The 2017 DENny Award Winners

We love to celebrate our community. Each year we ask our community to submit names that deserve special recognition. The 2017 DENny awards featured some of the very best people in our community.

And here are the winners:


  1. Renee Henderson. Prince George County, Maryland.
    “I have worked with Renee for the past 8 years and she is without a doubt the most knowledgeable person when it comes to new, cutting-edge instructional technologies. She is always the person I turn to when I am looking for something new and exciting.”
  2. Cathy Houchin. Watertown School District, Wisconsin.
    “Cathy is an amazing music teacher that creatively incorporates technology in meaningful ways into her classroom. I am continually amazed at all the engaging things she is doing with Discovery Resources in her classroom.”
  3. Ramona King. Muscogee County, Georgia.
    “I believe Mrs. King is what we in education need to handle the challenges we face in education.”
  4. Bill Policky. Schuyler Community Schools, Nebraska.
    “Bill believes in doing what is best for his students, and he ensures that students learn engaging content by using technology that transforms his classroom. Numerous student recommendations came in this year from students in order to recommend Bill for the teacher-of-the-year in our district.”
  5. Elaine Roberts. Discovery Education Specialist.
    “Elaine constantly celebrates and elevates the work of the teachers she supports, as evidenced in the uploaded image. She is a true advocate for Discovery Education in the classroom and promotes the work that educators do, encouraging them along the way.”
  6. Dane Sadownyk. Edmonton Catholic Schools, Alberta.
    “Throughout his role as a consultant, Dane has incorporated Discovery Education in a variety of ways including using Board Builder to develop language proficiency with our French Immersion schools, using green screen to enhance student comprehension in mathematics and so much more.”
  7. Devyn Washburn. Greenville County School District, South Carolina.
    “Devyn does an excellent job of encouraging and inspiring her students to use Discovery Ed to make mundane assignments into exciting educational adventures using images and video clips. Her students have become board builders and independent researchers.”
  8. Ryan Westberry.Collier County Public Schools, Florida.
    “He helps develop creative ways to use DE in the classroom and never tires of conversations with teachers to help them use technology more effectively in the hands of their students.”


  1. Audra Barton. Collier County Public Schools, Florida.
    “When I think of Discovery Education in this district, Audra is one of the teachers that immediately come to mind. She shares with enthusiasm and a sincere love for what she does. You can see it in her teaching, social media posts and at district meetings.”
  2. Eric Gerber. Loyalsock Township School District, Pennsylvania.
    “He uses the United States History Techbook as one of the cornerstones of his classroom. He employs this tool to motivate students to engage their curiosity in the history of their country and its founding/foundation.”
  3. Megan Melucci. Franklin Regional School District, Pennsylvania.
    “STEAM Olympiad Integration of Discover Education, where student-centered interactive stations are created to enrich and foster 21st-century skills, bridge educational gaps, and facilitate cross-curricular connections of project-based learning.”
  4. Andrea Segal. Rogers Public Schools, Arkansas.
    “She has stepped out of her comfort zone to allow her inclusion classroom to use technology more and learn through discovery. She has created multiple STEM opportunities, allowed students to show their knowledge/understanding with building boards, and allowed them to fall in in love with Science. She used Discovery Ed whole group, in small group lessons, and allows students to use them independently. Andrea Segal literally has been the perfect partner to go through Discovery Ed with and I am honored to have seen her change the lives of her students.”
  5. Genia Webb. Discovery Education Manager PD Talent.
    “One of Genia’s responsibilities is on-boarding new PD Consultants and she has embraced using the DEN Online Community to support that work.  By leveraging the power of the online platform, Consultants become involved in our Community immediately.  They have the opportunity to learn, share, and connect virtually with passionate educators who use Discovery Education.”


  1. Dawn Bray. Discovery Education Specialist.
    “The educators that Dawn supports are often some of the most prolific DE users. Creative uses of Board Builder and SOS for lesson design are often utilized by those teachers.”
  2. Lindsay Foster. Burleson ISD, Texas.
    “Lindsay has become a daily presence and support in the DEN community with her DENspriations. Not only that but her lead on #DENchat as well. When it comes to the DEN, I don’t think Lindsay knows how to say “no”. She will testify that she’s simply giving back to a community to which she calls family.” 
  3. Patti Grammens. Forsyth County Schools, Georgia.
    “Patti has used Discovery Education lessons and experiments in her classroom when teaching 8th grade Physical Science, summer Science Camp for rising 6th graders, and while teaching coding for a connections class. Her passion for Discovery Education is evident in her teaching and her Professional Learning seminars she has conducted for our county.”
  4. Wanda Hanley. Wake County Schools, North Carolina.
    “She leads professional development in staff meetings, edcamps, NCTIES, and even leads a Den Ambassador program to share all of the powerful and meaningful resources that DE has to offer. Her enthusiasm for Discovery is contagious. She speaks so highly of the product to all of her colleagues that they want to explore the opportunities that Discovery can offer to their students.”
  5. Pam Inabinett. Dorchester Schools, South Carolina.
    “Pam is the largest motivator and supportive person that I know. After meeting her at the summer institute in 2015, I have always appreciated the advice that Pam has to offer. She is everyone’s biggest fan and is always waiting with her arms open to give you a hug. Along with her ability to brighten anyone’s day, Pam is also an expert in her field. She has given me so many brilliant ideas for how to smash apps and how to implement all of the wonderful tips from DENSI into my classroom.”
  6. Michelle Joyce. Collier County Public Schools, Florida.
    “Michelle is a strong member of the DEN whose background and expertise in secondary science provides a much-needed perspective on the use of Discovery Education. She embodies a growth mindset, asking questions and seeking input from others to make the most effective use of Science Techbook. She also works to support her colleagues in gaining confidence with using Discovery Education. Michelle also makes herself available to provide support to the Leadership Council and the DEN.”
  7. Rachael Maneen. Discovery Education Specialist.
    “Rachael works tirelessly to involve as many teachers as possible in the schools she supports. She works not only with the teachers she is assigned to, but administrators, instructional coaches, grade-level teams, and educators who don’t teach so-called “core subjects.”
  8. Elizabeth Merritt. BrazoSport ISD, Texas.
    “Although over 30 different individuals hosted #DENChat this year, Elizabeth really took on the challenge of guest hosting and guided four different times. This Twitter chat is reaching new audiences and expanding the DEN in a non-traditional way.”
  9. Rita Mortenson. Verona Area High Schools, Wisconsin.
    “Rita is always one of the first who volunteers and says “I will do it” She has gone to the moon and back to help her students and fellow teachers.”
  10. Peter Panico. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina.
    “Peter embodies what it means to be a leader within the DEN Community. He is always eager to learn, willing to share, and open to connect with a “we’re better together” mentality that positively radiates to his friends, colleagues, and students.”
  11. Francie Snyder. Manatee County, Florida.
    Francie is a champion of Discovery Education. She helped bring the Day of Discovery tour to Manatee County Schools and presented at the event. She also shares her learning on her own blog ( and provides updates and sessions to her district colleagues.
  12. Bekka Stasny. Manatee County Schools, Florida.
    “Bekka throughout the years have worked tirelessly to promote DE in our county. With two Ambassador Programs, presenting on DE severals times at the District Level, spoke to district admins about the benefits of DE, and helped to bring two Days of Discovery (DENaplooza) to Manatee County. Her efforts have been stellar and are part of the reason our district has kept DE.”
  13. Brandon Wislocki. Irvine Unified School District, California.
    “Brandon is someone who is always willing to help others become a part of the DEN. He is always looking to build new leaders in the community and sharing resources and putting educators in a position to succeed.”
  14. Jessica Zepik. South Madison Community Schools, Wisconsin.
    “Jessica spearheads the DEN training. She works diligently to stay abreast of the newest and most effective technology applications for the classroom. She regularly shares her knowledge with faculty and staff through a variety of venues; models in the classroom, and coaches teachers as they implement techniques themselves.”


  1. Sarah Bucciero. Discovery Education Specialist.
    “Sarah strives to find answers for the educators she works with and constantly reaches out to other teachers and PD Consultants to connect them to each other and to locate resources that provide solutions.”
  2. Mark Case. Guilford County Schools, North Carolina.
    “Mark is always willing to help. Mark quietly supports so many through Twitter and Facebook. He uses Discovery to engage his students and by osmosis engages us. I love hearing the little tales of small moments with his High Schoolers. Recently he has partnered with Dacia to share one of his passions with us (bee keeping). I think it is amazing how he shared his world with us. I learned so very much in preparing to share this VFT with my students. Mark’s spirit, kindness, and genuine love and support for his DENfamily means so very much.”
  3. Cathy Daniel. Surrey School District, British Columbia
    “Newbie to the DEN last year and definitely out of her comfort zone when she attended DENSI but spent hours learning about the different tools, embedding them into her practice. She helped facilitate DEN Ambassador cohort with me in the Fall of 2016.”
  4. Lauren McDaniel. Caddo Schools, Louisana.
    “Lauren McDaniel is part of our new Discovery Education team and attending Discovery Ed workshops. She incorporates what she is using with her students and sharing the info with her fellow teachers!”
  5. Eve Heaton. Beaufort County Schools, South Carolina.
    “Eve Heaton was born to win a DENny. She is a dedicated educator who adores Discovery Education and sharing it with others. In her role as an educational technology coach, Eve has championed Discovery Education. Last summer, she attended DENSI and came back invigorated to share the many strategies and resources available.”
  6. Mary Marshall. Collier County School District, Florida.
    “She plans special events, such as the DEN Friends kick-off to help get teachers interested in what DE has to offer. The specificity and practicality of her ideas make them easy for teachers to use and more likely for teachers to try.”
  7. Beth Matusiewicz. North Lakeland Schools, Wisconsin.
    “Beth has taken being part of the Digital Leader Corps this year and FLOWN with it! After 20 years or so in the profession, she hasn’t been afraid to totally change things up and revolutionize the way she teaches.”
  8. Karen Norton-Smith. Baltimore County Schools, Maryland.
    “Whether it’s watching a video to compare a text to or using board builder to display gathered knowledge, Discovery has become a safe and innovative tool for 1st graders to use. Our 1st grade students are also able to articulate and guide a reader through their board and explain its purpose. When Discovery is offered as a choice tool for students, it is quite the popular pick!”
  9. Christian Padgett. Fulton County Schools, Georgia.
    “Christian is a passionate and very competent educator. He regularly uses SOS strategies to differentiate, engage and enhance learning experiences for all his students.”
  10. Mary Katherine Rossi. Caddo Schools, Louisiana.
    “Mary Katherine is part of our new Discovery Education team. She incorporates what she is using with her students and sharing the info with her fellow teachers!”
  11. Martha Snider. Lodi Unified School District, California.
    “Martha quietly shares such #DENLove and support to so many DENmembers.”
  12. Tammy Strand. Saddleback Valley Unified School District, California.
    “She was integral in convincing her colleagues to attend the first-ever Ambassador program in our district, and continues to be a cheerleader for Discovery Education! She has spent hours working wth her staff and other colleagues in the district to help them become DEN Stars! Tammy Strand not only makes a difference for her students every day, she makes a difference for her fellow teachers.

Rising STAR:

  1. Jennifer Aycock. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina.
    “Mrs. Aycock is a recent member of the DEN by completing the ambassador program last year. She has jumped in with both feet as she continuously uses SOS strategies with her students along with DE Techbook and shares continuously with her grade level. She has also shares her ideas through social media and promoting DE. She plans to apply herself more next year utilizing DE across grade levels. She is a model teacher and an advocate of joy in the classroom.”
  2. Kelley Butts. Katy ISD, Texas.
    “Kelley is a science teacher that really incorporates Discovery Education videos in their learning. Often times it is hard to explain concepts from the world if students have not seen it before. Kelley uses real life videos of erosion, glaciers and natural resources to help kids relate to the content.”
  3. Elizabeth Casteen. Burkburnett ISD, Texas.
    “For the past 3 years, Elizabeth has been part of the Teacher Leader Corps in Burkburnett Middle School. Not only has she presented ways to incorporate SOS strategies in faculty meetings, but she consistently uses those some strategies in her classroom.  She has grown tremendously over the past three years and is one of the finest teachers on our campus. Her hard work and passion has raised the level of the entire math department.”
  4. Laura Dawes. Mobile County Schools, Alabama.
    “I have watched Laura blossom over the past academic year. Laura was part of my small group at #DENSI2016 and is a self-proclaimed introvert. However, she has truly grown within her relationships in the DEN and has reached out beyond her comfort zone to embrace the power of the community, building her PLN and helping others to build theirs.  I know it took some convincing but even more courage for her to step outside of herself and guide others, but we are all richer for it.”
  5. Pam Holmes. Katy ISD, Texas.
    “Pam uses the videos to help students in her social studies classroom. She uses the Board Builder and videos so students can apply their learning into creating presentations for their peers. She has a great sense of using videos beyond just watching the video.”
  6. Taylor Mackie. Muscogee County Schools, Georgia.
    “Miss Mackie is a first-year teacher. Although she is a first-year teacher she has gained a wealth of knowledge on how to handle her class and exceptional children. I believe Miss Mackie has demonstrated a wealth of knowledge and perseverance in her first year of teaching.”
  7. Estee Williams. Beauford County Schools, South Carolina.
    “This is our first official year with full Discovery Education access in the Beaufort County School District. Estee Williams is being nominated because I have never seen someone so willing to jump in with both feet to make sure our “launch” of Discovery Education was a success. She became a DEN Ambassador and immediately applied for her STAR status. She attended the Day of Discovery on her own, on the weekend, without travel reimbursement in Charleston, SC to increase her knowledge of what DE has to offer and how to best get teachers excited about all available resources.”
  8. Heather James. Richmond County Schools, North Carolina.
    “Heather is a dedicated teacher and advocate for Math Techbook. She utilizes a stations-based approach to teaching math that honors her students’ learning styles and allows for Math Techbook to be implemented in a consistent, creative fashion. Heather generously gave her time and energy to create a strong entry in the DE in Action series which provides a pathway for other teachers to effectively utilize Math Techbook in their classroom.”
  9. Lynne Stalnaker. Franklin Regional Schools, Pennsylvania.
    “From the first professional development, Mrs. Stalnaker was eager to make classes and get her students on interactives and boards. Lynne loves using Discovery in her classroom because it is something different. Since she teaches astronomy, she has enjoyed using videos and the materials on space in her classes. She has shared how she uses boards and Discovery Education materials in her PLC meetings. Teachers have enjoyed hearing how videos and boards can lift the level of student engagement.”
  10. Christy Belgiovane. Franklin Regional Schools, Pennsylvania.
    “Christy is in her first year in the Digital Leader program. She shares new strategies and tools she learns with teachers. Christy has shared how to make and use boards. She has shared web 2.0 tools and Spotlight on Strategies. Christy has a love for learning new things and wants students to share this love. She has gone above and beyond by consistently reaching out to teachers and taking time in her schedule to show them how to spice up their lessons. Her enthusiasm and approachability make teachers want to learn even more about Discovery Education and digital tools.”
  11. Margie Ritson. Franklin Regional Schools, Pennsylvania.
    “Margie is a superb educator who seeks to make teaching authentic. She wants students to develop a deep understanding of content and make connections to their lives. She is a digital ambassador in the DLC program. Margie has embraced Discovery Education using boards, videos, and especially Spotlight on Strategies.”
  12. Haley Taylor. Florence School District, South Carolina.
    “She is always willing, interested, eager to try something new. When I visit her classroom, she often asks “What are we doing new today?”. She is open to new ideas and is always willing to brainstorm with and support her colleagues. She embraced board builder and its capacities, found ways to make it work to her students’ advantages with Google Classroom, is a ready and steady user of SOS as a means to engage her students in their learning of social studies and science.”
  13. Sarah Otero. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida.
    “Ms. Otero has gone above and beyond in her role as a civics teacher.  She understands the needs of her students and plans engaging lessons that allow students to connect to civic topics. Other teachers have enjoyed and benefited from Sarah’s hard work and willingness to try new things in her classroom. In Digital Leader Network professional development days, Sarah shared extensively with other teachers how she has leveraged technology in her classes despite challenges. Her students have benefited from understanding physics and feeling safe to be curious in her classroom.”

The RJ Stangherlin Award for outstanding commitment to blogging goes to Paul McGuire. Paul is a recently retired principal from Ottawa, Ontario who continues to share his learning and love for the DEN through his blog and other spaces.

Finally, the Spirit of the DEN Award goes to Jeannine Shields of New Rochelle, New York. Jeannine is the epitome of the DEN community. Humble and gracious and always willing to help. Her smile and positivity are contagious. Whether in person or online, “Neene” is always ready to help out, share and encourage.

We hosted three live events from our headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here are the archive streams from those short ceremonies:


While this list only represents a small sample of the wonderful people who make a difference for students and education every day, we do want to be sure to honor them in this way. If you know some of these folks, be sure to drop them a note of congratulations. Thank you for all you do.


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