VSD Receives TWO AzTEA Awards

Congratulations Nicole Whitt and Mark Breen!Mark Breen and Nicole Whitt

This morning representatives from the Arizona Technology in Education Association presented TWO of their statewide awards in one school district — ours!

Nicole Whitt from Empire High School was recognized as K-12 Teacher of the Year for her innovative teaching. Mark Breen was recognized as Director of Technology of the Year for his district-wide leadership in technology.

I’ve included a paragraph from each of their nominations as one small indicator of why they deserve to be recognized as examples of the hard work and excellence of Vail Staff Members.

Calvin Baker


From Mark’s Nomination:

Mark Breen and FamilyMark is fully aware of the relation of the drummer to the rest of the band. No one really cares about the bass drum keeping perfect rhythm until it stops beating. Likewise, no one really cares about the technology engine room until the email or PowerSchool servers crash. If the drummer is doing a great job, then the whole band moves in the right direction and performs well… if not… the system crumbles. Mark’s goal is to use technology in education to make the business completely efficient. As he does so, he frees up the time of administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, superintendents, etc. to focus on what really matters – students, instruction, and student achievement. And, when his engine is running well, he can go hunting for or creating the next innovation that keeps moving the Vail School District forward.


From Nicole’s Nomination:

Nicole’s use of technology to enhance her instruction has had a tremendous impact on student achievement at Empire and beyond. Her use of moodle alone to help her access data quickly and use it has transformed the way math is taught at the school. Nicole gives her students a problem on the moodle, gets her immediate electronic feedback as to which students get it and which ones don’t, and then she splits kids into small groups for differentiated instruction. Those who completely grasp the concept are directed to a new online activity like a Khan Academy lesson to enrich the concept. Those who need a little more practice are directed to a different activity. And, those who simply need a re-teach are immediately given that opportunity. She uses the technology tools for differentiation keeping all students engaged where they need to be. Immediate feedback for Nicole AND for her students has proven to be the key to student achievement.Nicole and Vail Leadership Team