On Winning A Stevie

Shannon Buerk

By Shannon Buerk

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has so graciously congratulated me on winning the Stevie Award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year in Technology in 2017.

In the post-awards ceremony interview, I was asked, “What does this award mean for your organization?” My answer was posted on YouTube, but I wanted to expand on it here because I have had some time to reflect on what it means and want to share my thoughts and the stage with our evolving industry, our courageous partners and our amazing team.

First of all, I want to say that it means a lot to our industry that I was able to win this award.

When most people think of awards for Innovation, they think technology or business. Education is seen as “behind the times” rather than a leader in innovation.  I think it is important to recognize that this award says a lot about where we are in education today to be truly innovating for our learners’ futures. There are a lot of courageous innovators in education today. Twenty years ago, everyone was talking about why we need to innovate education. Today, that conversation has switched to how and some forward-thinking, creative, thoughtful public school systems are leading that conversation.

20 years ago, everyone was talking about why we need to innovate education. Today, that conversation has switched to how we can innovate education. Click To Tweet

Those innovative public school systems lead me to the next acknowledgement. This award also illustrates the courage and innovation in our partner districts! In spite of the challenges of a large, varied group of stakeholders, a diverse, ever-changing population, multiple constraints from every level of governance, and shrinking funding, we have amazing “no excuses” partners who are pushing forward to create the next generation of education.

These are the leaders that courageously innovate their systems for students. They are advocates for public education. They ensure that the daily learner experience is updated and worthy of their students’ 20,000 hours in school.

I specifically want to acknowledge the hard work of High Performance Culture (HPC) partner districts. You see, there is a lot of talk about innovation. But the leaders at these districts and campuses work every day to make innovation actually happen.

Here are just a few of our partners and how they’re innovating education.

  • Fort Worth ISD: Using “Instruction Drives Construction” as the basis for overhauling their facilities with modernizing the learning experience as the priority.
  • Dallas ISD: Implementing technology seamlessly in the classroom to reimagine education for all learners.
  • El Paso ISD: Prioritizing active learning through their Active Learning Framework for every learner.
  • Mesquite ISD: Literacy through an innovation and ownership model.
  • Arlington ISD: Implementing the Active Learning Cycle to ensure 100% of students are exceptionally prepared for their future.
  • South San Antonio: Strategically designing the desired learner experience and the systems to change the trajectory.
  • Frenship ISD: Moving the needle to increase achievement, even when they’re already on top.
  • Alamo Heights ISD: Seamlessly integrating technology into the classroom to stay ahead of the game.
  • Huffman ISD: Creating a learning environment that’s conducive to blended learning with a focus on active learning through technology.

None of the work with our great partners would be possible without our e2L team. Whether they’re coaching, training, or working behind the scenes, our tribe tirelessly commits themselves to our mission to create a tipping point in public education where the neighborhood school is the choice for every family.

It's our mission to create a tipping point in public education where the neighborhood school is the choice for every family. Click To Tweet

They spend 100+ nights away from home, personalize training and coaching for every coachee, coach teachers and leaders to get amazing student achievement results while innovating the learner experience, and crave every opportunity to iterate their own expertise.

We are creating the future together! Let’s celebrate the amazing innovations that we are witnessing in public education every day!

3 thoughts on “On Winning A Stevie

  1. We, the E2L team, are so proud and honored of being part of this amazing collaboration. We know that it takes more than “ganas” to pursue in this trailblazing transformation. A paradigm shift of this magnitude demands visionary, courageous, and student-centered leadership and strategic innovations at all levels. The real driver is witnessing how this educational transformation directly impacts how learners engage in rigorous, authentic, engaging, and standards-based instruction, not as an exception, but as an every day experience. We are in this educational revolution together and together we will accomplish much more. Hence, presenting the Stevie Award for Most Innovative Woman in Technology to Shannon Buerk is a well-deserved recognition and serves as a powerful fuel for all educators to continue moving forward with more “ganas”. Congratulations to our amazing leader and thanks to all districts who are persisting in this remarkable effort. Adelante!

  2. I’ve seen your work first hand and appreciate the student-centered approach you are leading! You make a difference!

    1. Thanks so much, Kelly! We appreciate your leadership. It has made for a very successful partnership!

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