I recently came across an Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) news story announcing that Vince Scheivert had received the 2015 Frank Withrow Award from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a national organization for school system technology leaders. It’s noteworthy not just because the award recognizes the country’s most exceptional Chief Information Officer (CIO), a position that Vince holds with ACPS, but because Vince is also a CBIC board member.
A couple of things strike me as important. First, Vince has been recognized as a top technology champion in the country, someone whose leadership has transformed his school system. No small feat given that the CoSN represents over 10 million students in school divisions across the US. In addition to lowering costs for the hardware and instituting better assessment and data analysis systems, Vince has worked to increase connectivity and access for students across the region, implementing a one-to-one technology initiative as well as launching a free computer coding academy. And he’s applying that expertise and energy right here in Charlottesville.
Second, the award acknowledges the integral role that technology plays in STEM education – the very foundation of our tech economy. We’re nowhere as a tech community unless there are engaged, curious kids coming up through the school systems ready to tackle tough science and engineering problems.
And, finally, the award reminds us about the diversity of our tech community. We need to look beyond what might be considered traditional technology drivers such as the University, federal agencies and the growing number of IT, energy and biotech companies. Vince and his colleagues are hidden gems, persistently pushing the edtech envelope to ensure that students have opportunities to embrace new approaches to learning. Our schools are adopting fresh ways to use technology to advance learning for students, and to revolutionize the way that teachers and school administrators do assessments and analysis. As a result, our entire community benefits from a pipeline of tech-savvy, tech-enabled, smart, inquisitive, worldly students who are ready to be challenged.
I had a chance to catch up with Vince to ask him about the role of the CIO in education’s ever-changing technology world. “Just like the most successful business leaders today, we in Albemarle County Public Schools view technology as a force multiplier--it's an enabler that accelerates and broadens the achievement potential of all students. Our vision is to build services that provide 15,000 users across 30 campuses with the latest resources and capabilities they need to be successful, lifelong learners. We are very proud of our most recent project to construct a countywide LTE network that will bring broadband access to all students within Albemarle County’s 726 square miles. We see this as a game changer not only for our students but for our community,” he said.
It’s this type of experience and perspective that ensures that the CBIC board represents the Charlottesville tech scene. Cheers to one of our own for the positive national attention he’s brought to our technology community.