Yesterday, August 26th, 2009, the brand new Canyons (Utah) School District opened its doors to students for the first time and ushered in a whole new era of learning. I don’t live in Utah. I don’t work for Canyons. I am actually 2000 miles away in southwest Florida. But I have been inspired beyond imagination by the people who have worked so hard to create a school district that puts children and authentic, 21st century learning at the center of their work. And I am glad they have been so willing to share their story with the world through social media.
I stumbled upon Canyons when I was following Darren Draper’s blog and he announced that he was taking the new position of Technology Services Director for Canyons. I started following Darren on Twitter which led me to Dave Doty, the Superintendent of Canyons School District. I’ve known a lot of superintendents in my 25+ years in public education, but none who have inspired and impressed me like Dave Doty. He embraces change and technology and balances that with a deep and true belief in the need for the human touch- caring, understanding, tolerance, and diversity in the lives of kids. He is a real leader.
How do I know all this about a man I have never met, a district I’ve never traveled to? Twitter. I watched the Twitter stream yesterday as people from all over Canyons sent updates about opening day. Dave on the bus with the kids, folks at various schools telling how things were going- checking in with their boss, giving interviews, sharing good news, spreading the excitement as they opened doors to a whole new chapter in these families’ lives. All because this District embraces technology that allows the enthusiasm to be shared and celebrated…that wouldn’t happen just anywhere. It happens where a good leader hires great people and trusts them to make good choices for kids and use the best tools to get the job done. It happens where social media is embraced and used for good.
The Canyons kids and families are lucky to have such great folks to lead their education efforts. Congrats to all and best wishes for a fabulous year!