Bellwood teacher says she’s living her dream

BELLWOOD – Jamie Forshey is living a dream.

She always wanted to teach and coach basketball – at Bellwood-Antis.

“It was a dream of mine to graduate from college and to return here, I always wanted to be a basketball coach here as well. That was the goal when I entered the program at Susquehanna [University]. I was fortunate to achieve that goal,” said Forshey, a 1985 Bellwood-Antis and 1989 Susquehanna graduate. “I had a real good experience here academically and athletically. I wanted to give back for what I received.”

Forshey was a standout basketball player at Bellwood-Antis under coach Sue Kovensky, who Forshey said had a great influence on her life and career.

The others were second grade teacher Molly Goldstein, fifth grade teacher Bill Killian and the late Altoona Area High School basketball coach John Swogger.

“When I think of Jamie Forshey, I immediately think of the words tenaciousness and indefatigable determination and unwavering dedication to the teaching field. She bought into my plans as a player for our basketball team, and we built around her,” Kovensky said. “Jamie possesses the ‘it’ factor that few people have as they walk through the journey of life. She is able to rise to any occasion, while elevating the talents and abilities of her teammates and colleagues.”

After graduating from college, Forshey was hired as a sixth grade teacher and in 2008 became the district’s instructional technology coach in 2008.

Some years the technology position has been full-time and other years part-time. This year it is part-time as Forshey also teaches language arts to sixth graders, computer classes in the middle school and multi-media classes in the high school.

“Ever since I began teaching I had a knack for technology. I was always incorporating it into the classroom. The position was offered to me, and I accepted,” Forshey said. “My interests shifted. I wanted to be around education but work in instructional technology.”

In 2005, Forshey won the Pennsylvania Department of Education Keystone Technology Integrator Award.

She is most proud of developing the middle school technology club.

“I have the opportunity to work with a group of students and teach them the technology and digital skills they need to thrive in this society,” Forshey said.

The technology club is in charge of the morning announcements program at the school. They also produce slides, videos and take pictures of current events in the school.

“They do a nice job of acknowledging the students’ achievements at the middle school and at the elementary and high school levels as well. The neat thing is in highlighting achievements. They have a tool box of tech tools to create and develop things,” Forshey said.

Don Wagner, middle school principal, said Forshey plays a key role in the district.

“Jamie is truly dedicated to teaching and integrating technology into the Bellwood-Antis School District curriculum. She has shown outstanding creativity in using technology to engage students in all curriculum areas,” Wagner said. “Jamie is hard-working, creative and intelligent. When she focuses those qualities on achieving a goal, there is no stopping her.”

Forshey admits keeping up with technology is a challenge.

“Even though I am very diligent, staying up to date with all of the changes is a challenge,” Forshey said. “You need to read, learn more tools and give the students the best that is out there.”

Forshey recently received an award from Education Technology Services for the 2012 Best New Blog – “EduTech for Teachers – Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom.”

“I give reviews of web tools, resources and web sites for teachers to use to enhance learning. I also highlight digital projects I complete with students and show how I went about doing them and how you can replicate it for your classroom,” Forshey said. “I spend a lot of time working on my blog. I had a professional goal to do a blog and it became a reality. It has become a passion writing and sharing ideas with others.”

Forshey also enjoyed her stint as a basketball coach.

She coached the junior high girls two different times. She served as Teri Harpster’s assistant when the Bellwood-Antis girls advanced to the PIAA Class AA state championship game in 1990. She served as head coach for two years 2000-01 and 2001-02, compiling a record of 41-16 and twice was named Juniata Valley League coach of the year.

“They were nice,” she said. “I wasn’t about awards. It was more important for my team to win, achieve and succeed as opposed to any accolades I could win.”

She resigned as coach to obtain an administrative degree and further her education in the area of technology.

“I do miss it. I miss working with the athletes, I miss the competition of sports and being part of a program with a lot of pride and tradition,” Forshey said.

Forshey also has her principal’s certification.

“I have my sights set on being a technology specialist,” she said. “I have no other plans. I can see myself finishing my career in the technology field, hopefully here.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.