Visionary Award: Dr. Whittney Smith
Dr. Whittney Smith serves as the Director of Instructional Technology & Assessment in the Mineola School District, where his responsibilities encompass the seamless integration of instructional technology, design thinking, assessment, and student information from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Furthermore, he provides oversight to library media centers, STEAM initiatives, computer science programs, and the Synergy team, which offers a transformative high school experience, allowing students to tailor their own learning path, cultivate practical skills, and prepare for the contemporary workforce. Prior to this role, Dr. Smith served as Principal at Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY, for seven years, achieving Apple Distinguished School Status and consecutive recognition by Newsweek as a "Best School." In 2022, under his leadership, Mineola High School celebrated a remarkable 99% graduation rate, ranking first in the state of New York for General Education students and within the top five in Nassau County across all subgroups. Dr. Smith's accomplishments extend to the development of specialized programs in Computer Science, Healthcare, Business, and Advanced Manufacturing, enabling students to earn college credits, workforce credentials, and valuable internship experiences. He takes pride in the creation of flexible classroom environments, the establishment of a cutting-edge Fabrication Lab, a Future Ready Library, and the expansion of Advanced Placement and dual enrollment opportunities for all Mineola students, including the inclusive AP Computer Science Principles for All program. Dr. Smith has been a dedicated member of the Mineola School District since 2002, initially assuming the role of Assistant Principal in the Middle School, and subsequently, serving as Assistant Principal in the High School from 2011 to 2015. Prior to his tenure with Mineola, he contributed as a special education teacher and Athletic Trainer in the Locust Valley School District. Dr. Smith's educational journey includes a Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University, a Master's degree in Special Education from Adelphi University, a Master's degree in School Administration from LIU CW Post University, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from St. John's University. Beyond his administrative duties, he holds the position of Adjunct Professor at Long Island University and has made a significant contribution as a contributing author to "The Design Thinking, Entrepreneurial, Visionary Planning Leader: A Practical Guide to Thriving in Ambiguity," a book authored by his Superintendent, Dr. Michael Nagler. Nonetheless, his most cherished achievement remains his marriage to his wife Debbie and the opportunity to witness the growth and development of their four children: Kaitlyn, Leah, Matthew, and Hailey.
Most Innovative Use of Technology Award: Ms. Erica Fraiberg
Ms. Erica Fraiberg holds the position of a School Media Specialist at West Side School in Cold Spring Harbor School District. In this role, she imparts knowledge in library and information skills, along with teaching coding and makerspace activities. Ms. Fraiberg's journey in education started as a secondary social studies teacher, where she discovered her passion for guiding students in research and information retrieval. At Cold Spring Harbor Schools, she combines her lifelong interest in technology, research, and reading, which began with her affinity for early computer systems like the Commodore 64.
Students under Ms. Fraiberg's tutelage benefit from her expertise in coding, problem-solving, and technology. They engage in sprite editing, block-based coding (using Scratch), text-based coding (Python), engineering design challenges, and robotics, applying these skills throughout their school day.
Beyond her school duties, Ms. Fraiberg has been an invaluable liaison for Cold Spring Harbor School District at Western Suffolk BOCES. Currently, she serves as a council member for the School Library Systems. Additionally, she actively contributes to her district's professional development and technology committees, extending her reach to further enrich students' literary and information needs at the Cold Spring Harbor Public Library.
Ms. Fraiberg's dedication also extends to the wider educational community. She has led group discussions at the Children's Librarians Association of Suffolk County and presented on topics such as Makerspace and Engineering Design Challenges, as well as coding and problem-solving continuums at the Long Island Technology and Education Summit.
Ms. Fraiberg's educational background is a testament to her commitment to lifelong learning. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor of Science in Education, Hofstra University with a Master of Science in Education, and Queens College with a Master of Library and Information Science in Informatics. She has also earned an Advanced Graduate Certificate from Stony Brook University in Teaching and Learning with Technology.
About the Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Awards
This award is named in memory of Nassau BOCES’ longtime director of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology. Mr. Podolski was a firm believer in the impact technology could have on student learning. He was also the founder of the Long Island Technology and Education Summit.
Visionary Award (Administrator)
This award is given to an educational administrator who has demonstrated vision, leadership and support of technology initiatives. The nominee should have a clear record of driving the use of technology, a demonstrated ability to identify future needs and a passion for serving the educational needs of students and teachers within their school district.
Most Innovative Use of Technology (Classroom Teacher)
The “Most Innovative Use of Technology” award is given to one classroom teacher that has demonstrated creative, unique and resourceful use of technology in the classroom. The nominee should have a clear record of making a positive impact on his or her students’ achievement, school and community through exemplary classroom teaching.
For additional information, please contact Chris Loiodice, Model Schools Coordinator, at email@example.com.