that stood out to me most was the ability to have flexible time to volunteer and support the organizations that matter most to me outside of my career.
I can support the classrooms and parent/teacher organization at my sons' schools. I’m a board member for our community youth basketball organization, and I can support literacy initiatives at our local library. These opportunities and organizations allow me to have a positive influence on not only my children, but the community as well.
DreamBox Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time today, Randi. It was wonderful to learn more about you. The last thing we’d like to ask is, what motivates you?
Randi: I am most motivated when I am inspired. My husband and children keep me inspired daily to always bring my best, most authentic self. Being part of a team that is supportive, encouraging, and focused motivates me to constantly and consistently give my best effort.