EdTech Hero: Kimberley Harrington promotes Future Ready Schools in New Jersey


Kimberley Harrington has had a lifelong passion for helping people learn. Over the past 24 years, she has dedicated herself to serving schools by working as a teacher, as an administrator and as a statewide education advocate.

Now, she’s trying to advance the state’s approach to education as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.

Last fall, Harrington launched an initiative in her state to further the development of Future Ready Schools — a national program that helps K-12 school leaders plan and implement personalized, research-based digital learning strategies.

To enhance the initiative in New Jersey, Harrington partnered with two key organizations in the state — the New Jersey School Board Association and the New Jersey Institute of Technology — to implement a school-level certification program, which guides schools as they apply to become “future-ready.”

“This has been a collaborative effort … to support districts as they seek to prepare their students for the jobs they dream of in an ever-changing world where technology plays an essential role,” Harrington told EdScoop.

The New Jersey Department of Education will soon announce the first round of certified schools, which may number as many as 65, said Joshua Koen, a colleague of Harrington and the chief innovation officer at the New Jersey Department of Education.

“With everything [Harrington] does, she has a very clear perspective on ensuring that [her work is] deeply connected to the classroom,” Koen told EdScoop. “She works to understand how students can become self-motivated and find ways that technology can connect value that a traditional learning experience cannot.”

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