Portrait of a Leader - Tech Learning

Portrait of a Leader

Though hard work and a knack for relating to teachers, Cindy Wilson-Hyde has changed her school's relationship with technology.
Publish date:

from Technology & Learning

Editor's note: Cindy Wilson-Hyde was recently named Leader of the Year by Technology & Learning . To read more about the program, visit http://www.techlearning.com/leader.

Every day at 6:30 a.m. Cindy Wilson-Hyde gets in her white Ford Explorer and drives along south Florida's tropical boulevards to Gulliver Schools. She arrives at the main campus, a lush 20-acre spread in Coral Gables, and starts her day quietly reading e-mails.

Yet for the past three years, Wilson-Hyde's influence at Gulliver has been anything but quiet. As the curriculum technology integrator for the independent school's pre-kindergarten through 8th grades, she has—through hard work and a knack for relating to teachers-transformed the school's relationship with technology. "A couple years ago we had teachers who could not turn on a computer," says Patricia Martello, Gulliver's lower school principal—an incongruous scenario for a school that spawned the cofounders of Facebook and the creator of the Firefox Web browser. "Now they're going gangbusters. They're making podcasts; they have Web sites."

Not long ago Wilson-Hyde had a different career altogether—as a dental hygienist. Inspired by her love of technology, and her experience volunteering for Miami-Dade Public Schools during her daughter's formative years, she went back to school five years ago for a master's in instructional technology. After interning at a local high school, she landed the position at Gulliver.

Wilson-Hyde says the dental and education fields aren't as different as one might think. "Being a clinician is all about relationships. You do education every single day, all day," she says. "People trust you if they feel a connection with you, if you listen to them."

This ability to connect has made all the difference, says administrator Glenda Crawford. "It's the way she works with teachers. She supports them. She never says no," she says, citing Wilson-Hyde's one-to-one training model as instrumental in engaging staff with new technologies. The enviable model starts with an online survey asking teachers which two to three skills they want to work on. Wilson-Hyde then customizes training to meet individual needs, and then asks for feedback.

One area where Wilson-Hyde's training has paid off is with Gulliver's 1st grade teachers, who are using laptops and Webcams to record reading samples of their students at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. The videos, along with scanned writing samples, are placed in students' digital arts portfolios. Not only does the portfolio help document reading fluency, teachers are finding them to be a valuable tool at parent meetings. Next year Wilson-Hyde plans to expand the project to kindergarten students.

The benefits of Wilson-Hyde's personal touch can be seen in other areas. Pre-kindergarten teachers are using digital cameras to demonstrate the cocooning process. First-grade teachers who were once technology shy are developing video photo albums and uploading them to the school's online communication system. Third-grade teachers are recording audio writing prompts and posting them on their Web pages.

"I think education is on the cusp of changing dramatically from classroom learning to having the whole world as your classroom," she says. "We're not tied to a time and place any more."

Amy Poftak is editorial director of School CIO.



Portrait of a Digital Native

View the Timeline Meredith Fear sits in her room doing her homework. Books are scattered about, and a computer monitor glows before her. She is working on two Word documents and has four Web sites open. She checks her school e-mail account, her Bloglines news aggregator, and Furls of an online article for her

A CIO Story

Boston Public Schools' Kim Rice is changing the role of technology in her community, one customer at a time.

2006 LEADERS of the Year

Honoring Outstanding Educators Technology & Learning's annual Leader of the Year program recognizes four K-12 administrators, teachers, and tech directors whose dedication and vision have profoundly touched the lives and futures of students, colleagues, community, and beyond. To learn more about the Leader of the

Portraits of Learning

from Technology & Learning We present this year's winning student photos. Place a digital camera in the hands of a student and watch the creativity blossom. This year's more than 4,000 Portraits of Learning entries attest to the growing comfort with digital technologies and visual arts that today's kids

Image placeholder title

Leader of the Year: Lisa Gonzales

Even though Lisa Gonzales has onlybeen superintendent of Portola Valley(CA ) School District since August 2013,she’s already had an enormous impacton this high-performing, K-8 districtof 650 students.

The Back Page(2)

Gleanings The Internet Hits Home The Net has increasingly become a conduit for fostering school-to-home relations, according to CDW-G's 2003 Teachers Talk Tech survey. The study, carried out by InfoTek Research and based on phone interviews of 606 K-12 teachers, found that 63 percent of classroom teachers believe

Ed Tech Leader of the Year 2003

By Michael Milone Every year we identify a special group of educators who we believe are the standard-bearers when it comes to cutting-edge, technology-infused practices. This year is no exception. From changing an entire school's culture to providing students with new curricular opportunities they wouldn't otherwise

Leaders of the Year 2005

About the Contest The Technology & Learning Leader of the Year program recognizes K-12 educators who demonstrate leadership, vision, and creativity in implementing technology in schools and districts. After poring over hundreds of entries, T&L editors and consultants selected four national winners, who