Leader of the Year Winners and Runner-Up Donna Teuber

Donna Teuber

Tech & Learning magazine has named three educators as winners in its 2017 Leader of the Year program: a way of acknowledging visionaries whom exemplify extraordinary leadership in the implementation of technology in their schools. The winners include:

  • Todd Dugan, Superintendent, New Holland-Middletown Elementary, New Holland-Middletown Elementary District 88, Middletown, Illinois;
  • Jerri Kemble, Assistant Superintendent Innovation and Technology, Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence, Kansas and;
  • Michelle Cooper, Library Media Specialist, White Oak Middle School, White Oak ISD, White Oak, Texas.

All three winners will receive a trip to ISTE 2017 in San Antonio— thanks to a sponsorship from Turnitin (a formative feedback and originality checking service) —where they will be honored at a gala celebration.

One of the 2017 Leader of the Year runner-ups is K-12 Blueprint blogger and Innovation Program Designer, Richland School District Two, South Carolina, Donna Teuber.

“I'm very honored to be nominated for the award!” Donna Teuber says. “I have the honor and privilege of working with amazing educators every day: educators who are passionate about providing students with the best educational experiences possible. They inspire me to continue in my work to bring about meaningful change in our schools.”

A Dedication to Innovation

As the Innovation Program Designer in Richland County School District Two in suburban Columbia, South Carolina, Teuber leads the R2 Innovates incubator—a cohort of fourteen teams equipped with the design training, mentoring, seed funding and support that they need to make education dreams a reality—as well as various hub programs.

“Our district believes that innovation is a principle practice that should part of everything we do,” Teuber explains. “The incubator provides teams of teachers and staff members with an opportunity to solve some of our most challenging problems. We use human-centered design to identify needs, brainstorm ideas and prototype promising practices. Through R2 Innovates, we've scaled programs district-wide. Teams are provided with mentors, planning time, resources, and support to try out their ideas. Some of the programs that have come out of R2 Innovates include: Si Se Puede—a program to equip staff and extend efforts to empower families ensuring Latino family success—PAC4—a blended learning initiative—and Future Ready Librarians—where middle school media specialists are re-imagining media centers as design hubs and maker spaces.”

Tools and Techniques

Some of Teuber’s favorite go-to ed-tech resources include Chromebooks and Google Suite for Education. The tools and resources provided through Google allow her school’s students to collaborate and create. WeVideo is another favorite for video editing and production. Teuber stays on top of the latest resources through organizations such as ISTE, publications like Tech & Learning, as well as ed-tech blogs and Twitter chats with other education innovators. 

While Teuber values 21st century tools and resources, she insists that transformation is more than merely putting tools into the hands of teachers and students: it’s about evolving the culture to accommodate new techniques and pedagogies to better prepare children for the world they will inherit.

“We need to personalize learning for students and give them the opportunity to pursue their interests through project- and problem-based learning,” says Teuber. “This requires a significant change is how we currently do things in education. I'm optimistic that more leaders and educators will begin to transform their classrooms into flexible environments where students have some choice over pace and pathways to learning. I also see students as working alongside teachers to design learning experiences that are authentic and collaborative. We need to give students the opportunity to become problem solvers and architects of experiences. These are the skills that will be valuable in college and the work place."

If you are attending this year's ISTE conference, be sure to check out Donna Teuber and Julia Fischer's Computational Thinking Makes Better Learners session.

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