Ten superintendents who are among the nation’s most successful in leading their schools into the 21st century were honored in a special ceremony Feb. 20.

The occasion was eSchool News’ Ninth Annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards, sponsored by Promethean, the Pearson Foundation, and K12 Inc. This year’s award winners were honored during a private ceremony held in conjunction with the Century Club 100 meeting at the American Association of School Administrators’ annual conference in San Francisco.

“Research shows that if you start with a clear vision for how to implement technology effectively, and you provide strong leadership in sharing this vision with stakeholders, and you make sure your staff is well supported and receives professional development that is relevant and sustained, and you seek to change instructional practices to take advantage of technology’s potential, then technology really can empower more effective teaching and learning,” eSchool News Managing Editor Dennis Pierce said in presenting the awards.

Now in its ninth year, the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards are intended to recognize excellence in ed-tech leadership from the very top level of school district administration, and hold these exemplary leaders up as models for others to follow.

Among other criteria, “tech-savvy” superintendents must model the effective use of technology in their day-to-day execution of the superintendency; ensure that technology resources are distributed equitably among students and staff; insist that adequate professional development is a component of every school technology initiative; demonstrate exceptional vision in leading the development and implementation of a district-wide technology plan; and think creatively and strategically about the long-term challenges and opportunities that technology provides in their district and in education at large.

Winners were nominated by the school field and then chosen by the editors of eSchool News with the help of Tech-Savvy Superintendent laureates from prior years.

This year’s winners are:

• Margaret Anderson, Knob Noster R-VIII School District, Missouri;
• Steven Baule, Community Unit School District 201, Illinois;
• Vince Cotter, Colonial School District, Pennsylvania;
• Richard A. DiPatri, Brevard Public Schools, Florida;
• Arthur Himmler, Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1, Washington;
• Lorraine Lange, Roanoke County Schools, Virginia;
• Larry Price, Wilson County Schools, North Carolina;
• Tom Shelton, Daviess County Public Schools, Kentucky;
• Steven Stephanoff, Center Grove Community School District, Indiana; and
• Mark Weedy, Eastland/Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, Ohio.

“You’re all familiar with the phrase, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Well, with billions of dollars in new federal [stimulus] funding will come intense scrutiny,” Pierce told the honorees.

“As they get set to spend this new influx of cash, your colleagues in other districts will be looking to you for guidance. …I hope you’ll use your collective voices to help spread the word: When used effectively as part of a well-designed plan, and when supported with adequate staff development (and not one-and-done workshops), technology can help reach today’s students and equip them with the 21st-century skills they’ll need to succeed.”

After the awards were presented, Chip Kimball, superintendent of the Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Wash., spoke about an initiative from the Consortium for School Networking called “Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent.” Kimball and Century Club 100 President Evelyn Holman then led a discussion about effective school leadership in the 21st century.

(Editor’s note: For more coverage of AASA’s 2009 National Conference on Education–including a video interview with AASA President Daniel Domenech–see our AASA Conference Information Center at eSN Online: http://www.eschoolnews.com/conference-info/aasa.)