EdTech Hero: David Couch, Kentucky's long-time leader in school connectivity


David Couch joined the Kentucky Department of Education over 25 years ago, at the inception of the Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) — a state program pioneering improvements in educational technology.

After the department achieved initial success in leading Kentucky to become the first state in the country with internet connections in every school district, Couch and his colleagues continued to expand Kentucky’s educational technology initiatives and, in 2015, became the first state to provide 100 kilobytes of fibered internet access per student.

To supplement the resources that KETS supplies to districts, Couch and his team championed the Data Security Best Practice Guide to create new data security requirements and implement higher standards of privacy for schools across the state.

Last year, Couch, now the department’s chief information officer and associate commissioner, participated in the establishment of the Kentucky K-12 Digital Learning Team, which looks to advance the state’s technology and improve the Kentucky Department of Education’s connection with academic communities.

Most importantly, however, Couch and his team have fostered trusting and substantial relationships between the department’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) and its customers, he told EdScoop.

According to Couch, in the state’s most recent annual survey of 173 school districts and education department staff in January 2017, OET received overwhelmingly positive feedback on a wide range of edtech initiatives and services.

Participants in the survey assessed OET as a high-quality, reliable and responsive creator of value. “This good relationship is the key to our success,” he said.

Read more from EdScoop’s series “EdTech Heroes: 25 State Leaders Making a Difference.”