South Fayette superintendent visits White House for summit
South Fayette Superintendent Bille Rondinelli made a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the White House in recognition of the district’s efforts in digital learning.
Rondinelli was one of 100 school leaders across the country invited to the nation capital to participate in the first National Connected Superintendents Summit on Nov. 19.
“It was an amazing experience and opportunity to not only meet President Barack Obama but to engage in discussions with the Secretary of Education and participate in the agenda,” she said.
The conference recognized top school officials for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning and offered a platform to share and discuss promising approaches to using technology in class.
The summit was part of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative launched in June 2013 with the goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation connectivity within five years.
The day trip included educational videos, panel discussions, and a heavy focus on the Future Ready Initiative, a new federal program aimed at showcasing outstanding school leadership and strategies.
Rondinelli said two highlights of the day included hearing Obama’s thoughts on preparing students for the future and having the opportunity to discuss the initiative with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“It was a very action-packed day filled with information and working with the Office of Technology and Department of Education on how to advance education forward,” she said.
The superintendents were encouraged to take the Future Ready Initative Pledge which focuses on achieving many digital goals. Those goals included fostering and leading a culture of digital learning within schools, providing access to quality digital content, mentoring and helping other districts transition to digital learning.
To Rondinelli, accepting the pledge means “empowering others to transform education, teaching and learning, through curiosity, technology, innovation, and creativity,” she said.
The event is expected to be followed by a series of 12-15 regional summits focusing on the digital promise both being made and possible by local school districts.
Rondinelli was one of only four local administrators from Western Pennsylvania invited to attend. The others included Avonworth Superintendent Thomas Ralston, Beaver Area Assistant Superintendent Carrie Rowe and Elizabeth Forward Superintendent Bart Rocco.
“(The summit did) an excellent job outlining the next generation that is leading digital culture in our schools and what can be done working corroboratively. It is a process of continuous improvement,” she said.
Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or [email protected].