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TeacherMade: From COVID to Your Classroom

TeacherMade Was Born in the 21st Century Classroom

Having been out of the classroom for years, I took the opportunity to return in 2018-2019 school year. Lots had changed and much was the same. The interactive whiteboards and class computers were an improvement, but there was still paper everywhere: paper worksheets, paper tests, messy folders stuffed with student papers!!

My partner and I started designing a web-based teacher tool that would turn the printed pages of any classroom into engaging digital activities. Teachers would be happier and more productive. Students would be ecstatic. We weren’t in any rush, taking our time to design it properly… and then COVID hit. And all of a sudden our laconic pace was replaced with a frenetic race to get TeacherMade into your hands as quickly as possible!! We launched on September 8th, 2020 and have been refining and expanding the product ever since, with YOUR help. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve given to the product you’re using today.

Meet the TeacherMade Founders

TeacherMade Co-Founder and CEO Laura Bresko
Laura Bresko, Co-Founder

Brad Smith and Laura Bresko, the founders of TeacherMade.com, have spent all of their lives in the education world. Raised in families of Teachers– aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and, most importantly, moms who all taught school, there was little doubt where they’d direct their professional attention. Coming of age during the 80s and 90s, they combined their natural attraction to technology with their education DNA. They’ve been making impactful edtech ever since– fueled by occasional stints in the classroom. They’re happiest when they’re solving problems for Teachers– and always capitalize the word out of respect for the beautiful, caring people who have enormous influence in each of our lives. We’re all “Teacher-made.”

Though we are a new site, we are not new to the edtech space. Our first company focused on the ELA classroom, making fully annotated and hyperlinked, multimedia books before the internet was available. A textbook publisher acquired it. In our second company, we made essential Teacher tools desktop software (remember that stuff?): puzzle makers, worksheet generators, test builders, etc. Harry Potter’s publisher bought most of those products. We didn’t really want to sell but sometimes it’s foolish to say no. So we kept the testing software because we were excited about the promise of data-driven instruction. We wrote 100,000+ questions and spent over a decade making Teacher favorites like FCAT Test Maker, STAAR Test Maker, and other state-specific assessment products. That company, Progress Testing, became a part of Illuminate Education’s “Megazord” mergers and acquisition spree. We were so relieved to be out of the assessment market by then! What started out as a hopeful social justice/equity issue has now become a cancer on public education. We all know it. Now let’s hope we have some societal resolve and fix it in the coming months and years.

With TeacherMade, we’re so glad to be back where our hearts have always been– with YOU, the classroom Teacher. (I hope you’re able to feel our joy right through this screen!) We look forward to hearing from each and every one of you. What was born in a pandemic now reaches around the globe to help Teachers everywhere deliver instruction in a more productive and personal way.

Meet The TeacherMade Team Members Who Take Care of You Every Day

Though there are many professionals who make TeacherMade possible, from software developers and data analysts to support specialists and designers, there are two women who you’re most likely to interact with. Take a moment to get to know them so they’re more than just a voice on the phone or a post in our Communi?y.

Kate Howie, Your Customer Success Manager

TeacherMade Customer Success Manager

Hello! Most of you know me from our TeacherMade Community Forum. Officially, my title is Customer Success Manager, but you can just call me Kate. My main focus is making sure all of our TeacherMaders are finding answers that lead to success when using our amazing app.

 I live in Boston, Massachusetts now. I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Business Administration. Between graduation and  joining the TeacherMade adventure in September of 2020, I completed a year of service with City Year. I worked as a math tutor in a 10th grade classroom at The Jeremiah E Burke High School in Dorchester, Massachusetts! It was an awesome and humbling experience where I developed great respect for the work that Teachers do everyday. 

 I’m excited to be working in EdTech as that’s always been a passion of mine. However, I could definitely see myself re-entering the classroom down the road and, as our CEO Laura always says, moving somewhere much warmer than New England!

Jen Chorma, Your School Sales Manager

TeacherMade Institutional Sales Manager

Hi! I’m Jennifer Chorma. I have been an educator for 28+ years. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Geneseo State University in NY and a Masters of Education degree in School Counseling from the University of West Alabama. I started out as a research chemist but that was not for me. (I like to talk too much.) I have a passion for all things education so I began teaching back in (ehem…) 1992. I began working in educational sales in 2016. In 2019, I went back into the classroom and resumed my teaching career. I became familiar with TeacherMade as a high school chemistry Teacher when COVID hit and everyone was scrambling to come up with a “remote education plan.” TeacherMade was a LIFESAVER, so I became the School Sales Manager in addition to my virtual teaching job.

I have two daughters who are amazing. My oldest daughter works and takes care of my grandson. My youngest daughter is attending Valdosta State University where she is a member of the Cross Country Track team.

Currently my husband and I are “nomads” living and working in our 29 foot RV as we travel around the country. Our goal is to run and hike in as many national and state parks as we can before our knees give out, while sampling the local pizza places along the way. We’ve visited 24 states so far and are looking forward to visiting all of this magnificent country.