After being named one of three finalists in January for the prestigious Texas Computer Education Association’s Golden Apple awards, Stephenville ISD’s Brianna Hodges has been selected as Texas’ Instructional Technology Specialist of the Year.

“It’s pretty amazing because a year and a half ago she was teaching English at Henderson Junior High, so when you look at how long the nomination and decision processes took she really had only been in her new position for one year,” Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood said. “To make that big of an impact across the state — with training and sponsoring the iChampion Summit and the rollouts we had — within that year is pretty amazing.”

The judging was broken down into five categories: Overall instructional leadership; professional development that meets basic, intermediate, and advanced technology skill needs; student benefits from involvement; visionary; and overall impression. Each category required examples of evidence in the form of either a video, narrative, references, resume/vitae and/or written plan.

“To be recognized by my fellow edtechs and teachers is incredibly rewarding and humbling. I’m truly fortunate to work with the best students, teachers and #BEElievers in the state,” Hodges wrote in an email. “If you’ve ever talked with me about educational technology, you know that I’m pretty passionate.”

Hodges was presented with the Golden Apple award and a $1,000 cash prize at a formal ceremony and reception hosted by the TCEA in Austin.

The TCEA was established in 1980 and has a mission of increasing technology funding and access for schools and support educators in the field who are enhancing curriculum with digital tools.

After receiving this award, Hodges wants to help and see SISD continue to grow.

“I would like to see us continue to increase choice and voice for students in our classrooms, allowing them to experience authentic mastery of learning through personally valuable content,” Hodges wrote. “Similarly, I’d like to extend that to our faculty, moving to more of an interest-based professional development model to encourage personalized enrichment. Curiosity is the lynchpin of learning. If we don’t have a personal interest in the content, it will never stick. But if we leverage interest, we increase engagement, excitement and overall mastery.”