Tech-savvy superintendents honored in Phoenix

Editorial Director Gregg Downey of eSchool News poses with Eric Conti, one of the 2010 TSSA winners.
Editorial Director Gregg Downey (left) of eSchool News poses with Eric Conti (right), one of the 2010 TSSA winners.

Snow wreaked havoc with travel plans in several U.S. states last week, but the sun was shining in Phoenix on Feb. 11 as eSchool News honored 10 superintendents who are among the nation’s most successful in leading their schools into the 21st century.

The occasion was eSchool News’ Tenth Annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards, sponsored by K12 Inc., the Pearson Foundation, Promethean, and JDL Horizons’ Eduvision. The winners were honored at a private ceremony held in conjunction with the Century Club 100’s annual meeting during the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education.

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:

• Eric Conti, Burlington Public Schools, Massachusetts
• Jan Harris, Cullman City Schools, Alabama
• Manuel Isquierdo, Sunnyside Unified School District, Arizona
• Chip Kimball, Lake Washington School District, Washington
• Pamela R. Moran, Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia
• Carolyn Ross, Churchill County School District, Nevada
• Kim Ross, Houston Public Schools, Minnesota
• Amy Sichel, Abington School District, Pennsylvania
• Gary Smuts, ABC Unified School District, California
• Craig Witherspoon, Edgecombe County Public Schools, North Carolina

For the first time, the ceremony was shown online this year via live streaming video at eSchoolNews.TV. An archived version is now available for viewing.

Click to watch the 2010 TSSA Ceremony on


The ceremony was supposed to feature a keynote speech from Tom Carroll, a former Education Department official during the Clinton administration who is now president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.

However, Carroll’s travel plans were disrupted by “Snowmageddon,” as the record snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area was being called.

Instead, eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce talked about the awards program and what it means to be a “tech-savvy” superintendent.

“[It] doesn’t mean you can set up a school network or write lines of code to support your Moodle installation—at least, not necessarily,” Pierce said. “It means you understand how technology can be used to improve instruction and streamline school operations. It means you recognize how technology can be used as a tool to meet the strategic goals of your district, rather than as an end in itself.”

Pierce said he’s been involved in the awards program since its inception, and this year’s awards were the toughest yet to judge.

eSchool News Staff

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