NASSP is excited to announce its 2017 Digital Principals of the Year (DPOY)—Jamie Richardson of LaCreole Middle School, Dallas, OR; Jethro Jones of Kodiak Middle School, Kodiak, AK; and Stephen Santilli of William Davies Middle School, Mays Landing, NJ. The NASSP Digital Principals of the Year program annually recognizes three principals who introduce and implement new technologies to further student learning goals. Our 2017 DPOYs are:
Looking beyond traditional education methods, Jamie 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. He is described by teachers and students as 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—through social media—parents stay connected to the school.
One teacher at LaCreole Middle School remarked, “Our school is unique among public middle schools for our focus on student-centered instruction and 21st-century skills, and Mr. Richardson’s exceptional advocacy for technology and digital-age learning has been essential for the continued success of our program.”
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. 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.
Mr. Jones’ efforts have had a clear impact on the students. One student at Kodiak Middle School stated, “Mr. Jones has significantly changed my relationship with technology. During my time at my school, I have seen more technology-based learning being implemented. This keeps students more connected with the world and more current learning opportunities.”
Stephen 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 discuss matters of education, including having a tech-savvy school.
As one parent said, “Mr. Santilli has revolutionized communication by adapting to a range of tools available today such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Edmodo. In this 21st-century digital age, without strictly adhering to one or two tools, Mr. Santilli has consistently encouraged and ensured that teachers are provided the freedom and flexibility in incorporating the most suitable tool for communication and pedagogy.”
Honoring Digital School Leaders
These technology leaders are being honored for the work they’ve done to harness technology and ensure that their schools offer opportunities for students to gain key 21st-century skills. Each will get an expenses-paid trip to present at the 2018 NASSP National Conference and gain access to a highly interactive online leadership training program, the McKinsey Management Program for School Leaders. They will also be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of Principal Leadership magazine.
How might you incorporate technology to promote student success at your school?