School & District Management Video

Building a Digital Hub in Rural Alabama – Meet Matt Akin, 2016 Leader to Learn From

February 24, 2016 2:21

Piedmont, Ala., is a town with three traffic lights, a defunct textile industry, and few job opportunities. But students in the small school district there each have MacBook laptops, free Internet at home, and shiny new school media centers that look like they’ve been transplanted from Google headquarters. All those projects—and more—are the brainchildren of Matt Akin, the superintendent of the 1,200-student district. Akin has made it his mission not only to improve the prospects and education for the students in the Piedmont City school district, but to provide a boost in self-esteem to the entire community. A former computer programmer and computer science teacher, Akin is fluent in the language of ed-tech, but he’s been able to match that savvy with an ability to get school staff members on board with even the most challenging initiatives, and a talent for unearthing funds to make his ideas reality. He’s an educational entrepreneur in the truest sense: pitching to investors, marketing his brand, and “pivoting” when things don’t go as planned. This video was produced as part of Education Week’s Leaders To Learn From project, recognizing outstanding school district leaders from around the country.

Coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.

Video

Curriculum Video Problem Solving at the Highest Level: What Teachers and Students Can Learn From Tammie Jo Shults
Pilot and author Tammie Jo Shults on the problem-solving lessons in aviation that apply to teaching and learning.
3:24
Curriculum Video Planes, Drones, and Mathematics: How One Aviation Curriculum Is Opening Doors for Students
Students across the country are learning problem-solving skills in a curriculum that prepares them for careers in the aviation industry.
Sophomore Byron Barksdale, left, and classmates from Magruder High School’s aviation program examine the inside of a charter plane at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Md., on April 6, 2022.
Sophomore Byron Barksdale, left, and classmates from Magruder High School’s aviation program examine the inside of a charter plane at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Md., on April 6, 2022.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
Student Well-Being Video Inside Latino Parents' Push for Healthy, Culturally Appropriate School Lunches
Parents in one Colorado district want to see the same improvements to school lunches that were achieved in a neighboring district.
1 min read
Student Well-Being Video A Parent Looks Back On a Successful District-Parent Collaboration
In one Colorado district, parents advocated for improved school meals, and succeeded in bringing about significant change.
2:41