Basic Information


Gail Desler

School Address

Elk Grove USD

Role at School

Tech Integration Specialist


Web Site

About Me: Please share a bit about yourself--school life, family life, interests (academic and other).

I am a 3rd generation Californian, who recently retired from the Elk Grove Unified School District (south of Sacramento, CA), where I had the privilege of working as a district technology integration specialist.

Much of my professional focus has been on using technology to help students cross the line from bystander to upstander and to become “change writers,” empowered to use technology in ways that make a positive difference in all the communities to which they belong, online or face-to-face.

In 2008, I had the life-changing experience of attending the New York City Holocaust Educators Summer Seminar. Over the course of two weeks, as we (25 teachers) gathered around Olga’s Table, joining Holocaust surivors and scholars to think creatively and collaboratively about how to teach the Holocaust, genocide, and social justice issues, I relished every minute – and I realized how blessed I was to be joining the TOLI community.

In 2010, I returned to New York, along with TOLI colleague Pam Bodnar, to attend the Leadership Seminar. In 2011, Pam and I offered our first Summer Satellite Program: Crossing Lines. In each of the following years, we have continued to focus on discovering the hidden stories, often from our own communities, that bring history to life, connecting the then and there to the here and now.

We draw on stories of the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese American citizens from the West Coast during World War II as stepping stones into the unthinkable, unspeakable events of the Holocaust. These personal testimonies document the culture and lived experiences of those who survived forced removal and inhumane treatment – and never cease to inspire.

I cherish being part of the HEN/TOLI community.