This year’s winners of the Shelby County Schools Owens-Young Memorial Technology Innovation Award were announced during the Shelby County Board of Education Meeting on April 23. The award recognizes teachers who excel at using technology to improve teaching and learning. It was first awarded last year, but will now be given annually in order to promote leadership in the area of 21st Century teaching.
The award honors two former employees whose work paved the way for teachers to use technology in the classroom. Denise Owens, who taught in Shelby County Schools for 22 years, became one of the District’s first Technology Resource Teachers in 1998. Her work helped hundreds of teachers to design innovative lesson plans using a wide range of technology. Mrs. Owens, the wife of former District Attorney Robby Owens, retired in 2000 and passed away in 2007. Michael Young, a computer programmer who came to work for Shelby County Schools in 2007 as a network technician, also made an impact in the classroom by providing outstanding technical support to teachers and students.
“Denise and Michael contributed greatly to our technology program. We’re happy to establish this award to recognize their past contributions, the hard work our teachers put into being 21st Century educators, and the teamwork that success in this arena takes.” said Technology Coordinator Susan Poling last year when the award was first established.
This year’s winners were Danny DuBose, Oak Mountain High School; Krystal Lawrence, Shelby Elementary School; Tami Genry, Helena Intermediate; and Ashli Polizios, Oak Mountain Middle.
“One thing that these award winners have in common is that they share with fellow faculty members,” said Poling. “Their success is breeding success in others.”
Danny DuBose said he has embraced technology and made it a part of who he is as a teacher. Danny DuBose uses a wide variety of technology in his high school Geometry classes. He has come up with a number of very creative ways that students can use mobile devices, whether their own or the schools, that make learning Geometry a more interactive and collaborative experience. Mr. DuBose gets his students involved in coming up with new ideas on how they can use technology to improve their understanding and mastery of his courses.
Shelby Elementary parent and fellow teacher Lisa Carden applauds Shelby Elementary School’s Kristal Lawrence use of technology in her fourth grade classroom. “It’s been a pleasure to have my daughter in Ms. Lawrence’s class.”
Ms. Carden also cited her co-workers dedication to helping her fellow teachers embrace technology. “My confidence level as well as my students’ sky rocketed all because of Ms. Lawrence’s patience and dedication to helping me use technology in new and effective ways,” Ms. Carden wrote in her nomination of Ms. Lawrence for the award.
Tami Genry serves as the library media specialist and local school technology coordinator at Helena Intermediate. Genry is constantly helping students utilize technology in ways that help them learn all subjects and get more from their school experience. She designs activities for students using technology that are fun, but also challenge them to do their best research first and then design a great product that reveals what they have learned. She also works with every teacher in the school to help them integrate technology into their class activities.
Oak Mountain Middle school teacher Ashli Polizios has created a collaborative learning environment in her middle school history class. She uses various technologies to collect information and feedback from students and enables them to work together so that they can learn from each other in addition to the course materials. She gives her students opportunities to take control of their own learning and become independent explorers. She believes that developing these skills in the middle school grades will help them throughout their student career and knowing how useful technology can be in the process will be very valuable to them.