Gahanna Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter is a nominee for a 2013 Digital Principal Award, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Gahanna Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter is a nominee for a 2013 Digital Principal Award, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Carter has been nominated by Twitter follower Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Milford, N.J. Sheninger is a NASSP 2012 Digital Principal Award winner.

Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Francis Scruci announced Carter's nomination to the school board earlier this month.

"He's as good as anyone in connecting with social media," Scruci said. "He's a bright, shining star."

Carter said the nomination means GLHS has made an impression on others not only in Gahanna but also across the nation.

"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. "Whether I win or not isn't important. What is important is that we are recognized for our work, which provides the encouragement we need to keep making progress and to share our learning along the way."

The purpose of the award program is to recognize the efforts of tech-leading principals who actively seek opportunities to expand student learning and staff professional development.

As part of Carter's nomination process, Sheninger submitted a sample of Carter's blog entries, published articles and podcast interviews.

Carter currently is following 1,050 educators on Twitter. He has 2,797 followers, including a deputy principal in South Australia, a technology coordinator in Hawaii and a member of the Portuguese Air Force from Portugal, Spain.

Carter started tweeting in 2010, when several Gahanna teachers and administrators participated in a social-media boot camp through the Ohio State University Kiplinger Program.

He said he enjoys Twitter and blogging for different reasons.

"Twitter provides 24/7 professional learning opportunities because I can read, save and/or share relevant articles from many well-respected organizations," Carter said. "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. I can contribute to others learning as well."

He said Twitter also allows him to share the latest accomplishments of students and teachers.

"The role of the principal has evolved to include public relations as a major component of the position," Carter said. "I can be an advocate, key communicator and our biggest cheerleader through the use of tools such as Twitter and Facebook."

He said blogging is a reflective practice.

"A major aspect of the learning process is reflection," Carter 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, he started the GLHS Principal's Page blog as a way to communicate with parents all of the positive things teachers and students experience, such as Poetry Slam, extracurricular activity success and innovative practices in the classroom.

Carter said he's encouraged by the number of Gahanna teachers who have Twitter accounts or a blog because they're modeling what it means to take ownership of one's own learning.

GLHS has 14 active Facebook accounts and 13 Twitter accounts to reach out to each segment of its population.

Although social-media tools are important for learning, Carter said, nothing replaces face-to-face communication.

"Like everything else, there has to be a balance," he said.

Carter advised the 2012 graduating seniors to "pause before you post."

"What you post on Facebook, Twitter or other social sites is always public," he said. "Take advantage of the technology that is at your disposal, but the best form of communication is voice to voice or face to face. Take some time to unplug and connect with those closest to you."

In a blog titled Disconnect to Connect, Carter said he loves to promote GLHS through social media.

"But it only matters if the people I serve feel that I am emotionally connected and present with them every step of the way," he wrote. "The bottom line: It boils down to the realness of relationships."

Carter concludes every communication, with his signature, "Be Great."

Award winners will be part of the second annual digital learning day and 2013 conference event Feb. 28 to March 28 in Washington, D.C.