Deb Henton
North Branch Area Public Schools
Minnesota

District employees call Henton “an exceptional role model and leader” with her personal use of technology and her support for integrating technology into the curriculum.

Henton’s use of technology demonstrates her commitment to transparent communication with all district stakeholders. Under her leadership, podcasts of school board meetings are available with one click on the district’s website. To communicate the district’s financial situation more widely during budget and levy discussions, she embraced the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and she initiated a “Key Communicators” network to quickly disseminate critical information to community stakeholders using eMail. She also writes about local and global public education issues with her own blog, called “Supe of the Day.” To reduce travel time, she participates in meetings through the use of Skype.

Included in the district’s strategic plan are action items for integrating technology into the curriculum. Henton was instrumental in seeing that all students have access to Google Gmail accounts through school. She led the way for district leaders to use text messaging long before it reached its current level of popularity. In need of a reading intervention program for students, she was instrumental in securing funds and training to implement Scholastic’s researched-based reading program, Read 180. Also, before student response systems became popular, she was using cell phones to engage staff members by having them answer survey questions during staff development meetings.

Even during challenging economic times, Henton continues to see that funds are allocated for professional development workshops related to technology use. She has demonstrated a clear vision for technology integration and continually explores new ways to use technology as a tool for improving teaching, communication, and school district efficiency.