McKINNEY — McKinney ISD is proud to announce that for the third consecutive year, Joli Barker, third grade teacher at Slaughter Elementary, has been selected to take part in Microsoft’s Expert Educator program, created to recognize educators and schools globally who are using technology to transform education.

Barker was selected by Microsoft for her use of technology to drive student achievement. Last year, Barker and her class created The Heart Code Project, a wiki-based learning adventure that connected Barker’s students with their peers in Wales, Canada, Tanzania, Italy, Japan and Egypt as they explored the topics of bullying, hunger, poverty and global warming. Throughout the school year, Barker’s class wrote stories, created videos and coded video games while engaging the learning process in authentic, meaningful ways with students from other countries.

Joli Barker

“Microsoft Expert Educators and Mentor schools are inspiring examples of how individuals and schools are using technology to prepare their students for the 21st Century,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. “Not only are they doing innovative work in the classroom, but they are actively mentoring others and creating change within their own education systems. They set an outstanding example for their peers and we are confident that they will benefit from the access to technology they receive as part of Microsoft’s ongoing programs.”

This year, the Expert Educator program selected 250 educators to be part of an exclusive global community of education leaders who use technology to positively impact learning and student outcomes. To be selected, educators undergo a rigorous application process; they are required to fill out an online application, create a learning activity and a two-to-three minute video that describes their project and how they used technology and innovative teaching practices to impact student outcomes. The winners are selected by a worldwide group of judges who used a broad set of criteria to assess the educators’ evidence of learning, collaboration, knowledge construction and critical thinking among other things.

Expert Educators work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate and share their experiences with effective uses of technology in education with their peers and policy makers. In addition, they mentor other educators and help train them in education technologies and Microsoft products and tools.


To be considered for an Expert Educator, educators must demonstrate a commitment to innovation and the ability to overcome obstacles in preparing students to be 21st century learners. Educators are selected based on their innovation, leadership skills and effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes.

Expert Educators receive a range of benefits including:

  • An invitation to attend the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain taking place in March 2014
  • Free Surface devices for their schools
  • Insider access to Microsoft strategy and technologies
  • Professional and career development opportunities and certifications including peer coaching

“I am absolutely honored and humbled to have been selected as one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators!” said Barker. “I look forward to making the most of the mentoring and learning opportunities that are now available to me, as well as being able to connect with like-minded educators at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum. This is truly the pinnacle of my career and to be able to celebrate the genius of my students is an extraordinarily special moment. Being a Microsoft Expert Educator will not only grow me as an innovative educator, but will help me continue to influence and drive technology in education on a global stage.”

Information provided by Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or


About McKinney ISD

One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,000 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, one alternative school and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at