Carl Hooker Honored as an Education Thought Leader at TCEA 2016

Industry News
The director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes ISD and creator of iPadpalooza was lauded for his tireless dedication to helping students learn through technology

(Minneapolis, MN) – At its fourth annual Thought Leadership Soirée, PR with Panache!, modern-day storytellers for the education marketplace, honored Carl Hooker, the creator of iPadpalooza and director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes ISD (TX), as 2016’s Thought Leader of the Year.

At the Soirée, which was held in conjunction with the TCEA 2016 Convention & Exposition, PR with Panache! Managing Partner Jacob Hanson praised Hooker for his dedication to his students, adding, “We are so thankful that we had the opportunity to honor you and the work that you do, and we can’t wait to see what you do in the future.”

Hooker has made it his mission to provide students with the skills that will best prepare them for success in college and in life beyond school. He has pursued this goal by coordinating his district’s four-year-old LEAP personalized learning initiative, putting iPads in the hands of all 8,000 students in his district, and assembling a team of ed tech integrators known as the iVengers. When he was named one of Tech & Learning’s 2014 Leaders of the Year, Hooker said, “Part of being a great leader is hiring people who are smarter than you, and that’s how I feel about my iVengers.”

As he accepted his Thought Leader of the Year award, Hooker said, “Being recognized for my contributions means a great deal, and seeing our students create things—like the sixth-grader who built her own 3-D printer—makes everything we do even more worthwhile. We have to continue to push because there’s no ceiling on excellence.”

Hooker is the author of the six-book Mobile Learning Mindset series. He has given keynotes at multiple state and national conferences, organized a youth film festival, helped overturn a state decision to ban tablets from state testing, and taught an iTunesU course called Digital Parenting 101—all while performing his duties at Eanes ISD.

Hooker is the creator and coordinator of iPadpalooza, an event attracting more than 1,000 attendees from all over the world to collaborate on different topics in education and technology. His latest focus is on flexible learning environments, which includes replacing desks with funky, malleable furniture and determining which lighting structures will positively affect the learning environment.

PR with Panache! launched its Thought Leadership Series (which culminates with a Soirée) at the annual TCEA conference three years ago to honor the individuals who inspire their peers with their determination to transform education through technology and 21st-century pedagogy.

“We launched the PR with Panache! Thought Leadership Series to let these leaders know how much we appreciate the gigantic steps they are taking each day to help improve education in our school districts nationwide,” said Sue Hanson, founder and managing partner of PR with Panache!. “Carl Hooker is known and beloved by everyone in the industry for his creativity and innovation. There was not a dry eye in the house when Carl’s mother and wife shared their love and devotion with Carl and the crowd. We are thrilled that so many of his colleagues and supporters were with him as he accepted the Thought Leader of the Year award at our TCEA Soirée.”

Previous Thought Leader of the Year honorees include Ron Reed, the executive producer SXSWedu; Kathy Hurley, an ed tech consultant and former executive vice president at the Pearson Foundation; and Dr. Karen Billings, the managing director of ETIN, a Division at SIIA.

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