District Five technology specialist earns national leadership award

Lexington-Richland School District Five’s Instructional Technology Specialist Susan Aplin has been recognized as a “Champion of Equity – Technology Leadership” by the American Consortium for Equity in Education as part of their 2024 Excellence in Equity Awards.

The awards were created in 2022 to acknowledge, spotlight, and celebrate high-impact work at all levels of education, as well as expand and enhance the discussion around educational equity. The winning nominees were selected based on outstanding achievement in supporting equitable access, opportunity, and outcomes for all learners.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for work that I am so passionate about,” Aplin said. “I’ve seen firsthand that School District Five believes all students deserve equitable access to high-quality instruction. I’m honored to work with wonderful teachers and other instructional leaders to improve access to assistive technology and other resources that empower students to be true partners in their own learning. I appreciate that the Office of Academics has placed a priority on supporting all learners and that many schools are focused on Universal Design for Learning as a framework to improve instruction. I also appreciate that District leadership has supported me as I look for more ways to train teachers locally as well as regionally and nationally. This honor goes to all of the District Five educators who work hard every day for our students.”

For the last three years, in her work as the district Instructional Technology Specialist, Aplin has taken an active role in leading the district’s training and implementation of assistive technology and instructional design. She has chosen to ground her professional development and coaching conversations in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). With a belief that all students can learn, Aplin focuses on how teachers can design instruction to address barriers to learning. Aplin’s work has positively impacted the teachers, administrators, and students in the district.

The winners in 12 unique award categories were recognized for their contributions across PreK-12 and higher education. The winners include 29 individuals and one public school district. Additionally, 21 individuals were awarded honorable mention.

“It is once again an exciting honor to recognize the school and system leaders, classroom practitioners, support staff, and other professionals whose dedication to learners at every level makes a positive difference not only in schools and classrooms but in all aspects of our society,” said Ross Romano, Founding Program Chair of the Excellence in Equity Awards and Strategic Advisor to the American Consortium for Equity in Education. “Congratulations — and thank you — to each of the winners of the 2024 Excellence in Equity Awards. We’re pleased to highlight your achievements and we look forward to supporting your next big initiatives.”

Learn more about the winners by reading the May special issue of the Equity & Access PreK-12 Journal. Learn more about the Excellence in Equity Awards programs for industry and educators at www.ace-ed.org/awards.