The VSTE Coach and VSTE Teacher of the Year awards recognize and honor coaches and teachers who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in implementing technology to improve education. Award recipients are selected from a pool of nominations submitted by VSTE members from around Virginia.
On December 6th, 2023, two individuals were recognized as Outstanding Technology Coach and Outstanding Teacher for their innovative and engaging work in supporting their peers and districts in becoming change agents in technology education. The winners met the high standards set by the ISTE Standards for Coaches and Teacher Leaders.
Below are our winners and remarks that were provided as part of their application packet.
Teacher of the Year
These award recognizes and honors one teacher who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in implementing technology to improve education.
Ms. Russell has built a STEAM culture, not only within her own classroom but also within her school building. At the time, STEAM curriculum was only being embedded into classrooms with gifted or high achieving students. Ms. Russell immediately wanted to break that mold and expand STEAM to all students no matter their economic background, race, gender, or instructional level. Just like her students, she is always challenging herself to think outside the box and design STEAM and technology challenges that not only spark creativity within her students but also bridge the gap between real world connections and the classroom. She is always seeking out new ways to blend technology into her Science, Social Studies, and Math content areas. The legacy she hopes to leave her students with is to always ask questions, dream big, and to inspire others with creativity.
Coach of the Year
This award will recognize one educational technology coach who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in implementing technology to improve education.
Ms. Holdcraft has created a supportive coaching culture by being approachable and a true instructional partner. She supports teachers in growing their capacity and helping students move toward mastery of their learning through student-centered coaching. She leads PLCs through data-driven conversations as a starting point for co-planning and co-designing learning opportunities. She has helped teachers identify meaningful connections for innovation in STEM, coding, podcasting, and performance tasks in all grade levels PreK-5. She is firm in her belief that technology access should be equitable and should engage future-ready students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Ms. Holdcraft collaborates with other educators to design accessible and active learning environments as seen with the College Park Elementary Innovation Lab, Makerspace, and Science Lab. Her innovative spirit and collaborative mindset have made a profound impact on both students and educators throughout her school, district, and state.