The Network

Alabama Educational Technology Association - February 2017

AETA Heads for the Hill

On Wednesday, February 22, more than 80 AETA members visited with lawmakers at the State House. Members thanked their Senators and Representatives for the Alabama Ahead Act funds and brought them up to date on their wireless and technology projects. AETA members wore buttons saying "Technology Supports Learning - I Support Technology."
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CTO Alpha Graduates

The culmination of the AETA Winter Conference was the graduation ceremony for AL-CTO Alpha. Thirty-two AETA members became the first graduates of the Alabama Chief Technology Officer certification program. The year-long program was established by the Alabama Educational Technology Association in 2016. The credential is the first of its kind in the state. It was designed for those who manage the technology programs in Alabama’s school systems.


“Our program is similar in structure and complexity to that of the school Chief Financial Officer program developed by the Alabama School Business Officers organization,” said Mrs. Kelli Lane, the association’s vice president for professional learning.


Today’s school systems rely heavily on technology for enhancing educational opportunities for students. In addition, like any other employer with multiple campuses, they depend on technology for their communications, business functions, and operations, including safety. Being in charge of a school system’s technology program requires extensive knowledge in many different areas from networking and data management to instructional design and privacy concerns.


“Unlike school system finance directors, who nearly all have degrees in accounting, school system technology directors come from several different backgrounds. Some have teaching and administrative certifications, some have IT and technical backgrounds, and others have business degrees or experience. Our program was designed knowing this. It ensures school systems that no matter what area of expertise their technology director came with, they will graduate from the CTO program with a good command of all the different areas it takes to do the job well.”


Candidates for the AL-CTO program must have several years experience in the field in order to be accepted. The year-long program includes eight courses.


  • CTO Roles and Responsibilities

  • Law, Ethics, and Policies

  • Data Management and Governance

  • Teaching and Learning

  • Models of Professional Learning

  • IT Management

  • Technology Planning

  • Finance and Budgeting


“Although colleges offer degrees in technology management and even advanced degrees in educational technology, there is nothing that quite prepares you for this job," said Glen Granberry, Technology Director from Lee County Schools. “This job is so complex, demanding, and fast-paced it will challenge any newcomer well beyond what they expect. We even have some college professors enrolled in the beta cohort. They approached us because they want to get a better understanding of the job’s demands in order to improve their various educational technology offerings.” Granberry, AETA’s president, is one of this year’s CTO graduates.


The AL-CTO graduates came from throughout the state. Several of their superintendents traveled to Montgomery to see them receive their certificates. Several more alpha cohort members will graduate this June.


  • Joel Andrews - Russellville City

  • Kim Arrington - Chilton County

  • Craig Bates - Talladega County Schools

  • Tim Brothers - Attalla City Schools

  • Barbara Burchard - Elmore County

  • Eric Burrage - Oxford City

  • Juan Cepero - Dale County

  • Bruce Ellard - Cullman County

  • Michael Fowlkes - Arab City

  • Glen Granberry - Lee County BOE

  • Jana Hoggle - Satsuma City

  • Sean Holmes - Guntersville City

  • Chris Jenks - Tuscaloosa City Schools

  • Jeremy King - Baldwin County

  • Anthony Kingston - Alabaster City

  • Kelli Lane - Hoover City Schools

  • William Martin - Marengo County

  • Beth McKinney - Athens City Schools

  • Bryan Phillips - Hoover City Schools

  • Stephanie Snyder - Pike County

  • Tim Southerland - Hartselle City Schools

  • Joanne Stephens - Birmingham City Schools

  • Kevin Stephenson - Muscle Shoals City Schools

  • Brigett Stewart - Jacksonville City Schools

  • Allen Taylor - Walker County Schools

  • Jenel Travis - Calhoun County

  • Jason Truett - Lauderdale County

  • Stacy Weaver - Pell City Schools

  • Chirs Westbrook - Florence City Schools

  • Tommy Whitten - Madison County Schools

  • Mark Williams - Dothan City Schools

  • Wayne Young - Ozark City Schools


Much thanks go to Kelli Lane for her tireless work on this project.

Debbie Rice Memorial Scholarship

This year's $10,000 Debbie Rice Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Miss Leeann Myers. Miss Myers is a senior at Kate Duncan Smith DAR High Schools in Grant Alabama, part of the Marshall County school system. She is the daughter of Ronnie and Carrie Ann Myers. Leeann is an outstanding student who actively participates in many extra-curricular activities while also working a part-time job. She plans to attend the University of North Alabama to seek a bachelor's degree in Industrial Hygiene and Chemistry as a double major and then transfer to Samford Univerity to attend pharmacy school.


Learn More about Miss Myers and the Debbie Rice Scholarship: https://goo.gl/JYtUrw

Alabama Ahead - Devices

Representative Bill Poole has introduced an addition to the Alabama Ahead Act in order for school systems to purchase devices for students. AETA members were unable to meet with Representative Poole on the hill due to scheduling conflicts, but they did meet with Senator McClendon who is working with Rep. Poole from the Senate side. Senator McClendon chairs the Alabama Ahead Act subcommittee and is a strong supporter of educational technology. AETA members look forward to learning more about the bill as the session progresses.

$35k is Not Enough

AETA members are grateful for the fact that there is a line item in the budget to help their systems hire a technology coordinator. But when it comes to tech support, schools systems must rely almost entirely on local funds. As you can imagine, this hits poor districts the hardest.


As for why Tim Brothers is on the phone at the podium, well you just had to be there.

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AETA Summer Conference

Tuesday, June 13th, 8:30am-4pm

4000 Grand Avenue

Birmingham, AL

Look for more information on our website as summer approaches.

Want More AETA?

Alabama's educational technology leaders implement the technologies that make our school systems run. They provide the pathways by which we communicate. They protect our data. They help teachers and administrators embrace modern-day learning. They give students access to sophisticated tools and resources. They impact teaching and learning.


Learn more about AETA by visiting our website and following us on Twitter.