By Jacob Perkins
Laura Raganas, a digital learning coach from the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Office of Education Technology (OET), was recognized as the recipient of the 2020 Kentucky Society of Technology in Education (KySTE) Making IT Happen Award during a July 21 virtual EdTech Webcast.
The award was scheduled to be presented to Raganas on March 13 at the annual KySTE Conference in Louisville. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, KySTE decided to cancel the conference on March 12.
The Making IT Happen award honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage and persistence in improving digital learning opportunities for students.
This internationally recognized program identifies visionaries around the world who cultivate connected, empowered learners in all schools. The International Society for Technology in Education, ISTE, and its affiliates have presented this award to more than 700 worthy leaders since the program began in 1995.
“I can’t say enough about the people I work with because I can’t take the credit for doing all of the work,” said Raganas. “It’s the people who are out in the trenches. I just have the best job in the world and I get to help other people make it happen for their students.”
Raganas began her education career as an elementary classroom teacher in Taylor County, where she was recognized for her innovative ways of educating students. Not long after she began working with Taylor County, Raganas was asked to take on the role of the district’s digital learning coach. After excelling again in this capacity, she was sought by KDE to focus on statewide school improvement.
While with the department, she has lead Kentucky’s IT Academy, STLP Girls Who Code, the Digital Learning Coach Network and the Kentucky Academic Standards for Technology.
Raganas has helped support Kentucky’s schools and districts leverage the power of integrating technology into learning. She has made impacts in both the district leadership teams and with teaching staff across the state.
“While I accept the award and am very honored and humbled, I also want to make sure that we understand that the award goes to our digital learning coaches because they’re the ones who are making it happen,” said Raganas.
KDE Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown participated in the virtual recognition and praised the work of Raganas and OET. Because of the work within the office, Kentucky was able to transition into non-traditional instruction during the spring, said Brown.
“We’re in a global pandemic and Kentucky has been able to pivot over to non-traditional instruction and remote learning using technology. It’s almost like we’ve been building up to this moment for 25 years,” he said. “I love to talk about OET because of that story. Laura, you are a perfect example of that role model, that mission, of working behind the scenes.”