Community//

“You are the Author of your Own Story.” With Penny Bauder & Dr. Amy Rauch

Engaging girls and women in STEM subjects is important because girls and women are very capable to pursue careers in STEM. We need to showcase the number of women that are currently in the STEM workforce and again we need to get STEM in the hands of girls during elementary school so they know they […]

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Engaging girls and women in STEM subjects is important because girls and women are very capable to pursue careers in STEM. We need to showcase the number of women that are currently in the STEM workforce and again we need to get STEM in the hands of girls during elementary school so they know they can do it and will continue to pursue STEM throughout their educational journey!


I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Rauch, Strategic Accounts Director for Codelicious.

Dr. Amy Rauch is the Strategic Accounts Director of Codelicious, a provider of full-year computer science curriculum which is project-based, teacher-led, and aligned to CSTA standards. She received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in English Language and Literature/Letters. She then earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue University in Educational Leadership and Administration and Educational Studies. With more than 20 years in education as a high school educator, principal, superintendent, and curriculum director, Amy is passionate about STEM education and getting Computer Science curriculum in the hands of students early so they can pursue a successful career in a STEM field. Amy has also worked with the Indiana Department of Education as the Director of STEM, leading STEM initiatives throughout the state of Indiana. You can connect with Amy on LinkedIn, or Codelicious.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

I attended the University of Tennessee on a volleyball scholarship, I was the setter for two seasons before transferring to Michigan State University where I was also on a volleyball scholarship for my junior and senior seasons as a setter. I had an interest in coaching and teaching. I became a high school English teacher for ten years. In order to maintain my teaching credentials, I wanted to pursue my Master’s Degree. Purdue University was offering a cohort for a Master’s in Administration in our central office via teleconference and taking a few courses on campus. However, at first, I didn’t want to be an administrator, but as I took the courses I realized that I could be a principal. After two years of coursework I began applying for assistant principal positions. I was an assistant middle school principal for two years and when the principal retired I was then offered the principal position. During the summers I was the Migrant School Principal for our area migrant students. After four years as the principal, I wanted to pursue a central office position because I had started working on my Ph.D. at Purdue to become a district superintendent. During this time I was hired as a Curriculum Director in a school district that was in state takeover because the high school had received a letter grade of F for six years from the Indiana Department of Education and they needed to turn around their high school. I was part of an incredible team of administrators, teachers, students, and community that did turn around the high school to receive a letter grade of C! I then moved on to work to turn around other school districts in Indiana and eventually my path led me to the superintendent position. I worked in rural, suburban, urban, high poverty and affluent school districts and enjoyed every aspect of being an educator and administrator doing what is best for students! I also worked at the Indiana Department of Education as the state Director of STEM where I was part of a team that wrote the Indiana STEM Six-Year Strategic plan. Here is where I knew I needed to get Computer Science curriculum in the hands of students across the United States. I now work for a company that produces a Computer Science curriculum — Codelicious — where I am working with schools and districts to get our curriculum in the hands of students across the United States. Computer Science is not an educational trend that is going to come and go. Computer Science is here to stay because every job is touched by Computer Science in some way. Students need to learn Computer Science skills at an early age so they can pursue a career in a STEM field.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that

All the days of all my years in my educational career was always interesting and I learned daily from my experiences with students, staff, and the community (parents). So this question is difficult for me to answer and share the most interesting story, but being part of the team that turned around the high school that was in state takeover was an educationally moving experience for me. The lessons I learned from that experience I took to work with other school districts that needed help with the turnaround process thus helping students be successful.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. From your point of view, how would you rate the results of the US education system?

The US education system is always in a state of flux to keep up with technology needs for students and staff, and meeting the needs to ensure all students are college and career ready. However, with how demands on students, teachers, administrators and staff are increasing each year, I believe that schools are working to their potential to achieve state academic standards.

Can you identify 5 areas of the US education system that are going really great?

  1. Special education students getting proper resources to excel in school
  2. Title Funds — Professional Development for teachers/administrators
  3. Extracurricular activities for students to excel outside of the classroom
  4. Career and Technical Education
  5. Caring educational professionals that want all students to succeed

Can you identify the 5 key areas of the US education system that should be prioritized for improvement? Can you explain why those are so critical?

  1. School choice for students- the parameters for various styles of schooling need to be well defined and held accountable.
  2. Salary increase for teachers, administrators and all staff members working in a school- it takes a village to help students succeed in school and we need to be able to compensate all the adults that come in contact with students to make all students successful.
  3. Updates to school buildings and grounds- upkeep for buildings and grounds is always an ongoing piece of a school district budget that is costly.
  4. Funding for all school transportation- upkeep and replacement for school buses is continual and costly.
  5. Funding for STEM curriculum K-12 — we have put an emphasis on STEM curriculum for our students which is wonderful, but support through funding STEM curriculum will help school districts thus helping students.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging young people in STEM? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

A: The national STEM plan that was released in December 2018: Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education really emphasizes the need to reach ALL students by exposing them to STEM during their K-12 education journey.

  1. Get STEM curriculum/lessons/activities in the hands of students during their elementary years and continue through middle school and high school.
  2. Have employees that are currently in a STEM occupation show and explain to students their job, or have students go to companies. We cannot work in silos. Education needs to work with companies and companies to work with education to showcase the STEM occupations for students who want to pursue a career in STEM.
  3. Internships and Apprenticeships in STEM

Can you articulate to our readers why it’s so important to engage girls and women in STEM subjects?

Engaging girls and women in STEM subjects is important because girls and women are very capable to pursue careers in STEM. We need to showcase the number of women that are currently in the STEM workforce and again we need to get STEM in the hands of girls during elementary school so they know they can do it and will continue to pursue STEM throughout their educational journey!

How is the US doing with regard to engaging girls and women in STEM subjects? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

I have not personally done research on engagement in STEM subjects with girls and women.

  1. Exhibit to girls and women that are interested or would like to pursue a STEM field-those women that are currently in a STEM field to talk with them about their profession and their path. Create television commercials nationally that showcase women in STEM.
  2. Expose girls to STEM subjects/lessons/activities/curriculum at a young age (in elementary school)so that they can excel in STEM.
  3. Computer Science curriculum also needs to be introduced to girls and ALL students at an early age to again enforce early on that they are able to code and learn computer science skills that can be applied to all subjects.

As an education professional, where do you stand in the debate whether there should be a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) or on STEAM (STEM plus the arts like humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media)? Can you explain why you feel the way you do?

I did not realize there was a debate between the two- I have consistently said that STEM is always the core and if adding Arts to STEM is what is best for your school then do what is best for your school and students!

If you had the power to influence or change the entire US educational infrastructure what five things would you implement to improve and reform our education system? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. STEM education for ALL students
  2. Computer Science curriculum for ALL students
  3. Increased pay for teachers, administrators and all staff members that work in a school.
  4. Technology provided for every school.
  5. SEL resources provided for every school.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You are the Author of your Own Story — only you can make decisions for the path your life will take. This is relevant to me as I have always made my own decisions to go the various paths that have all taken me to great experiences and to meet wonderful people that have influenced my life.

As a middle school principal I would announce daily, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Betsy DeVos — I would like to take all of my experiences and share with her my thoughts on education.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find me on LinkedIn or via codelcious.com

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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