Winners of the 2007 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards were honored in a ceremony on March 2 in New Orleans.

Now in its seventh year, this annual program recognizes outstanding superintendents throughout the nation who are effectively embracing technology as a tool for leadership and learning. Winners are first nominated online by their colleagues. The final 10 are chosen by tech-savvy laureates of years past years and by the editors of eSchool News.

As K-12 educators come to rely on computers and the internet to help them deliver instruction, track student progress, and better prepare learners for the challenges of an increasingly global workforce, an understanding of how technology works and how it can be used to improve education has become increasingly important for today’s superintendents.

“I think it’s really important to be in a room with people [who] look at technology and use it…who don’t think of it as technology, but who think of it as something to further the mission of education,” said Gordon Freedman, vice president of education strategy for learning management system provider Blackboard, the event sponsor. “What we find is that often the digital divide in the school world is between the ed-tech [director] and the curriculum director, and that leadership is necessary to look at what your final objectives are, so that you don’t get caught in the weeds of the technology … but you [go] forward.”

eSchool News Senior Editor Corey Murray commended this year’s winners for overcoming a variety of obstacles–both political and financial–to embrace technology, setting an example not only for the residents of their local communities, but for their colleagues across the country.

“Despite a host of challenges, from constricting budgets to unfunded federal mandates, you continue to actively embrace technology, pioneering new projects for the benefit of your students, community, and the future of this nation,” said Murray in an address during the ceremony.

Murray not only commended the winners for their achievements, but he also challenged them to return home to their districts “and keep up the fight.”

“Building this new class of global learners won’t be easy,” said Murray. “America will never be able to stand in the way of the progress of other nations–nor should it. But if we want our children to succeed, if we want them to grow up in a world surrounded by hope and opportunity, we need to adapt. Change is not an option; it’s a necessity.”

eSchool News launched its annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards program in 2001 to honor school district CEOs who have demonstrated a remarkable vision for implementing technology to meet their district’s educational goals, and to encourage other school leaders to follow suit.

This year’s winners are:

•Herbert Berg, Kershaw County School District, South Carolina

•Joseph M. Ferraina, Long Branch Public Schools, New Jersey

•Annette Griffin, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Texas

•Gerald Harris, Mariemont City School District, Ohio

•Dan Hoesing, Laurel-Concord Public Schools, Nebraska

•J. Terry Jenkins, Auburn City Schools, Alabama

•Dale Lynch, Hamblen County Schools, Tennessee

•John David Martin, Fauquier County Public Schools, Virginia

•Hector Montenegro, Ysleta Independent School District, Texas

•Frank Petruzielo, Cherokee County School District, Georgia

As in years past, the 2007 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent award winners were selected in light of these 10 “hallmarks of excellence;” each laureate …

1. Must be a general superintendent.

2. Models the effective use of technology in the day-to-day execution of the superintendency.

3. Ensures that technology resources are equitably distributed among students and staff.

4. Insists that adequate professional development is a component of every technology initiative.

5. Demonstrates exceptional vision in leading the development and implementation of a districtwide technology plan.

6. Exhibits a thorough understanding of the role of technology in education and can articulate that understanding to all school district stakeholders.

7. Provides exceptional leadership in supporting the integration of technology into the curriculum.

8. Demonstrates exceptional vision in employing technology to streamline school district business operations.

9. Demonstrates curiosity and open-mindedness in considering emerging technologies and weighing non-traditional solutions to traditional problems.

10. Thinks creatively and strategically about the long-term challenges and opportunities of technology in the school district and in education at large.

Editor’s note: Video highlights of the awards ceremony along with excerpts from video interviews with the winning superintendents will be posted in the eSchool News Video Resource Center (http://www.eschoolnews.com/video/tssa07). Watch for the banner announcement coming soon.

Links:

2007 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards
http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/surveys/editorial

Blackboard
http://www.blackboard.com