Eric C. Sheninger
Eric is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Prior to this, he was the award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his leadership, his school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices. Eric oversaw the successful implementation of several sustainable change initiatives that radically transformed the learning culture at his school while increasing achievement. His work focuses on leading and learning in the digital age as a model for moving schools and districts forward. This has led to the formation of the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework for all educators to initiate sustainable change to transform school cultures. As a result, Eric has emerged as an innovative leader, best selling author, and sought after speaker. His main focus is purposeful integration of technology to facilitate student learning, improve communications with stakeholders, enhance public relations, create a positive brand presence, discover opportunity, transform learning spaces, and help educators grow professionally. Eric has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for his work. He is a CDE Top 30 award recipient, Bammy Award winner, NASSP Digital Principal Award winner, PDK Emerging Leader Award recipient, winner of Learning Forward’s Excellence in Professional Practice Award, Google Certified Innovator, Adobe Education Leader, and ASCD 2011 Conference Scholar. Eric has published several books on school leadership, partnering with Corwin on Uncommon Learning, and the 1st and 2nd editions of Digital Leadership.
He has also contributed on education for the Huffington Post, sits on the advisory board for many innovative companies, and was named to the NSBA “20 to Watch” list in 2010 for technology leadership. TIME Magazine also identified Eric as having one of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds in 2014. He now presents and speaks nationally to assist other school leaders to embrace and effectively utilize technology. His blog, A Principal’s Reflections, was selected as Best School Administrator Blog in 2013 and 2011 by Edublogs. It was also recognized with an Editor’s Choice Content Award in 2014 by Smartbrief Education.Eric began his career in education as a Science Teacher at Watchung Hills Regional High School where he taught a variety of subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Marine Biology, Ecology) and coached several sports (ice hockey, football, lacrosse). He then transitioned into the field of educational administration as an Athletic Director/Supervisor of Physical Education & Health and Vice Principal in the New Milford School District. During his administrative career, he has served as District Affirmative Action Officer and was the president of the New Milford Administrator’s Association. During his tenure as high school principal he successfully implemented numerous initiatives including a new teacher evaluation system (McREL), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), oversaw Common Core implementation, and initiated a new grading philosophy. Eric received his M.Ed. in Educational Administration from East Stroudsburg University, B.S. in Biology from Salisbury University, and his B.S. in Marine/Environmental Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
- Digital Leadership
- Social Media
- School Culture
- Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times (Keynote, Workshop, or Breakout Session): The educational landscape is changing as a result of continuous advances in technology and a changing learner. As a result educators must recognize this shift, anticipate needed changes, and lead by example in order to meet the diverse needs of key stakeholders in the 21st Century. Attendees will learn how to harness the power of digital tools and social media accessible today to improve communications, enhance public relations, establish a brand presence, increase student engagement, transform learning spaces, discover opportunity, and grow professionally like never before.
- Leading the Maker Movement (Keynote, Workshop, or Breakout Session): The maker movement in schools focuses on the natural learning curiosity of students where they tinker, invent, create, and make to learn. Makerspaces in schools tap into student passions and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design and powerful personal technology like 3-D printers. This session will walk attendees through the creation of engaging makerspaces in any K-12 school and the foundational elements that can be purchases within any school budget. During a workshop attendees will participate in a hands-on maker activity.
- Digital Learning Across the Curriculum (Keynote, Workshop, or Breakout Session): Learning today should unleash the creativity of our students and prepare them with essential skills sets for success in a digital world. Attendees will discover how to seize the opportunity inherent in ubiquitous connectivity, an evolving real-time Web, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization to integrate digital learning across the curriculum. The presenter will address how to create a teaching and learning culture that integrates social media, OpenCourseWare, student-owned devices, the flipped instructional model, and other digital learning pathways to create schools that students want to be a part of.
- Mobilize Learning (Keynote and/or breakout session): The digital divide has begun to rapidly decrease as student access to technology has increased. With drastic reductions to operative budgets schools have been forced to do more with less. This session will discuss why schools should embrace and create policies that support the use of student-owned devices as mobile learning devices to increase equitable access to technology, enhance the learning experience, and teach digital responsibility. Specific learning strategies for using student-owned devices in schools will be presented and modeled. Sample policies will also be presented. Participants will leave this session with the tools to successfully implement a BYOD initiative in their schools.
- Turn the Battleship on a Dime: Keys to Initiating Sustainable Change (Keynote, and/or Breakout Session): Educational change is often perceived as a difficult process fraught with competing ideas that rarely take hold. This session will tackle the issue of initiating cultural school change that is embraced, sustained, and celebrated. The presenter will address common obstacles to the change process and highlight strategies to overcome them. Examples will be shared that emphasize how one school has moved beyond change to transform the teaching and learning culture in a way that lasts.
- Culture Shock - Transitioning to a Better School Culture (Keynote, breakout, and/or workshop): School culture describes the environment that impacts the behavior of students, teachers, and parents. This environment is created through a combination of changes, which ultimately influences student success. This session will address specific initiatives, programs, and strategies that can be implemented to improve school culture in ways that better meet the academic, social, and emotional well being of students. The presenter will share successful steps taken to improve a school culture that sets students and staff on a path to success. Examples such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), creating a makerspace, grading reform, AP program overhaul, social media integration, an embedded model of professional growth, and others will be shared and analyzed for impact.
- The Power of Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) (Workshop and/or Breakout session): Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) have been around for centuries and can be defined as relationships that individuals leverage for learning. Attendees will learn how 21st Century educators can utilize the Internet and Web 2.0 tools (microblogging services, social networking websites, social bookmarking tools, RSS feed readers, tablet apps, and digital discussion forums) to create their PLN’s and customize their “always-on” learning networks to better prepare and understand the Common Core Standards, college & career readiness, technology integration, engaging learners, and effective leadership strategies.
- Educational Options for a Changing World (Breakout session): One of the many challenges that school leaders face is ensuring that all students are college and career ready. The key to overcoming this challenge is to make learning relevant and meaningful to our students. This session will focus on New Milford High School's journey to radically transform the learning culture through the formation of our own Academies. They represent a bold new direction for education, one that considers student interest, national need and global demand for highly qualified graduates capable of competing at the most challenging levels. Participants will learn first hand how we have created and sustained our own Academy structure and be provided with the tools to create their own in a cost-effective manner.
- Becoming a Twitterific Educator (workshop and/or Breakout session): Many educators have heard of Twitter, but brush it off as a meaningless social networking site notorious for wasting time in 140 characters or less. This is anything but the truth! Participants will learn and see firsthand how Twitter has quickly become an indispensable tool to educators at all levels from every corner of the globe. The session will begin with an overview of how to set up an educator page, sending a message called a tweet, and the specific language associated with Twitter. Participants will then be exposed to the various educational uses of Twitter including communication, sharing/acquiring resources, global collaboration, knowledge acquisition, tracking conferences, eliciting feedback, virtual mentoring, and professional growth.
- Community Engagement Through Social Media (Workshop and/or Breakout session): This session explores how social media, various web-based tools, and apps can be used by teachers and leaders to support and enhance the communication between schools and the surrounding community. Participants will leave with tangible strategies and ideas on how to create a transparent environment and give every family an entry point.
- Improving Leadership Through Connected Learning (Workshop and/or Breakout session): The real-time web provides avenues like never before for school leaders to grow through connected learning. Understanding and harnessing the power of social media by leaders is often met with skepticism. This session will examine the facets of a connected learning model for leaders to grow professionally as well expose the many free, readily accessible tools at their disposal. With the tools that are now available and seemingly ubiquitous access to the Internet, connectedness should be the standard, not discounted or just an option for school leaders.
- Harnessing the Power of Educational Technology & Social Media to Improve Teaching, Learning & Leadership, K-12 (Workshop): The digital divide continues to widen in schools as outdated policies and practices dictate that Web 2.0 technologies have no place in education. As we move further into the 21st Century our key stakeholders – students and parents – are immersed in a world where they routinely us these tools. Social media in particular has a negative stigma and as a result most schools either block or refuse to use this free resource. This session will focus on harnessing the power of social media and other Web 2.0 technology to initiate meaningful change that is sustainable. The end result is a transformation of school culture primed for increasing and celebrating student creativity, critical thought, problem-solving skills, collaboration, and achievement.
- Tell Your Story (Keynote, Breakout session, or Workshop): Each institution has a unique story. With the power of digital media, that story has never been easier to tell. Learn how social media, simple video, web-based resources and an army of parents, students, teachers and alumni can help you build support and get the word out about what’s working in your schools and classrooms. This session will focus on communicating more effectively, reaching larger audiences, establishing a brand presence and interacting with stakeholders.
- Creating a Culture Through Communication Strategies (Keynote, Breakout session, or Workshop): Digital leadership focuses on meeting stakeholders where they are and engaging them in two-way communications. This session explores how social media, various web-based tools, and apps can be used by teachers and leaders to support and enhance the communication between schools and the surrounding community. Leadership teams will leave with tangible communication strategies and ideas on how to create a transparent environment.
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