eSN Editor-at-Large Kevin Hogan, interviews Hero Awards nominee Kelly Goodman of Florida Virtual School and Jim McClurkin of SAP Concur.

How 3 past Hero Awards winners navigated COVID

In its second year, the eSchool News Hero Awards Program honors the exceptional efforts of schools and districts across the U.S. as education forges ahead in a global pandemic

The eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards program, sponsored by JAR Systems and SAP Concur, has returned for 2022 and recognizes the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction and administration.  The nomination period runs from June 27 – September 1, 2022.

“The great education beta test brought on by the pandemic has resulted in discoveries and innovations across education — from distance learning and closing the digital divide, to addressing the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools, and so much more,” said Kevin Hogan, eSN’s editor-at-large. “I’d like to encourage everyone to participate in this year’s Hero Awards, so your real-life challenges and successes can be celebrated and shared with the education community.”

As nominations come in from across the country, let’s take a look at last year’s winners and the amazing efforts they put in to keep learning accessible for students, teachers, and staff during an unprecedented global pandemic.

San Diego Unified School District

San Diego Unified School District‘s Instructional Technology Department was nicknamed the “First Responders” due to its proactive approach to COVID-19. From showing teachers how innovative technology could help improve learning outcomes to ramping up workshops geared toward preparing educators to teach online, this small but mighty team of six went above and beyond to make an impact during unprecedented times.

“Because of everything we did learn during our shutdown and our online learning, our district is transitioning to a one-to-one district, where students will get a device in second grade,” said Julie Garcia, the district’s Director of Instructional Technology, in a podcast with Hogan. That’s their device for second through fifth grade, then another device for six through eight and another device in ninth grade for ninth through 12th. So we’ll continue a lot of these strategies that we learned.”

Laura Ascione

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at