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The Camp Plug & Play leader knows how to turn it on. “It makes sense—we learn better from people we like,” explains Tony Vincent, nationally renowned technology expert, when asked about Cave Creek Unified School District’s Director of Instructional Technology. “One of the reasons educators love

Aug 01, 2015

The Camp Plug & Play leader knows how to turn it on.



“It makes sense—we learn better from people we like,” explains Tony Vincent, nationally renowned technology expert, when asked about Cave Creek Unified School District’s Director of Instructional Technology. “One of the reasons educators love learning from Nancy is because she’s so darn likable.”

Nancy Pratt, National Board Certified Teacher, joined the Cave Creek Unified School District in 2006. Current Superintendent, Deborah Burdick, Ed.D., says she was looking to hire a technology specialist to the enhance teacher support.

“I was the Associate Superintendent at the time. We needed to up our game with technology to assist our teachers in instructional technology so they didn’t have a fear of it and they used it appropriately in the classroom,” Dr. Burdick recalled.

“I interviewed Nancy and fell in love with her. Honestly, I wanted her to stay and start working with us immediately.”

Pratt completed the school year as a third-grade teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District and the rest is history. While her formal title has evolved many times since the beginning, the family-oriented educator says her job functions and duties have remained consistent.

“Even though my role developed along the way, our district’s focus has been that our students will meet or exceed the standards through differentiated instruction and improved technology in the classroom,” Pratt explained. “As much as I loved being in the classroom as a teacher for years, I learned that working with teachers had become my true passion.”

Although assigned duties and tasks are one thing, it’s clear that Pratt goes above and beyond to assist educators in her district. Whether it’s with ‘APPY Hour’ or ‘Tech Tip Tuesday,’ Pratt’s creativity and desire to inspire her colleagues is clearly showcased on the district’s web site.

“My hope is for every teacher and student in our district to have access to the exact devices they need at the right moment. Also, professional development and networking opportunities are necessary to be successful and to flourish,” Pratt said. “Professional development is nonnegotiable, whatever it looks like.”

Not only does the tech-savvy educator participate in personal professional development, she also supports her peers going through the National Board process.

“With her instructional technology hat on, she’s all over the place. We have seven schools, but only one Nancy. She built the Technology Cadre with one person from each campus so that those individuals would be boots on the ground at the school sites,” Dr. Burdick explained.

The formation of the group was not a mandate, but an example of Pratt’s own initiative, the Superintendent adds. In fact, the Arizona School Boards Association recognized the Cave Creek Technology Cadre with the Golden Bell Award in 2010.

As an author of the Arizona K12 Center’s Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), she uses the tool within her district so teachers can self-evaluate twice a year. In addition, she’s been a trainer at the Center’s Camp Plug & Play for the past nine years.

Clearly, Pratt’s dedication to technology in the teaching profession is vibrant and multifaceted.

“Nancy has a keen sense of what’s important to teachers and she’s the real deal,” Vincent explained. “Also, Nancy is full of surprises. One time at Camp Plug & Play we had the facilitators share something we might not know about them. Nancy shared that before teaching she was a sharpshooter in the military.”

Whether one knows her accomplishments or not, her genuine personality and dependability make her a natural peer coach, he adds.

When asked what three words come to mind when she thinks of the Director of Instructional Technology, Dr. Burdick struggled to choose only three. Minutes later, she finally settled on: encourager, dynamo and visionary.

“I’m in awe that she does all she does. She is such a learner and we can count on her to then teach us what she’s learned. She’s put us on the map when it comes to technology and using it appropriately. She’s taken us to a completely different level and she inspires people to want to do more,” said Dr. Burdick. “We are so lucky to have her in the Cave Creek Unified School District.”

Register for your next favorite technology workshop on AZK12’s Events website.

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