Technology can significantly enhance the educational experience, given the right tools and the expert guidance needed to fully realize instructional goals. In GCPS, Instructional Technology Coach Catherine Richards provides that expertise and guidance at Goochland High School and was recently named a Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) 2022 Coach of the Year in recognition of her efforts.
Each year, VSTE recognizes exemplary educators at its Annual Educational Technology Conference for their outstanding work in supporting their peers and districts in becoming digital-age educators. The VSTE Coach of the Year award recognizes and honors coaches who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in implementing technology to improve education. Award recipients are selected from a pool of nominations submitted by VSTE members from around Virginia.
Richards has established herself as an important instructional leader at GHS, supporting teachers and students every day to not only effectively use technology tools but also to transform education in innovative ways. “Catherine is forever earning plaudits because of her efforts on behalf of our division, and we celebrate her because she has helped us improve as educators in making the initially intimidating accessible and appealing and allowing us to harness technology to make data-driven decisions,” Emily Holloway-Costa, GHS English teacher, said. “The consummate teacher and eternal student at heart, she learns, and we learn from her and her example to keep on trying, to keep on innovating, and to keep an open mind for how we might utilize technology for deeper learning experiences.”
In addition to working with teachers to create collaborations between departments, Richards established a community partnership with the local branch of the YMCA that provides elementary-age children with the opportunity to experience virtual reality with educational benefits. Richards also led an effort to engage GCPS team members with the goal of providing in-need graduating seniors with laptops in advance of their transition to college.
“Mrs. Richards has truly shown her commitment to maximizing the potential of all students and teachers at Goochland High School and has done so much to earn this state-wide recognition,” Matt Caratachea, Ph.D., GCPS Coordinator of Technology Integration and Innovation, said. The Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) was founded in 1986 as the Virginia Educational Computing Association and is Virginia’s affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In addition, VSTE is the Virginia state chapter for CoSN. VSTE is the premier professional development and support organization for educators in Virginia.