Bringing Teaching Experience to Custom Curriculum Design

Behind the Cube with Custom Curriculum Services

So many of our colleagues spent time in a classroom before coming to work in the publishing and education technology world. Having former educators on our team is invaluable — they bring insights, experiences, and passion that makes our work deeply personal. Our series Behind the Cube allows us to get to know our team members, including our former educators, one a time through quick showcases. Today, we’re spending a few minutes chatting with a former 4th grade teacher turned custom content provider.

Today’s Highlight: Tom Rexroad, Director of Custom Curriculum Services

What do you do here at McGraw-Hill?

As the Director of Custom Curriculum Services, I manage an amazing team that specializes in adapting print and digital content for school districts and states. No custom program is exactly the same, but some of the typical customizations we do include:

  • Reordering of chapters to better align with a prescribed scope and sequence
  • Blending of chapters from two different programs to meet a unique set of state or district standards
  • Adding regionalized content to a national program

What do you love most about your role at McGraw-Hill?

I love the variety of programs that cross my desk. One day I may be working on a solution for K-5 Science and the next could be for high school Social Studies. This allows me to see the many ways our content and product experts create programs for today’s students. I also enjoy solving problems. Getting to know all of our programs helps me understand the ways we can adapt our programs for customers who want a Custom solution.

How did you come to be in your role at McGraw-Hill?

The education profession runs in my family. Both me and my older sister followed in my mother’s footsteps to become teachers. My sister chose the music education route and later went back to school to gain certification as an EL instructor. I taught 4th grade for 5 years before coming to McGraw-Hill. It’s hard to believe, but my oldest will be going into 4th grade this coming school year. I know I am biased, but I really think that age group is the most fun to teach.

Can you give us a few concrete examples of how your teaching experience influences your work today?

Being a teacher has had a tremendous impact on my career here. It has helped me look at our programs from the perspective of a teacher. It has also helped me to understand the value of a good curriculum. In the school where I taught, teachers pulled from a variety of programs and created homemade lessons that would work for their students and also meet district/state standards. I saw firsthand the level of effort this required. I think about this when customizing a program. It is rewarding to think that the custom programs we create will help the teacher spend more time on instruction and less time on finding the right content.