Academy Teacher prepares students for successful entry into graphics and film industry
Linda Gibbs is a teacher on a mission. As a Hightower High School Digital Media Academy teacher, she works to ensure that students are well equipped for successful entry into college or the workforce. Combining her natural talents and experiences with her love of teaching, Gibbs is grooming future graphics and film industry professionals for competitive futures.
The former owner of her own video production company, Gibbs took the untraditional route to becoming an educator by obtaining alternative certifications in Applications Technology K-12 and Trades and Industry.
“After obtaining my alternative certifications, Hightower’s Digital Media Academy was the first place I applied,” said Gibbs. “I was intrigued with the uniqueness of the program and was determined to be a part of it. It took two years and fierce competition to obtain a teaching position at the school, but it was well worth the wait.”
Gibbs feels fortunate to have the opportunity to train academy students in broadcast/film and graphic design, and brings a wealth of experience to the program. She worked in Dallas ISD as a program scheduler for their cable channel, a freelance crew member on NBC sports, and has produced various documentaries, public service announcements, corporate videos, commercials and multi-camera shoots.
In addition to being the producer and director of her own production company, Gibbs Media Group, she worked as associate producer for a press junket with actor Ron Howard for the movie Apollo 13 and produced an audition video for celebrity Beyoncé for an appearance on Star Search.
She wants her students to have many opportunities to excel in the profession as well and encourages them to take full advantage of opportunities presented to them through the Academy.
“I encourage students in grades 10-12 to take classes from both pathways because in this industry, graphics and film are inter-related and the acquired skills make students more marketable,” said Gibbs. “Given their training in state-of-the-art technology and internship opportunities, if ambitious, our students are industry ready upon graduating and fully capable of starting their own businesses or continuing their educational journey in preparation for entry into the workforce.”
Upon graduation, Digital Media Academy students gain an educational advantage over most. Through the Academy, the students take part in several “hands-on” learning opportunities, including shooting and editing promotional videos, providing videography services for student conferences, producing weekly campus broadcasts (featuring international, national and local news), as well as taking part in internship programs (provided by academy partners Locke Bryan Productions, the Houston Texans, Bill Young Productions, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Houston Aeros, HTV-City of Houston, Missouri City TV, Brilliart Films, KRBE-104 FM Radio, Aurora Picture Show, Bouncing Pixels, Inc. and Houston PBS).
“The Digital Media Academy is one of the few unique and progressive high school programs in the United States,” said Gibbs. “Students who enter the program can become the ones to shape, change and create messages and images with the tools they’ve been provided.”
The Academy students and staff are preparing to host its first two-day Summer Media Camp for elementary and middle-school youngsters interested in developing skills in broadcast journalism, web design and other areas. The Academy students will have the opportunity to actually teach beginner-level skills to the camp-goers.
“When I watch my students in action, it excites me to know that I taught them certain skills,” said Gibbs. “It’s even more rewarding when students tell me that they look forward to coming to class because I make learning fun and they know they are receiving quality training from an experienced video producer.”
Hightower currently has 260 students enrolled in the Digital Media Program. For more information about the academy and other FBISD academies, visit the FBISD website at: http://www.fortbendisd.com/departments/academics/academies.
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