Four Shelby County teachers are being honored this year as the 2018 Owens-Young Technology Innovation Award District Winners. This award recognizes teachers who do an outstanding job of integrating technology into their classrooms and inspiring innovation among their colleagues.
This year’s recipients are Mauri Crisler, a second-grade teacher at Inverness Elementary School; Natalie Brooke Veazey, the technology teacher at Calera Intermediate School; Charlsie Wigley, an English Language Arts teacher at Chelsea Middle School; and Jackie Plaia, English Language Arts teacher at Oak Mountain High School.
Mauri Crisler – Inverness Elementary
Ms. Crisler feels that with the rigorous curriculum in today’s classroom it is essential to integrate technology into as many aspects of the day as possible. She has worked with her students to develop digital portfolios which allow her to keep engagement high while tracking student learning. She encourages her students to create their own digital content. She feels they love using technology to present their learning in a variety of ways.
Natalie Brooke Veazey – Calera Intermediate
Mrs. Veazey’s educational philosophy focuses on leading students to new discoveries while providing them with structure and learning outcome goals. She leads and organizes professional development for technology within her school. Brooke is the school Technology Coordinator and is committed to providing equitable learning experiences to enhance student learning in the area of technology.
Charlsie Wigley – Chelsea Middle
Ms. Wigley seeks out new opportunities for technology that meets her students at their current level and pushes them based on their individual strengths and areas of growth. The majority of the material students consume and work within her class is digital as she is preparing students to annotate and engage with texts in a digital world. According to ACT Interim testing, 73% of her students have improved their reading scores from September to January. She attributes much of their growth to an increase in their confidence in reading, navigating, and analyzing digital content. Additionally, having students utilize an online portfolio and digital data trackers have helped them set reasonable goals and understand first-hand the connection between goals, growth, and achievement.
Jacqueline Plaia – Oak Mountain High
Mrs. Plaia has made it her personal mission to learn about and adopt new technology for her students to utilize in her English Language Arts classroom. She spends countless hours researching technology and practicing with it to share her knowledge with her students. She has her students create a variety of digital presentations throughout the year. Mrs. Plaia’s students are engaged by using technology to do research and write essays. She taught her students to build an ePortfolio for their My Future project which may be used as they apply to colleges.
The Owens-Young Technology Award was established in 2013 to honor the memory of two former Shelby County Schools’ employees who paved the way for teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. Denise Owens, the wife of former District Attorney Robby Owens, was a former teacher and technology resource teacher who passed away in 2007. Michael Young, who passed away in 2013, was a network technician whose work supported teachers.
Each spring teachers are nominated by peers and school administrators for the Owens-Young Technology Award. Each of the winners receives $1,000 in technology for their classroom and is invited to attend the Alabama Educational Technology Conference held each summer.