Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the Dallas Tech & Learning Innovative Leader Awards who attended our Regional Leadership Summit on February 7, 2022, at Region 10 Education Service Center, where our winners were crowned.
Our deserving winners and finalists are all mentioned below, in our article on the Tech & Learning website and interviews with our winners will be published in an upcoming issue of Tech & Learning - keep your eyes peeled!
Summer Carlton & Gina Looney
Curriculum and Professional Learning Supervisor & Reading and RTI Coordinator, Franklin Special School District
Summer Carlton began her educational career in 2006 as a social studies teacher at North Mesquite High School where she taught US History, World Geography, and AP World History for seven years. She then served as an Assistant Principal at North Mesquite High School heading up the role of Academic Dean for four years. Summer moved to Lindale, TX in 2017 where she served as the Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Lindale Independent School District for three years. After a move to Tennessee in 2020, Summer is currently in the role of Curriculum and Professional Learning Supervisor for Franklin Special School District in Franklin, TN. Summer Carlton grew up in Dallas, TX and is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor in Environmental Design and Texas A&M University-Commerce with a Master of Education in Educational Administration.
Dr. Gina Looney has been with the Franklin Special School District since 2010 and currently serves as the District Reading and RTI Coordinator. Prior to this role, she was an Educational Specialist for the Alabama Reading Initiative with responsibility for serving the southern portion of the state. Since 2000, Dr. Looney has worked in literacy, including supporting Reading First Schools in Alabama and coaching at the school, regional, and state level. Serving in the educational community since 1990, she is excited about the evolution of digital supports for education. Now, Dr. Looney works to provide high-quality curriculum and digital resources to maximize student achievement.
Director of Health Services, Garland Independent School District
In February 2020, Hazel Health partnered with Garland ISD to bring telemedicine services to three schools. The following month, districts across the country transitioned to remote learning to slow the spread of COVID. Immediately upon closure, Renee Kotsopoulos, Director of Health Services, requested an expansion of services to all 55k+ students district-wide to ensure the students had access to healthcare. This was of immense benefit to families during mandatory stay-at-home orders, when families could not leave for care. In addition to making these services available for students, Mrs. Kotsopoulos has partnered to bring dental and optometry services to students. Students who take advantage of such services receive low to no-cost dental cleanings, eye exams and glasses. During a time when the wait time for healthcare services can extend for several months, the students of Garland ISD can immediately receive support. In addition to healthcare services, Mrs. Kotsopoulos has played a vital role in securing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for students, families, and staff of Garland ISD. Mrs. Kotsopoulos is a strong advocate for the health and wellbeing of all.
Associate Director of Schools for Teaching & Learning, Franklin Special School District
Dr. Mary Decker has 22 years of combined experience in teaching and administration within public, public charter and private schools. She has served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, and curriculum and professional learning supervisor in four states. In 2018 she earned her doctorate in Leading Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University in Nashville. Currently she is the associate director of schools for teaching and learning in the Franklin Special School District located in Franklin, Tennessee.
Chief Technology Officer, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District
A career school CTO for public education in Texas, Kyle Berger has over 21 years in K-12 technology leadership spread across districts of various sizes and demographics. With multiple awards such as Technology Director of the year for Texas, 2020 National Edtech Leadership winner, and Institutional Leadership award for interoperability. His work is featured in several educational technology magazines, industry case studies as well as other published books on Educational Technology. Kyle is known as a transformer of educational technology. His more than 21 years of service is full of vast experiences in one-to-one deployment, complete district revitalization and overseeing of bond programs, redefining technology in several districts, and development of State Championship Esports programs for High School Competitions. Kyle currently is a member of several corporate advisory boards, as well as, a guest speaker for educational technology transformation to corporations and school systems around the country. Currently, he serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, a school district of 14,000 students located in North Texas.
- Lee Kirkpatrick
Student Support Services Supervisor, Franklin Special School District
- Joshua Bracamontes, Shelly Robinson & Amber Whitley
Instructional Technology Specialists, Franklin Special School District
- Jairo Casco
Principal, James Hogg Elementary School
- Jason Mester
Physical Education Teacher, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District
- Janie Stach
Director of Instructional Technology, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District
- Tonia Howard
Chief of Leadership and Special Programs, Special Programs at Lancaster ISD