2011 Leaders of the Year announced by Tech & Learning magazine

Tech & Learning magazine named three educators as winners in its 24th annual Leader of the Year program. These visionaries exemplified extraordinary education technology leadership, often working within budgetary restrictions and limited resources. Among the winners are a coordinator of library information services from Baltimore County Public Schools, a superintendent from Tucson, AZ, and a computer science teacher from Wilmington DE.

"Our three winners stood out against a field of more than 120 innovative ed tech leaders for a number of reasons,” says Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director for NewBay Media’s Tech & Learning Group. “First was their initiative, breaking out into unknown territory and creating new and exciting programs in the classrooms. Second was their ability to find the larger context of a successful tech integration, which is that all people involved—students, parents, faculty, administration, the boards, the greater public—also need to be invested. Third, it was their understanding that these programs are an ongoing process, not just a one-shot deal."

Prizes have been graciously donated from the following companies: Cerebellum Corporation, ePen & Inc., Epson, Inspiration Software, Pearson, Sokikom, and Vernier Software & Technology.

Please join us in congratulating the winners of the 2011 Tech & Learning Leader of the Year program. Look for detailed profiles in the December 2011 Awards Issue.

Della Curtis, Coordinator of Library Information Services

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS)

It’s no surprise that Della Curtis received 19 nominations for Leader of the Year. This longtime visionary has been singing tech’s praises since 1981 and recognizes the role technology plays in empowering students to develop their full learning potential. From the professional-development courses she teaches to the webcams she put into every library, Curtis leaves no stone unturned. “Della continuously updates herself on what technology is available and how it may be used to improve instruction. Through her efforts, the achievement level of our students has continued to rise, the quality of education improve, and preparation of our students to succeed in a world where an understanding of technology important, but necessary,” says Robert Zienta, a library information specialist at BCPS.

Manuel L. Isquierdo, Superintendent

Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, AZ

Most people in Tucson credit Superintendent Manuel L. Isquierdo for helping Sunnyside USD to become the district for students seeking a better education. In July 2007, when Isquierdo took on the top role, Sunnyside was known as a dropout factory. Isquierdo immediately focused on reversing that reputation. Using research that showed the value of classroom technology in reducing dropout rates, he worked with principals, teachers, and counselors to develop Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage, a program that focused the entire community on graduation as the primary goal. Through Project Graduation, Sunnyside students have earned more than 2,000 netbooks, and the district expects to award another 500 by the end of this school year. The total number of computers in the district increased to nearly 10,000 last year, up from 844 in 2008.

David W. Brown, Chair of the Computer Science Department

The Charter School of Wilmington (CSW) in Delaware

David Brown has been a teacher, department chair, vice president of technology, and technology director. Today he chairs the computer science department at the Charter School of Wilmington. Although he’s been at CSW for only 15 months, Brown has already revamped the computer science department and curriculum and written and received a $50,000 co-authored grant from ING Direct Bank to upgrade the math and computer science departments’ technology programs. With some of the grant money, he installed a computer science research lab in which students can conduct research and work on higher-level technology projects. Thanks to Brown’s diligence and perseverance, the school is now able to advance computer science as a viable STEM option.