The Leadership Issue: Honorable Mentions

5/30/2014 7:00:00 PM

The following educators sent in notable accomplishments that T&L wanted to recognize as further examples of educational leadership.

Lisa Abel-Palmieri, Ph.D.
Director of Technology & Innovation and Head, Computer Science, The Ellis School, Pittsburgh, PA

Over the last 3.5 years, Lisa sourced, selected, and launched the Haiku Learning Management System with online resources to show how the flipped classroom and blended learning can create personalized and differentiated learning opportunities for project-based learning. In addition to consulting with faculty, Lisa also presents at parent coffees, grandparents’ day, “dine and dish” evening events and via parent newsletters. Lisa trained all faculties, consulted in the classroom on use of Google Apps, and initiated a 1:1 Chromebook program in the middle school and an iPad cart program in the lower school.

Lori Baylock
Instructional Technology Teacher, Martin Kellogg Middle School, Newington, CT

Lori spearheaded a digital student newspaper, switched daily announcements from analog and often intercom to a TriCaster Streaming system with multiple camera, text, and high-tech options, has been the force behind bringing video editing into the classrooms, completed the first year of bringing “tech integration” into the classroom, and continues to improve her program’s Web site for students, parents, and tutors.

Patricia Brown
Technology Integration Coach, Old Bonhomme Elementary School, Saint Louis, MO

Patricia wanted to provide her students with opportunities to visualize and conceptualize the impact technology has on their daily lives. As a classroom teacher, she was awarded a $25,000 Innovative Technology grant for her school, with which she purchased iMacs, digital Cameras, flip cameras, and a laser color printer. As a Technology Integration Coach, she has implemented the first annual OB Family Tech week, and Digital Learning Day and challenges teachers to move out of their comfort zones to meet the needs of students through mobile learning and social media. She blogs at

Daniel Calzaretta
English/Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher, Pioneer Middle School, Walla Walla, WA

Three years ago, Daniel developed a plan to integrate technology into his classroom with the goal to impact at three levels: the classroom, the district, and the community. In the classroom, technology helps students with different learning styles to be successful. In the district, Daniel is on a team that helped develop a plan to incorporate technology district-wide. In the community, Daniel helped the local library plan a multi-media creation center after they received a $136,000 grant.

Brett Clark
Director of Technology, Greater Clark Schools, Jeffersonville, IN

Brett led a 1:1 Samsung Google Chromebooks rollout to over 8,000 students in grades 3-12. His district hosted an eLearning Conference as part of a summer of eLearning put on by the Indiana Department of Education. He also launched eLearning Coach positions and hired eLearning coaches for his district, who have been vital in training our teachers on how to use and integrate technology into their classrooms.

Kelly Clifford District Technology Coordinator, MSD of Steuben County, Angola, IN

As a new administrator, Kelly created a centralized hub full of resources, training videos, tech tips, communication about district initiatives, links to technology standards, and more, called “MSDSC Tech Hub.” All staff is taught how to access the “MSD Technology Integration Matrix,” a SA MR-based rubric. This Matrix is a living document that reflects additions and changes to the world of technology every year.

Cindy Elsberry
Superintendent, Horry County Schools, Conway, SC

Under Cindy’s leadership, HCS created a Personalized Digital Learning (PDL) initiative that places iPads in the hands of all middle school students. The initiative, funded in part through a local sales tax, will expand to include all students in grades 3-12 over the next three years. This PDL initiative provides students with individualized pathways for learning and enhances each teacher’s ability to create engaging, customized student learning plans.

Betsy Hare
Instructional Technology Specialist, Oakbrook Middle School, Ladson, SC

Teachers often have little time to attend professional development sessions during the school year, so in Dorchester District Two, Betsy led a program to flip their PD. The middle school Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS) team worked with the Department of Professional Development to formulate a plan for implementation. They used Edmodo to host the PD and Camtasia to record and edit professional development videos.

Wanda Hill
Technology Teacher and PD instructor, Penny Creek Elementary, Everett, WA

Wanda won a PTA grant to fund MOBY MAX. Students take an assessment and from that assessment, the program finds what is lacking in the students’ knowledge. It then assigns game-based lessons that help students to understanding those concepts. Students work hard because they earn badges and game time. The staff loves the program, and the school has initiated MOBY MAX nights to show parents how they can log in and see their child’s progress. In just one month, students solved over 73,000 math problems.

Phil Hintz
Director of Technology, Gurnee School District 56, IL

Seven failed referenda attempts, building a new school in the most flood-prone district in the state of Illinois, and the challenge of affording a truly 1:1 digital learning environment did not stop Phil Hintz’s vision for transforming his schools into dynamic examples of cutting-edge technology. Beginning in 2008, Gurnee researched news ways to use funding, such as a renegotiated leasing option with Apple; allocating ARRA funds to buy Epson short-throw projectors, Steelcase ENO interactive whiteboards, and Front Row Pro Digital classroom sound systems; switching from MacBooks to iPads to enable the district to triple their purchase power and go 1:1, upgrading the school’s network switching to H.P. ProCurve gigabit, P.O.E. to support an Aruba Networks wireless infrastructure, and much more. All this, ultimately culminating in becoming an Apple Distinguished Program and raising student student achievement to the highest levels the district has ever seen.

Melissa Jacobs Israel
Coordinator of Library Services, New York City Department of Education

When Melissa first joined the Office of Library Services ten years ago, email was considered an emerging technology for the majority of professionals in the NYCDOE. She took the initiative to create a city-wide listserv that now connects more than 1,000 school librarians across NYC. She also founded and chairs a new professional group within the American Association of School Librarians that is now curating and vetting mobile apps for the “AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning”—25 vetted apps that are innovative, cost-effective, engage learners, build on community and collaborative teaching, and have a strong connection to pedagogy.

Ted Knudsen
Physical Education Teacher, Central Woodlands 5/6 School, Grand Rapids, MI

Ted used technology to inspire his students during a recent Relay for Life event at his school. Using Google Forms and Chromebooks, Ted tracked the progress of students running at the event to inspire both the kids and the community to become more physically active using the data he collected. Using social media to show his use of technology, he inspired five neighboring schools to replicate his program.

Tracy Lemke
Teacher, Beechnau Elementary, Ravenna, MI

Tracy seeks out current trends on Twitter, online sources, and good old-fashioned networking to identify edtech trends and best practices. This has led her to secure funds from the school district for Discovery Education’s Science Digital Textbook, subscribe to the BrainPop Web site, add Pro-Scope HD Microscopes to the science classrooms, and lead Teacher/Administrative Professional Development that demonstrates ways to integrate technology into everyday teaching.

Steve Miletto
HGRESA Executive Director, HGRESA, Eastman, GA

Steve meets with the Board of Control monthly, to provide updates and receive guidance on leadership and next steps. His vision encompasses embracing technology as a vital process rather than viewing it as a separate entity. He has established the following as models/exemplars for the schools to embrace: Teaching-Learning-Leading Blog, Twitter Account, Scoop-It, Pinterest, Educational Podcasts, Google Circles for Formative Assessment dialogues, and curriculum/instruction staff meetings.

AJ Phillips
Supervisor of Instructional Technology Services, Prince William County Public Schools, Manassas, VA

Over a three-year period, AJ provided principals with professional development on the new coaching role of the Instructional Technologist and the integration of technology in the classrooms. ITCs were provided professional development on coaching (Cognitive Coaching and ISTE Coaching Standards) and on technology integration in the classroom. The coaching professional development was also paired with ongoing professional development on the integration of iPads, BYOD, Google Apps for Education, interactive whiteboards (SMART and Promethean), and Discovery Education in classroom instruction. By moving the ITCs from the computer lab to planning, co-teaching, and modeling technology-integrated lessons with teachers, we have seen a significant increase in technology use in the classroom and collaborative planning.

Kris Schrotenboer
High School Language Arts Teacher, Central High School, Grand Rapids, MI

Kris started with a few video lessons to flip her classroom using TechSmith Camtasia Studio. She has now expanded the role of video in the classroom to engage students in the video creation process. Kris also requires students to use tools like Google Apps for Education to collaborate on projects in the classroom. Using the video and sharing capabilities of TechSmith Relay, Kris was able to record more than two weeks of lessons for her students. When inclement weather struck Michigan and closed schools for nearly 10 days, Kris shared the videos with her students to keep them on track. When everyone was finally able to return to class, Kris and her students were not just caught up, but an entire week ahead of schedule.

Kirt Thomason
Math Coach/Math Teacher, Burlington Township, NJ

Kirt adopted Google Apps for Education in 2008 and started doing different cell phone activities in the classroom a few years ago.  These activities inspired the district to alter their long-standing policy on the use of cell phones.  The policy now allows teachers to temporarily waive the cell phone policy while in the classroom. Kirt uses Remind101 as a classroom tool, which also led to a building-wide adoption of this tool. He’s also created a “Human Battleship” activity that uses cell phones and LCD projectors to map and send coordinates as a math activity.

Bekah Wadkins
Computer Technology Teacher, Garfield Elementary School, Ottawa, KS

In the fall of 2013, teachers across the district were handed iPads without any professional development. Bekah took the initative to send out weekly emails with tips and tricks for using the iPad. As the weeks went on, she started featuring different apps that were also useful. Bekah also works evenings and during plan time to work with teachers on how to successfully integrate iPads into their current lessons.

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