The Meet Britannica blog series takes you behind the scenes to Britannica’s colleagues who have made significant impacts on how we create and deliver products for all ages. Our last Meet Britannica blog featured Kenny Chmielewski, Britannica’s in-house cartographer, who develops maps and charts for Britannica’s products.
This month, we’re introducing Darcy Carlson, who’s one of our customer-favorites at Britannica. Darcy is our Professional Development Manager. She makes sure that customers know how to use their Britannica products and that they have fun and relevant ways to use the products with their students.
Tell me about your background. I have my Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University with a Learning Behavior Specialist Emphasis. Before joining Britannica, I was a classroom special education teacher, both in the elementary and secondary settings.
What exactly does the Professional Development team at Britannica do? Our team works closely with schools, districts, public libraries, and statewide initiatives to make sure that teachers, students, and librarians are getting the most they can out of their subscription to our resources. We provide training for our online resources and how to integrate those resources into their curriculum.
Tell us briefly about the kind of things you do on any given day? It really depends – that’s what’s so great about this job! One day, I could be creating training materials or conducting webinars in our offices in Chicago. The next day, I might be flying to California or New York to conduct professional development workshops in person. There is a lot of variety in this job, and I love the fact that I get to meet new people, sustain relationships, and learn from educators from around the country!
What do you find the most challenging about your job? Continuing to keep up with changes in the K-12 education space. There are a lot of changes from year to year, so it’s very important that we keep current and knowledgeable about educational trends. It’s a challenge but also one of the more interesting parts of the job!
How many trainings have you done in your career at Britannica? Yikes, I had to look back for this one! Including both in-person trainings and webinars, I would estimate a total of around 1,000 trainings.
What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part about my job is seeing the excitement of educators during training sessions when being introduced to content or features within Britannica resources that will solve a problem or meet a need in their classrooms and libraries. It’s inspiring to work with these motivated, creative, and passionate educators! These educators are actually who inspired Britannica Partners in Education, or Britannica PIE, our expert educator community that launched last month. Britannica PIE is our way to bring these experts together, share the great work that is being done, and feature work from which others can benefit.
I love hearing how teachers will use Britannica in new ways. In EVERY session, I come away with a new idea that I can take back with me and continue to share with other teachers.
Is there anything new and exciting happening in the Britannica Professional Development department? Aside from Britannica PIE, our new expert educator community, we also just launched a custom training program that I’m really excited about. We created 11 new workshops for K-12 educators that are supplemental to the customer training and free webinars that we already provide. From developing literary superpowers to cultivating evidence-based reading and writing to discovering STEM resources, we have engaging new courses for every subject.
If you didn’t go into the field of education, what would you have done instead? Hmm…I would have to say a tour guide, maybe on a boat!
What is your most prized possession? My home. This is where my favorite two things are: my husband and my dog.
If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive) who would it be? This is a hard question! I would have to say Helen Keller. I’ve always been fascinated with her story. She was such an anomaly for her time, from her political views to her role in activism for people with disabilities and special education. I would love to sit with her and understand her unique perspective on the world.