2016 VSTE Award Winners

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Each year, VSTE recognizes exemplary educators through several different awards.  We are proud to announce this year’s recipients who will be recognized at the Annual Educational Technology Conference.

The Outstanding Teacher and Leaders awards are given by the Virginia Society for Technology in Education to educational leaders who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in implementing technology to improve education.

Dr. Ann Nash, Instructional Technology Resources Teacher in the Henrico County Public Schools, has been named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She has been an educator for 18 years, five as a teacher and 13 as an ITRT and instructional coach.  Dr. Ann Nash’s impact on technology use is felt locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and worldwide.

Locally Ann serves her school, Pocahontas Middle, as well as her division, Henrico County Public Schools as an ITRT.

As a Chair of the Greater Richmond-Area Education Technology Consortium (GRAETC) and executive board member of The Virginia Educational Research Association (VERA), Ann leads regionally. Statewide, Ann has attended and presented at many VSTE workshops and conferences, including the VSTE Conference.

The impact of Ann’s work is also felt nationally and worldwide as an Adjunct Professor at Averett University, delivering distance learning instruction to students in 29 states and 14 foreign countries. In his nomination letter,

Jonathan Gregori from The Department of Instructional Technology at Henrico County Public Schools nominated Dr. Nash, commenting, "Dr. Nash’s efforts as a teacher, ITRT, instructional coach, curriculum designer, and professional organization leader, combine to advance the quality of education and work experience for all groups around her."

Dr. Amy Cashwell, Chief Academic Officer of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, was named the Outstanding Leader of the Year Award for 2016.  In the nomination letter, Dr. Cashwell was described as THE driving force behind the division’s digital learning transformation. The school division’s strategic plan, Compass to 2020, includes a digital learning goal of, “using digital learning as a pathway to personalized learning by increasing student flexibility with respect to when and how learning occurs.”  Through Dr. Cashwell’s leadership and vision, Virginia Beach City Public Schools is aiming for personalized learning for all students, with a clearly articulated plan for digital learning as a pathway toward that goal.

From reorganizing efforts around instructional technology by providing an instructional technology specialist in each school to coach teachers in best practices around digital learning; to developing and implementing the division’s Digital Anchor School initiative in which 15 schools serve as laboratories to test both digital devices and pedagogy; to a developing a division-wide reflection guide to serve as a tool for schools to determine readiness in five focus areas for a successful digital transformation; Dr. Cashwell is a visionary whose ideas and actions are always focused on what will best engage and enrich students, as well as maximize each student’s achievement.

Matt Caratachea, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Henrico County Public Schools, has been named the Innovative Educator of the Year. This award is given by VSTE to highlight and recognize innovative educational practices—especially those that champion the smart integration of technology.  Mr. Caratachea’s talent as a classroom teacher and his leadership skills afforded him the opportunity to continue his professional growth as an elementary ITRT. In this role, he has contributed to the knowledge and skills that create a culture where technology enhances engagement, instruction and learning. 

Matt has taken the lead on several innovative projects. He spearheaded a 3D fabrication pilot with a professor from Virginia Commonwealth University that  included multiple 3D printers, and a paper fabrication machine. Students created a 3D topographical representation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, reproduction of an arrowhead recovered at Jamestown, and 3D prints of the students' scaled catapult prototypes.  In addition, Matt was instrumental in the gifted classroom implementation of a coding and innovation pilot.

All three winners will be honored at the VSTE Annual Technology in Education Conference.