Tech & Learning magazine named four educators as winners in its 25th annual Leader of the Year program. These visionaries exemplified extraordinary education technology leadership, often working within budgetary restrictions and limited resources. Among the four winners are a superintendent from Huntsville, AL, a teacher in the rural district of Burnsville, NC, a director of technology in a high-performing, award-winning district in Indiana, and a Catholic school principal in Chicago whose vision helped keep her school's doors open.
"We had another year with very strong candidates and very inspiring stories," says Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director for NewBay Media's Tech & Learning Group. "What set these educators apart were the varied and enthusiastic endorsements from the people who work with and for them. This I think is one of the strongest indicators of a true leader."
Prizes for the four winners have been graciously donated from the following companies: Aerohive, Atomic Learning, Aver, Badge Stack, Bloxx, Certiport, ePen & Inc., EPSON, Field Trip Safeguard, Mimio, myOn Reader, Observe4Success, Reading Assistant, SchoolReach, Shmoop, Tales2Go, Vernier, and Wanderful.
Please join us in congratulating the winners of the 2012 Tech & Learning Leader of the Year program. Look for detailed profiles in the December 2012 Awards Issue.
Casey Wardynski, Superintendent, Huntsville City Schools, Huntsville, AL
In just one year, Huntsville City Schools completely transformed education for its nearly 25,000 students. And the district owes it all to the plan put forth by a brave and visionary leader, Superintendent Casey Wardynski. His plan, which the board unanimously approved in June of 2012, was to use one-to-one learning and launch a digital curriculum. It is one of the largest school systems to go digital in every school. Today, teachers use interactive texts, videos, animations, and other tools from digital instructional programs. Best of all, Huntsville is already seeing positive results from this digital revolution. Teacher reports and school records show students more engaged and interested in learning, and suspensions are down 56% from last year. Wardynski is honored to be recognized as a Tech & Learning leader and hopes other schools will see that change can happen rapidly. "Technology is the great equalizer," he says. "When all students have a common device, it eliminates equity issues and brings everyone up together instead of pulling people down."
Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek, Principal, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School, Chicago, IL
Nine years ago, the St. Therese Chinese Catholic School was struggling to keep its doors open. Then, along came Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek, a new principal with a strong and clear vision. Today, the school buzzes with technology, from digital gradebooks to laptop labs to handhelds to a wireless network, and is deeply committed to implementing STEM-focused classes. Thanks to strong leadership, technology integration, and innovation, enrollment is now soaring. "Being named a Tech & Learning leader helps us realize that our mission is possible--even on an extremely tight, frugal budget," says Cavallone-Jurek.
James Pate, Media Coordinator/Teacher, Bee Log Elementary School, Burnsville, NC
When the 63 students in your rural school are three hours away from the closest large city and have never been to a beach, there's only one way to let them get a feel for those places. At least, that's what James Pate believes. In the last six years, Pate helped transform his school into a technology showplace. He dusted off the laptop lab, removed the plastic covering from the interactive whiteboards, and pushed the LCD projector carts away from the corners of the classrooms. As he began to use these tools in his media classes, his colleagues took note of his projects and started asking for help. Thanks to a supportive principal and Title I funds, Pate hired substitutes to allow teachers to attend several halfday training sessions. Last year, Pate and a teacher wrote a grant to purchase five iPods and then convinced the principal to buy another 10 iPods plus two iPads for teachers. "I've helped bring emerging technologies to the smallest and most rural K-5 school in North Carolina," says Pate. "Winning this award helps me to know I'm headed in the right place with these children."
Julie Bohnenkamp, Director of Technology, Center Grove Community School Corporation, Greenwood, IN
As the technology director for a high-performing, award-winning school district, Julie Bohnenkamp knows she must deliver high-quality training to keep students engaged and help teachers personalize and differentiate their instruction. In the past five years, she's written grants to secure more than $1,000,000 in funding. The money has helped her create one-to-one classrooms, provide iPads for special education, and provide top-notch professional development at every turn. Bohnenkamp is excited to win the Tech & Learning award and hopes it will honor the work that her entire department and teachers have done. "A leader empowers and supports the "she says, "but the results are a team effort."
About Tech & Learning
For 30 years, Tech & Learning has been — and continues to be — the leading resource for K-12 leaders. Its publications, web sites and events provide factual and evaluative information on trends, products, and strategies to educators who purchase technology products in their districts and schools. Tech & Learning, published by NewBay Media LLC, delivers the highest quality content and essential resources to manage, train, and teach technology. For more information, visit www.TechLearning.com.
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