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Julia Fallon
Executive Director
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[email protected]


SETDA Names Dr. Karen Richardson the Recipient of the 2021 Candice Dodson Influencer Award

June 17, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) announced that Dr. Karen Richardson, Executive Director, Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) was selected as the recipient of the inaugural Candice Dodson Influencer Award (CDIA). The recipient of the Candice Dodson Influencer Award was selected through a competitive application process and was presented to Dr. Richardson during the 2021 SETDA Emerging Trends Forum on June 15, 2021.

The aim of the Candice Dodson Influencer Award is to commemorate the values, professional influence and personal contributions to the field of educational technology that Dodson championed every day, and to recognize similar qualities in EdTech leaders who can carry on this important work in the future.

Dodson was the Executive Director of SETDA from May, 2019 until her sudden passing on July 22, 2020. The award will be funded annually through donations to the Candice Dodson Memorial Fund and sponsorships.

Candice Dodson Influencer AwardLike Candice Dodson, for whom this award is named, this year’s award recipient is known for changing the landscape of education in Virginia, and is said to possess that rare ability to make everyone at the table feel valued and heard.

Dr. Richardson is a consensus builder, fostering collaboration at the state level, as well as connecting with national organizations like SETDA, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to support shared advocacy efforts. Her work with her state conference has empowered educators, her guidance has developed a state Open Educational Resources (OER) project, and her love of learning inspires those who flock to attend her presentations.

In her nomination for the Candice Dodson Influencer Award, Dr. Susan Clair, K-12 Information Technology Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), noted that Dr. Richardson was well known for her commitment to student digital equity. “Karen championed an innovative digital equity project in Virginia that culminated in the first ever Digital Equity Summit in 2019. Virginia is recognized as a state and national leader in digital equity.”

She was instrumental in establishing the first ever K-12 Instructional Technology Advisory Team composed of state level school technology leaders and vendors. Her impact also reaches across to the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) Annual Conference membership on a weekly basis through the educator newsletter and through regular contributions to the VSTE blog.

These are a few examples of the ways that Karen, like Candice Dodson, uses her innovation skills, creative thinking, stalwart determination and influence to take an idea from the brainstorming how to meet a need to the answering a call to action becoming a thriving, scalable reality.

On behalf of the entire SETDA community, and our partners, we are honored to present Dr. Karen Richardson with the inaugural Candice Dodson Influencer Award.

For more information about the nomination process and the criteria for nomination, please visit: 



The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the principal association representing U.S. state and territorial educational technology and digital learning leaders. Through a broad array of programs and advocacy, SETDA builds member capacity and engages partners to empower the education community in leveraging technology for learning, teaching, and school operations.

For more information, please visit our website or Twitter @setda.


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