Tioki Founder Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Connects Educators Through Online Network
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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Mandela Schumacher-Hodge co-founded Tioki, a professional network for the education community (Image: Source)

While most people concentrate on curriculum, a large part of education reform will require revolutionary ideas about professional development for teachers. Tioki, an award-winning online professional network exclusively for the education community is one of those ideas. Dubbed “The LinkedIn for Teachers,” Tioki helps people passionate about education connect to one another, discover opportunities, and share information.

Tioki founder Mandela Schumacher-Hodge will be joining Black Enterprise and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for “Today’s Business Crisis: Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce,” which will be held May 15, 2013.

Along with other EduTech entrepreneurs who have a dedicated interest in expanding and implementing new technologies in classrooms to assist teachers, students, and parents, Schumacher-Hodge will share solutions for the critical challenges facing American education.  Mandela has had the unique experience of seeing the education industry from a variety of vantage points – as a teacher, associate administrator, education researcher, and co-founder of an education technology company.

Prior to Tioki, Schumacher-Hodge was a Teach for America corps member and has three years of in-classroom teaching experience in both district and charter public schools. As COO, the 27-year-old power woman leads Tioki’s product development from vision to implementation and is responsible for driving strategic partnerships, sales, and overall marketing strategy.

Tioki has expanded into an international platform used by teachers in over 28 different countries, as well as many of the nation’s top-performing schools and education organizations.

As we prepare for tomorrow’s symposium, BlackEnterprise.com asked Schumacher-Hodge to deliberate on the challenges teachers face and provide advice on using social media and technology as a stopgap to those issues.

What inspired you to launch Tioki?

During my teaching career, there were two particular experiences I went through that subsequently influenced my decision to launch Tioki. The first was being laid off from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the country. The lay-off was a seniority-based process. Rather than take into account factors such as one’s ability to effectively educate children, student performance scores, and teacher evaluations, the district made their decision solely based on the number of years the teacher had been at the school.

The second incident that played into my decision to launch Tioki was my experience hiring new teachers. After being laid off from LAUSD, I was re-hired at a charter school in Pacoima, California, and had some administrator responsibilities on top of my general teaching duties. For the first-time ever, I was on the other side of the hiring table, vetting candidates and trying to figure out what criteria I would enlist to determine who was the best fit for an open co-teacher position. I devoted numerous hours to this selection process, and gave up my own classroom five different times to accommodate demo lessons from candidates.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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