Visionary Award: Lisa DePaola

  • Lisa DePaola Lisa DePaola, the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Plainedge Schools, is a lifelong learner, receiving degrees from University of Florida (BSBA’03 - Finance, MSESS’04 – Exercise and Sports Sciences/Sports Management), St. John’s University (MS’07 - Education, Ed.D.’21 - Education Supervision/Administration-anticipated), and Stony Brook University (CAGS’11 - Educational Leadership). Through excellent leadership skills and working knowledge of current exemplary educational pedagogy, she collaborates with stakeholders to provide all students exceptionally engaging learning experiences.

    Lisa began her education career as a NYC math teacher for at-risk students and then became Assistant Principal in Lawrence. In her current position in Plainedge, Lisa built successful STEAM, universal pre-k, curriculum, summer, and adult education programs, enrichment academies, and unique educational spaces with state-of-the art technology across grades K-12 to foster students’ 21st Century Skills. Collaborating with middle school staff, she helped earn the school a national accreditation as an Essential Elements Schools-to-Watch. Recently, Lisa re-imagined and reopened schools amidst COVID with committees to ensure continuity of instruction in safe environments. To meet social emotional needs of staff and students, she assisted in partnering with Northwell Health to provide mental health services. Lisa is an integral part of the community building relationships inside and outside of the school district.

    From sports arenas (MSG/Rangers) to political and educational arenas (NY Attorney General’s Office; Plainedge), Lisa uses her skills and experiences in public relations, finance, and education to create policies, write grants, and provide top-notch education, enriching programs, and events to all students and community members.

Most Innovative Use of Technology Award: Valerie Murray

  • Valerie Murray Valerie Murray is a second-grade teacher at Southdown Primary School in the Huntington Union Free School District where she is also a Technology Mentor and a member of the District Technology Committee. As the technology mentor, and Nearpod, and Flipgrid certified educator, she teaches others how to incorporate technology into their classroom through a variety of professional development opportunities around the concept of having a “Technology Toolbox.” She believes that every teacher, administrator, and student should have a variety of technology tools at their disposal in their technology toolbox. Valerie has also developed and facilitated workshops to assist families with supporting their children with technology at home. Valerie has collaborated with administrators and colleagues to create building-wide technology initiatives such as “Southdown Stories” and a mindfulness website for the school. Valerie loves finding new innovative technology tools that she can share with her colleagues that promote student voice. She believes that students should have multiple modalities to express their learning and loves incorporating this with technology. Valerie has had the honor of presenting at multiple conferences: LIASCD in 2018, The Long Island Technology Summit in 2018, 2019, and the Asset Annual Conference in 2019. Her presentations focused on Using Best Practices for Utilizing Technology in the classroom to promote students’ voice. Valerie continues to thrive and grow by finding and sharing new innovative technology tools.

About the Fred Podolski Leadership and Innovation in Technology Awards

  • Fred PodolskiThis 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