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Aurora Institute

Recognizing Education Leaders in Our Field

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Susan Patrick

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation

Every year iNACOL presents our Online Learning Innovator Awards to some of the most dedicated, inspiring and innovative leaders in our field, and last night I was honored to recognize this year’s winners at our Virtual School Symposium.

As online and blended learning programs continue to expand exponentially in our nation’s primary and secondary schools, these individuals and the organizations that we’ve presented the awards to have played a key role in ensuring that every student is given the opportunity to succeed.

Congratulations to the following Online Learning Innovator Award winners and colleagues for their efforts, achievements and innovations in K-12 online and blended learning:

Kristin Kipp, an online English teacher at the 21st Century Virtual Academy based in Golden, Colorado, was named the National Online Teacher of the Year for her ability to empower students, parents and fellow faculty toward the highest academic standards. In the ninth year of her career, Kipp teaches 11th and 12th grade students, noting that, “For all of these students, online education opens up opportunities that would otherwise not exist.”

Julie Young, president and CEO of Florida Virtual School in Orlando, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Online Learning Award for her success in creating a groundbreaking, public online learning initiative that offers kindergarten through 12th grade students free statewide access to 125 online courses, including advanced placement courses.

Julia Carpenter, a senior instructional systems designer at General Dynamics Information Technology in Orlando, Florida, was presented the Outstanding Research Award for her dissertation, “An Exploratory Study of the Role of Teaching Experience in Motivation and Academic Achievement in a Virtual Ninth Grade English I Course,” which examines the complex interactions among student perceptions, teacher experience and practices, course factors, and motivation for insights into learning within a foundational virtual school course.

Quakertown Community School District Cyber Program, located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was honored with the Innovative Online Learning Practice Award for the district’s success in its online and blending learning efforts, which have seen a 178 percent growth in student online course enrollments within a three-year period. Serving as a model for other online learning programs, more than a dozen schools have approached the Quakertown Community School District during the 2010-2011 school year to seek guidance regarding the process of implementing their own online and blended education programs.

In addition to the Online Learning Innovator Awards, Steve Baxendale and Todd Hitchcock, both founding members of the Board of Directors for iNACOL, were also recognized during the awards presentation with Outstanding Service Awards for their leadership and dedication to the field. Baxendale, a technical officer for the World Health Organization’s Pacific Open Learning Health Net, has served as both chair and treasurer of iNACOL’s Board of Directors. Hitchcock, the senior vice president of online solutions for Pearson, served as treasurer for iNACOL’s board.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Online Learning Innovator Award recipients!