K-12 Education Organizations Name Virginia Beach’s Aaron Spence Digital Superintendent of the Year


VBCPS: Natalie Allen, Natalie.Allen@vbschools.com, 757-263-1313
CoSN: Heidi Payter, hpayter@fratelli.com, 202-822-9491
AASA: James Minichello, jminichello@aasa.org, 703-774-6953
ClassLink: Gregg Calvaruso, gcalvaruso@classlink.com, 862-225-1540

Virginia Beach, VA (May 21, 2020) – CoSN, a premier association of K-12 education technology leaders, and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, today named Dr. Aaron Spence, the Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS), the 2020 EmpowerED Digital Superintendent of the Year in recognition of his efforts to assist schools in making the digital leap.

The EmpowerED Digital Superintendent of the Year Award, sponsored by ClassLink, is given annually to a district leader that has championed the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Dr. Spence has built a culture that fosters innovation in schools throughout his district and across the broader Virginia Beach community.

“I am grateful to CoSN, AASA and ClassLink for giving me this platform to encourage educators to embrace the necessity of technology when it comes to providing a quality education for every child, regardless of their zip code,” said Dr. Aaron Spence. “This health crisis has revealed just how important technology is to the successful delivery of educational experiences. But it has also exposed gaps in learning and equity, as well as the need for social and emotional supports. Never has it been more imperative to realize our limitations when technology is not bolstered by a solid foundation of relationships between leadership and staff, between teachers and students, and between families and the school division. Technology is critical to student achievement. So, too, are the relationships we build. I’m proud to be just one voice amongst the many amazing leaders who are joining these two realities together.”

“It is an honor to recognize the hard work of a superintendent like Dr. Spence. Not only is he committed to improving all of his students’ education with technology, but he has done so in a holistic way that enhances their social and emotional learning too,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The role of the superintendent in developing a school district’s education technology program cannot be understated.”   

In his role at VBCPS, Dr. Spence has focused on personalizing the student experience with unique technological tools and has drastically increased academic achievement. He has also helped 16 schools in the district earn state accreditation through a School Support Process program, which has been regarded as a top innovation by AASA. 

“Building a dynamic, digital learning environment is a must-have in strengthening a school district and its community. Aaron Spence is a glowing example of doing just that through his outstanding work at Virginia Beach City Public Schools,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, AASA. “Making digital transitions a reality will often lead to a positive culture of learning, which is one of the reasons why Aaron Spence is a champion for children. We congratulate him for this recognition.”

“This is a historic time in education where districts need strong leadership. We are proud to honor a trailblazer like Dr. Spence and recognize him for all the work being done in Virginia Beach,” said George Perreault, Chief Academic Officer of ClassLink.

Dr. Spence received the award virtually at the CoSN Annual Conference. Learn more about CoSN’s awards and this year’s other winners at: cosn.org/awards

The 2020 CoSN Annual Conference was transformed into a Breakthrough Virtual Experience. The online conference (May 19-21) brings edtech professionals from around the world together to discuss how adopting new technologies can transform school systems and improve student outcomes. The 2020 CoSN Conference was made possible through the generous support of its sponsors.

Recordings of live Conference sessions will be made available to the media. Please contact Heidi Payter for access: hpayter@fratelli.com.

About Virginia Beach City Public Schools
Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is a fully-accredited school division, consisting of 55 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, 12 high schools and a number of secondary/post-secondary specialty centers. With nearly 67,000 students and more than 10,000 employees, VBCPS is a diverse community that continues to outperform school divisions across the nation on key academic indicators. VBCPS’ class of 2019 reached a record-high On-Time Graduation (OTG) rate of 93.9%, as well as its lowest-ever dropout rate of 3%. VBCPS is also a 1:1 school division, with a Chromebook or laptop available for every student. Additionally, VBCPS is the only school division statewide to be named a 2019 Virginia Environmental Excellence Program Sustainability Partner. This distinction is presented by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to private or public organizations that make sustainability part of their culture through leadership, innovation and continual improvement. Visit www.VBSchools.com for more information.

About CoSN
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org

About AASA, The School Superintendents Association
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA advocates for equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education and supports school system leaders. aasa.org

About ClassLink
With more than 6,000 single sign-on connectors and comprehensive use of open technology standards, ClassLink is the most inclusive single sign-on platform in education today. The award-winning technology is accessible from any computer, tablet or smartphone, making ClassLink the ideal solution for 1 to 1 and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives. ClassLink Analytics gives decision makers the usage data they need to make informed purchasing and training decisions. ClassLink Roster Server easily and securely delivers class rosters to any publisher using open technology standards. ClassLink OneSync automates account provisioning and reconciles accounts in real time. classlink.com