SETDA Leader of the Year
Current & Previous SLY award winners Peter Drescher, Rick Gaisford, Carla Wade, Candice Dodson, Jeff Mao & Wayne Hartschuh
The SETDA State Leader of the Year (SLY) Award is given annually to recognize an active SETDA member who has exhibited outstanding leadership by advancing education in his/her state through the use of technology, by collaborating with peers through SETDA initiatives and affecting positive change for the association and its members, and by furthering SETDA’s mission by engaging with the broader education community at the regional, national, or international levels.
2016 Candice Dodson
Director of eLearning
Indiana Department of Education
Candice has 20 years of experience in a variety of roles such elementary teacher, media specialist, curriculum and technology integration specialist, central office administrator, and even assistant principal. Before her most recent work with the Indiana Department of Education her task revolved around the implementation of a 6-12th grade one-to-one initiative, the development of leadership programs for district administrators, and expansion of professional development programs. As Director of eLearning she currently spearheads digitally rich program across the state of Indiana that have become exemplars for other states to follow. The Office of eLearning’s strategic plan includes the formation of an eLearning Leadership Cadre, statewide professional development opportunities including the Summer of eLearning conferences, Admin Academies, and Digital Learning Grants.
Candice is the 2016-2017 SETDA Board Chair and has been an active member of SETDA since she started working in Indiana at the state level. She has worked tirelessly with our strategic partners in Indiana as well as SETDA, education leaders and policy makers to support SETDA and its mission. As a board member, Candice has served on many committees, been a liaison to committees, and collaborated to shape and develop state and national policy. Her strong understanding of the technology integration has laid the groundwork for baseline standards and expectations at the state level. This groundwork can be seen in policies, programs, events all focusing on enabling access for all K-12 students. Candice shares a comprehensive vision for student learning, while considering the challenges and perspectives of all constituents, culminating states and propose comprehensive solutions as exemplified by her continued success in educational technology and ability to move Indiana to the forefront.
Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator Vermont Agency of Education (2015)
Education Technology Coordinator
Vermont Agency of Education
Peter Drescher, a long standing SETDA member and current member of the SETDA Board of Directors, was named the 2015 SETDA State Leader of the Year (SLY). Peter is the Education Technology Coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Education. Peter has been involved in Education Technology since the early 1990’s. He began his career in education as a Social Studies/Technology teacher at a middle school in New Mexico. It wasn’t long before Social Studies gave way to a full time technology coordinator position and the development of a robust technology program. For over 20 years, he has provided professional development and leadership for teachers and leaders around technology planning and integration.
Peter served as the Chair of the SETDA Board of Directors and played a key role in guiding our organization through a challenging period where we had a significant shift in staffing. Peter was always on top of minute by minute changes and worked collaboratively with other board members to ensure a smooth transition. Throughout the entire process Peter kept a positive attitude and a focus on the possibilities for SETDA in the future. As a member of many of SETDA’s committees Peter is committed to being a hands-on, mind-on participant in the work. He can always be counted on to bring new ideas, offer feedback, and support the staff and membership.
Peter also works across states to build strategies and leverage resources that accelerate digital transformation in Vermont schools. He partners with other states to discuss and implement regional strategies to support schools and districts in transforming education.
Laurence Cocco, New Jersey Department of Education (2014)
Director of the Office of Educational Technology
New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)
Laurence (Larry) Cocco, a long standing SETDA member and current at large member of the SETDA Board of Directors, was named the 2014 SETDA State Leader of the Year (SLY). Larry is the Director of the Office of Educational Technology located within the Division of Innovation in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). Larry established one of the first classrooms of the future in New Jersey and is a staunch supporter of the use of technology in schools. Larry’s work throughout the state of New Jersey exemplifies SETDA’s mission to improve education through technology policy and practice on the state and national level. He has been instrumental in developing State policies and implementation strategies for digital learning.
Larry has been a member of SETDA since he started working at the NJDOE. He has worked with strategic partners, education leaders and policy makers to support SETDA and its mission. Larry was recently re-elected to the SETDA Board and continues to demonstrate leadership capacity while sharing his expertise with SETDA Members.
As a member, Larry has served on many committees and has been instrumental collaborating with other members to develop national policy. His strong leadership for the broadband policies shaped a revolutionary procedure and process in New Jersey to ensure broadband access for K-12 students.
Larry is able to focus on the broad picture, while considering the challenges and perspectives of all states and propose comprehensive solutions as exemplified by his work with the Broadband initiative. His visits to the House and Senate committee members permitted him to share the State and national positions with State representatives.
Larry is passionate about the educational value of alternate methods of education, including online gaming. He initiated webinars for G.A.M.E. (Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education), a resource for educators who game, want to learn how to game, and want to incorporate gaming strategies into teaching and learning. This successful series of webinars garnered national and international attention to using games as a vehicle for educating students and expanding perceptions of alternative learning methods.
Jeff Mao, Maine Department of Education (2013)
Director, Learning Technology Policy
Maine Department of Education
Jeff Mao is the 2013 recipient of the SETDA State Leader of the Year Award. He served as SETDA Board Chair for two years and was on the board for two terms (6 years). Jeff’s vision while serving as the Board Chair and as a Board member was very reflective of his commitment to SETDA. Some of the many accomplishments that SETDA accomplished during his two terms on the Board were the –
- Development of a new SETDA strategic plan which included driving its implementation with new logo/branding, bylaws amendments, budget process, and renewed focus on governance practices
- Release of three major SETDA reports – Broadband Imperative, Digital and Open content, and Data Interoperability
- Release of the State Ed Policy Center, a state-by-state compilation of policies and practices now available in a searchable database
Jeff was and continues to be an exceptional technology leader in his home state of Maine. His leadership and guidance has made the Maine Learning Technology Initiative a program that has influenced schools across the globe. Essentially Maine, under Jeff’s guidance, has served as THE model for 1:1 computing. He has represented Maine’s Learning Technology Initiative in numerous conferences, both nationally and internationally, having traveled to Australia, Paraguay, South Korea, the Philippines, China and Sweden to name a few. He has authored a number of articles in support of education technology and testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, again leading the charge for education technology as a national agenda.
As the 2012 awardee of the Common Sense Media Educator of the Year Award, Jeff embodies the leadership qualities we all aspire to in our roles as State Directors of Education Technology. Jeff is continuing his involvement with SETDA as he was recently appointed the co-chair of the State Action Committee. Jeff is a leader that empowers everyone around him to advance digital teaching and learning for all.
Dr. Wayne Hartschuh, Delaware Center for Educational Technology (2012)
Dr. Wayne Hartschuh
Delaware Center for Educational Technology
Wayne is very active in SETDA, and has provided excellent leadership for the organization. He was on the SETDA Board of Directors having served as Treasurer for two years and Chair for two years. He is a member and Board Liaison to the Professional Growth Committee. He has represented SETDA as well at Advocacy Days, encouraged the Congressional delegation to sign Dear Colleague letters to support educational technology, and met with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. He participated in the development of the white papers for the Class of 2020 and has been a presenter at many SETDA meetings over the years. He was a participant in the first Leading in Technology online course offered through SETDA and was a mentor for the second offering. He was also instrumental in ensuring delivery of the recent online course offerings for SETDA members.
Stephen Sanders, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (2011)
Director, Instructional Media and Technology Team
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Stephen (Steve) Sanders serves as Director of the Instructional Media & Technology Team where he oversees the Title II-D federal program, the state’s virtual education program, partnerships with Thinkfinity and Intel, School Library programs, and various other state and local initiatives housed on his team or across the agency. He played important roles in providing DPI guidance in the development of BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN), the statewide voice and data network used by schools, libraries, higher education, municipalities and state government and making Wisconsin a “Google Apps for Edu” state. He is currently taking on a leadership role in the Wisconsin state superintendent’s Digital Learning Advisory Council which will provide a framework for the use of educational technology in Wisconsin in the future, and has played an instrumental role in working with Wisconsin school districts to implement a statewide student information system (SIS) program. Within SETDA, Steve has served on both the Data and Policy Committees, chairing the latter. He is highly responsive to requests for assistance, be it a request for a letter from the Chief, in providing pragmatic feedback on EDEN Data Elements or in written testimony for the FCC on eRate. His knowledge of eRate is extensive and he has served Wisconsin greatly in assisting LEAs with program participation.
Carla Wade, Oregon Department of Education
Rick Gaisford, Utah State Office of Education
Jayne Moore, Maryland State Department of Education
Lan Neugent, Virginia Department of Education
Melinda Maddox, Alabama State Department of Education
Michael Golden, Pennsylvania Department of Education
Anita Givens, Texas Education Agency
Brenda Williams, West Virginia Department of Education