Thank you Outstanding Arizona Educators, Administrators and Supporters!

AzTEA Innovative Leaders Awards

These are the people who are recognized as Innovative Leaders and agents of progressive change in the education of Arizona’s students.  Thank you for everything you do!

Teacher of the Year

Gabriel Carrillo

Walker Butte K-8
Florence USD
Administrator of the Year

Cherryl Paul

Sierra Verde STEM

Deer Valley USD

Technology Coordinator/Director of the Year

Julie Morgenthal

Balz ESD
Librarian/Media Specialist of the Year

Pamela Gautier

La Cima Middle School
Amphitheater Public Schools
New Educator of the Year

Danielle Ohm

Desert Winds HS & District Online Development
Casa Grande UHSD
Educational Technology Specialist of the Year

Linda Koehler

Fruchthendler Elementary
Tucson USD
Technology Support Person of the Year

Tim Baginski

Murphy ESD

AzTEA believes leaders influence schools from all levels and job positions and it is not only administrators who make a significant impact in your district/school. Good leaders are not only capable of leading their subordinates,  but are also versed in leading their superiors and their peers.

  • They model an understanding of the social, ethical, and legal issues and responsibilities related to our evolving culture.
  • Their work serves as a model for using technology to support standards-based curriculum.
  • The nominee’s work has a significant positive impact on technology use in education.
  • They have integrated deliberate planning in an effort to improve education through the use of technology.
  • They design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning opportunities and projects incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context.
  • They promote learning environments in which digital citizenship is valued and respected.
  • The quality of education and the work experience has been significantly advanced as a result of the nominee’s efforts.
  • The nominee continually improves professional practice and shares his/her talents.

“Since she has been the librarian at our school we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of teachers scheduling class visits to the library for her various skills lessons, book talks, and technology demonstrations. Teachers consistenly seek her out for collaboration and library time. Additionally, the library has become a hub of student activity before school, at lunch, and after school. Circulation is way up as a result of Pam’s determination to update the library’s collection and highlight current young adult novels.”

Personal Anecdote by Nominator: My niece, Symantha, attends Cross Middle School which is the school where Pam was the librarian before she came to La Cima. Last week I sat beside Symantha as she worked on a research project and watched as she went to the Cross library page, which Pam had created, to find her resources as Pam had taught her. After she did her research, she created her project in Google Presentation, which she had also learned from Pam when she was the librarian at Cross. In no time at all she has successfully done her research and completed her project. I can think of no better example of an educator’s effectiveness than one that includes the lasting effect of her teaching.


Mrs. Paul’s nomination has been forwarded and expanded with pleasure to ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education).  Her accomplishments are innumerable and we are proud to have such a strong leader represent Arizona as a strong national leader.  We could only include a brief bit of her nomination here.



Student Impact: Student centered instruction includes an inquiry-based focus with the support of teacher experts in the field through the use of technology and critical thinking skills. Student scores, enrollment, and engagement have increased by providing them with technology-use opportunities including STEM labs (Vernier lab equipment to help students gather real world data in investigations); interactive science notebooks (a collection of notes, observation and inquiries, reflecting their personal learning style); data collection and analysis; internet research, video conference, create interactive chat bots, and engage in computer animation with sister schools around the nation. Other opportunities include STEM focused clubs such as Claymation (clay animation movie-making), Journey Inside the Computer Club (taking apart computer hardware), and Engineering Club. Mrs. Paul has established relationships with a variety of business partners to utilize as special presenters for her students from Challenger Space Center, Orbital Sciences, Aviation Communications, Surveillance Systems, and others.”



“Danielle is creative, thinks fast and likes to move faster. She is precisely the type of educator and employee that our evolving CGUHSD culture and environment need and want. I wish to celebrate Danielle and her accomplishments and publicly acknowledge the value she brings to Educational Technology at CGUHSD.


Danielle is a highly energetic and creative teacher. She consistently employs project-based learning as a way to engage her students. She has holistically adopted the role of informal technology supprt and integration partner for teachers at her site. At the comprehensive High School she was recognized as an innovator and a thinker ‘outside-the-box’. Danielle teaches High School English and Literature and has employed creative web-design, wikis, Moodle, podcasts and video as ways to engage her students in their learning. She designed and implemented a multi-classroom research project to determine if video improves student learning and presented her findings to her site teachers and administrators.


“Tim is a unique individual who is always willing to lend a hand to teachers and other staff in learning how to use technology resources, and in helping resolve technology problems.  Many times, the technology problems are small and minor, but of great concern to a teacher who doesn’t have the knowledge to resolve it.  Tim is always patient, respectful and kind in his dealings with teachers and staff, even though he must be chuckling inside at some of the questions and problems that arise.  Tim is the “go-to” person when anyone wants to consider purchasing new equipment or software, even for personal use.  He usually knows the answer, but is also quick to conduct research to find the best and most affordable products for teachers and staff.  Tim is also very inventive, and will figure out how to repair, seemingly non-repairable equipment.  His creativity and innovation have saved many pieces of equipment, and also saved the district the expense of costly out-of-district repairs.

After finding that several data projectors were nearly non-functional due to dust inside the cases, Tim found the way to service and clean them.  These items were out of warranty, and if Tim had not researched and found the way to clean them, we would likely have been without those projectors.  Due to the budget constraints, sending them outside for service and new bulbs would have been prohibitive.  His ingenuity has helped keep these valuable resources functioning and serving the instructional needs of our students.”


Mr. Carrillo’s nomination has been forwarded and expanded with pleasure to ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education). He received admiration and great praise from the leaders of his district in their recommendations for his national recognition.

“Mr. Carrillo has been an inspirational force for the implementation of technology to engage students and streamline processes and activities at Walker Butte, both in and outside of the classroom. His great enthusiasm and forever positive attitude combine with his expertise with both hardware and software and his innovative use of Web 2.0 tools to engender a culture of technology that reaches beyond the school, into the district and the surrounding community. He leads by example, continuously seeking out new applications and free software that will captivate the imaginations of students, increase parental participation and make administrative work more efficient. With positive results, colleagues have been inspired to embrace new technologies and new applications and to trade ideas and collaborate online.

One recent example of Mr. Carrillo’s successful integration of technology in the classroom was when his students connected via Skype to do some Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test preparation with a neighboring school. The two classrooms kept score as they challenged each other with math questions. The students were enthusiastic about the competition and the cool use of technology, and their excitement provided incentive to study. As a result, Mr. Carrillo’s students showed an average growth of 12% between their first and third benchmarks, with some students improving by as much as 34%.”


“Prior to Julie’s leadership, web filters often prevented staff from using many of the tools we now have readily available. Teachers were frustrated that they were not able to access tools that would assist them in the instruction of students.  Student and staff groups now use collaborative programs such as Skype, Google Apps, Moodle, and other Web 2.0 tools.

Almost immediately upon taking this position, Julie assembled a team to successfully attain the Arizona ARRA 21st Century Classroom Grant one year ago. After coordinating training for staff and securing the devices everything was in place for a smooth roll-out of this new technology.  Remarkably, within one week of our first day of school each student had received and had been oriented to their new laptop mini.

Where instruction used to be genetic and sterile, we now have cutting edge virtual media in place in all classrooms. Students see themselves as knowledge creators working as part of the real-world advancement of information. Teachers are helping students to create collaborative presentations and participate in scientific experiments. This transformation has allowed students to find a constructive and personally satisfying role in our culture.

Julie works collaboratively with people at all levels in the district to advance the technology plan. Her peers consider her a dedicated team player with impressive knowledge of pedagogy in addition to her thorough understanding of technology infrastructure, systems, and data management. In addition, she keeps herself up-to-date on emerging technologies and cutting-edge instructional technology.”


“Not only does she work with her classroom, but she will work with other teachers in the building to share her projects, so they can learn through her project based learning with technology.

Linda Koehler teaches her students in 5th grade through project-based learning.  She has recently focused her technology skills to teach the student how to video special projects using a digital/video camera and then has the students present their video using technology software provided through the TUSD district software.

One example of using technology in her project based learning has been to instruct her students to research prominent Tucson people who have since passed away.  After conducting their research, the class visited a cemetery where these prominent people were buried.  The students learned to video their particular person, write the research in a project and present their individual lesson to the class using technology software provided by TUSD.

Linda Koehler has encouraged her colleagues to use this learning process, and will work with colleagues who are interested in learning through this project based learning situation.”

She  is a continual learner and shares her enthusiasm to question and explore to her students and colleagues.

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