This May, we bring you one of Newmind’s newest additions to the education team: Stacey Kaczmarek! Born and raised on the East side of the mitten, Stacey was a pretty normal (although horse crazy) little lady. After she finished high school, she ventured to Grand Valley State University where she studied a little bit of everything before finally settling on a Liberal Studies degree with a focus on Educational Philosophy.

“I spent the next two years in China teaching (a year in Shijiazhuang, and one in Nanjing, respectively) and travelling to anywhere possible within the country. My teaching in China really solidified my passion for the Education field.”

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During her second year in China, Stacey started a full-time Master’s Degree Program through Arizona State University. After wrapping up the degree in Phoenix, she mounted a quest for a full-time teaching position and moved back to Michigan—she’s been smiling ever since!

The Quest to Newmind

As Stacey was finishing up certifications and broadening her career horizons, Jarad Selner approached her with an opportunity to continue working with education, but from a Newmind angle. Her Master’s degree had instilled a passion for edtech, and when she became aware of Newmind Group’s education team, she saw it as a perfect way to bring together that passion with her experience as a teacher.

Today Stacey works with districts as a liaison to bridge the gap between the hard techie side of things, and schools that are interested in solutions but aren’t sure what works and how to apply the technology. What does she like most about Newmind?

“The people. I love waking up and knowing that I am coming into an office to work with teammates who are awesome… and yes, the pinball machine, too.”

Newminder Fast Facts

How have you been spending your time lately?
Most of my free time is spent playing games of Magic the Gathering or sessions of Pathfinder late into the night. I also enjoy a nice game of backgammon on my front lawn with a choice brew.

If you could enlighten every acquaintance you make with one game, one piece of music, and one book, what would those be?
Game: Gloom: Cthulhu Edition—One thing I love to do with a new group of friends is bring out Cthulhu Gloom. The storytelling aspect really brings out each individual’s personality and the creative ways in which you attempt to win the game are sure to inspire a lot of laughter and memories.

Music: Three way tie—these albums and songs are most often on repeat wherever I am. Daft Punk—Random Access Memories. I picked up this album last year, and haven’t been able to put it down. LCD soundsystem’s Dance Yrself Clean always gets me groovin’. And when I’m really pumped up I go for Girl Talk’s latest All Day—the mix of artists and genres from the last 50 years is really quite spectacular.

Book: Mouse guard—Before Mouse Guard I hadn’t really read many comics (I was much less cool back then)- But after discovering the comic series I fell hard. The stories are gripping, the illustrations are gorgeous, and as someone from an Education background, it’s something I could share with upper elementary students as an introduction to the art form without being overly violent or inappropriate, as it gives a different kind of feel than most mainstream comics today.

If you were forced to leave the country for 10 years, where would you go to settle down?
I would love to go to Europe. I can’t be more specific, because I haven’t been before. There’s enough history to keep me walking down back alleyways and gawking at architecture for ten years while my secret agent status is covered up, which is why I’m sure I was asked to leave the country in the first place. Also, beer.

If you could have coffee with one person from history, who would it be?
Probably Alexander the Great, although I’m quite sure he’d prefer wine or something stronger. We could talk about what it was like to study under Aristotle over some pretzel bite appetizers (my fav) and move to his legendary adventures with Bucephalus over some surf and turf (probably his favorite), and finish with how his legend has lived on throughout history over some chocolate cake (my favorite again).

Favorite place to eat in Kalamazoo?
I’m pretty new to the area, but I can definitely brag about the food at Irving’s Market. The sheer variety and creativity of their food choices is enough to keep me going back again and again.
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