Five K-12 technologists named 2019 ‘NextGen: Emerging EdTech Leaders’

The fourth cohort of leaders who will define the future of technology in K-12 education were named at CoSN's annual conference in Portland, Oregon.

Technology leaders from five schools in five different states were named “NextGen: Emerging EdTech Leaders” at the Consortium for School Networking annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on Monday.

The NextGen: Emerging EdTech Leaders Program — co-produced by EdScoop and CoSN — recognizes up-and-comers in the K-12 education technology space who are making a difference.

The five winners — Allison Reid, Chanel Alford-Campbell, Lindsey Blass, Renee Hernandez and Toni Hoehn — were recognized for their track records of making a difference in their districts through the use of technology.

To be considered, candidates needed to possess a spirit of technology leadership in K-12 education, be currently employed by a K-12 school or district, be CoSN members and have no more than five working years as an education technology professional.


“While we know from the results of CoSN’s own IT Leadership Survey that there are fewer women in IT leadership roles, not so with CoSN’s 2019 Next Gen Leaders,” CoSN’s CEO Keith Kruger said in a statement. “For the first time, we are honoring an all-female cohort of emerging leaders. Their accomplishments are impressive and their honor is well-deserved.”

The 2019 NextGen Leaders:

  • Allison Reid, coordinating teacher for instructional technology, Wake County Public Schools, North Carolina
  • Chanel Alford-Campbell, technology integration specialist, Alexandria Public Schools, Virginia
  • Lindsey Blass, personalized learning environments program manager, San Francisco Unified School District, California
  • Renee Hernandez, digital learning coordinator, Allen Independent School District, Texas
  • Toni Hoehn, digital curriculum support specialist, St. Vrain Valley School District, Colorado

Each leader will be profiled this week in articles published on EdScoop. This year’s winners represent a wide range of technological disciplines employed in the classroom, behind the scenes and in the offices of district administrators as they search for ways to educate students, protect their data and make the most of innovations offered by industry.

As Wake County School District’s coordinating teacher for instructional technology, Allison Reid has a stake in the technologies some 160,000 students use everyday — and it’s her job to tell parents how they’re doing it. Reid, traveling with the district’s director of counseling, regularly speaks to parents about how their children can be responsible digital citizens. The answer, she says, is to apply the same principles of social-emotional wellness and behavior parents instill in real life to the ever-changing online world.


Growing up, Chanel Alford-Campbell says she didn’t have teachers or administrators who encouraged her to pursue the STEM fields. When she started as a technology integration specialist at Alexandria City Public Schools, she decided to give her students that opportunity by creating an all-girls after school coding program called the “female coding technicians.” Alford-Campbell taught herself to code and has now spent six months leading the 12-student group that meets once a week to code apps and design robotics.

Having led personalized learning at San Francisco Unified School District, Lindsey Blass has helped develop and test tech-enabled learning environments to strive toward education equality for all learners. Blass has also helped create of a roadmap of personalized, blended, and online learning for students in SFUSD.

As a leader within her district’s technology department, when Renee Hernandez sees a need, she fills it. The digital learning coordinator has worked to develop training programs for campus technicians and created online resources for edtech  to support student learning.

Since noticing her students didn’t understand some of the privacy implications of what they were doing on their smartphones, Toni Hoehn has made it her business to educate both students and teachers alike on digital privacy issues.

All candidates for the 2019 program were nominated between December 10, 2018, and January 14, 2019. The K-12 education technology community spent nearly three weeks voting for their favorite emerging edtech leaders.


Last year’s cohort of winners can be found here. CoSN and EdScoop have been jointly recognizing emerging edtech leaders since 2016.

Colin Wood, Ryan Johnston and Betsy Foresman contributed to this report.

Jake Williams

Written by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is a Staff Reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop. At StateScoop, he covers the information technology issues and events at state and local governments across the nation. In the past, he has covered the United States Postal Service, the White House, Congress, cabinet-level departments and emerging technologies in the unmanned aircraft systems field for FedScoop. Before FedScoop, Jake was a contributing writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has had work published in the Huffington Post and several regional newspapers and websites in Pennsylvania. A northeastern Pennsylvania native, Jake graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP, in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. At IUP, Jake was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Penn, and the president of the university chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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