VOTE for this year's most promising nominees.

School districts across the country nominated their top candidates to be recognized as the "NextGeneration Leaders in School Technology" – a new program developed and co-sponsored by CoSN and EdScoop.

Review this year's finalists from the list below – then cast your vote for up to five candidates. Simply click the images accompanying each profile. Each vote will be confirmed with a "Thumbs Up" symbol.

Voting ends at midnight, Feb. 19, 2016.


To qualify for the NextGeneration Leaders program, candidates must meet the following criteria:


The 2016 "NextGeneration Leaders" will be selected based on final vote tallies and will be officially announced at the CoSN 2016 Annual Conference. Winners will also be invited to attend the NextGeneration Leaders Boot Camp on April 4, during the conference. See more at CoSN NextGeneration Leaders Program.

Ben Barrett Name
Technology Director Title
Bedford County Schools School/District
Shelbyville, TN City/St

Ben Barrett has made a significant impact on his district's instructional focus and IT management. Building a robust infrastructure has been one of his priorities, because he understands that a solid foundation is required to support 21st century learning. In the last four years, he has increased his district's Internet access to ensure that it meets the maximum specifications. To effectively leverage the district’s resources, he deployed a managed wireless service that provides students with seamless connectivity throughout every building. As a former high school English teacher for eight years, Ben is equipped with the communication and collaboration skills required to a successful technology leader. He often serves as the bridge between technology and instruction.

Lisa Berghoff Name
Director of Instructional Technology Title
Highland Park High Schools School/District
Highland Park, IL City/St

Lisa Berghoff is passionate about helping teachers realize that technology in education is about transforming learning. As a new member of the administration, she has quickly established herself as someone who values relationships, communication and positive interactions in order to help staff and students, to move towards the most innovative educational experience possible. She has been in "residency" for a week in each department in order to get to know the staff and understand the curriculum. During these residencies, she has participated in hands-on teaching alongside staff members. She was awarded the Best Practice award from NSSED for creating collaborative programming for students with significant disabilities. Most recently, she was chosen by Google to present at the company's offices in Chicago, alongside program managers on the Google Chrome and Apps accessibility team.

Tye Campbell Name
Director of Technology Title
Far Hills Country Day School School/District
Far Hills, NJ City/St

Tye Campbell serves as an advisor to schools nationwide to troubleshoot technology needs, including data integration and website design. He works with Far Hills Country Day School to improve teachers’ technology skills in order to shrink the digital equity gap between students who can and can't "do" tech. He is leading an effort to bring robotics to students, streamline school business processes to ensure high efficiency, and apply sound business strategies to the educational arena. His ultimate goal is to be a leader in the edtech community, helping others who are passionate about the appropriate and successful application of technology to enhance education around the world. He is passionate about working with teachers to build their confidence and resilience when it comes to using technology in the classroom.

LaSonya Cobbs Name
Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist Title
New Caney Independent School District School/District
New Caney, TX City/St

LaSonya Cobbs didn't stray far from her community after college – she went to New Caney ISD as a student, and then returned to teach. She is responsible for overseeing management and curriculum across the district's nine elementary Technology Applications labs. She also has managed the transition of the elementary school librarians to campus media specialists. LaSonya works diligently to ensure that all of the teachers have the proper training and resources to seamlessly integrate technology throughout their instruction, and she doesn't have to be asked to take on new projects or programs. When she learns about something new, she immediately embraces the project and does whatever she can to ensure that the implementation and maintenance of the project is smooth for the end user. She consistently works 10-hour days – and continues the work even at home. LaSonya never forgets what it was like to be a teacher, even though she is now in a leadership role.

Michele Eaton Name
Virtual Education Specialist Title
Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township School/District
Indianapolis, IN City/St

Michele Eaton leads MSD's online and blended learning team, but she aspires one day to lead the district's technology department. She was chosen to speak at CoSN's annual conference last year about identifying and supporting Next Generation leaders. During the session, she also highlighted the benefit of programs like Indiana's CTO2B group in which she participated, and she is also expected to present at this year's conference on expanding similar programs for other future leaders. Michele is the conference chair for the Indiana Connected Educators, and serves as president of ISTE's Online Learning Network. She has also served as the social media chair and web master for the "Yes 4 Wayne" political action committee.

Travis Eldridge Name
Technology Integration Specialist Title
Laramie County School District #1 School/District
Cheyenne, WY City/St

Travis Eldridge has skillfully leveraged his talent as an educator to define and then exemplify what "deeper learning" means for students and teachers. With classroom educators, he is reassuring, attentive and practiced. With site and district administrators, he is objective, mission-focused and optimistic. Travis understands the necessity and nuance of change. He communicates the district's technology enhancements using language affiliated with a concrete, student-centered learning model. He understands the natural uncertainty that his colleagues feel regarding new initiatives, and works strategically to help them discover new steps incrementally. Over the past year, Travis has worked to move an entire school forward in its ability to integrate technology into the curriculum. The movement was so successful that several other schools sent teams of teachers and administrators to observe the success they were having so they could implement them back on their own campuses.

Marcie Faust Name
Director for Innovative Learning Title
Deerfield Public School District 109 School/District
Deerfield, IL City/St

With more than 10 years of teaching experience, Marcie Faust focuses on guiding teachers to rethink the way they educate today's students in an ever-changing world. She specializes in coaching teachers toward implementation of project-based learning and effective technology integration through innovative teaching practices in the 21st century classroom. Marcie became a teacher in 2003 after realizing that she wanted to connect with kids. Since her first year of teaching, she has found that teaching is much more than just connecting with kids. It is about connecting with students, colleagues, parents and community members. Marcie firmly believes that technology enhances that connectivity. Whether through social media or any other communication tool, we become better when we connect with others. Always willing to share with colleagues and support future teacher leaders, Marcie volunteers for Northern Illinois Computing Educators (NICE) as the NICE MiniCon Chairperson and serves as a member of the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference Planning Committee.

Francisco Felix Name
Director of Technology Title
Orange County Educational Arts Academy School/District
Santa Ana, CA City/St

Francisco Felix's steady leadership has been instrumental in increasing student access to technology by building OCEAA's infrastructure, increasing the number of devices available to students, and promoting professional development for the effective use of technology in the classroom. He also promotes the development of technology skills standards for teachers and students, and the implementation of new educational technology applications that support the instructional goals of OCEAA. He continues to work tirelessly to increase the campus' technological resources and capacities, and is a passionate advocate for 21st century-learning instructional practices and environments. His vision is to ensure that every student in the district has the same opportunities and access to resources that other students in more affluent areas have, and that every student is equipped with the tools to be successful in a 21st century economy.

Cat Flippen Name
Instructional Technology Specialist Title
Oconee County Schools School/District
Watkinsville, GA City/St

Catherine "Cat" Flippen taught in the high school classroom for nine years as a Spanish, Music Technology and Music History teacher. She taught in a variety of school settings, ranging from the largest high school in Georgia, to one of the most diverse schools in Virginia, to a small, private school in Atlanta. She was the only woman in Gwinnett County to teach Music Technology when the course was first introduced, and she developed her own curriculum and served as her own technology support. It was then that she started to incorporate technology into her Spanish classes. Cat has been widely recognized for her work; she became a Google Certified Innovator in 2013 and a Google Certified Trainer. She was named Georgia's Foreign Language Teacher of the Year in 2014 for her use of blended learning, game-based learning, and social media. That same year, she was named an Emerging Leader by ISTE. She continues to work tirelessly with teachers and students as she fights cancer and undergoes chemotherapy.

Yamilee Francois Name
Director of Technology Title
Kodiak Island Borough District School/District
Kodiak, AK City/St

Yamilee Francois' goal is to improve the quality of education for students, staff and the overall school community through the use of technology. With strategic vision, she has shown a great level of courage and tenacity in ensuring that educational leaders have all the tools necessary to excel. She oversaw the migration of on-premise email to Office 365, and facilitated the creation of a district dashboard that serves as a "one-stop shop" for all employees. Rural districts have the most to gain when fully incorporating technology, but, often they are the most undeserved. Infrastructure, bandwidth and equity of access to hardware and software are all common pain points, but having leaders who are willing to put in the time and effort of creating long-term, effective systems is one that can go unnoticed. That’s all the more reason to recognize directors of technology like Yamilee, and build on their abilities to be better, more dynamic leaders in their districts.

Leslie Pralle Keehn Name
Instructional Technology Consultant Title
Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency School/District
Pocahontas, IA City/St

Leslie Pralle Keehn has found numerous ways to exercise leadership across the communities served by the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency. She initiated an online, global "Connecting Creativity" series in which she and another colleague, Erin Olson, pose technology integration challenge activities for educators around the world to complete. Each challenge starts with a live webinar. Participants then receive ongoing support throughout the month as they work with students to complete the challenge. Recognizing districts’ needs for better digital citizenship resources, Leslie also launched a Global Citizenship LICENSE that focuses on Legitimacy, Identity, Community Impact, Education, Networks, and Safety and Ethics. The focus of this project is on empowering creative uses of technology, as well as safe and appropriate uses. She has been an integral proponent of our new "Maker Days" initiative in which we facilitate school-wide, multi-day maker and coding experiences that otherwise would be unavailable to the youth in these small, rural districts.

Roshni Lakhi Name
Blended Learning Specialist Title
Highlander Institute School/District
Providence, RI City/St

In just her second year as a teacher, Roshni Lakhi was named the lead technology integrator in her school district. She has been honored with multiple awards and now, through the Highlander Institute, works with schools and districts throughout New England and beyond. One example of her leadership is her work bringing Girls Who Code to Rhode Island; she found the time to train, organize, manage and teach coding to a group of underserved urban students from multiple schools as a volunteer last year. It was the first Girls Who Code site in the state. Roshni displays all of the leadership qualities that CoSN values, and she has already made a name for herself in the growing blended learning sector. She is able to seamlessly straddle the education, technology and business sectors, liaising and communicating with various stakeholder groups, and sees the inherent need to bring these groups together to do what is best for kids in the digital learning age. As a young woman of color in this work, Roshni is a great role model for young women both in the technology and education sectors.

Kelli Lane Name
Technology Integration Coordinator Title
Hoover City Schools School/District
Hoover, AL City/St

Kelli Lane transformed the way Hoover delivers professional development. Kelli introduced a "Train the Trainer" philosophy where she oversees seven tech coaches who meet with and mentor a small group of teachers from each school. Those teachers then share that training with more than 1,000 teachers. Kelli was recognized by Google for Education, and she was asked to be a member of the Think Tank. This group helps guide Google in their Kindergarten to higher education roadmap. Kelli is forging a new path with several teachers and coaches from high schools to implement the district’s first ever Virtual School. She is developing a virtual course for Technology Coordinators to have the opportunity to participate in. Kelli brings a high level of excitement and passion to whatever she does. She is able to advance the support of technology while making it clear that the main goal is to serve students.

Nick Lapp Name
Deputy Director of Information Technology Title
InterMountain Education Service District School/District
Pendleton, OR City/St

Nick Lapp is tuned into organizational culture and believes in investing in professional development for both individuals and teams. In his role as Deputy Director of Information Technology he applies an expansive set of technical skills and knowledge always aiming for the enterprise level educational technology solution. He understands the added value of business process improvement when partnered with the "right" technology solutions. He has researched strategies on moving our receiving process towards paperless, checking in packages using QR codes utilizing mobile devices and upgrading our monitoring solution to include scrolling helpdesk ticket counts. Nick is a champion for excellence and an advocate for student learning outcomes. He models an outstanding work ethic with great integrity. When challenges present themselves, he gathers stakeholders and seeks out experts to discuss critical issues and establish strategic vision – all with a "Can Do" attitude.

Brian Lindholm Name
Information Services - Professional Development and Project Manager Title
School District U-46 School/District
Elgin, IL City/St

Brian Lindholm has been a great asset to his Chicago district since he started in 2011. He quickly became the project management lead for the district's student information system, and he has guided the district through the switch to standards-based grading and the introduction of a new online registration application. He also served as project lead for the implementation of Google Apps for Education. He co-chairs the Instructional Technology Leadership Committee for the District. Outside of the district, Brian serves as vice president for the statewide Infinite Campus user group. He is also a member of the library board in his community. Brian brings his external management experience into the educational process, and combines it with a real concern for what is happening with instruction. His external experience gives him a strong project management approach to educational projects. He breaks projects down into definable parts, then develops a strategy to complete them successfully.

Leslie McClure Name
Coordinator of Technical Services Title
West Feliciana Parish Public Schools School/District
Francisville, LA City/St

Leslie McClure is at the forefront of technology advancements in her district as the new coordinator of Technical Services. Providing teachers a range of instructional approaches, she has collaborated with teachers at each school to research and evaluate learning management systems to foster personalized student learning and blended learning opportunities, and has led the district one-to-one initiative. Leslie endeavors to provide every student with the means to access information to personalize learning, and research and provide hardware and software appropriate for grade levels, subject areas, and individual needs. Leslie has presented at the LACUE Conference, Apple Distinguished School Hosting Site, and the Louisiana Middle School Association. She conducts information forums for parents and community members to increase awareness of one-to-one education and student information privacy. She works with the Louisiana Attorney General to bring "Internet safety" speakers and resources to students and stakeholders, cultivating a positive impact on the community as a whole.

Nathan Mielke Name
Director of Technology Services Title
Hartford Union School District School/District
Hartford, WI City/St

Nathan Mielke is a committed professional driven to improve student learning through the development of educators everywhere. Published in ASCD's Educational Leadership for work done linking the Danielson Framework for Teaching with high-impact technology integration practices, Nathan is looked upon for leadership in the educational technology field in his home state of Wisconsin. In his third year as the Director of Technology Services at Hartford Union High School District, he has collaborated with instructional and operational staff to create systems that have significantly improved support for one-to-one learning. His innovative endeavors include piloting personalized learning technologies in cross-curricular learning cohorts, and leveraging Design Thinking concepts for short- and long-term planning. Nathan is the chair of the CoSN chapter in Wisconsin. In addition, he works with national and state groups that focus on certification governance, district digital learning plans and student data privacy.

Mary Mlinar-Stephens Name
Driver of Educational Technology Innovation Title
Waukegan Community Unit School District #60 School/District
Waukegan, IL City/St

Mary Mlinar-Stephens has been instrumental in forming a team of volunteer teachers. The "Lighthouse Lead Learners," as this group is known, are working together to build educational technology capacity across her district. Additionally, she has helped put on her district's "Google n' More" conference, which will be held for the third time this year, and she has presented at ISTE, ICE and MaCUL. Mary is just beginning what will likely be a long, fruitful career as an instructional technologist. The district impact she has had in the short time she has held her new position is impressive. The impact she will have as part of the NextGeneration team will be equally impressive. Her vision and energy is changing the way our students learn and our teachers teach. Working with like-minded educators will not only strengthen her skills, but strengthen the skills of those with whom she works.

Andrew Neiburg Name
Instructional Technology Resource Teacher Title
Henrico County Public Schools School/District
Henrico, VA City/St

When Andrew Neiburg came to Highland Springs High School three years ago, he brought stability and excitement to a school in need of visionary leadership. His dedication to the teachers and students can be seen in the writing center and peer tutoring service he established with an English teacher his first year, which encourages students to sign up when they need help with the writing process. He also created the "HSHS Virtual School," a place for students and teachers to connect outside of school and collaborate on lesson plans and for departments to work together to achieve accreditation. This year, Andrew built a student and teacher hub to provide easy access to everything at HSHS. Andrew is a visionary leader in his school and has been a large part of moving it towards excellence in instruction and closer to being accredited.

Chandra Parker Name
Technology Integration Specialist Title
Holyoke School District Re-1J School/District
Holyoke, CO City/St

Chandra Parker received her district's Innovator of the Year award two years ago, and she is now showing leadership by accepting a position that was recently created with little guidance – just a simple job description and a vision for what the outcome should be. She is willing to do anything that is asked of her, including troubleshooting a device (she is well-versed in laptops, iPads, Promethean Boards, document cameras, projectors and Chromebooks) and looking into hardware and software issues. She is helping the district launch a one-to-one program for grades 5-12, and she never hesitates to ask for help when she is unsure of something. She has had support and training, but is always willing to listen to the teachers and advocate for what they need. While preparing for the one-to-one program, she has also helped prepare and give presentations out in the community to help parents and residents have a better understanding of what the district is trying to achieve.

Michael Peck Name
District Virtual Coordinator, Digital Learning Initiative Chair, Founder at Lehigh Valley Learns Title
Pen Argyl Area School District School/District
Pen Argyl, PA City/St

As a teacher, Michael Peck has implemented 21st century skills and gamification in a one-to-one iPad classroom. This one-to-one program has served as a pilot for the district to help inform the process of moving into the digital era. For the past year, he has served as building representative for technology, and created and implemented a virtual learning program. He currently serves as the Virtual Learning Coordinator for PAASD, overseeing all part-time and full-time students in the virtual program. This past summer, he chaired a digital transformation initiative that will focus on digital citizenship, blended learning, digital equity, open educational resources and Web 2.0 tools. This committee will be developing a long-term plan to not only integrate technology, but to reinvent what school is and can be. Beyond the school environment, he is Founder at Lehigh Valley Learns. He also founded and helped organize EdCamp Lehigh Valley and created a YouTube channel called EdTech Library focusing on the integration of tech in education.

Gretta Rogne Name
Secondary Instructional Technology Specialist Title
New Caney Independent School District School/District
New Caney, TX City/St

Gretta Rogne has been at New Caney ISD for three years, during which she started as a Technology Applications teacher at one of the district’s middle schools. It didn't take long for people to take notice of Gretta's leadership capabilities. Her second year at New Caney, she transferred to another middle school as the campus media specialist and took on a leadership role as a mentor teacher. The summer between her second and third year, we had an opening in the Digital Learning Department for a Secondary Instructional Specialist, and Gretta assumed that role last July. While in her role as campus media specialist, Gretta worked with her principal to make her campus paperless. She also took the initiative to begin testing an LMS on her campus, which provided valuable data at the district level. Gretta never backs away from a challenge. In the few short months in her department, she has managed many district-level projects including totally revamping the Digital Learning web page and developing a logo for the department. Her positive attitude is contagious.

Elvira Salazar Name
Sr. Manager of Professional Development Title
Houston Independent School District School/District
Houston, TX City/St

From the moment she interviewed to join the PowerUp team, Elvira clearly articulated the skills teachers need to develop in order to address the needs of the 21st century learner. Elvira was effective at getting teachers to try technology and then implement educational methods effectively – and her principals never wanted to lose her to a different school. Elvira is a good listener who responds to crises with poise, so teachers, principals and staff feel that their concerns are being heard. Elvira reduces the impact of the stress of the staff, and she is a natural "team thinker" who considers all stakeholders' opinions and views. She is not intimidated about having difficult conversations, and breaks down complex topics into simple bites that people can understand to prevent conflict and facilitate collaboration.

Nicholas Takacs Name
Chief Technology Officer Title
Bethlehem Area School District School/District
Bethlehem, PA City/St

Within his first year at the Bethlehem Area School District, Nicholas Takacs completed district-wide wireless upgrade, increased use of lower-cost devices to drive student adoption, and introduced the use of non-K-12-specific systems to drive efficiency, reduce cost and align savings to student-focused programs. Nick is focused on bringing the best practices from outside K-12 into the space. K-12 technology can be viewed as an enterprise, taking advantage of open-source and other lower-cost solutions to address the unique business challenges students and teachers face. This program would help enhance Nick's viability in the space and give him additional tools to support his mission.

Josh Taylor Name
Director of Technology Title
Jennings County School Corporation School/District
North Vernon, IN City/St

Josh Taylor has taken school computer labs into the future by implementing one-to-one devices for the 2016-17 school year. He has been able to refurbish devices, obtain a school loan and redesign a very tight budget to make students' learning at their fingertips a reality. Josh holds a teaching degree in history, has taught abroad and utilized his understanding of instruction to assure learning is enhanced through technology. He was offered a teaching position because of his ability and strength to meet the needs of a wide range of students, but he turned it down due to his love of technology, and now he serves students in a different but still very meaningful capacity.

Nathan White Name
IT Operations Manager Title
Elmore County Public Schools School/District
Wetumpka, AL City/St

Nathan White's interpersonal skills make him well suited to any position that involves interaction with others. He is an excellent troubleshooter, and he is able to prioritize problems and work to resolve them in the most appropriate manner, a critical skill when time-sensitive technology issues arise. Nathan has the ideal mix of technical and interpersonal skills. In the technical area, he has recently earned the designation of Certified Educational Technology Leader (CETL), one of only a few who hold this title throughout the state. Nathan is charged with significant responsibilities in the technology realm and takes those responsibilities very seriously. Not only does he supervise the four technicians to meet many and varied hardware and software needs across the district, but he also manages numerous staff and student software programs, security cameras, cell phones, and other areas as well.

Amanda Wilkerson Name
Technology Operations Manager Title
Indian Creek High School/Ninevah Hensley Jackson United School Corp. School/District
Trafalgar, IN City/St

Amanda Wilkerson took charge of the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson USC technology department in the absence of a district technology coordinator. Her leadership over those eight months proved invaluable in implementing the district's goals to insure a successful start to our 2015-16 academic calendar year. Amanda has also launched a grassroots program to empower local teachers in developing online digital curriculum for online classes in an effort to expand career path opportunities for students. Amanda's goals are to use technology to advance the problem-solving, complex thinking, and career ready skills of students; provide opportunities to students who require and/or thrive in a non-traditional atmosphere; and provide teachers with tools and training needed to continue these rigorous activities successfully.

Christy Williams Name
Career Technology Teacher/Instructional Technology Facilitator Title
Hartselle City Schools/Hartselle Junior High School/District
Hartselle, AL City/St

Christy Williams has taken the initiative to help move her school forward in the area of instructional technology. She works with teachers, administration and staff to ensure a clear understanding of how to implement current technologies and does so in a manner that is non-threatening. Thanks to her efforts, Hartselle Junior High is experiencing more teachers who are comfortable with utilizing technology. Christy is a motivated educator who works tirelessly with both her students and her peers. She will be an outstanding Career Tech or Technology Coordinator on a district level one day. She aspires to continue to improve the implementation of instructional technology at Hartselle, and collaborates with others to improve the district overall.

Nick Williams Name
Coordinator of Instructional Technology Title
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation School/District
Columbus, IN City/St

Nick Williams became the coordinator for Instructional Technology last July. Since then, he has lead the district's efforts in establishing an eLearning day process, which ensures students will have a quality learning experience. He did this while taking into consideration the importance of cognitive engagement in an online learning environment, and how to support students who do not have access to broadband. Nick has also been an integral part of the team responsible for implementing the learning management system. As a result, the district has seen an adoption rate of over 80 percent in less than a year. Nick has also served on the Columbus North High School Technology Committee, and has established a team of Instructional Support personnel in each school.