The Leadership Guide
A must-read for all leaders using technology in their schools
Establish a creative, collaborative culture that prepares students to thrive in the connected 21st century world. Part of the NOW Classrooms series, this guidebook outlines a flexible framework that leaders can use to drive instructional innovation and create an engaging, student-centered learning environment using technology.
- Understand that real transformational change results from teaching and learning, not ever-changing digital devices.
- Learn how to bring communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity to the center of classrooms in grades K–12.
- Review technological tools, digital platforms, and other online options for managing building- and district-level changes now and in the future.
- Explore how to lead real systemic change in a school and address varied leaders’ and staff members’ willingness to shift the school culture.
“Whatever the medium, clear communication is essential in helping all stakeholders understand the why behind an instructional innovation.”
—NOW Classrooms, Leader’s Guide
“I found this book incredibly timely and practical to help schools and districts move from deploying technology to developing a plan to transform student learning. The Why, What, How, and Then What are critically important to creating a growth mindset for educators as well as students.” –Eric Ferguson, Director of Instructional Technology, Bellevue School District, Bellevue, WA
“Leveraging relevant K-12 advice and intuitive frameworks to build on, NOW Classrooms, Leader’s Guide is a must-read for anyone in classroom technology leadership. This book can easily become a foundational guide in any institution looking for innovative approaches to teaching and learning.” –Chris Cummings, Director of Information Technology, Klein Independent School District, Klein, TX
Leadership Writing Team
Meg Ormiston, Author, teacher, consultant, Burr Ridge, IL @megormi
Cathy Fisher Director of teaching and learning Maercker 60 @D60Curriculum
Jamie Reilly Retired Superintendent Maercker 60
Courtney Orzel Superintendent Lemont 113a @drorzel
Jordan Garrett Instructional director Berwyn South 100 @jg_jgarrett
Robin Bruebach Principal Downers Grove 58 @ITMrsBruebach
Steve Griesbach Retired superintendent Gower 62
Becky Fischer Director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment Skokie 73.5 @beckylynfischer
Meg Ormiston is on a mission to change the world of education. She shares her passion for teaching and learning with technology through her keynote speaking, through her writing, and on social media. Meg was a classroom teacher for twelve years and now travels nationally and internationally, speaking about the power of teaching and learning with digital tools. When
Meg is home in the Chicago suburbs, you will often find her in classrooms serving as an instructional coach.
In her role as a consultant, Meg partners with school systems that are committed to 21st century learning experiences for everyone. Meg creates a unique partnership in each district, reflecting the mission, vision, and direction that local leaders have identified. Her districtwide projects have included guiding teams through the visioning process, designing and delivering professional development, facilitating classroom modeling, developing student leaders in technology, and educating parents.
As a thought leader in education technology, Meg has published seven books and is collaborating with a team for the five books in the NOW Classrooms series. Meg holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University.
Cathy Fisher is the director of teaching and learning a suburban school district at and she provides leadership to all aspects of its K–8 instructional program. She is a former middle school special education teacher, dean of students, and professional development coordinator who believes strongly in continuous improvement and enjoys leading systems change.
During the district’s technology integration journey, Cathy sought to expand her personal learning network, and she has been fortunate to learn from and with the authors of this book. As a former special education teacher, Cathy views herself as a student advocate, and she strives to provide the leadership necessary for schools to meet the needs of all learners.
Cathy earned a bachelor of arts in special education from Elmhurst College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from National Louis University. She lives in a Chicago suburb with her husband, Matt, and her two children, Colleen and Lucas.
Jamie served public school districts in both Illinois and Pennsylvania for over forty years; twenty-six as a teacher and sixteen as an administrator. Her experience includes classroom teaching at elementary grades, as well as working as a reading specialist and a trained Reading Recovery teacher. Jamie found her extensive teaching background to be helpful as she transitioned to an elementary principal, assistant superintendent for learning, and ultimately superintendent. Jamie’s focus has always been continuous improvement with a personal goal to remain “green and growing.”
She completed a bachelor of arts degree in education at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Jamie’s graduate studies include a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Aurora University, a certification in educational leadership, a master’s degree from Penn State University, and advanced study at National Louis University. Jamie lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Kevin, and loves spending time with her children Carley and Robert and her precious granddaughter Maddie.
Courtney Orzel serves as an elementary school superintendent in the suburbs of Chicago. She is a former principal, middle school teacher, and high school teacher. Courtney’s educational interests are focused on continuous improvement models, principal and teacher leadership, dialogue, and issues of equity and access in schools.
Courtney earned her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and her master’s degree from Concordia University. She resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two children.
Jordan Garrett is the iDirector (instructional director) for Berwyn South School District 100. She oversees 1:1 deployment, district iCoaches, site visits, the district’s iEngage Conference, and the Students Involved in Technology (SIT) Conference. She joined the district in 2010 as a first-grade co-teacher, where she eventually taught fourth grade and then became one of the district’s iCoaches, traveling throughout the district to instruct and coach staff on the use, applications, and capacity of technology in the classroom.
Jordan has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary and special education from Butler University and a master’s degree in curriculum studies from DePaul University.
Robin Bruebach is a principal in a K–6 building in Downers Grove, IL. A former teacher, curriculum director, and assistant principal, Robin worked with gifted students, remedial reading students, fifth-grade students, and eighth-grade students. She coached basketball, cheerleading, and Odyssey of the Mind. Her passion is working with teachers, students, parents, and administrators through collaboration, differentiated instruction, and professional development. She is interested in developing growth mindsets and owning learning for all community members.
Robin earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in education from National Louis University. She loves to travel and has gained a global perspective that helps her to understand the many cultures in her school. She loves sports and music and resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, daughter, and Goldendoodle Max.
Steven M. Griesbach
Steven M. Griesbach is a retired teacher and administrator who works with other superintendents and principals and consults in the EdTech world. Steve served students, families, and staff at all grade levels in public schools in Illinois, first as a high school history and social sciences teacher and later as a middle school assistant principal, elementary school principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and superintendent of an award-winning school district in a suburb of Chicago. Along the way, Steve learned that the primary role of an educator is to bring out the best in those he served.
Becky Fischer is the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment at Skokie School District73 ½. A former middle school science teacher, department chair, and sixth-grade team leader, Becky began administrative journey as a science curriculum coordinator and then served as a middle school assistant principal. As a district leader, she derives great learning and joy from leading the district through its initial stages of adopting instructional technology with an aim toward providing staff with meaningful opportunities to understand change and the part technology tools play in teaching and learning.
Through varied professional learning opportunities, including a thoughtfully developed districtwide professional learning plan and intentional instructional coaching program, she hopes to see teachers and students continue to learn and grow. Becky’s professional interests include differentiated professional learning and the power of instructional coaching.
Becky earned her bachelor’s degree from Augustana College. After a few years of teaching she returned to University of Phoenix to earn a master’s in curriculum. Her certificate of advanced study in educational leadership was awarded by National Louis University. Becky resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her fiancé and two dogs. She enjoys trying new and revisiting favorite restaurants, being outdoors, and being physically active. Recently she has added running to the mix, successfully completing her first 10 mile race and a Ragnar Relay.