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Articles tagged with 20 to Watch

National School Boards Association announces “20 to Watch” education technology leaders

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) announces its “20 to Watch” honorees for 2013-2014. These distinctive education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

“The ’20 to Watch’ honorees offer real-world examples of how new technologies are being used to impact learning and how these new tools may influence or inform policy,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “From ‘BYOD’ and the Maker Movement to virtual schools and the increased use of the cloud, these inspirational pioneers are paving the way.”

Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology, shared that common characteristics across honorees include their willingness to take risks, share learnings with colleagues, and inspire others to believe that they, too, can effectively use technology. “Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come,” Flynn said.

This is the eighth year of the NSBA “20 to Watch” program, created in 2006. This year’s honorees are being recognized at the 2014 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 19 in Washington, DC, along with a TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2014 Annual Conference in New Orleans this April. TechSmith Corporation is sponsoring the “20 to Watch” celebration events and is providing software scholarships to the honorees.

The 2013-2014 NSBA “20 to Watch” honorees are (listed by state/territory):

John Andrews, Chief Information Officer, Dysart Unified School District, Az.
John Andrews facilitated “BYOD” as a solution for integrating technology at a time of hyper–growth when the district had limited funds for sufficient technology purchases. He led development of iPAL (iPlan, iAssess, iLearn), an assessment and resource software providing teachers with live and historical student data, instructional resources, and professional development opportunities. Andrews provides a combination of technical and pedagogical support for each of the district’s schools.

Matt Meyers, Teacher, Greenwich Public Schools & CEO, Slate & Tablets, Conn.
In addition to writing his school’s new computer science course, Matt Meyers “changed the high school forever” through his creation of a world-class, mobile app that replaced the traditional paper plan book used by teachers and students. Hailed as beautiful and functional, this popular Planner app was developed by Slate & Tablets, the company Matt started with his brother and where he serves as CEO.

John Connolly, Director of Technology, Consolidated High School District 230, Ill.
John Connolly has transformed District 230 with his ideas, collaborative leadership style, and technology improvements. Setting a vision which includes directing a 1:1 and “BYOD” program, leveraging social media, digital citizenship, Google migration, and website overhaul, Connolly’s energy and passion inspire colleagues.

Brad Hagg, Chief Technology Officer, Warsaw Community Schools, Ind.
As a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL), Brad Hagg has become an invaluable resource in his district with the introduction of an online data dashboard and tools that enhance student safety. Hagg serves on the Indiana Department of Education’s 2014 eLearning Leadership Cadre to help the state focus on strategic components of 21st century teaching and learning that directly impact student achievement and instructional practice.

Rob Dickson, Director of Technology, Andover Public Schools, Kan.
Rob Dickson’s technical understanding of how technology should support student learning contributed to his district’s ranking among the “top ten” digital districts in the nation four of the past five years. Key among Dickson’s accomplishments are leading the first VBlock cloud data center installation in K-12 education and serving as an advisor of the BLEgroup helping schools across the country with their technology planning and integration.

Dr. Beth Hudson, Associate Superintendent, Geary County USD 475, Kan.
Beth Hudson’s work focuses on understanding the relationship between technology and learning and creating professional development opportunities, including the district’s K-12 Technology Learning Fair, in which teachers acquire the skills essential to effectively use their tools to support authentic learning experiences. Hudson wants teachers to view their devices as a portal to the world.

Roger D. Cook, Superintendent, Taylor County School District, Ky.
Roger Cook continually pushes the boundaries of how education is delivered, from providing iPads to all high school students to challenging teachers to embrace a Flipped Classroom concept. The district assists students with “24/7” learning opportunities and allows adults who previously dropped out of school to enroll in the Virtual Academy to receive their high school diplomas.

Timonious Downing, Teacher & Technology Liaison, Prince George’s County Public Schools/Walker Mill Middle School, Md.
Timonious Downing pioneered a flipped and gamified English/Language Arts class at his school where Gifted and Talented 7th graders are placed in guilds that engage in academic competitiveness with a leader board to foster comradery and teamwork. He shares his success stories from his paperless classroom with other colleagues through blogging, conferences, and Google Hangouts and provides after school support for the Minecraft Club.

Brad Waid, Teacher, Eastover Elementary, Bloomfield Hills Schools District, Mich.
Brad Waid goes beyond showing his students technology, he lets them explore it and more importantly, have a voice in deciding how they think it could be used in their classroom. His students are using and creating their own Augmented Reality to enhance their learning and deepen their engagement, while utilizing their iPads for various projects. Waid’s contagious passion for teaching and learning has made him a game-changing educator.

New Jersey:
Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Pascack Valley Regional High School District, N.J.
Improving instruction, while appropriately promoting the use of technology, drives the work of Barry Bachenheimer. District educators are successfully creating “Virtual Days” to take the place of snow days; creating a hybrid master schedule to maximize student choice that supports individual learning opportunities; flipping classrooms, embracing social media to provide authentic global learning experiences; and focusing on digital citizenship as a result of his leadership.

Laura Fleming, Media Specialist, New Milford High School, New Milford School District, N.J.
Laura Fleming’s blog, Worlds of Learning, shares many of her initiatives including the development of a digital badge program to acknowledge teachers’ informal learning. Her media center, now packed with students every period, has become a makerspace with a 3-D printer, Raspberry Pi and Makey Makey Kits to unleash students’ creativity to construct new knowledge.

New York:
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of Schools, Ithaca City School District, N.Y.
Luvelle Brown’s vision is to create a student body of 6000+ Thinkers, encompassing every student in the district. The district’s mission to engage, educate, and empower is supported by ubiquitous wireless coverage and contemporary learning spaces, designed to be responsive to pedagogical shifts influenced by technology tools.

Tracey Dunn, Teacher, Hopkins Elementary, Mentor Public Schools, Ohio
Tracey Dunn pioneered a kindergarten blended learning model in her district’s research and development classroom, Catalyst, focused on small-group instruction. With the support of QR codes and a 1:1 iPad program, students rotate through stations to engage with the teacher, digital content, and digital storytelling. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her humble approach has made it easy for others to want to share in the magic of her success.

Rich Kiker, Director of Online Learning, Palisades School District, Penn.
Rich Kiker designed and built the K-12 blended and online learning program at Palisades School District that established a new relevance for learners and saves the district hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. When his home district needed to replace a school board director, Kiker was unanimously appointed to serve on the Pennridge School Board.

Bradley Wilson, Curriculum Leader of Customization & Instructional Technology, Upper St. Clair School District, Penn.
Bradley Wilson is an innovative 7th grade teacher who leverages technology to customize instruction for his students through flipped learning and “The Explain Everything” app, among other strategies. He demonstrates leadership in both formal and informal settings as he continues to champion district wide initiatives and capacity building activities.

Dr. Kecia Ray, Executive Director of Learning Technology, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Tenn.
Kecia Ray has been instrumental in lobbying for state laws and policies that facilitate and eliminate barriers to virtual learning after the success of the district’s first virtual school launched under her leadership. In her role as President of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the contributions Ray has made to learning technology extend well beyond Nashville borders.

Joli Barker, Elementary Educator, Slaughter Elementary, McKinney Independent School District, Texas
Joli Barker is leading the way in game-based, project-based learning in her Fearless Classroom where lessons include real-world, global-minded empathy games. The Fearless Classroom movement she started is inspiring educators world-wide to change the way they approach lesson design, pedagogy, and the art of teaching.

Elaine Plybon, Instructional Resource Trainer, Keller Independent School District, Texas
Elaine Plybon’s motto of “relevant and meaningful” is reflected across all aspects of her work as an Instructional Resource Trainer whether she is delivering professional development, serving on the Leadership Council of the Discovery Education Network, or exploring ways to address gender issues. As co-founder of Girls of Technology (GOT), she has inspired girls interested in STEM to pursue career opportunities in that field.

Dr. Barbara Gruber, Technology Resource Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools, Va.
As a true champion of 21st Century Learning, Barbara Gruber’s schools are thriving environments where students become excited about STEM through collaborative projects with peers, both locally and overseas, as they work on solutions for relevant projects. Students are supported through videoconferencing with field experts; NASA-guided simulations, and the opportunity to create 3-D objects through Makerspace Centers (or innovation labs).

Jennifer Maddux, Assistant Principal, Byrd Middle School, Henrico County Public Schools, Va.
As an assistant principal, Jennifer Maddux has brought life and energy into her school’s culture using skills she honed as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher to facilitate process change and coach teachers in student-centered, engaged instruction. The suite of resources and training portals she developed support the delivery of high-quality, 21st century instruction.

Alexis Rice|March 7th, 2014|Categories: Teachers, Educational Technology, STEM Education, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, T+L, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , |

NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network announces 2013 class of “20 to Watch”

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its “20 to Watch” honors for 2012-2013. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

“The ’20 to Watch’ honorees offer school board members and other leaders real-world stories that help them evaluate the intersection of policy and practice when it comes to today’s emerging technologies,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology. “These early adopters are naturally curious about technology’s potential to help transform learning and exhibit traits that inspire and motivate their colleagues to join them on the journey. Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come.”

NSBA established the “20 to Watch” program in 2006. This year’s honorees will be recognized at 2013 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 11th in San Diego and also at TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference, also in San Diego, this April. TechSmith Corporation is sponsoring the “20 to Watch” celebration events and is providing software scholarships to the honorees.

The 2012-2013 honorees are (listed by state/territory):

Andrew Chlup, Director of Technology, Vail Unified School District, Ariz.
As the primary architect behind the Beyond Textbooks initiative, Andrew Chlup is among the national leaders transitioning from print to digital resources. New projects that can improve education include helping the community’s homeschooled students participate through blended learning, delving deep into the district’s Big Data, and finding other “cool stuff,” according to his superintendent.

Keith Bockwoldt, Director of Technology Services, Township High School District 214, Ill.
Collaborator and visionary are two terms used to describe Keith Bockwoldt’s leadership style, which has saved his district more than $120,000 annually by moving to the cloud. He also has successfully shown the district’s senior leaders how technology can transform learning, and he has established systems that support and inspire teachers to embrace iPads and “flipped” classes.

Ann Linson, Superintendent, East Noble School Corporation, Ind.
As an innovative technology leader, Superintendent Ann Linson has inspired her teachers to abandon textbooks, flip classes, and embrace the district’s 1:1 learning initiatives by providing professional development through building-level peer coaches. She is leading an online course pilot for current students and the homeschooled students in her community.

Theresa Shafer, Online Community Manager, New Tech Network, Ind.
From starting weekly international Twitter chats about project-based learning (#PBLChat) to using Pinterest boards for education, Theresa Shafer casts an ever-expanding net to willingly share what she knows about social media with colleagues and community members. Helping students think about the kind of digital footprint they are creating and how it might impact the future they desire has been a special focus.

Kelly Williams, Teacher, USD 115 Nemaha Central Schools, Nemaha Valley High School, Kan.
Kelly Williams’ blog has been an invaluable resource that has helped teachers understand that changing instruction from teacher-centered to student-centered is a complicated, but worthwhile, process. In his blog, he has discussed strategies to use technology, from iPads and social media to cloud-based tools and flipped classes.

Ed Bonhaus, Technology Integration Specialist, Kenton County School District, Ky.
Ed Bonhaus provided critical firsthand knowledge about technology in Kentucky’s Race to the Top grant process. But he didn’t stop there—he is now providing online professional development and working on the first flipped classroom for the Kentucky iTunes campus. And inspired by what he saw during NSBA’s site visit to the Clark County (Nev.) School District in 2012, he is pursuing a vision to transform a low performing elementary school with minimal technology into a 21st century school.

Dr. Robert Dillon, Principal, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, Mo.
Robert Dillon, “story-teller-in-chief,” provides a constant flow of information to parents and community members about the positive work of students in his school’s 7-year-old 1:1 program, where they engage and document authentic learning by bringing technology to the field, and using social media and digital story telling as teaching tools. His work with teachers to create electronic portfolios also provides a platform for deep reflection by students.

Jhone M. Ebert, Chief Technology Officer, Clark County School District, Nev.
Jhone Ebert embodies the essential skill set for a Chief Technology Officer, as she recognizes her primary role is to evaluate and implement technology solutions that further advance student achievement. In Clark County, the nation’s 5th largest school district, that includes supporting a robust infrastructure and a virtual school, introducing a more effective web presence, and leading the move toward competency-based education and blended learning.

New Jersey:
Jeanine Gottko, Master Technology Teacher, Westfield Public Schools, N.J.
The 21st century learning environments thrive at Westfield’s elementary schools, as Jeanine Gottko supports teachers in and out of their classes, in professional development sessions, and through her online resource blog as part of a $1.2 million technology initiative. By ensuring technology was effectively incorporated into the district’s other grant on literacy, her work serves as a model for others.

Kenneth Zushma, Technology, Design and Pre-Engineering Teacher, Livingston Public Schools, Heritage Middle School, N.J.
Although gender equity remains a concern for most STEM initiatives, Kenneth Zushma’s female engineering club, FemGineers, is inspiring a new generation of middle school girls to get involved and is boosting their confidence and achievement. The club participates in competitions like the National Engineers Week Future City Design Challenge that uses SimCity software, analysis and scale models to create a solution for an engineering problem.

New York:
Jenny M. Buccos, Executive Director & Founder,, N.Y.

Since 2006, founder Jenny Buccos has provided free resources through technology that encourage students to become aware of the world beyond their own communities by using video, photography, vocabulary, and lesson plans. After directing and producing more than 400 of these short films, her international work has been described as a “positive voice in a sea of global misunderstanding,” and is used across the United States and in more than 40 countries.

Jayne Clare, Special Education Teacher, Southampton Union Free School District, Southampton Intermediate School, N.Y.
Jayne Clare’s room was once described as “magical” by a colleague who observed students with multiple learning problems effortlessly navigating technology she had tailored to their needs. With time, that expertise blossomed into support for district technology initiatives, including iPad integration for grades 6-8, and the creation of her influential Teachers With Apps site.

North Carolina:
Jayme Linton, Director of Teacher Education, Lenoir-Rhyne University, N.C.

Building on years of practical experience in K-12 settings, Jayme Linton is training a new generation of teachers to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms and assume leadership roles with their peers. Her influence extends beyond her students as she shares and learns from others in her Personal Learning Network and works with in-service teachers in local schools and districts.

Jeremy Shorr, Educational Technologist, Mentor Public Schools, Ohio
Jeremy Shorr knows how to match the latest and most effective technology tools to the research-based Common Core resources and strategies to meet students’ and teachers’ instructional needs. Currently, Jeremy is working to deploy a district-wide 1:1 initiative as well as a building-wide blended learning environment at the middle school level.

Dr. L. Robert Furman, Principal, South Park School District, South Park Elementary Center, Pa.
World Future Society member, author, and principal L. Robert Furman believes technology should be embraced as a standard educational practice. He leads by example, presenting the latest technological tools to inspire his teachers, engage his parents, and enrich learning each day for his students. He shares his ideas, both virtually and in person, with audiences across the country.

Thomas Stauffer, Director of Technology Services, Dallastown Area School District, Pa.
Students can have an entirely online educational experience, thanks to Thomas Stauffer’s work to develop the district’s virtual academy, or they can elect various blended courses that may better meet their needs. He has been instrumental in developing technology applications for administrators to use in their walk-through observations as the state moves towards a new teacher evaluation system.

South Carolina:
Dr. Christopher Craft, Teacher, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, CrossRoads Middle School, S.C.
In Christopher Craft’s innovative middle school STEM program, students work on cutting-edge technologies such as building functioning hydrogen fuel cell model cars, app development for smart phones, and video game creation. His after-school program encourages at-risk students to explore robotics and reflects his belief that when children are provided with the appropriate technological tools, their potential is unlimited.

Stephanie Green, Assistant Director Educational Technology/Director Library Services, Klein Independent School District, Texas

Stephanie Green has been instrumental to the district’s 1:1 tablet PC program serving more than 12,000 students and 700 teachers to make digital learning the norm. Her role takes on even greater significance as she shares that experience with state legislators through the Texas Capitol School House project. She has also led the transformation of the district’s libraries into 21st century learning and support centers.

Todd Nesloney, Fifth Grade Teacher, Waller Independent School District, Fields Store Elementary, Texas
While lots of teachers are “flipping” their classes, few have been as successful as Todd Nesloney’s effort. He earned a $100,000 grant that provided fifth grade students on his campus (where 66 percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch) and others in the district with an iPhone 4, pre-loaded Verizon data plan and internet access at home. A founding partner in the training company, The 3 Tech Ninjas, Todd is committed to sharing his experience with other educators.

London Jenks, Science Teacher/Director of Technology, Hot Springs County School District 1, Thermopolis High School, Wyo.

Project-based learning, a paperless classroom and the effective integration of iPads into instruction are typical features of London Jenks’ science classes. But they also are among the ideas he shares with district colleagues in his role as Director of Technology, where he works with other educators to increase student engagement and academic rigor through the use of technology.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.


Joetta Sack-Min|March 4th, 2013|Categories: Teachers, Educational Technology, 21st Century Skills, Social Networking, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

NSBA’s “20-to Watch” announced

The National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its “20 to Watch” honors for 2011-2012. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for promoting the incorporation of innovative technology into high-quality classroom learning and school district operations.

“The ‘20 to Watch’ honorees are role models to advance student achievement with the use of technology in education,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology. “Their accomplishments provide real world examples for school leaders and board members to examine as they debate the best electronic tools and strategies to positively impact learning and address the growing digital divide.”

“20 to Watch” program was established in 2006. This year’s honorees will be recognized at 2012 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 5 in Washington and also at TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2012 Annual Conference in Boston this April. They also will be showcased in future NSBA education technology publications. 

The 2011-2012 honorees are (listed by state/territory):


Matt Akin, Superintendent, Piedmont City School District, Piedmont, Ala.

Superintendent Matt Akin’s district has seen impressive gains on state tests in math and reading since he launched the MPower Piedmont 1:1 initiative to transform teaching and learning in this rural town where over 65 percent of the student population participates in the free/reduced lunch program. Akin believes engagement is key to all learning and through his visionary leadership, MPower Piedmont has closed the digital divide by providing a MacBook laptop for every student in grades 4-12, many of which have never had access to technology and the Internet in their home.  He has also introduced technology-enabled assessment strategies providing immediate feedback to both teachers and students with the goal of improving student achievement through data-driven decisions.


Felicia Owen, Math Teacher, Lavaca High School, Lavaca Public Schools, Lavaca, Ark.

Rather than seeing Facebook as a distraction, Geometry teacher Felicia Owen is now using it for interaction both inside and outside the classroom. She first started receiving questions from students and parents on her personal page about homework or tests and eventually decided to make a page of it. By allowing students to submit assignments using their cell phones, some previously underperforming students who had refused to do homework, became very responsive. For many of her students, their only online access is through their phones. Owen’s innovative use of social media in the classroom has inspired other teachers and attracted local press coverage.


Mike Lawrence, Executive Director, Computer-Using Educators, Inc. (CUE), Placentia, Ca.

Mike Lawrence became CUE’s Executive Director in 2005, at a time of crisis for the non-profit organization.  His vision has reinvented and revitalized CUE by creating innovative initiatives and partnerships. Key accomplishments include co-founding the Google Certified Teacher program, directing the California Student Media Festival, and forming a national Alliance of over 30 non-profit organizations, universities, and educational agencies to develop the Leading Edge Certification for 21st century education professionals in the areas of educational technology and curriculum innovation.

District of Columbia:

Alex Inman, Director of Information Services, Sidwell Friends School, Washington, D.C.

Alex Inman has a history of innovation having launched one of the earliest US 1:1 wireless programs in 1999, launching a 600 seat Linux-based laptop program in 2005, and helping found Educational Collaborators, a national network of 75 educators that help other teachers and administrators around the world. Inman helped write a One-to-One Readiness survey that has been used by more than 800 schools as they prepare for their 1:1 programs.  He recently became the Director of Information Services at Sidwell Friends School  where he is taking on bring your own devices and exploring how big data can impact schools at the individual building or district level. Work on big data projects goes beyond the capabilities of conventional database tools and is on the cutting edge of innovation within K-12.


James Roodhouse, Technology Director, Geneseo Community Unit School District 228, Geneseo, Ill.

Since arriving in 2007, James Roodhouse has completely re-framed his district’s infrastructure,  led a crusade to unify its platform,  facilitated a new digital, web presence that pushed the district to earn two national awards as a “Digital School”, and  provided amazing support to teachers and administrators through development of classroom walk through and observation apps for iPhone and iPad. The apps enable teachers and administrators to focus  on “best practices” including use of technology which can be monitored, and then immediately communicated to the classroom teacher to help improve teaching performance, ultimately leading to greater student achievement. 


Andrew Markel, Ed.S., Technology Director, Crothersville Community Schools, Crothersville, Ind.

Students have always been at the forefront of Andrew Markel’s work in the Crothersville Community Schools.  Under his leadership, students can be part of the  S.W.A. T. (Students Working to Advance Technology) group that utilizes various technologies for a plethora of projects including  Social Media Awareness, the Bossman show, and taping of school sponsored events. As the 2011 Dell state technology director for Indiana, Markel spearheaded a virtual desktop and server initiative that has replaced the entire corporations aging computer system and is launching an Android based 1:1 initiative to provide all  students in grades 6-10 with their own personal corporation provided tablet for computing needs.

Kay Reinoehl, Technology Director, East Noble School Corporation, Kendallville, Ind.

Kay Reinoehl’s  vision, dedication, and passion for preparing students with 21st century skills contributed to the success of the East Noble School Corporation’s 1:1 program that was implemented across the 3,800 student district in one year with less than eight months of planning and preparation.  By fall of 2011, eight school buildings became wireless and 600 iPods, 900 iPads, and 2400 laptops were distributed to students. In this rural district with high unemployment, many students in grades 5-12 who can take their laptops home, are now teaching their parents how to use this technology and who previously had no hardware or Internet service. Reinoehl was instrumental in convincing building administrators and teachers that even kindergarteners can effectively maintain and use an email account.


Greg Lumb, Principal, Morris Hill Elementary, Geary County Unified School District 475, Junction City, Kan.

A voracious learner, Greg Lumb uses Web 2.0 tools such as Wordle, Storybird, Epals, Wallwisher, and Voicethread to support his highest priority of using technology to extend his students’ learning beyond the four walls of school.  Fourth and fifth graders connected with Iraqi students  via videoconferencing  and other students experienced global projects recording world events on October 10, 2010 by blogging, creating websites, and practicing  Internet safety. Lumb planned the district’s first technology fair and worked with media center specialist to secure a district-sponsored grant that pays for authors to videocast with students. Under Lumb’s direction, Morris Hill Elementary is currently serving as a pilot school for using Facebook as a communication too.


Arlene Vidaurri Cain, AP/Gifted Science Teacher, Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, Calcasieu Parish School System, Lake Charles, La.

Arlene Cain has piloted and developed online science courses for the district and the Louisiana Virtual School for the past ten years and taught oceanography to Louisiana teachers every year since 1996. She utilizes a variety of technology tools and techniques within her classroom including Promethean boards, computer simulations, hand-held data collecting devices and probes, student produced videos, Web 2.0 tools, and graphing calculators that allow her to differentiate instruction and address the different learning styles of her students. 

New York:

Jeannette Gautier-Downes, Instructional Technology Professional Developer, District 75/P.S. 811, Queens, N.Y.

Jeannette Gautier-Downes brought the UFT Teacher Center to P.S.811, a school for students aged 5-21 with moderate to severe disabilities.  This state funded program provides professional development and teaching resources to all staff.  Since coming to P.S. 811, she  has provided professional development/inquiry studies to more than 90 percent of the teachers/paraprofessionals at P811’s nine school sites. Technology highlights under her guidance include initiating a 1:1 program for students with autism that links learning activities to IEP goals and objectives and engaging students through 3-D World, a program that enables students to create themselves (avatar) and complete real-world tasks in a virtual world.

Marc Lesser, Education Director, MOUSE, New York, N.Y.

Marc Lesser engages and inspires students to be leaders, innovators, makers and thinkers  through MOUSE,  a youth development program which impacts thousands of under-served students across the country. Lesser has been at the forefront of the creation of digital badges to recognize student’s 21st century skills and knowledge ; served as an adviser to the Mozilla Foundation; and spearheaded Emoti-con! NYC Youth Digital Media and Technology Festival, a venue for students to connect as youth media producers and technologists.  In addition to developing the help desk curriculum for students, he led the design of new specialist areas in robotics and game design and  is currently involved with Solar One to explore curriculum that supports teaching green technology.

Greg Partch, Director of Education Technology, Hudson Falls Central School District, Hudson Falls,  N.Y.

Greg Partch authored and designed the North Hudson Electronic Educational Project, a Title III Technology Literacy Challenge Grant  focused on promoting compelling and effective educational opportunities for children and teachers in resource-challenged areas of New York. Hudson Falls School District, the Lead Educational Agency,  was funded over five years for a  total of $5,500,000 allowing over 5,000 teachers to receive  professional development  in the use of instructional technologies.  Partch recently secured Quality Zone Academy Bonds funding  of $140,000 per-year  over the next five years to establish  an alternative learning academy focused on 21st century career and technical education skills for youth at risk.


Dr. Dale P. Lynch, Superintendent, Hamblen County Schools, Morristown, Tenn.

Dale Lynch has a natural curiosity and is first in the district to obtain new technology, model usage, & encourage others to find applications that enhance learning, leading, & efficiency. Through his leadership, Hamblen County Schools is part of the first P-20 mobilized consortium in the nation and a leader in moving Tennessee to provide e-books.  iPhones and iPads provide administrators with real-time feedback and the recent hardware refresh for each classroom was supported by job embedded professional development from technology coaches to ensure its seamless integration.  ESL students and those with disabilities use iPads and Smart Tables to support learning while classes in video-production and app development remain popular.  A parent portal offers a range of services and the board room is paperless.   From sound amplification to video-conferencing, technology innovation reaches across the district and into the community.


Kyle Davie, Chief Technology Officer, Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth, Texas

Kyle Davie insists on systemic, systematic implementation of technologies that includes educational technology staff to plan, train and assist groups or individuals on how to effectively and efficiently implement the district’s powerful educational technologies. He successfully completed the largest implementation of interactive whiteboards in the nation as part of a $593 million capital improvement bond program that created 5,500 digital classrooms and partnered with Chief Academic Officer Michael Sorum to create a district-wide curriculum framework with a teacher portal and curriculum guide incorporating essential questions. Davie supports cloud computing through Google tools, virtual professional development opportunities using open source, and e-books and e-readers as part of the library modernization effort at 140 school sites.

Andrea Keller, LIFE K-5 Special Education Teacher, Elliott Elementary School, Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas

Andrea Keller has taught special education for nine years and the last four of those years have been in a pervasive developmental disorder K-3 unit.  Although Keller’s students are often low-verbal or non-verbal, she adapts and modifies so they can participate in podcasting, vodcasting, and video conferencing . Her grant for 50 webcams allows all of the self-contained LIFE/PDD units in the district  to video conference with other special needs students and classrooms around the globe. Texas service centers are using her classroom set-up videos for Autism 101 online training to understand how she uses technology to connect with others and her Busy Bee blog,  with hits from all over the world, allows her to share what she has learned. 

Darlene Rankin, Director, Instructional Technology, Katy Independent School District (KISD), Katy, Texas

Darlene Rankin is a dynamic change agent for technology. She has championed three strategic initiatives that when combined, philosophically change the way instruction is delivered in KISD classrooms. The  first initiative incorporated digital citizenship into classrooms, encouraging students to operate responsibly on the Internet not just in school, but outside the classroom walls as well. For the second initiative, she worked with the Curriculum & Instruction Department to develop a Web 2.0 toolbox of apps and sites aligned with KISD curriculum. The third initiative is a mobile learning program for fifth grade students that introduced smart phones into the classroom that, in its third year, has grown to over 2300 devices at 18 elementary campuses and provided the foundation for a program that allows  students at all KISD campuses to bring their personal devices and connect to the district’s public Wi-Fi.


John “Coach” Brishcar, Teacher, Warren County Middle School,  Warren County Schools, Front Royal, Va.

John Brishcar’s 30 donated laptops and free public domain software, a server, and a Moodle classroom management platform, operating without an Internet connection, comprise “The BrishLab”, a classroom where sixth graders are becoming independent learners and thinkers capable of working in teams without constant cuing from a facilitator.  Brishcar’s class materials are mirrored  at, while the science text book he authored  working with,  is published as a public domain document at .  As the moderator of Yahoo’s 2,500 member “Middle School Science Teacher” user group and the “High School Science” user  group, he influences teachers around  the world. 

Janet Platenberg, Principal, Steuart Weller Elementary, Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, Va.

Janet Platenberg seeks effective, research-based solutions to address her students needs and understands that technology is a quintessential  component of good pedagogy which requires providing time and professional development opportunities for her staff.  Platenberg s school conducts project-based learning opportunities, differentiates instruction and designs curriculum in real-time. Gesture-based computing, using Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect in all subject areas, is among the innovative initiatives supported by Platenberg. 

Melany Reeves Stowe, Communication Coordinator, Henry County Public Schools, Collinsville, Va.

Melany Stowe has secured over $1.5 million in competitive grant funds over the past three years to support increased student achievement initiatives using cutting-edge technology in classrooms, providing quality after school programming, and purchasing emergency communications equipment to connect several agencies across the school district in the event of a large scale emergency. Stowe secured local support for two robotics teams and provided leadership for the district’s Explore Camp, a free one-week summer camp focused on STEAM topics and career clusters for students in grades 4-8; an iPad checkout program to address the digital and technological access gap; the Career Hub, a mall-based program providing students and families with access to information for college and career preparation; and the development of A Stranger Online, an Internet Safety comic book shared with districts around the country.


Lisa Greseth, Manager, Information and Instructional Technology, Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.

Lisa Greseth leads the design and deployment of performance management tools vital to building a shared understanding of student and system progress that fosters continuous improvement.  From her work with the Learner Profile and the data dashboard, to identifying and implementing conditions for 21st century flexible learning environments like bring your own devices, Greseth links teaching, learning and technology services in ways that promote shared understanding, solution-oriented conversations, and agile implementation of new ideas all with an explicit focus on student learning and engagement.  She moves new ideas into structured exploration through technology pilots and ensures that decisions reflect the voices of the  district’s students, staff, parents, and community.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.

Naomi Dillon|February 29th, 2012|Categories: T+L, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , |

Watch, learn, do; nominations now being accepted for TLN recognition programs

Do you know an educator who is passionate about using technology to transform teaching and learning? Who can inspire their colleagues to embrace new tools and is always looking for how the next innovation can be applied to education?

Or perhaps you are that person because you work for that district; a district that’s on the cutting edge of education technology, a district that fulfills the digital promise, a district that “get’s it.”

Be you an individual or an organization, it is now time for you to get yours, recognition, that is. And NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network hosts a number of upcoming programs to spotlight EdTech’s pioneers.

Established in 2006 as a part of the 20th anniversary celebration of NSBA’s technology and learning conference, the “20 to Watch” program identifies 20 emerging leaders within the education technology community who have the potential to impact the field for the next 20 years.

While primarily focused on K-12 teachers, administrators, and board members, nominations are also invited from higher education, policy, association, and industry organizations.

The 2011-12 “20” will be honored in Washington D.C. during CoSN’s Annual Conference, March 5-7,  and recognized during the Technology Leadership Network luncheon at NSBA’s 72nd Annual Conference in Boston, April 22.

The deadline for the “20 to Watch” is January 12 and the brief online submission form can be found here.

Districts who are current members of NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network are invited to share their district’s technology innovations for consideration as a TLN Salute District.

Districts are asked to describe highlights of their technology innovation across six categories and then highlight one or two specific technology-supported initiatives that they believe are making a significant difference in teaching and learning, district operations, and/or parental engagement and community outreach efforts.

The Salute program is less about “winning” or being the best, but more about serving as an excellent model that showcases how technology initiatives, when aligned with a district’s mission and effectively implemented, can result in positive outcomes.

The goal is to inspire other districts to start their own journey towards technology innovation or provide affirmation that others are already “on the right track” to success. One TLN Salute District will also be recognized during NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston. Nomination forms can be found here. The deadline for the TLN Salute program is February 15.

Districts can only be “Saluted” once. Therefore, every few years NSBA recognizes a TLN member with the Trailblazer Award. This recognition is reserved for previous Salute Districts that have gone far beyond their first recognition. It was first given in 2002 to the Henrico County Public Schools in Richmond, Virginia, to acknowledge their leadership role in establishing the largest district laptop program in the nation.

In 2004, the Trailblazer honor went to Community Consolidated School District #15 in Palatine, Illinois, recognizing its special accomplishment as a Malcolm Baldrige Award winner.  Then in 2006 Calcasieu Parish Public Schools was recognized as a Trailblazer recipient as a result of the comprehensive technology planning that allowed the district to serve not only students and faculty, but their community at a time of crisis after Hurricane Rita. Township High School District 214 in Illinois was the last district to be recognized as Trailblazer in 2010. 

Not sure if your district has been as honored as a TLN Salute District? The full list can be found here.  If you feel your district has experienced an extraordinary accomplishment since your initial recognition as a TLN Salute district, please describe the new initiative in an e-mail to Ann Flynn.



Naomi Dillon|December 14th, 2011|Categories: Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

Education technology leadership honored in this year’s “20 to Watch” list

From a school librarian who’s blog of book selections is read around the country to a kindergarten teacher turned top executive at a major digital education resources company who’s extolled the value of educational social networking along the way, this year’s “20 to Watch” list are movers and shakers in the education area who are as cutting edge as the technologies they utilize.

Check out these remarkable individuals and their impressive biographies.  They will be recognized at next week’s T+L Conference in Phoenix.

In the meantime, view Paul Andersen’s collection of instructional videos he posts on YouTube, called Bozeman Biology. No wonder he was also named the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year.

Below is one of Anderson’s videos that has received 7,969 views. Clearly Anderson doesn’t have that many students, so it is great to know that so many other are watching!

Naomi Dillon|October 14th, 2010|Categories: Teachers, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , |

Meet NSBA’s 2009 “20 to Watch” Educators

From classroom teachers to network administrators and the CEO of one of the nation’s most innovative content organizations, individuals are exciting and inspiring their colleagues about the potential that technology holds to transform the learning environment. NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN)  has just released its 2009 list of “20 to Watch” educators.

Started in 2006 as part of NSBA’s T+L Conference’s 20th anniversary celebration, this annual recognition program accepts nominations of educators whose peers believe they are the emerging leaders that can help shape the local and national dialogue about technology’s role in the learning, operations, and communication strategies. Each of this year’s “20” was nominated for his/her unique accomplishments, yet as a group, they provide an even more impressive snapshot of the progress that is being made every day in our schools to ensure technology-infused solutions – in the hands of talented, passionate educators – can bridge the promise of technology’s potential to the reality of results.

Get acquainted with this year’s “20” , and plan to join them during NSBA’s T+L Conference in Denver where they will be formally honored at the October 29th General Session.

Evan Allred, Dysart Unified School District, Director of Information Technology – Surprise, AZ

Anne Smith, Arapahoe High School, Littleton Public Schools, Language Arts Teacher – Centennial, CO

Chris Moore, East Elementary School, Littleton Public Schools 5th grade Teacher – Littleton, CO

Dr. Barbara Kurshan, Curriki Executive Director – Washington, DC

Robert Miller, Port Orange Elementary, Volusia County Schools, 4th & 5th grade Teacher – Port Orange, FL

Elisabeth D. Babin, Dowdell Middle Magnet School, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Teacher – Tampa, FL

Kevin M. McGuire, Michigan City Area Schools, Director of Technology – Michigan City, IN

Dyane Smokorowski, Andover Middle School, Andover Public Schools, 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher/Instructional Tech – Andover, KS

Vaudene  Field, Geary County USD 475 Instructional Technologist – Junction City, KS

Lisa Johnson, Jefferson County Public School District, Technology Resource Teacher – Louisville, KY

Joseph Orlak, Pascack Valley Regional High School District, Supervisor of Social Studies – Hillsdale, NJ

William L. Bean, Newark High School, Newark Central School District – Biology Teacher, Newark, NY

Andrea Page, Cosgrove Middle School, Spencerport Central School, 6th grade Teacher – Spencerport, NY

William Fritz, Sycamore Community Schools, Director of Technology – Cincinnati, OH

Michael Baker Jr., South Side Area School District, Online Learning Coordinator/ CFF Coach/ Tech. Teac – Hookstown, PA

Mary Beth Clifton, West Chester Area School District, Instructional Technology Coordinator – West Chester, PA

Brian Seaman, Western Wayne School District, Network Administrator – South Canaan, PA

Teryl Magee, Knox County Schools, Co-Teaching Coach – Knoxville, TN

Jaime Arizaleta, Garland ISD, Facilitator for Online Education – Garland, TX

Brian Nichols, Newport News Public Schools, Principal – Newport News, VA

Ann Flynn|October 12th, 2009|Categories: Educational Technology, Leadership, NSBA Recognition Programs, T+L|Tags: |
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