Yesterday I was awarded the 2014 Marbury Award for Technology Innovation. I was asked to only give 2-3 sentences why technology was important to me, but I wanted to take the time to formally share what this award means to me and thank those who have been instrumental in my journey to be a more connected educator at Hoover High. If I could have had more time and if I was not so nervous the following is what I would have said.....
It is an honor to be awarded the 2014 Chiquita Marbury Technology Innovation Award. This award to me represents the amazing faculty and staff that I am blessed to work with each day at Hoover High School. Three years ago our leadership team stood before a group of 200 plus faculty members and asked them to embark on a new journey. A journey that we did not know the destination or really how we were going to get there. We began a 1:1 Engaged Learning Initiative at Hoover High School by jumping out of the plane and building the parachute on the way down. We did not even have a committee! Our teachers showed blind faith in this initiative and I believe that it has been one of the most powerful, motivating, and rejuvenating things we have ever done at HHS. It was not simple, it did not make planning easier, it did not save time initially, BUT it did make an impact on learning in each and every classroom and changed relationships by building stronger partnerships between teachers and students. No longer was the teacher the “hoarder of the knowledge” teachers were learning from students, teachers were learning from teachers, and admins were learning from teachers and students. It was amazing- but not easy. As my dear friend Principal EL says this journey is not an easy one, we cannot pray for a lighter load if we want to make an impact, we must pray for stronger backs!
I would like to thank my wonderful family (my mom and grandmother are here with me) who instilled in me a strong work ethic and taught me that to be a leader is to be a servant first. And most importantly that ALL people matter. My husband and sons who could not be here today make sacrifices of mommy time and attention- to the point that my son Whitt made up a song entitled “All I do is Tweet, Tweet, Tweet no matter what”. Yes, you can view that on my blog.
I would like to thank the outstanding leadership team at HHS, led by Principal Don Hulin who commonly asks us- Can we afford not to do this? And Jennifer Hogan whose passion for teaching and learning inspires me daily to do more and want more. Jennifer is the co-moderator of Aledchat and USedchat and is the definition of a connected leader, a friend, and a mentor.
I would like to thank my curriculum technology specialists Keith Fulmer who never said we cannot do it when I came to him with crazy ideas that were outside of the box. He was supportive and even when I could see that his eyes were beginning to glaze, he put a smile on his face and said “let’s do it”. Keith, Jonathan Sandlin, Bryan Phillips and the HCS tech team have made this dream a reality and we often do not even realize their importance- until the WiFI goes down at least. I would not be here today without their hard work.
Most importantly, I am here today because 14 years ago I decided to be a teacher. At that point, I made the commitment to do whatever it takes to be the best educator I could be. I made the commitment to be passionate, work hard, be a lifelong learner, and to let ALL students know that I love them. Technology has provided me new and exciting ways to connect with students, celebrate students, and share the awesome things that students are doing on a daily basis at HHS.
In closing I would like to remind you that It does not matter if you have 3000 students or 300 in your school, whether you are in a 1:1 school or a 1:1000- you can be the change. I encourage you to share your passion about education and technology integration, to use the power of Twitter and social media to grow, share, and learn. If we are going to be teachers and leaders who have powerful impacts on students and learning, we cannot pray for a lighter loads, but stronger backs. Thanks you AETC for having us today and to Dr. Bice for presenting me with this award!