EdTech Hero: Rick Gaisford champions digital teaching and learning initiative in Utah


Having devoted his entire career to edtech advocacy, Rick Gaisford’s achievements are almost too extensive to list, but his contributions to Utah’s digital teaching and learning program stand out as a recent success.

Leading the development of the program, Gaisford “worked tirelessly” with stakeholders — including policymakers, legislators, the Utah Governor’s Office and local superintendents — to write Utah’s Master Plan for Educational Technology, according to Sarah Young, coordinator for digital teaching and learning at the Utah State Board of Education.

After building the state’s master plan, Gaisford drove the effort to acquire adequate funding for the digital teaching and learning program. Working with leaders across the state, Gaisford was able to secure assistance from the state legislature — procuring $15 million for the program’s launch in 2016 and an additional $10 million in 2017.

Gaisford also assisted in the creation of a grant program that offers funding for local districts and charter schools implementing unique tech plans that create comprehensive change for digital and personalized learning.

“The initial awards [from the grant] went out to over 95 percent of Utah’s districts, based on Rick’s team-based approach to engaging all interested stakeholders in this opportunity,” Young told EdScoop. “Rick is truly an ‘edtech hero’ and deserves to be recognized for his leadership that led to such comprehensive change for Utah classrooms.”

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