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

Teaching Profession Video Six Schools in Seven Years: Where One Black Male Teacher Found the Right Fit
A black male teacher in Detroit on the value of finding the right school for both staff and students.
Recruitment & Retention Video What’s Behind the School Staffing Shortages – And What Districts Can Do To Address Them
Schools are experiencing a staffing shortage across a range of classified and low-wage positions. A look at the causes, and some solutions.
Rycc Smith welcomes Montello Elementary School students as they board his bus outside the Lewiston, Maine school after the first day back in nearly a month on Jan. 21, 2021. The entire school district switched to all remote learning after an uptick in COVID-19 cases last month.
Rycc Smith welcomes Montello Elementary School students as they board his bus outside the Lewiston, Maine school after the first day back in nearly a month on Jan. 21, 2021. The entire school district switched to all remote learning after an uptick in COVID-19 cases last month.
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP
College & Workforce Readiness Video Resilience, Faith, and Support: How Twin Brothers Forged Diverging Paths to College
Twin brothers from rural Arkansas reflect on their path to college in the midst of the pandemic.
1 min read
Twin brothers John and Jonathan Easter walk together in their hometown of Bradley, Ark. a few weeks before they are going to begin college on July 30, 2021.
Twin brothers John and Jonathan Easter walk together in their hometown of Bradley, Ark. a few weeks before they are going to begin college on July 30, 2021.
April Kirby/For Education Week
School & District Management Video Students and School Boards: The Value of Student Engagement
A student school board member from Maryland offers advice to educators, board members, and his peers on the importance of student activism.
Eric Harkleroad
3:51