Michael Hanson: How he’s taken his district from worst to first in ed tech

When Michael Hanson became superintendent of California’s Fresno Unified School District in 2005, the district was on the verge of a state takeover, and an audit revealed it was the worst in the state in terms of ed-tech use.

Under Hanson’s leadership, Fresno used the results of the audit as a guide for rebuilding its staffing and infrastructure. Using eRate discounts “wisely and systematically,” he said, has allowed the district to deliver a fiber-optic network to its more than 100 buildings.

For guiding a turnaround that has seen Fresno progress from worst in the state to a leader in ed-tech use, Hanson was recognized as a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media. He recently sat down with eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce to discuss his district’s experience and the keys to its success.…Read More

C.J. Huff: Creating new possibilities from unspeakable tragedy

On May 22, 2011, the town of Joplin, Mo., lost six schools in an EF5 tornado that killed 160 people and displaced half the student body. Joplin currently has about 3,200 students living in temporary facilities. In spite of these challenges, the district is leading the way in using technology to transform instruction under the guidance of Superintendent C.J. Huff.

Before the tornado struck, Joplin already had made a significant investment in ed tech, said Huff, a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media. Now, in rebuilding Joplin’s educational infrastructure, Huff has taken advantage of the opportunity to reinvent learning.

Joplin received $1 million from the United Arab Emirates to help it rebuild, including a $500,000 challenge grant that it used to roll out a one-to-one computing program at the district’s high school. Instead of replacing textbooks, Joplin High is using all-digital texts.…Read More

Jerri Kemble: Today’s superintendents must be ‘willing to take risks’

Jerri Kemble, superintendent of the Centre School District in Lost Springs, Kansas, knows first-hand the challenges of leading a small school district: She’s not only the superintendent, but also the K-12 principal and virtual school director for this one-school district located “in the middle of a wheat field.”

Kemble, a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media, sought to overcome the geographical hurdles created by having just one school building in a 400-square-mile area by establishing a virtual school, which now educates 88 of the district’s 350 students.

But establishing the virtual school led to further challenges, as she explained in a recent video interview with eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce.…Read More

Brad Saron: Ed tech is not about devices, but ‘how you use them’

For Bradford Saron, being a tech-savvy superintendent “has less to do with the devices you have and more to do with how you use them. In my judgment, being able to leverage technology to help people grow and also to convene teams to solve problems are the most important parts of being a tech-savvy superintendent.”

Saron, the superintendent of Cashton Public Schools in Wisconsin, is a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media. He recently sat down with eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce to discuss his district’s ed-tech accomplishments and the keys to its success.

One of the biggest challenges Saron identified is finding the right balance between high-tech and low-tech approaches to solving problems. “Applications from an iPad don’t put Band-Aids on scraped knees or hug tears away at all,” he noted.…Read More

William Skilling on moving from professional development to ‘professional learning’

The most important part of effective leadership “is not knowing how do to something, but knowing what to do”—and then turning it over to the people with the right expertise, said William Skilling, superintendent of the Oxford Community Schools in Michigan.

So, being “tech savvy” means “having competent people around you to implement the vision” for how technology can best be used to improve teaching and learning, said Skilling, a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media.

Skilling recently sat down with eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce to discuss his district’s ed-tech accomplishments and the keys to its success.…Read More

Dan Domenech and the future of technology in schools

Daniel A. Domenech, AASA Executive Director, serves as national spokesperson and advocate for public education, superintendents and other school system leaders. He also provides thought leadership in the education arena through public appearances, media interviews and published articles. Is the chief executive officer for the association and staff liaison to the AASA governance structure.

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Anne L. Bryant at T+L 2010

NSBA’s Executive Director Anne Bryant shares the stunning results of this year’s survey on how technology improves student learning. The focus is overwhelming on 21st century learning and the correlation to the needs of business and industry, cyber-bullying, and what she believes to be the solution and the movie “Superman.”

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