Principal Eric Sheninger was selected by the National Association of Secondary Principals (NASSP) as one of three recipients of the first Digital Principal Award.
Named one of the "20 to Watch" by the National School Boards Association, Sheninger is a major presence on Twitter, with more than 17,000 followers in his professional learning network. Sheninger has said he looks for every digital opportunity to share his passion for fostering learning environments that are student-centered, collaborative, flexible, and prepare all learners to succeed in the 21st Century.
Superintendent Michael Polizzi told Patch that NMHS is fortunate to have a principal who understands that in order to accomplish creating a more relevant learning experience for students, access to information through the use of digital tools is key to meeting students on their own terms.
"Eric embraces this, and does so with consistency and drive. And although Principal Sheninger is being recognized for his efforts, in the end, NMHS students are the winners," Polizzi said.
Sheninger is an innovative leader who uses social media and web 2.0 technology as tools to engage students, improve communications, and help educators grow professionally, district officials say.
Coauthor of Communicating and Connecting With Social Media: Essentials for Principals, Sheninger blogs regularly at Huffington Post, Connected Principals, and A Principal’s Reflections. A current focus of Sheninger’s efforts is a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative at the high school.
“Students will not be able to acquire 21st century skills without a mastery of 21st century tools,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti.
“But effective use of technology tools will become pervasive in a school only when the school leader is invested in its success."
Bartoletti said that the three principals who received this award were recognized for providing leadership not just in school-wide integration of technology, but also in modeling the use of technology in their own learning.
NASSP is announcing the recipients in recognition of the first Digital Learning Day, a nationwide initiative that celebrates the many ways digital media are improving learning.
A call for Digital Principal Award applications went out nationwide in December. The applications were then measured against the criteria of the National Education Technology Standards for Administrators and the principals’ application of those skills to achieve school improvement goals as defined by NASSP’s Breaking Ranks framework. The recipients will be guests of NASSP at the 2012 NASSP Breaking Ranks K–12 Conference in Tampa, FL, March 8-10, at which they will offer a panel presentation on digital media in leadership and learning. They will also be featured in the October 2012 issue of Principal Leadership magazine.
"New Milford is creating an environment in which teachers and administrators have been given license to innovate, primarily to make the learning experience richer, more relevant and meaningful for students," Polizzi said.
And with his commitment to bringing digital opportunities into the classroom, Sheninger appears to be leading the way.