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Instructional technology coach wins Teacher of the Year

Lisa Highfill has been with the school district for 20 years

Lisa Highfill, Pleasanton school district's instructional technology coach, has been named the 2014-15 "Teacher of the Year."

Highfill has been a teacher in Pleasanton for 20 years and is the instructional technology coach focusing on technology in support of student learning.

In announcing her selection, school district representatives said that Highfill meets with teachers on a voluntary basis if they need help integrating technology into their teachings. She also attends various classes at the schools to support teachers with any troubleshooting problems. In addition, she holds training days and after school workshops for the teachers.

"I really want kids to be critical thinkers and be able to collaborate and create," said Highfill. "I want to bring a new level of innovation to instruction. That's my ultimate goal."

Her success in learning and teaching about technology has helped her become a Google Certified Teacher and a YouTube Star Teacher.

Highfill previously taught at Fairlands Elementary School as a fifth grade teacher where she also used technology to teach her lessons. Instead of doing lectures in class, Highfill used class time to do hands-on projects with her students. She also experimented with her students bringing in their own device such as an iTouch, iPad, or Chromebook for class.

According to Highfill, having kids use technology in class is about collaboration and not isolation.

"It's not about sticking a kid on a computer and giving them busy work. That's the wrong way to use it," she added.

"Lisa Highfill had a tremendous impact on her students when she taught at Fairlands, but as an instructional coach her influence on teaching and learning has exponentially increased," said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.

Her colleagues describe her as a wonderful instructor of children, an inspiring teacher not only for students, but also for her peers.

"I feel like I'm a student of teaching myself, so I'm always excited about learning to improve the craft of teaching," said Highfill.

Ahmadi says Highfill has helped teachers incorporate technology in their lessons and reach a deeper level in their craft. She believes Highfill's ideas and experience can enrich many more lives.

"It's exciting and it's an honor to represent this district," said Highfill. "I've been here a long time and I love this community."

Highfill's name will be submitted to the Alameda County Office of Education for the county's Teacher of the Year program.

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