Now in its third year, our Impact 30 list recognizes the high-impact players who have had a powerful effect on technology in the nation’s schools. Most of these men and women have done great things for education; some might argue that a few have set schools back. But one thing is for sure: Because of the movers and shakers you’re about to meet, educational technology will never be the same again.


Richard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education
As head of the federal Education Department during the entire Clinton Administration, Riley has been instrumental in making billions of dollars in funding available for increasing the quality and amount of technology in America’s schools.

Riley has repeatedly called on Congress to increase funding for major educational technology initiatives, including preparing teachers to use technology and modernizing schools for the 21st century. Three years ago, he helped win a historic ruling by the Federal Communication Commission to give schools and libraries deep discounts for internet access and telecommunications services under the program now known as the eRate. The eRate has been touted as the single most effective federal program that’s helped schools connect to the internet. According to 2000 estimates, 98 percent of the nation’s schools now have internet access.

During his leadership, Riley also directed the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century to consider ways of improving recruitment, preparation, retention, and professional growth for math and science teachers in K-12 classrooms nationwide. Riley’s most recent educational technology goals include modernizing and building new schools and helping students and teachers learn to use computers.

President Clinton chose Riley to be Education Secretary in December 1992 after Riley won national recognition for his highly successful effort to improve education as governor of South Carolina. Because of Riley’s overall success, Clinton asked him to stay on for a second term. Riley graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1954 and served as an officer on a U. S. Navy minesweeper. In 1959, he received a law degree from the University of South Carolina. He was a state representative and state senator from 1963 to 1977 and was elected governor of South Carolina in 1978 and reelected in 1982.

Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb.
During Kerrey’s two terms in the United States Senate, he has developed a reputation as a well-respected advocate for educational technology. As chair of the Web-based Education Commission, Kerrey guided the 16-member panel in its effort to establish a “policy roadmap” that will help education officials at the local, state, and national levels better address the key issues and critical challenges brought about by the internet and other emerging technologies. The commission’s report was due to Congress in mid-December. In 1996, Kerrey launched the CLASS (Communications, Learning, and Assessment in a Student-centered System) Project, designed to develop a fully accredited, interactive high school curriculum on the internet. CLASS enables schools to access classes they would be unable to afford through traditional means of delivery. Kerrey also was instrumental in crafting the portion of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that established the eRate. Before becoming a senator, Kerrey served as governor of Nebraska for six years.

John Glenn, former U.S. senator and chair of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching
As chair of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching, Glenn brought attention to the need to fix America’s declining math and science education in a way others couldn’t. At the release of the commission’s report in September, Glenn described math and science education as a crisis that is “dangerous to national prosperity and security” and recommended ways to improve recruitment, preparation, retention, and professional growth for K-12 math and science teachers nationwide. As the first American astronaut to orbit the earth in 1962 and also the oldest person to fly in space, Glenn holds more clout in the field of science and mathematics than anyone else, and his dedication to improving math and science education made the commission’s goal well-publicized. After 23 years of distinguished service in the Marine Corps, Glenn retired in 1965. He took an active part in politics and won his first Senate seat from Ohio in 1974. In 1992, Glenn was elected for his fourth consecutive term as senator. The former astronaut returned to space in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery, making him the oldest person to fly in space. That same year, Ohio State University announced the establishment of the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, reflecting Glenn’s lifelong dedication to public service.

John Engler, governor of Michigan
As Republican governor of Michigan since 1991, Engler has made substantial investments in technology to improve education, his top priority. In his 1999 State of the State address, Engler announced the Teacher Technology Initiative, a $110 million plan—approved by state legislators—to provide laptop computers, internet access, and computer training to the state’s 90,000 public school teachers. In September, state officials began seeking bids to purchase 83,000 laptop and 8,000 desktop computers and said teachers would have them by the end of the school year. This past year, Engler also approved $18 million in start-up money to create a virtual high school in Michigan. He also improved customer service in his state by launching a web site that allows citizens to access many government services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and he launched a site known as the MiBid surplus auction, which allows citizens to bid on surplus property over the internet.

Gray Davis, governor of California
Since Davis was elected governor in 1998, he has made improving public education his administration’s No. 1 priority. As his first official act as governor, Davis called a special session of the state legislature to address his proposals to ensure that every child can read by age nine, strengthen teacher training and education, and increase accountability in schools. California has led the nation in connecting schools to the internet and adopting new technologies to aid in learning. The Digital High School Program provides assistance to schools serving students in grades 9 to 12, so these schools may install and support technology, as well as provide staff training. Funding for the installation is provided by Technology Installation Grants, one-time funds of $300 per student. Davis has been instrumental in securing funding for technology in California. In his original January 2000 budget plan, the Democratic governor said he would earmark $200 million to purchase computers and train teachers, but in a May revision of his budget plan, Davis increased that proposal by $400 million. The $600 million in question would allow the state to buy up to 700,000 computers for approximately $700 each, or 350,000 higher-end computers for about $1,500 each. Davis allotted $25 million for technology teacher training in his original technology plan, but he doubled that figure in May.


Kathleen Fulton, project director for the Web-based Education Commission

With more than 20 years of experience as a writer, researcher, program manager, and policy analyst in the field of education and technology, Fulton most recently served as lead writer for the Web-based Education Commission’s report to Congress, called “The Power of the Internet for Learning: From Promise to Practice.” Congress established the commission to develop recommendations to help learners take advantage of the educational promise of the internet.

Fulton’s work in education and technology began at the U.S. Department of Education in the 1980s. Since then, she has produced a series of reports—too many to name—about computers and technology in education.

In 1996, Fulton served as the associate director of the Center for Learning and Educational Technology at the University of Maryland College of Education. While at Maryland, she also was a consultant for the CEO Forum, where she wrote the report on Teacher Education and Technology and developed the Teacher Preparation STaR Chart.

Fulton has served on numerous national advisory panels, including NASA’s Learning Technologies Project advisory panel, the Maryland Virtual High School advisory panel, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Advisory Panel on Technology and Teacher Education.

Fulton received her bachelor’s degree at Smith College and her master’s degree in Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Keith Krueger, executive director of the Consortium for School Networking
Krueger heads the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a national nonprofit that promotes the use of telecommunications in K-12 schools to improve learning. CoSN recently launched a web site, called Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse, to help educators understand their technological options for managing internet content in their schools.

In 1999, CoSN released a Total Cost of Ownership white paper to help school leaders understand the long-term costs involved in building and operating a network of computers. In addition to his work with CoSN, Krueger co-founded and is president of Nonprofit Management Inc., an association management firm specializing in management services for nonprofits using information technologies in education, health, and libraries. Krueger also sits on the advisory board for The New York Times Learning Network, is treasurer of the National Committee on Technology in Education and Training, and is a former board member for the Organizations Concerned about Rural Education.

Helen Soule, director of educational technology at the Mississippi Department of Education As director of Mississppi’s educational technology department for the past six years, Soule has led the state’s considerable progress in the area of educational technology. Her accomplishments include implementing the state’s first master technology plan, creating a statewide K-16 data and video backbone, establishing the first statewide Student Information System (MSIS), developing technology standards for teachers and administrators, and starting a comprehensive technology integration training program for teachers. As the state’s technology director, Soule provides leadership to educators in planning, coordinating, directing, and supporting Mississippi’s educational technology initiatives and programs. She also serves as chair of the Consortium for School Networking and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Collaborative for Technology Standards for School Administrators.

Jerry Chaffin, principal investigator for the High Plains R*TEC
Chaffin, a professor of special education at the University of Kansas, was the visionary and principal investigator for the original South Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (R*TEC), funded by the U.S. Department of Education from 1995 to 2000, and is the current principal investigator for the newly-funded High Plains R*TEC, as well as numerous other regional educational technology programs housed at the University of Kansas. Among the many tools that High Plains R*TEC has developed for educators is Profiler, a tool that surveys teachers to assess their professional development needs. It’s essentially a knowledge audit; by taking the survey, teachers can assess their technology abilities, and Profiler helps them find someone at their school or district who can help them learn the skills they don’t know. Chaffin is an advocate of reforming current school models to include engaging opportunities for all learners. He has recognized the need to provide model opportunities for teacher educators, researchers, and pre-service interns to work together in defining and evaluating best-practice approaches to teaching and learning.

Bill Jackson, president of Jackson is the founder, president, and creative force behind, a nonprofit online guide to public K-12 schools. uses the power of the internet to help parents compare, choose, support, and improve public schools. Its intent is to spur education reform by making schools accountable to stakeholders via the web. Launched in September 1998, features profiles of 10,000 Arizona and California schools and plans to expand to several additional states this year. Jackson formerly was project director at Smart Valley Inc., where he created Smart Voter, an online guide to elections and GovGuide, an online guide to government services . Prior to working in the computer industry, Bill was a teacher in Hunan, China, and Washington, D.C., and graduated from the San Francisco-based Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. A graduate of Yale University, he is vice chair of the California Voter Foundation.


Raymond Yeagley, superintendent of the Rochester, N.H., School District and chairman of the Electronic Data Interchange Task Force
As New Hampshire’s representative to the National Forum on Education Statistics, Yeagley became affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to create a web-based server for electronic transmission of student records between K-12 schools and to post-secondary institutions. His role as chair of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Task Force has involved promoting awareness and advocacy for the process and the solution. This has involved participation in testing the EDI server, presentations at several national conferences, and efforts to facilitate the creation of operational EDI trading partnerships between K-12 schools, state departments of education, and higher education.

Yeagley’s interest in technology began at Indiana University in 1979, when his advisor asked if he would like to be the first IU student to write his dissertation on a word processor. Now in his 13th year as superintendent of the Rochester School District, he has been instrumental in creating a high-speed, city-wide network that has brought technology into every classroom and every aspect of the district’s operations, from student computing and data-driven decisions for improving student learning, to increasing administrative and operational efficiency.

Jayson Crair, SIF coordinator for the Ballston Spa, N.y., Central School District, and Patrick Plant, technology coordinator for Anoka-Hennepin, Minn., Independent School District 11
Crair and Plant were the first educators to lead pilot programs in their school districts to test the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), an industry initiative to develop a way for different instructional and administrative software programs to work together. The goal of SIF is to make all K-12 instructional and administrative software programs work together seamlessly, so schools can maintain the most up-to-date records and avoid duplicating data entry. Crair and Plant have implemented test versions of SIF technology in their schools and are working with technology companies to make SIF a flawless standard. Crair has worked at Ballston Spa Central School District since 1974 as a school counselor, the director of guidance, and a technology advisor and database manager. Plant, who has worked as an administrator in his district for more than 20 years, is also a highly regarded presenter and trainer. He recently led his district in a very successful multi-million dollar competitive grant process.

Larry S. Anderson, Mississippi State University professor and director of National Center for Technology Planning
Anderson founded the National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP) in 1992 to fulfill his vision of creating a network of professionals helping each other achieve meaningful technology plans. The center is a clearinghouse for technology-planning information for those who need help, fresh ideas, or solutions to their problems. The center’s web site houses a collection of technology plans from school districts and other agencies from around the world. In addition to these plans, the site offers consulting, workshops, and printed materials, such as brochures and pamphlets on technology planning. Before the internet, Anderson used a scanner to digitize each page and then saved the files on a file server at Mississippi State University, which users could access through an anonymous ftp (file transfer protocol) or gopher connection. Now, hyperlinks to the plans appear on the NCTP web site. Anderson is a former junior high school teacher and middle school principal, and he currently teaches at the graduate level. He is a respected author, speaker, and leader in the field of instructional technology.

James Hirsch, assistant superintendent of technology for the Plano, Texas, Independent School District
Since Hirsch joined the technology department of Plano ISD in 1996, he has led his district in a series of intensive technology improvements. These improvements include the development of a digital user interface (DUI), through which the district’s network recognizes every student and staff member on any of its 24,000 computers and delivers their personal desktop directly to them. This feature also is accessible through remote internet access outside the district. Plano has implemented a fiber optic network that carries digital voice, video, and data information, as well as a private 110-channel analog video network, to 66 sites. Hirsch also directed the development of an award-winning elementary school curriculum project that integrated technology and district standards for hardware, software, staff development, and support to provide more efficiency. Hirsch serves as the chair-elect of the Consortium for School Networking and is on the board of directors for the Technology Crossroads Alliance, a regional development consortium in north Texas. He also serves on education advisory panels for Palm Computing, Knowledge Adventure, and Apple Computer. Hirsch has published more than 80 articles about educational technology and continues to write regularly for the HyperStudio Forum. In addition, Hirsch wrote the book “HyperStudio and the Internet,” published by Fruition Publications and in use worldwide. He is now working on his latest book, “HyperQuests:Creating Interactive Multimedia Activities and Investigations.” Hirsch has given technology workshops and featured presentations to thousands of educators throughout the United States and Canada.

Gerrita Postlewait, superintendent of Horry County, S.C., Public Schools
Horry County Schools in Myrtle Beach is one of the largest districts in South Carolina, with 43 schools and more than 27,000 students. It’s also one of the poorest, with 54 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunches. But, despite the poverty of many of the county’s families, the district has been one of the most forward-thinking and connected school systems in the country for some time. According to figures from the district, more than $14 million has been spent on technology in the past four years, and more than 8,000 computers are installed in its schools. All schools are connected to the internet and networked to each other. But it wasn’t easy to get a community that hadn’t accepted the necessity of technology for themselves to accept that their kids needed wired schools. “The hardest thing we ever did was marshal the resources six years ago in a community that had not yet recognized the significance of technology,” said Postlewait. Working with a strong conviction that technology integration was the key to bringing Horry County students into the new millennium, the district—under Postlewait’s leadership—set about creating a useful technology plan in which every classroom was connected to the internet. That goal was reached in 1995, before many districts in the country had any internet connections whatsoever. “It was unusual here, because the school district was really one of the leaders that made the whole community recognize the power of the internet. Usually, it’s the other way around, with the community pushing the district to catch up to technology. But Horry County really led the community in the push to bring technology to Myrtle Beach,” Postlewait said.


Larry J. Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp.
Last year, Ellison developed an internet appliance, aimed directly at the education market, that would allow schools to provide more computers for less money. At about $200 per unit, the New Internet Computer (NIC) gives educators a thin-client technology they can deploy for all students with little up-front cost, putting every student on the network cheaply and efficiently.

Produced by Ellison’s New Internet Computer Co., the NIC does not require a network server to reach the internet. Unlike a personal computer, the device lacks a hard drive. Instead, users who connect it to the internet will be able to check eMail, surf the web, and tap into applications run on a server. Users can plug the NIC into either a standard phone line or an Ethernet connection to access the web directly, or they can configure it to run through a school’s in-house network system. Ellison’s new start-up donated thousands of the internet appliance to schools in Chicago and Dallas last year.

The NIC is only part of Ellison’s plan to give all schoolchildren access to the internet. His Oracle’s Promise initiative, introduced in June 1997 with a $100 million endowment, was chartered to provide network computers to economically challenged and disenfranchised schools. Schools accepted into the program receive network computers and a server, laser printers, an Ethernet switch and hubs, and network cards so students can get online.

Ellison received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Harvard School of Business. He also sits on the board of Apple Computer and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Jeanne Hayes, founder and CEO of Quality Education Data
Hayes founded Quality Education Data (QED), now a nationally recognized leader in tracking and interpreting education technology trends and data, in 1981. Headquartered in Denver, QED has more than 8,000 customers that use its data on United States elementary and secondary schools and colleges in a variety of applications. Hayes has developed a National Education Database of schools and other education institutions using proprietary data, government taxonomy, and numbering systems. This database is the core resource that supports all QED products and services, including custom education market research, database design, and annual research reports. A popular speaker and a specialist in education information, Hayes has presented her findings regarding trends in educational technology to a wide variety of audiences, including educators, product developers, legislators, trade associations, and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, which has used QED data to shape its funding of technology initiatives.

Robert Iskander, founder, chairman, and CEO of VIP Tone
As founder of technology start-up VIP Tone, Iskander brings with him more than 17 years of experience in technology and education. In his former position as director of Sun Microsystems’ K-12 education market, Iskander was instrumental in leading the shift toward an internet-based approach to delivering school applications. While at Sun, Iskander founded the SchoolTone Alliance to align the industry behind the vision of portal computing and the application service provider (ASP) model for schools. His new company, VIP Tone, has taken a leadership role in the education industry by developing a new suite of services and products aimed at small to medium-size enterprises, such as K-12 schools, that are looking for a productive, easy-to-use, and secure technology infrastructure without the typical complexity of managing and maintaining their own networks and software systems. VIP Tone’s internet-delivered solution simplifies the management of network resources, the training of users, and reduces the costs associated with procuring and updating hardware and software.

Bob Marshall, president and CEO of AWS Convergence Technologies
Marshall, one of the original founders of Automated Weather Service (AWS), currently serves as the company’s president and CEO. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., AWS provides premiere internet-based educational technology and television content products to schools and television broadcasters nationwide. Best known for the company’s innovative School WeatherNet and InstaSports programs, which link schools together in global data-sharing networks, Marshall also is responsible for spurring Maryland districts to make technology a priority by funding web-based reports on each district’s tech-savviness. Marshall is chairman of Maryland’s Committee on Technology Education and serves on the board of the Montgomery Education Connection, a coalition of business and education leaders. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland College of Engineering.

Eric Walusis, president and co-founder of Searchlight eBooks
Walusis’ Dayton, Ohio-based company is dedicated to providing electronic book, or eBook, solutions for group applications in corporate and educational environments. In September 1999, Searchlight launched one of the first classroom applications of eBook technology at Dayton’s Resurrection Catholic School, an event that garnered international press coverage and heightened interest in eBooks for education. Walusis is also an award-winning producer, product developer, and public speaker. In “Unbound,” his monthly column at, he goes beyond the eBook industry’s latest headlines to explore how eBooks are changing the way we think, learn, and do business. With more than a decade of experience producing for film, video, and new media, his creative background is complemented by work in product development, research, training, and merchandising. He received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio State University and also serves on the board of the Old North Dayton Development Corp.


Elliot Soloway, professor of education at the University of Michigan, and Cathleen Norris, professor of technology and cognition at the University of North Texas
Soloway and Norris have been developing a tool called the Online Snapshot Survey, which is a free service that allows schools and districts to gather input from teachers and administrators by conducting an online survey to help officials make more informed decisions about technology.

The Online Snapshot Survey lets districts tailor the survey to their individual needs and get instant feedback. The survey helps school leaders to get a sense of how technology is used and distributed in their schools, and they can use the results to define policy and set priorities.

Norris’s efforts in research, teaching, and service all focus on integrating learning technologies more effectively into classrooms. She is also president of the National Educational Computer Association, which has organized the country’s leading education and technology conference for 20 years, the National Educational Computing Conference.

In addition to the Snapshot Survey project, Norris is exploring design guidelines that address the unique needs of children in two projects known as WebKids and FindResearch, and she is developing strategies to help educators extract value from the research literature on technology in education.

Soloway is a professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Michigan. For the past 10 years, Soloway and his colleagues in the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education (HI-CE)—now composed of more than 60 undergraduate and graduate students—have been exploring ways in which computing and communications technologies can act as a catalyst for bringing constructivist, project-based pedagogy to science classrooms.

Keith Curry Lance, director of the Library Research Service of the Colorado State Library and Adult Education Office
Last year, Lance led a study (“How School Librarians Help Kids Achieve Standards: The Second Colorado Study”) showing a correlation between strong school library programs and student