Merrill Middle School
Ms. Spizzirri previously taught English at the high school level in her native Ecuador and has spent the last seven years teaching Spanish at Merrill Middle School. She also facilitated middle school Foreign Languages Acquisition Professional Development for DMPS and worked at Drake University with the Languages Department in the DULAP Program (Drake Language Partners) providing conversational Spanish classes at the university level. Clemencia Spizzirri believes in the power of education and volunteering work. She volunteered at Lutheran Services of Iowa teaching English and life skills to refugees and served as a site coordinator of a program called Al Exito helping the Latino Community of Des Moines to learn, promote and advocate for their children’ social, emotional and academic success.
In 2015 Ms. Spizzirri was named Iowa Teacher of the Year, becoming the first Latino Female Immigrant (not born in the USA or USA territories) to receive this honor in the state of Iowa and in the whole country.
During her tenancy as the Ambassador of Education for the State of Iowa, she worked on many educational initiatives across the state and the country. Her working platform is based on promoting and sustaining a culture of achievement for every student, assuring the use of culturally relevant curriculum and empowering teachers to become culturally aware and sensitive to increase student’s academic success through knowledge and innovation.
She is currently a doctoral student for Leadership and Innovation at Walden University. Her research interests include linguistic approaches to bilingualism, the early identification for gifted and talented ELL students through their transition from basic, intermediate to advance levels of language learning, culture and community engagement, multicultural literacy, equity and social justice.
Des Moines Register
Online audience manager, chief digital officer, e-commerce manager - these jobs did not exist when Mr. Chivers was walking the halls of North High School and serving as the editor of the Oracle there during his junior and senior years. Yet, he has found success in these roles and others while working for the Wall Street Journal, Meredith Corp., Jostens, MarketWatch and the Des Moines Register.
Mr. Chivers will draw from these experiences to share on the importance of digital literacy - an area that is only growing.