And the Teacher of the Year is…

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bryan Voeltner for winning the 2012 icouldbe Teacher of the Year Award.  We honor Mr. Voeltner, a founding teacher of the Academy of Information and Technology at Hoover High School in San Diego, CA for his extraordinary commitment to his students.  As an 18 year veteran teacher in Hoover’s Technology Support and Global Information Systems programs, Bryan has delivered icouldbe’s program for six years, helping us serve nearly 600 students with our career exploration and college preparation e-mentoring program.  This year there are currently 80 students enrolled who are paired with 126 mentors from a wide variety of industries.

Bryan’s hard work is evident in the achievements of his students and his support of the program.  His students have consistently exceeded the goals of the curriculum due in large part to his hard work and support. Mr. Voeltner states, “As a College and Career Technical Educator, the icouldbe program has been instrumental in helping me ensure that my students have a solid background in what it takes to choose, prepare for, and be successful in a career.  The icouldbe curriculum has helped open doors for my students to view the larger world outside of their immediate community. The activities they complete have the greatest benefits in the areas of communication, research, and planning.”  His students will far exceed the  goal of completing 19 curricular activities for the 2012-2013 school year as they have already completed 17 curricular activities at this mid-point in the school year.

Elizabeth Lang, the Program Manager states, “I thoroughly enjoy working with Bryan because of his enthusiasm, reliability and energy in the classroom. His exceptional professionalism and extraordinary teaching skills have motivated the students to achieve their potential.”

Accolades ring across the entire organization.  Kate Schrauth, Executive Director at icouldbe adds, “Bryan is always there for us.  Just as we constantly encourage our students to be life-long learners, we know we must always be a learning organization as well.  Bryan has dedicated countless hours outside of the classroom to assist us in our quest to apply all we have learned over these many years so that we can provide the very best experience to our students.  We are honored to have Bryan on our team.”

It is our distinct honor to name Bryan Voeltner as the 2012 Teacher of the Year!

icouldbe’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year: Paul Stoddard

At the end of 2011, icouldbe began a critical internal project: migrating internal operational data used to track our school, program, corporate, and foundation partners into Salesforce. Centralizing this data in a secure shared location was a top priority to make sure we had greater efficiency and transparency as our organization grew. So we turned to Catch-a-Fire to find a qualified volunteer and by early 2012 we kicked off our Salesforce initiative with Paul Stoddard, who works by day as an AT&T Systems Architect and in his spare-time as a volunteer extraordinaire!


Paul was initially interested in helping icouldbe because of his own positive volunteer experience as a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Newark, NJ, and tutoring children through the “I Can Foundation”.  As Paul describes:

“Catch-a-fire offers many opportunities to help worthy organizations. I chose icouldbe because of my love for helping young people. Improving education and mentoring children are possibly the most important things we can do to contribute towards a better world.”

Paul’s passion for mentoring has given him insight into the mission of icouldbe, and combined with his technical expertise, has enabled him to customize Salesforce to help us achieve our goals.

Each week throughout 2012, Paul dedicated his spare time, approximately 80 hours to-date, working with us to plan and implement the project. icouldbe staff worked with Paul to transfer contact, organization, billing, and invoice data into Salesforce. Paul has guided us through best practices, and ongoing training, and has worked diligently to understand our requirements and to customize Salesforce to reflect icouldbe’s program model.

The value of the time and dedication that Paul has contributed to icouldbe over the past year cannot be measured in hours. We are in the final phases of the project and could not have accomplished so much without Paul’s invaluable commitment. That’s why we want to thank Paul and recognize him as icouldbe’s Volunteer of the Year for 2012.

National Mentoring Month is over, but icouldbe is just getting started

One of our favorite months of the year is over. It seems like the New Year just began, but here we are a week into February, already on the other side of National Mentoring Month. And what a month it was! Teachers from both the East and West Coasts contributed to the icouldbe blog, our Executive Director Kate Schrauth headed to DC to take part in the National Mentoring Summit, and to top it all off, we hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire, which led to some great discussion around online mentoring, mentoring the next generation, and the role of corporate volunteerism.

National Mentoring Month may be over, but February promises to be a great month, too. Every week this month we’ll highlight some of our partners: our teachers, volunteers, mentors, and schools. We appreciate all the work that these groups of people do for icouldbe on a daily basis, and we want to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on and thank the individuals who go above and beyond to reach at-risk students and guide them towards success.

Stay tuned – we’ll be sharing a new post every week. First up later this week: Volunteer of the Year.