Home Higher Education Meet the 2022-23 Winners of Tech & Learning’s Innovative Leader Awards

Meet the 2022-23 Winners of Tech & Learning’s Innovative Leader Awards

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As part of our Regional Live Summits, Tech & Learning recognizes exceptional district administrators in select regions around the country through our Innovative Leaders Awards. We’re seeking district leaders who are reimagining and reinventing education by developing and launching unique and forward-thinking programs, policies, and best practices that have shown to have a positive impact and are also replicable at other districts.  

Please join us in celebrating the winners – and learn how you can nominate yourself or a colleague for the 2023-24 Innovative Leader Awards here

2022-23 TECH & LEARNING INNOVATIVE LEADER AWARD WINNERS

A headshot of Mike Afdahl. He is clean shaven with shoulder length hair.

Mike Afdahl

Best Implementation of Data Privacy & Cybersecurity

Mike currently serves as the Coordinator of Technology services for Northwest GA Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), where he supports 17 school systems in areas of technology, data analysis, instructional & operational planning, and teaches the Computer Science Endorsement. A former math teacher, instructional technology coordinator, and technology director, his passions include being a dad, connecting technology to learning outcomes, data & cyber security, and educational access for all. Read more here

A headshot of Emmanuel Ajanma

Emmanuel Ajanma

Best Implementation of Data Privacy & Security

Emmanuel Ajanma is an accomplished Director of Technology at at Barre Unified Union School District in Vermont who possesses a profound level of expertise and dedication in fostering and managing technology initiatives within K-12 educational environments. His unwavering commitment to enhance the learning experience for students and educators, by designing and executing forward-thinking technology strategies that align with district objectives, sets him apart in the field. Read more here

Mike Arsenault

Mike Arsenault

Best Example of Professional Development

Mike is Director Of Technology at Yarmouth School Department and has worked in K-12 education since 1990 as a Math Teacher, Technology Director and Integrator. He is a Google Certified Innovator (#gtachi). Mike has also taught courses for the University of Southern Maine and Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in technology in education. Read more here.

A headshot of James Batson wearing a suit and a tie.

James Batson

Innovative Technology Director Award

After 20+ years supporting technology for several multi-national businesses, Dr. Batson changed his career focus to technology leadership for educational institutions. Jim is now in his 7th year as the Director of Technology, Fenton Community High School District 100 in Bensenville, IL.  He has also held adjunct faculty positions at several northern Illinois community colleges and serves on the District 128 Board of Education in Vernon Hills, IL. Read more here.

hybrid learning

Kyle Berger

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

A career school CTO for public education in Texas, Kyle Berger has more than 21 years in K-12 technology leadership and has earned awards including Technology Director of the year for Texas, 2020 National Edtech Leadership winner, and Institutional Leadership award for interoperability. Currently, he serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD in Texas. 

Jamal Boyce

Jamal Boyce

Best Advocate for Computer Science

Jamal Boyce is Chief Technology Officer for the Colton Joint USD in California. His 18 years of experience in the realm of technology has covered a broad range from help desk, network administration, project management to department management. 

Suzan Brandt

Suzan Brandt

Innovative Technology Director

Suzan Brandt is Mountain Brook Schools Director of Technology. Before that, she spent 10 years as a local school technology coordinator at Mountain Brook Junior High. Before that, she spent nine years as an instructional technology specialist in Hoover City Schools.

A headshot of educator Tom Burton

Tom Burton

Innovative Superintendent Award

Tom Burton, Superintendent of Princeton City Schools (now retired), is a proven and dynamic school educator, well known and praised for his leadership. He believes that creating a collaborative environment with all stakeholders will help ensure that each child’s needs are met. By being flexible, collaborative, and open to new learning, Burton feels we can truly inspire our students to be prepared for the real world and ensure that they make the world better than it is now. Read more here.

A headshot of educator Heidi Carr

Heidi Carr

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Heidi Carr is an instructional facilitator with the Clark County School District. She has taught 2nd – 5th grade and is a digital engineer, and a facilitator for code.org. She is currently the president of CUE-Nevada, and the founder of PLAYDATE Vegas and of EduNV on Voxer. Read more here.

Eric Crespo

Eric Crespo

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Crespo has facilitated technology initiatives in his district, including a state-of-the-art media center and television broadcasting studio, as well incorporating virtual reality into the district’s curriculum. Most recently, he is the process of implementing specialized ear buds that translate languages, a technology currently being used by a family who just arrived from Ukraine. 

Mike Daugherty

Mike Daugherty

Innovative Tech Director

Daugherty created a CETL study group to manage the tricky challenge of measuring technology’s impact on achievement in a small urban district known for excellence. The result had a direct impact on supporting student achievement. Read more here.

Dr. Kathleen Dawson

Dr. Kathleen Dawson

Innovative Superintendent Award

Dawson has more than 24 years as a teacher and administrator committed to fighting for equitable access, excellence and opportunities through quality education for all children, with expertise in education reform, development of alternative education pathways and career pathways, K-12-higher education and workforce alignment, blended and virtual learning and data-driven teaching and learning. 

Lisa DeLapo

Lisa DeLapo

Innovative Technology Director Award

DeLapo earned the 2021 Honored Educator of the Year for Common Sense Media as well as a CUE Gold Disk in 2016, for work done to promote educational technology in public and private educational environments. She currently serves as the Vice President and Treasurer for Computer Using Educators (CUE) Board of Directors, is a mentor for the Certified Chief Technology Officer Mentor Program, and a graduate from their 2021 cohort (Cohort 15).  Read more here

Ron Dodson

Ron Dodson

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Dodson is in his fourth decade as an employee of Hoover City Schools, beginning as a science teacher at W.A. Berry High School. He co-founded the International Baccalaureate Program at Hoover HS, and served as assistant principal at Hoover HS and Spain Park HS. At the district level, he served as director of secondary curriculum and assistant superintendent. Recently, he led the planning and building of the district’s newest school, the Riverchase Career Connection Center.

Todd Dugan

Todd Dugan

Innovative Superintendent Award

Todd Dugan is the superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD #8 located in Bunker Hill, Illinois. A rural, distant district in downstate Illinois, Bunker Hill is in the midst of a digital conversion to 1:1 device environment. A 2022 IASBO Lighthouse Award Winner and the 2018 Illinois State University EAF Superintendent of the Year, Todd has presented and published numerous times on education and disrupting inequity, digital and otherwise. Read more here.

Mike Gaskell

Mike Gaskell

Best Example of Teacher and Student Wellbeing Programs 

Dr. Michael Gaskell is Principal at Central Elementary School in East Brunswick, NJ, has been published in more than four dozen articles, and is author of three books: Radical PrincipalsLeading Schools Through Trauma (September, 2021) and Microstrategy Magic (October, 2020). Mike presents at national conferences, including ISTE (June 2023) The Learning and the Brain (November, 2021), and FETC (January 2023, and 2022); and works to find refreshing solutions to the persistent problems educators and families face. Read more here

Sherri Harris Gibbs

Sherri Harris Gibbs

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Harris Gibbs participates in the Verizon Innovative Learning Program that features versatility to offer in-person learning and virtual learning schools; digital inclusion; tech-infused curriculum; various learning and organizational (online) platforms; and blended learning using technology.

Michael Goodman

Michael Goodman

Best Example of Professional Development

Goodman is a Senior Instructional Technology Coordinator with the Arlington Public School district in Northern Virginia. He served at Kenmore Middle School for 25 years, where he developed the instructional technology program, including equipment, training materials, professional development, and providing  support to staff and students. His school had the pleasure of hosting President Barack Obama, who said, “Mr. Goodman is doing a great job with supporting technology for the students and staff at Kenmore.” 

Kate Grunow

Kate Grunow

Best Implementation of Digital Curriculum

Kate Grunow has been in education for over a decade as a K-12 digital media specialist and English teacher. She currently serves 130,000 students and over 10,000 teachers in metro Detroit. She is one of the co-creators of the 21 Things 4 project and a presenter at local, state, and national conferences on topics such as blended learning, free technology tools, learning management platforms, and digital learning.  

Laurie Guyon

Laurie Guyon

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Guyon is the Coordinator for Model Schools at WSWHE BOCES in Saratoga Springs, New York, a trainer with NYSCATE, an adjunct professor for SUNY Plattsburgh and an author. Laurie was named CoSN’s NextGen: Emerging EdTech Leaders in 2020 and earned the Spotlight Award at BOCES. Laurie is a mentor for the DigCit Institute Global Impactor Program. She is certified by ISTE and Google and serves as an education ambassador for Common Sense, Buncee, Seesaw, Nearpod, Flipgrid, and other technology platforms. Read more here

Krista Herrera

Krista Herrera

Best Implementation of Digital Curriculum

Herrera has more than 15 years of experience working in education, including serving as administrator of Professional Learning & Student Support for KCSOS. She earned degrees at San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University and the University of LaVerne. Among her professional affiliations is serving as facilitator and coach for the California Coalition Dedicated to Dual Enrollment (CCEMC). Read more here.

Phil Hintz

Phil Hintz

Best Implementation of Data Privacy 

Phil Hintz is the Director of Student Information Services for Barrington School District 220 in Illinois. His honors include ISTE’s Outstanding Leader Award and the National School Boards Association’s “20 to Watch” in Edtech. Recently, Phil was the 2019 Withrow CTO of the Year for Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). Read more here.

A headshot of Melissa Jacobs

Melissa Jacobs

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Melissa Jacobs is the Director of Library Services for the NYC Department of Education/New York City School Library System. Melissa started her career as an elementary school librarian, then served 14 years as the Coordinator for Library Services. Melissa has been named a 2022 EdWeek Leader to Learn From, Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and has contributed to School Library Journal, Knowledge Quest, Teacher Librarian, and School Library Connection. Read more here.

Steven Jones

Steven Jones

Best Example of Professional Development

Steven Jones is an Instructional Technology Coordinator, Adobe Creative Educator Leader, and AI advocate. He currently leverages his background as an Apple Learning Coach and experience as an ISTE AI Explorations Coach to help support teachers. He has taught a variety of classes over the years, incorporating technologies such as 3D printing, designing for accessibility, and artificial intelligence. He is a former ISTE STEM Co-Chair and has led teachers and students across the globe as a Goals Project Facilitator. 

Cheryl Jordan

Cheryl Jordan

Innovative Superintendent Award

As a forward-thinking leader and listener, the 2021 American Leadership Forum Fellow XLI, 2022-23 President SCC Superintendents Association, and 2022-23 President Milpitas Rotary, Jordan is currently collaborating on a visionary MUSD Innovation Campus Project forged by a Milpitas Alliance for Future Ready Learners business-schools capital campaign partnership. Jordan and her team have launched a MUSD Middle College High School program, a World Languages Academy, and partnerships with SJECCD on a SJCC Extension in Milpitas as well as with the City of Milpitas and EVCC to provide learners with personalized learning and career paths.

Matthew Joseph

Dr. Matthew Joseph

Best Example of Developing Professional Learning Communities

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph is currently a district leader in MA. He is also the CEO of X-Factor EDU consulting and publishing. Experiences such as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, elementary school principal, classroom teacher, and district professional development specialist have provided him with incredible insights on how to best support teaching and learning and led to nationally published articles and opportunities to speak at multiple state and national events. Read more here.

A headshot of Lance Key

Lance Key

Best Example of Professional Development

A support specialist for the Putnam County School System in Cookeville, Tennessee, Lance Key helps teachers incorporate technology into their classroom and has conducted more than 400 edtech PD trainings across the country. He has also worked with ViewSonic to develop and provide training on the proper use of panels in classrooms. Read more here.

Jim Klein

Jim Klein

Innovative CTO Award

Klein currently serves on a number of committees and panels, and has been recognized as a NetworkWorld All Star and a National School Boards Association “20 to watch” educator. He is also founder of the Ubermix project and is chairman of the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) K-12 Open Technologies Initiative. Read more here.

Renato Lajara

Renato Lajara

Best Example of Equity & Access

Before he became an assistant superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia, Lajara was a principal in the Cheltenham School District, at Kensington High, and at John B. Stetson Charter School.

Mike Lang

Mike Lang

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Lang is the chief innovation program officer ed.Xtraordinary, a program powered by Teach for America that aims to accelerate the pace of innovation among Las Vegas educators. His career began in Mississippi and after a stint as an English Instructor in Taiwan, he has been teaching in Las Vegas. In his career, he has been honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Digital Innovator, Teach Plus Policy Fellow and Nevada Succeeds InspirED Global Fellow. Read more here.

Burt Lo

Burt Lo

Innovative Chief Technology Officer Award

Burt Lo has been a middle school teacher, district instructional technology director, and a county office professional development coordinator. Currently, he is the Director of Digital Curriculum & Instructional Technology for the Stanislaus County Office of Education. His primary duties involve implementing Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education for the Educational Options Division.

A headshot of Dr. Karee McAndrew

Dr. Karee McAndrew

Innovative Technology Director Award

Currently the  Director of Technology for the Bayonne Public School System, Karee has served as an educational technology teacher, technology coach, and assistant technology director. She aims to empower all staff to utilize technology as a transformational tool in their work, teaching, and learning. Read more here.

Tameaka McKinney

Tameaka McKinney

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

McKinney is the CCPS STEM Lead of Innovations & Special Projects, working to ensure students’ future success in the field of STEM by inspiring and exposing all. Read more here.

Michael Marassa

Michael Marassa

Innovative Chief Technology Officer Award

Michael was instrumental in the successful opening of New Trier during hybrid learning. He managed the first Illinois high school COVID19 saliva screen program, implemented a QR-code-based health screening and entry system for staff and students, and installed nearly 200 classroom audio systems so teachers and students could communicate with remote learners. He currently leads a 1:1 iPad program evaluation as well as a comprehensive network security upgrade of switching, wireless, and firewall technologies. Read more here.

Sophia Mendoza

Sophia Mendoza

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Sophia Mendoza has more than 20 years of experience as an education leader in L.A. Unified, where she spearheaded the implementation of computer science education and digital citizenship programs across 1,300 schools. Among her many honors, Mendoza was named one of the Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning in 2018. Most recently, she was elected to the Board of Directors for the International Society for Technology in Education. 

Jenith Mishne

Jenith Mishne

Innovative Technology Director

As the Director of Education Technology, Mishne works with students, teachers and administrators as they learn to integrate technology into their learning and lives. She also is an Adjunct Professor at California State University, Fullerton, teaching in the Masters of Education Technology program. Read more here.

Michael Morrison

Michael Morrison

Best Example of Professional Development

In addition to being Chief Technology Officer for Laguna Beach USD, Morrison was named 2023 Technology Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 17, covering all Orange County school districts. Read more here.

Lisa Nielsen

Lisa Nielsen

Innovative Thought Leader Award

Lisa Nielsen has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator and is the author of several books, with her writing being featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  Read more here.

Laura Ogando

Laura Ogando

Innovative Thought Leader Award

Ogando began her more than 13-year career in the New York City Public Schools as an elementary school special educator. As the Deputy Technology Director at the Manhattan Division of Instructional & Information Technology, she has been training teachers, in the DOE and around the country, in accessibility, Google tools for education, and digital literacy and citizenship. Read more here.

A headshot of Lorie Owens an award winning school leader dedicated to DEI

Lorrie Owens

Best Example of Providing Equity & Access

Owens, who has been the Chief Technology Officer for the San Mateo County Office of Education since 2004, is the first female and still the only African-American to lead the technology division of a county office of education in California. Prior to starting at the SMCOE, she served as the Director of Technology for two school districts in the East Bay Area. She is also a Certified Chief Technology Officer. Read more here.

Jennifer Parker

Dr. Jennifer Parker

Best Implementation of Digital Curriculum

Jennifer Parker, Ed.D. is an instructional technology/school data consultant for Macomb Intermediate School District and adjunct faculty for Central Michigan University’s Master of Arts in Learning, Design, & Technology. She is an ISTE Certified Educator and ISTE’s 2018 Digital Leader of the Year. Her consultant work includes ISTE Certification, ISTE Library Standards, and authoring ISTE-U courses. Parker was previously recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine as one of the top Ed Tech leaders to watch (2018).

Stephanie Potito

Stephanie Potito

Innovative Technology Director Award

Potito was a classroom teacher for more than a decade before becoming a technology instructional specialist. She then became director of digital learning for Leominster Public Schools. Read more here.

Sherri Powell headshot

Sherri Powell

Best Implementation of Digital Curriculum Award

In addition to holding an Ed.S in Technology Management and Administration and an M.A. in Technology Education, Powell is a Google Certified Trainer and Microsoft Innovative Expert and Trainer. Read more here.

Kimberly Ramos

Kimberly Ramos

Best Implementation of Data Privacy 

Kim Ramos was a classroom teacher for 20+ years. In 2014, she transitioned into the role of Technology Instructional Coach for the North Kingstown School Dept. in Kingstown, RI. In addition to supporting teachers and students, she is responsible for creating and delivering technology-related professional development across the district. Kim has presented at many conferences and received several awards. She is also a Highlander Institute Fuse Fellow and the current president of RISTE. Read more here.

Charles Randolph

Charles Randolph

Best Example of Professional Development

Randolph has more than 15 years’ experience as an Instructional Technology Coordinator for Arlington Public Schools. During that time, he has taught instructional technology/STEAM/CTE skills to students, teachers and administration. He is a member of ISTE, a former ISTE STEM Co-Chair 2019-20 and a member of VSTE, and has also served as Lead High School Instructional Technology Coordinator for Arlington Public Schools. He is a Certified Apple Learning Coach, Apple Learning Specialist, SMART Lumio Certified Trainer and Certified Online Facilitator. 

Trina Reaves

Trina Reaves

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Strong education professional focused on STEAM education, Reaves is an experienced principal with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in K-12 Education, Staff Development, Educational Leadership, Classroom Management, and Teaching. Read more here.

Glenn Robbins

Glenn Robbins

Innovative Superintendent Award 

Robbins is the superintendent of the Brigantine Public School District in Brigantine, New Jersey. His passion is harnessing a school culture that thrives on design thinking, futurism, innovative digital spaces, technology integration, social emotional learning Zen dens, and maker cultures. He encourages all students to have a voice, not only in building a school culture, but also in designing student- led courses and opportunities. Read more here.

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson

Best Overall Implementation of Technology

Robinson is an experienced director of technology with a demonstrated history of working in the primary/secondary education industry. He’s a strong information technology professional skilled in Educational Technology, Instructional Design, Technical Writing, Curriculum Development, and Teacher Training. Read more here.

Stephanie Rothstein

Stephanie Rothstein

Best Example of Professional Development

In her 20 years in education, Rothstein has taught grades 9-12 English, Yearbook, AVID and chaired the LEAD Design Thinking Pathway at Los Gatos High School for 10 years. She is a certified administrator and is currently serving as the an Educational Innovation Leader for Santa Clara Unified School District, a K-12 school district supporting 15,500 students and over 1,000 teachers at 31 schools.

Christine Stokes-Beverley

Christine Stokes-Beverley

Best Example of Professional Development

As a Senior Instructional Technology Coordinator, Christine Stokes-Beverley works with teachers to help them use technology to transform learning for students. She has served as a Teacher Fellow in the U.S Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, where she provided professional learning opportunities to educators at the local, state, and national levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Florida International University and a master’s and specialist degree in educational technology from the University of West Georgia. 

Adina Sullivan-Marlow

Adina Sullivan-Marlow

Innovative County Office of Education Director

Adina Sullivan-Marlow draws on her own experience to promote more diversity in education with Educator Pathways, a program of the San Diego County Office of Education. Read more here

Gina Tesoriero

Gina Tesoriero

Innovative Thought Leader Award

During her time at New York City Public Schools, Tesoriero led student voice, educator voice and school leader voice initiatives at DIIT to help improve the design and implementation of educational technology. Before this role, she was a self-contained special education STEM teacher for a decade and spent two years on the West Coast as an academic researcher focused on equity in Science/ STEM education. Read more here.

Scott Van Der Aa's headshot

Scott Van Der Aa

Innovative Superintendent Award

Van Der Aa is Superintendent of the Bloomfield School District in Indiana.  He has been in education for over 20 years in various roles and has a passion for serving multi-language learners and helping their families increase their involvement in the education of their children. Read more here.

Andrew Wallace

Andrew Wallace

Most Innovative Learning Spaces

Andrew Wallace has been the technology director for South Portland Schools in Maine for the past 19 years. He is President of the Maine Educational Technology Directors Association (METDA) and represents Maine schools on the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) Forum. A former librarian and current instructor at the University of Maine’s Graduate College of Education, Wallace is interested in spreading the Learning Commons model, and helping to imagine and create effective learning spaces. 

Jenna Whitney

Jenna Whitney

Best Example of Teacher & Student Wellbeing Programs

Whitney has been a teacher in the South Allegheny School District for 22 years, serving mostly as a middle school science/STEM teacher. Her goal is to be an innovative teacher who is dedicated to making students love learning. She enjoys experimenting with different methods of teaching and integrating technology in the classroom and appreciates working in a district that prioritizes innovative leadership. Read more here.

Matthew Winters

Matthew Winters

Best Example of Professional Development

Matt Winters is a senior technology trainer for Utah Education Network, which supports an entire state of 700-800,000 students, by no means a small population to serve. Read his advice for other state education leaders looking to improve professional development at every level across their states and school districts Read more here

Alena Zachery-Ross

Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross

Best Example of Teacher and Student Wellbeing Programs 

Dr. Zachery-Ross’ background includes elementary and secondary instruction, curriculum development, culturally responsive education, group facilitation, Adaptive Schools/Cognitive Coaching, community relations, and data analysis. Previously she served as the Superintendent of Schools for Okemos Public Schools and the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System. Read more here.

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