How does someone become an educator who inspires people with his art, performances, and speeches without renouncing an inch of his classroom? Meet Kelly Croy, The Wired Educator.
Kelly Croy, our colleague and fellow teacher, has been in the classroom for more than 24 years.
Besides that, he is a Google Certified teacher, an Apple Distinguished Educator, a PBS Digital Innovator, and the Director of Innovation and Instruction at Port Clinton City Schools District.
Today he is most widely known for his podcast under the eponymous name, The Wired Educator, through which he empowers educators to make a greater impact, increase their productivity, and enhance the quality of their lifestyles.
How does he manage that? By delivering meaningful content that quickly resonates with his target audience: us, teachers.
He puts an emphasis on passion for learning and love for teaching:
“I truly want to make a difference in the lives of students and help inspire the next generation of educators.”
“I recommend only doing things that will also help you become a better teacher.” #WiredEducator #Teacherpreneur
Kelly has travelled the globe and met some of the most impactful educators in the world, absorbing the key components of their lessons, and providing them with his experiences in writing, speaking, and business.
Some of them even show up on The Wired Educator to discuss their path to success, and we all can learn a trick or two from such inspiring interviews, whether they relate to teaching itself, or stuff like managing a podcast, building passive income, and improving digital content.
But, that’s who Kelly is now. How did he begin, and get to where he is?
Another case study: How Rocky Biasi Went From Teacher to Accidental Counselor
Blending Art, Classroom, and Improvement
According to Kelly, throughout everything he does, be it teaching, creating art, writing, or performing, his goal is to motivate his audience to live their lives to their full potential.
Born and raised in a creative family, he was nurtured from a very young age to believe that everyone has something special and unique to offer to the rest of the world.
Pretty early he discovered his passion for adventure and goal-achieving spirit.
He still boasts his Eagle Scout rank from the early days spent in the Boy Scouts, saying that it’s not just an award, but a symbol of the principles he will hold for life.
And what are those principles?
First and foremost, to improve himself in all ways possible. To improve physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
After seeing many people failing to live a complete life because they focused on just one aspect of living, he discovered his ideas of the ‘complete package’ and versatility and balance in all fields of life. He shares these insights now with people who need his advice.
This coincided with his growing passion for painting, drawing, and art. As a toddler, and even before, as his mom says, he would draw pictures, which then papered their refrigerator.
Today, Kelly fuses his art with his motivational messages to create performances in front of thousands each year.
His live art performances really are something different: he combines the dramatic motions with art, performance with music, and inspirational speech with computer animation; everything put together to create an awesome whole, an illusion of artwork came to life and performance embodied into a mesmerizing spectacle.
Nevertheless, he never abandons his classroom post as a teacher and a coach. He says that everything that he does remains subject to his main goal: teaching young educators and transferring his knowledge to generations that are yet to rise.
His versatile career as a teacher and an entrepreneur of three successful companies has given him the ability to connect with any age and with any group within his audience.
He takes pride in the accomplishment of his clients, even more so: he feels blessed to share their experience.
Kelly’s ultimate message is simple: “Pursue your dreams relentlessly and without hesitation. Impact the lives of others. Welcome all the challenges and discipline. It is a way to grow and live life fully and completely.”
Simple, yes. But profound? Even more so.
Along Came a Leader
To mark something as his most important selling and performing product, Kelly singles out his book, Along Came a Leader.
It is something he is most proud of, as he had seen it transform the lives of members of his audience, from teenagers to adults indiscriminately.
His book is a guide for those who desire to gain all the leadership insights and adopt the traits that are necessary for them to become leaders themselves.
It is written to inspire, but with humour and common sense as its main driving ideas. It will lift you, push you forward, help you advance, and guide you to become a better leader, as well as someone who is more fit for vital top positions in whatever organization they operate in.
In Along Came a Leader Kelly tackles the deficit of leaders in today’s society and presents six main solutions to create and develop more leaders.
He assures us that his book is perfect for any sphere of interest that can benefit from better leadership.
And we add – is there such a sphere? Sorry, we can’t think of one!
Quit looking for followers and start looking for ways to help others. #WiredEducator #Teacherpreneur
Kelly adds that, in spite of sales from Amazon and other locations, income from the sales forms only a fraction of real income that came from publishing his book.
In fact, it is the credibility that it came along that benefited him more. It gets him booked. It gives him the authority to speak and perform in front of bigger audiences.
The portions of income from speaking and bookselling sometimes balance each other out, sometimes tip over to one of the two sides, but that is not relevant – they are essentially two components that are inseparable from each other.
Other parts of his income include digital product revenue, podcast advertising, consulting work, art sales, coaching, and affiliate links.
So, we asked Kelly for any tips to fellow teacherpreneurs, and this is what he said.
“I recommend only doing things that will also help you become a better teacher.”
Everything that he does is just an extension of his classroom.
In fact, he says that teaching is a central part of everything that he does, from performances to podcast interviews.
They all serve to further improve his teaching skills.
Yes, you need multiple streams of income, but you also need to begin by being focused on just one.
One simple thing that helps others.
Once you find it, you latch onto it, hone it, even offer it for free. Then you get discovered, and promoted, encouraged, even paid to talk in front of others – that’s the point where you actually start making money.
He also says that you always have to have one thing on your mind – does this help others?
Does it help my audience? Does it help me and my family? Does it fulfil me?
The more “yes” you say, that much bigger is your achievement – and always chase the triple yes for triple win.
“Never give up teaching or allow something to disrupt it. Don’t rush it, be patient. Be yourself. Provide awesome content and meaningful messages. Quit looking for followers and start looking for ways to help others.”
Furthermore, Kelly advises us not to focus on one method of reaching an audience.
He tried many, but his podcast proved to be the most valuable one.
“It happened by accident, and now it is the single most effective method for engagement.”
So we asked Kelly what should we read/listen to before his next podcast episode; what has made the greatest impact on him. His answer – The Smart Passive Income podcast by Pat Flynn, and the book Crush It by Gary Vanerychuck.
Want to learn how to automate, delegate, be more productive, enjoy life and boost your profit? Check out our high-level mastermind for educators.