2017 Digital Principals of the Year
Recognizing extraordinary, tech-savvy school leaders
Digital Principal of the Year award winners are honored for integrating digital media in their efforts to improve instruction, student achievement, and their own leadership.
Spring Digital Principal of the Year Award Winners*
LaCreole Middle School
Looking beyond traditional education methods, Richardson has developed a school culture where staff and students use a variety of tools to solve problems, communicate, and promote a cohesive yet personalized learning environment. Teachers and students describe him as an exceptional advocate for technology and digital-age learning and a catalyst for implementing technology, makerspaces, and project-based learning programs. Richardson ensures that all teachers get time to learn and discuss technology integration and that, through social media, parents stay connected to the school. One parent remarked that in the three-plus years that she has known Richardson, she has witnessed how the school has transformed to include exciting opportunities to learn and integrate technology in both traditional and nontraditional classroom environments.
Kodiak Middle School
Jethro Jones’ goal is to ensure that students have a nimble educational experience, with the help of the best technology that they need. He initiated innovative school schedules to incorporate STEM-, CTE-, and arts-based exploratory classes as well as independent study. Because Kodiak Middle School is near a Coast Guard base, Jones has used FaceTime or Skype to connect students moving from other coastal U.S. cities to students at Kodiak, in an effort to make a move to Alaska less intimidating. Aside from being the driving force behind technology integration at the school, Jones is also the host of Transformative Principal, a podcast featuring interviews with principals, leaders, and influencers who help improve K–12 education throughout the world.
William Davies Middle School
Mays Landing, NJ
During Stephen Santilli’s time as principal, William Davies Middle School went from having a slew of concerns—teacher turnover, state demands, unhappy students—to a positive environment where students and staff feel inspired and have access to new realms of learning. Santilli is passionate about using technology as a means of communication throughout the community, school, and globally to enhance learning and partnerships. Teachers have conventional and unconventional options for professional development related to technology usage and students are able to use social media and other online resources to personalize their education. Parents aren’t left out either—Santilli hosted South Jersey’s first-ever ParentCamp, where educators, parents, and leaders from across the state joined together to discussion matters of education, including having a tech-savvy school.
Fall Digital Principal of the Year Award Winners*
Bolivar High School
As a principal of 12 years, Geurin works to implement, promote, and monitor a shared technology-infused vision. He is a passionate advocate for student learning, working closely with his Digital Learning committee to help guide the vision for Bolivar High School (BHS). Last year, BHS partnered with other schools to initiate a campaign, #StartsWithUs, to use social media as a way to promote tolerance and acceptance. The school also launched a 1:1 program where he and his staff were able to see students learning in new, powerful ways. He shares ideas about digital empowerment and learning on his blog, www.davidgeurin.com.
Harrisburg South Middle School
Ellwein has been a principal for eight years, but has always had a passion for technology. He believes technology has transformational potential for growth in learning, for teachers and students. He has made sure every staff member at Harrisburg South Middle School (HSMS) has a Twitter account which has allowed them to communicate with parents through the social media network. In addition to social media, Google Docs and Google Hangouts have played a major role throughout his school. Ellwein has also created technology-based clubs such as the Drone Club, and has even created Twitter Tuesdays and a Genius Hour every Wednesday which has led to the school’s Makerspace being used for prototyping inventions such as an automated dog feeder.
Downingtown Middle School
Downingtown Middle School (DMS) strives to create a digital synergy between students, teachers, parents, and the community thanks to Nicholas Indeglio. He believes the key to communicating a technology infused vision is establishing defined methods of communication through common technology platforms. Thanks to the school’s 1:1 middle level initiative, every student at DMS is able to have an iPad. Students have access to the school’s learning management system through this device. At any time, parents can see what their child is doing in class, eliminating “blind spots.” Media/Movie Clubs, Minecraft Club, Twitter Chats, Facebook Live videos, and more are just a few ways Indeglio has implemented technology into his school.
*To align with the NASSPs conference shift from the Winter to the Summer, the year of designation for the Digital Principals of the year was shifted, resulting in six winners in 2017 only. Join us in celebrating the six winners.