EdTech Hero: State Rep. Craig Horn ‘doggedly committed’ to digital education in North Carolina

From "full-time grandparent" to state lawmaker, Horn advocates for technology-enabled learning and wireless broadband access for all.
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Craig Horn didn’t set out to become North Carolina’s “education legislator.” A series of events unfolded over the last decade to earn the Republican state lawmaker that reputation — and the nickname.

For most of his adult life, Horn figured the apex of his education leadership had come and passed in the 1970s, when he served as PTA president for his child’s middle school in Maryland. Thirty years later, as Horn sprinkled school volunteer work on a schedule of “full-time grandparenting” in North Carolina, he realized he was itching for something more.

Now a member of the North Carolina General Assembly “doggedly committed to the cause” of education — as one colleague put it — Horn co-chairs a number of education-related committees, including one on digital education.

Horn has led an effort to make North Carolina the first state in the country to provide wireless broadband access in every single classroom — a goal slated to be achieved in 2018. He’s also worked with the Friday Institute at North Carolina State University to create a statewide digital learning plan and drafted legislation to bring together K-12 schools and higher ed institutions in the effort to expand classroom technology.


The fourth-term state House member is now leading an effort to “fundamentally change” how North Carolina trains its educators to teach — and, hopefully, thrive — in a digital education environment, he told EdScoop.

“[Horn] is an unmatched collaborator, powerful negotiator and tireless champion for the transition to technology-enabled personalized learning for each North Carolina student,” said Julie Kowal, vice president of policy and research at education policy nonprofit BEST NC.

“He is curious and empathetic, driving his own advocacy at the state legislature by the experiences and needs of students — current and future — across the state, even though they are often quite different from his own,” added Kowal, who is a friend and colleague of Horn’s.

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

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