Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the New Orleans Tech & Learning Innovative Leader Awards who attended our Regional Leadership Summit on June 25, 2022, at Loyola University Danna Student 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!

Our winners...

Phil Hintz
Director of Student Information Services , Barrington School District 220

Phil Hintz is currently serving as the Director of Student Information Services for Barrington School District 220 in Illinois. In June 2015, Phil was the recipient of ISTE’s Outstanding Leader Award, in Philadelphia. In 2016, Phil made the list of the National School Boards Association’s “20 to Watch” in Edtech for 2016. In 2015, Phil collaborated with the team at Gurnee District 56 to be inducted into League of Innovative Schools by Digital Promise. In 2017, Phil helped Gurnee to earn the coveted ISTE Distinguished District Award. Recently, Phil was the 2019 Withrow CTO of the Year for Consortium of School Networking (CoSN).

Dr. Jennifer Parker and Kate Grunow
Instructional Technology / School Data & Improvement Consultant and Interactive Learning Consultant, Macomb Intermediate School District

Jennifer Parker, Ed.D. is an IT/School Data Consultant for Macomb Intermediate School District and an adjunct faculty member for Central Michigan University in the Master of Arts in Learning, Design, and Technology. She has authored hundreds of web sites and online courses and is a leader in connecting the standards to best practice in educational technology. She was chosen by Michigan’s Director of Educational Technology to co-develop the 22iTRIG Project in Classroom Readiness in Michigan, a pilot program to train teachers on using technology with best practices. She is an ISTE Certified Educator. In 2018 she was recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine as one of the top Ed Tech leaders to watch, and was chosen as the ISTE Digital Leader of the Year. She has consulted with ISTE on several initiatives, including ISTE Certification, Library Standards, and authored online courses on ISTE-E and ISTE-S. Her project work includes an ISTE Seal of Alignment for 21things4educators. She is part of the Discovery Education Partner Summit, Leadership Council, and a DENNY Honoree and DENSI leader. Prior to coming to Macomb ISD, she worked across three counties in Michigan as a K12 computer teacher, high school Career & Technical Education business and technology teacher, K-12 Library Media Specialist, and district coordinator for instructional technology and media. She is a McREL Certified trainer in “Classroom Instruction That Works” and “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works” and co-creator of TechBestPractice.net. Dr. Parker has been a keynote and presenter at many state, national, and international conferences. In addition, she has served as a proposal reviewer and conference chair for several organizations. She has over 30 years in education as a CTE teacher, K12 library media specialist, district technology coordinator, and curriculum and school improvement expert. She was recognized by Tech and Learning Magazine as one of the most influential people in EdTech. She is on the State Executive Board for the Michigan Continuous Improvement Facilitators Network and is the State Lead for Professional Development on Michigan’s data portal, MISchoolData. Her work with ISTE includes authoring courses and providing consultation for Standards based initiatives and certification.

Kate Grunow has been in education for over a decade as a K-12 digital media specialist and English teacher. She currently serves 130,000 students and over 10,000 teachers in metro Detroit. She is one of the co-creators of the 21 Things 4 project and a presenter at local, state, and national conferences on topics such as blended learning, free technology tools, learning management platforms, and digital age teaching and learning. She is the Schoology implementation lead for Macomb ISD where she has trained over 3,000 teachers on Schoology basics and tech best practice during Covid-19. Kate is also an ISTE Certified Educator and member of the Discovery Education Leadership Council and PowerSchool Council of Education Innovation.

Our final category has two winners...

Eric Crespo
Superintendent, Weehawken Township School District

Mr. Crespo has successfully facilitated several exciting technology initiatives in his district. To start, Weehawkin Public Schools has a state of the art media center and television broadcasting studio where both students and staff can engage in 21st century learning. Virtual Reality Public Speaking sessions can be accessed using state of the art technology within the media center. It is also embedded in the district's curriculum where students can sign out virtual reality headsets and partake in classes. Mr. Crespo has been at the forefront getting the virtual reality and media center visions into reality. Most recently, he is the process of utilizing special ear buds that translate language . This technology is currently being used by a family that just arrived from the Ukraine. His leadership and vision has bridged the digital divide in his district.

Ron Dodson
Deputy Superintendent, Hoover City Schools

Ron Dodson is currently working on his fourth decade as an employee of Hoover City Schools. He was a science teacher at W.A. Berry High School when the school district began in 1988. He co-founded the International Baccalaureate Program at Hoover HS, and he served as an assistant principal at Hoover HS and Spain Park HS. At the district level, he served as director of secondary curriculum before moving up to assistant superintendent in 2010. Most recently, he led the charge on planning and building of the district’s newest school, the Riverchase Career Connection Center, and he has led the district’s instructional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our finalists...

  • Robert McCartney
    Principal, Gulf Shores Middle School
  • Kimberly Palmer Albin
    Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center
  • Chantell Manahan
    Director of Technology, MSD of Steuben County
  • Lance Key
    Instruction Technology Support Specialist, Future Ready VITAL