Utah Electronic High School principal receives education technology award

Congratulations goes to Utah State Office of Education’s Kathy Webb! The Utah Coalition for Educational Technology recognized the Utah Electronic High School principal for “Making it Happen” this weekend.  

UCET 2011 Making It Happen Award – Kathy Webb

Kathy Webb graduated from Southern Utah University with degrees in English and Computer Science. She began her teaching career at Cedar High School in Cedar City, Utah. Although technology in schools was nearly non-existent, Kathleen persisted and soon had several computers available to her students.

Kathy was also a pioneer in bringing the Internet to her school and students. This was the Internet of Gopher, Veronica and Archie and a host of of other applications. Kathleen quickly became an expert in this new technology and shared it with her students, teaching colleagues and a few interested educators around the state of Utah. When what what would come to be known as the World Wide Web was created Kathleen was again at the forefront. She and her students created one of the first, if not the first, school web pages. This occurred at a time when there were very few web sites.

In the early 1990s, Kathy was part of a group of visionary educators in Utah who formed the “Educational Networking Consortium.” ENC held periodic summit meetings, and with Kathy’s vision, the concept of internet connected schools in Utah was incubated and hatched. The result was a state-funded entity known as UtahLINK, which has since become the ISP for libraries, public and higher education in Utah. In these early times, when very few educators in Utah knew anything of the Internet, Kathy wrote a series of articles about using the internet in classrooms for UCET’s monthly Interface newsletter. She established herself as the pre-eminent technology-using teacher in the state. UtahLINK morphed into the Utah Education Network. Through legislative action UEN had the task of bringing Internet connectivity to all of Utah’s secondary schools and to be their ISP. A good network also needed content resources and presence on the web to be successful. Kathleen left the classroom to work full time for UEN and to help educators across the state to take advantage of the World Wide Web in teaching and learning. Kathleen was instrumental in guiding numerous projects at UEN such as Heritage Gateways. In support of the Sesquicentennial Mormon Trail Wagon Trek, the Utah Education Network (UEN) was designated the official, educational web site for the Mormon Trail Re-enactment. As such, UEN, in partnership with the Utah State Office of Education, BYU Public School Partnership, Heritage Gateways Ltd., and the Mormon Trail Wagon Train – 150 Years, Inc. has created an educational, interactive online project site for students, teachers and families that followed the trek as it unfolded and continues to provide a database of historical data. Kathleen’s work at UEN impacted in some way every school, classroom, teacher and student in the state of Utah.

Kathy moved from UEN to the Utah State Office of Education to become the Online Tools and Content Specialist. In this position she worked with state office personnel and educators around the state to better utilize technology in education. In 2007 Kathleen became the principal of the Utah Electronic High School (EHS). EHS was established in 1993 as the first virtual school in the nation. By the time Kathy became principal, EHS was in need of organization and discipline. While at UEN Kathleen had worked on creating the learning and course management system used by EHS for many years, so she was familiar with its operations. Kathleen has guided the growth of EHS for the past three years. Her goal is to have the content of this school available to students at any place, on any device.

Kathy has been involved in guiding and using technology at the national level with her involvement with SETDA, the State Educational Technology Directors Association. She is a charter member of SETDA and she has been involved with several committees and has presented numerous times to her national colleagues.

Kathy served as an elected board member of the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology 1992-94, and as its president 2001-2002. For many years between, she helped keep the UCET web site going with a sophisticated database, for which she took no credit, and received no compensation.

Kathy Webb is truly a pioneer of technology in education and exemplifies 21st Century education. She continues to lead, guide and share her vision of the positive impact technology can have to improve teaching and learning. Kathy is a gentle, quiet woman with a great reservoir of knowledge and understanding and an incredible drive to share what she has learned. For these many reasons, the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) is pleased to honor Kathleen Webb with Utah’s first Making It Happen Award. Kathleen has Made it Happen for education in Utah. – From UCET.org

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