The BLEgroup, a leading network of K-12 decision makers who provide technology services to schools product improvement to edtech firms announces that Rob Dickson, BLEgroup’s Chief Technology Officer and Director of Technology for Andover Kansas public schools has been honored as one of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) “20 to Watch” technology leaders for 2013-2014.

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) “20 to Watch” honors distinctive education leaders from across the country and recognizes them for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology, shared that common characteristics across honorees include their willingness to take risks, share learnings with colleagues, and inspire others to believe that they, too, can effectively use technology. “Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come,” Flynn said.

Dickson combines exceptional technical skills with knowledge of K12 education, change management, and professional development. His accomplishments include the first VBlock cloud based data center installation in K-12 education, the smooth implementation of the PowerSchool Student Information System to increase connectivity between faculty, students and parents all leading to Andover, Kansas being ranked among the top ten digital districts in the nation for four out of the past five years.

“Rob is a high energy, thoughtful rock star in the world of education technology,” stated Eliot Levinson, CEO of the BLEgroup. “His work and dedication has raised the profile and the bar for all technology directors across the nation. He is the “go to person” for both his peers and ed tech companies alike. I think he is one of the best, if not the best education CIO in the country due to his knowledge of emerging technologies and his passion for education.”

As Chief Technology Officer of the BLEgroup, Dickson has collaborated in developing and implementing a cost effective method for helping smaller school districts across the nation assess, plan, integrate and streamline their technology practices to adapt to the move from textbooks to the digital delivery of curriculum.

The BLEgroup is a unique group comprised of a collegial community of 180 working superintendents, CIOs and heads of instruction from leading edge school systems known for their proven ability to use technology and digital curriculum to improve instructional outcomes and streamline management processes.

The BLEgroup works with ed tech firms and publishers to improve the quality of products for K12 schools through focus groups and pilot implementations. They also work with the 86% of American school districts with fewer than 5,000 students to provide them with cost effective technology audits, integration plans and ongoing support as they transition from print to digital education.

Rob has joined a prestigious group of BLEgroup members to receive awards for their technology and instructional leadership that include: The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) “20 to Watch” awards, the eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards and the AASA National Superintendent of the Year Awards.

BLEgroup members to receive the “20 to Watch” award:

o Julie Carter, VP BLEgroup (when she was the CIO of Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnesota)
o Jhone Ebert, CIO Clark County School District, Nevada
o Thuan Nguyen, Chief of Staff, Kent Washington Schools
o Greg Partch, Hudson Falls Central School District, New York

The following BLEgroup Superintendents, received recognition from eSchoolNews Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards and the AASA National Superintendent of the Year Awards:
• Diana Clapp, Fremont County, Wyoming
• Dennis Peterson, Minnetonka, Minnesota
• Manuel Isquierdo, Sunnyside Unified School District, Tucson, Arizona
• Mark Evans, Andover, Kansas
• Kenneth Eastwood, Middletown, New York

About BLEgroup
The BLEgroup is dedicated to the strategic use of technology for improved outcomes and operational efficiency. They provide services to technology firms, education publishers, schools and financial institutions working in the education sector. For more information, please visit

About the NSBA’s “20 To Watch” Program
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) “20 to Watch” honors emerging leaders in technology education from across the country who have the potential to influence the ed-tech community for the next 20 years. For more information, please visit:

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