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GLHS Carter to receive national '2013 Digital Principal' award

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Gahanna Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter is one of three from a national pool of 70 principals to be named a 2013 Digital Principal.

Carter will receive the award during the National Association of Secondary School Principals conference Feb. 28-March 2 in National Harbor, Md.

The association serves as a voice for school leaders in the United States and several other countries. It provides research-based professional development and resources, networking and advocacy to build the capacity of middle school and high school levels to continually improve student performance.

Carter was nominated for the award by fellow Twitter follower and Professional Learning Community member Eric Sheninger, a high school principal and former Digital Principal honoree.

During the conference, Carter also will serve as a panelist for a presentation about digital media usage in educational leadership and the learning process.

Superintendent Francis Scruci told a group of parents Feb. 7 that Carters honor "sets the tone of what we're about."

"It's another great example of what we have going on," he said.

The award recognizes individuals successfully who have incorporated technology to improve instruction, communication and student engagement.

Carter told ThisWeek he started tweeting on the social-media tool Twitter in April 2010, after several teachers and administrators had participated in a social-media boot camp through the Ohio State University Kiplinger Program, called Kip Camp.

Carter said Twitter provides 24/7 professional learning opportunities because he can read, save and/or share relevant articles from many well-respected organizations such as Edutopia, Connected Principals, Powerful Learning Practice Network and SimpleK12.

"I also enjoy Twitter because I can tweet a question to my Personal Learning Network about any topic and get a wealth of resources from their experiences, their research and their learning," he said. "I can also contribute to others' learning as well. It's truly a collaborative learning process that benefits us all."

Carter said Twitter also allows him to share what students and teachers are accomplishing in classrooms every day.

"It's a way for me to share our story with a much broader audience and highlight the professional staff, dynamic students and supportive community in real time," he said. "The role of the principal has evolved to include public relations as a major component of the position. I can be an advocate, key communicator and our biggest cheerleader through the use of tools such as Twitter and Facebook."

Carter said he also enjoys blogging as a reflective practice.

"A major aspect of the learning process is reflection," he said. "It's something that occurs often, and blogging has allowed me to document my personal and professional growth over time. I don't blog for an audience but for my own development, yet I do share it via Twitter, particularly my first blog, Mr. Carter's Office."

Last school year, Carter started the GLHS Principal's Page blog as a way to communicate to parents all of the accomplishments of teachers and students.

"I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents because of the timeliness and relevant information shared via the blog," he said.

Last fall, Carter started the GLHS Friday Focus for staff to highlight specific classroom activities related to building goals, highlight student successes and as a reminder for upcoming events.

"Learning is a social activity and just as important as public relations is for the principal to be an instructional leader," he said. "Twitter, blogging and using other collaborative, social Web 2.0 tools have allowed me to be exposed to so many meaningful resources and knowledgeable educators."

Carter said the award helps put Gahanna in the national spotlight.

"I'm proud to be a part of this district because of its trust in us to be innovative, to take risks and to be leaders in the evolution of education," he said. "There hasn't been a more exciting and challenging time to be an educator."

In addition to the Digital Principal award, Carter will be featured in the October 2013 issue of Principal Leadership magazine.

The other two principals to receive the honor are Ryan Imbriale, principal of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore, Md., and Carrie Jackson, principal of Timberview Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas.

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