Top 10 Innovative School District Tech Director

By Melissa Dodd And Lawrence Esplin

Melissa Dodd

5. Melissa Dodd, Chief Technology Officer, San Francisco Unified School District

Melissa received her B.S. from Cornell University in Human Development & Family Studies. She was part of the Women’s Varsity Crew, a KON Honor Society and an ESL tutor. Melissa went on to attend the Harvard University Graduate School of Education for attaining her Ed.M. Today, Melissa Dodd is charged with leading the district’s technology vision and digital district plan, Building a Digital District, which articulates the district’s strategy to transform learning with technology, infusing technology into teaching, learning, and operations to realize the goals of Vision 2025 and the SFUSD graduate profile for college and career readiness in the 21st century. Ms. Dodd is the 2017 Withrow CTO of the Year through CoSN, a national, professional association for school district technology leaders and the 2018 Distinguished Leader for Technology through the Council of Great City Schools. Her work is articulated in 3 key areas. a. The Laptops for Educators Initiative proposes that in order to effectively educate students. All full-time, certificated special educators, teachers taking attendance, and counselors in the SFUSD will receive a district issued laptop. b. SFUSD has made a bold commitment that is unprecedented among other large, urban school districts: to expand CS education to all schools and all students, beginning in pre-kindergarten and extending through 12th grade. c. SparkLearning is a citywide campaign to raise the necessary funds to bring new technology to all of its schools and will help schools integrate digital devices into classrooms to support learning and prepare students to live and thrive in the San Francisco of today and tomorrow.

6. Lawrence Esplin, Technology Director, Washington County School District

Lawrence Esplin

Lawrence Esplin began his teaching career at Dixie High School in the fall of 1981 after graduating from SUSC, now Southern Utah University. He taught World and US History, Psychology, Sociology, Consumer Math and computer classes. He coached sophomore football and worked with the Academic Decathlon team. He also worked as a school counselor at DHS. At Pine View Middle School Lawrence taught an introduction to computers and technology to 8th and 9th grade students. In the middle of his PVMS tenure he spent a year as a teacher on special assignment implementing computer labs in the elementary schools. When Snow Canyon Middle School opened, Lawrence continued to teach Computers, Technology and coach football. His interest in technology eventually led to working as Secondary Schools Technology Coordinator in the beautiful bungalow called the Tech Coop, behind what is now Southwest High. Y2K fears prompted the district to adopt a new Student Information System and PowerSchool became his focus. Lawrence continued to serve as a technology coordinator with Charlie Roberts leading Technology as an independent district department. Lawrence reports, “The best thing about working in the school district is the diligent and dedicated people. What was the least favorite thing? In my early days of teaching at Dixie High School, I often became a target at pep rallies for pie throwing. I was a Cedar High graduate and at that time Cedar was the rival. Things have changed and cross town rivals have replaced DHS vs CHS.” Lawrence has currently taken on his new responsibility as the Information Technology Director in the district tech office dealing with Student Information Systems.

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