High Honors for Distinguished Education Technology Champions

CoSN Awards Leaders for Driving Innovation and Modern Learning Environments in America’s School Systems
Washington, DC
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) this week honored champions across education technology. Recognized at the CoSN 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, the groups of individuals and teams were awarded for their efforts in advancing modern, personalized learning settings in America’s school systems.
 
Themed “Invent the Future,” the Annual Conference marks CoSN’s 25th anniversary and is placing a focus on future ways to spur innovation and help school leaders improve digital learning opportunities for all students.
 
The winners of CoSN’s awards are:
 
  • Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity: Katy ISD (TX)
  • Excellence in Public Service: The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (2013-2017)
  • Hurley Private Sector Champion: Sean McDonough, National Education Technology Consultant, Edmentum (PA)
  • Seymour Papert Lifetime Achievement: Cheryl S. Williams, Past Chair of CoSN, Current ISTE Interim CEO, Past ISTE President, Past Executive Director of Learning First Alliance and Head of NSBA Technology & Learning Network
  • Team Award: Socorro ISD (TX) and Meriden Public Schools (CT)
  • Withrow CTO Award: Melissa Dodd, CTO, San Francisco USD (CA)
  • Volunteer of the Year: Diane Doersch, CTO, Green Bay Area Public Schools (WI)
“The significant gains in innovative learning through technology are largely due to bold commitments and leadership in communities large and small,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The individuals recognized today are at the forefront of accelerating those gains. We congratulate and thank them for what they have accomplished and are continuing to do to modernize learning for all students nationwide.”
 
Additional details about the winners follow:
 
Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity: Katy ISD (TX)
 
CoSN created the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity to encourage and recognize those districts that are working to narrow the digital access gap. Katy ISD is in the fourth year of bridging the digital divide, helping many of its students who do not have high-speed Internet or devices at home. Through the district’s Digital Divide Program, Katy ISD is providing students the opportunity to loan devices and WiFi hotspots from each campus library. As a result of the program, Katy ISD has increased digital accessibility for its students at all levels. Hear from the district’s students, teachers and leadership about the impactful program here.
 
Excellence in Public Service: The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (2013-2017)
 
The award for Excellence in Public Service recognizes a national, state or local official for promoting the use of education technology to improve K-12 learning. The efforts of the award’s recipients help strengthen CoSN’s advocacy efforts nationwide. Under the leadership of former Chairman Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) modernized the federal E-Rate and Lifeline programs. Chairman Wheeler recognized that simply having an Internet connection was no longer sufficient. U.S. school systems needed true broadband and WiFi to support rich learning environments, expand robust digital content and enable more personalized learning. He and majority of the FCC approved a 60 percent funding increase for E-rate. By modernizing Lifeline, former Chairman Wheeler turned the program from a basic phone provider for low-income families to a robust broadband program.
 
Kathy Hurley Private Sector Champion: Sean McDonough, National Education Technology Consultant, Edmentum (PA)
 
The Kathy Hurley Private Sector Champion honor annually recognizes one person who has had an outstanding impact on the education technology community outside of the confines of his or her job. As a National Education Technology Consultant at Edmentum, Sean McDonough helps create meaningful partnerships between the private sector and leading school districts. A former CTO with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, McDonough serves as the corporate representative on the Policy Committee, where he delivers CoSN’s agenda from both a school district and private sector perspective.
 
Seymour Papert Lifetime Achievement: Cheryl S. Williams, Past Chair of CoSN, Current ISTE Interim CEO, Past ISTE President, Past Executive Director of Learning First Alliance and Head of NSBA Technology & Learning Network
 
The Seymour Papert Lifetime Achievement recognizes a CoSN member’s lifelong contribution to education and technology. First presented in 2006, the award was renamed in 2009 in honor of the late Dr. Papert’s early contribution and ongoing commitment to the education technology community. This year’s recipient, Cheryl Williams, has had a distinguished career of making a positive contribution to education and technology. She led NSBA’s technology efforts and was an early Chair of CoSN. She was also President of ISTE when it merged with NECC; VP of Education at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; served on the Board of the National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training; then served as Executive Director of Learning First Alliance. Today, she is completing her service as ISTE’s Interim CEO.
 
Team Award: Socorro ISD (TX) and Meriden Public Schools (CT)
 
The Team Award recognizes an exceptional district team for leveraging technology and improving student learning, opportunities and access. This award dovetails closely with CoSN’s unique focus on the district leadership team as the key to education technology transformation. This year’s award is shared by Socorro ISD in Texas and Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut. To learn about their results, watch the video of Socorro ISD here and Meriden Public Schools here.
 
Withrow CTO Award: Melissa Dodd, CTO, San Francisco USD (CA)
 
Named after Frank Withrow – a pioneer in education technology – the Withrow CTO Award recognizes an exceptional district CTO who has helped transform her or his school system’s technology use. This year’s winner, Melissa Dodd, has increased digital equity access and improved learning opportunities for students over the past 13 years – spanning leadership roles with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As part of SFUSD’s “Digital District Plan,” Dodd is working with district leaders to provide every student in every school with equitable access to 21st century learning environments.
 
Volunteer of the Year: Diane Doersch, CTO, Green Bay Area Public Schools (WI)
 
The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes the achievements of one CoSN member who has provided exemplary support to the organization over the past year. As CTO with Green Bay Area Public Schools, Diane Doersch – a CoSN CETL recipient – has been a leader on behalf of CoSN both in her state and at the national level. She co-chairs CoSN’s Digital Equity Educator Advisory Panel and helps lead the organization’s cybersecurity initiative.
 
Learn more about CoSN’s Awards Program at: cosn.org/awards.