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Tonya Coats, Tech Champion


Tonya Coats knows the power and the danger of the cyber world and is working to help both teachers and students navigate their way through its sometimes tricky waters. 

Tonya Coats teaching students about online safetyAs a teacher on special assignment (TSA) - technology curriculum coordinator for JUSD’s Education-Information Technology team, Ms. Coats empowers teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum and helps guide students to become good digital citizens armed with knowledge and a sense of responsibility for themselves and others.

“It’s extremely important for students to know how to interact with technology, how to be responsible because our world is changing,” Ms. Coats said. “We are in a digital age and they need to understand that whatever they do online is there forever.”

Student working on chromebookMs. Coats, who has been an educator in the District for 22 years, is passionate about sharing her knowledge not only with Jurupa Unified but with a broader audience as well. This past spring, she was featured on the CBS television show “Mission Unstoppable” with one of her students showcasing how she uses tiny computers called micro:bits to help students learn to code.

She also has presented at several national conferences, including this summer’s International Society for Technology in Education (ITSE) conference. She is a facilitator of California’s Seasons of Computer Science professional learning model, is a Micro:bit Champion, for the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, and a board member​ of Inland Area CUE (Computer Using Educators).

Ms. Coats hopes to continue to have a positive influence on teachers and students. “I think my work will impact future generations because I feel like it’s going to help them prepare for a world that we don’t know yet, we haven’t seen,” she said. “[Students] are digital citizens and …decisions they make affect not only themselves but their community and the world.”