Jill Pierce, the McMinn County School System's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) coordinator, has been selected to take part in Microsoft's Expert Educator program, an initiative to recognize educators and schools globally who are using technology to transform education. Of 23,000 applicants, only 250 expert educators from 150 countries across the globe were selected - only 23 of them from the United States.
Educators were selected for the program based on their innovation, leadership skills, and effective use of technology for better learning and student outcomes, according to a Microsoft Expert Educator press release.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected," said Pierce, who is a 20-year veteran of instructional technology. "And, I'm excited to bring some of the knowledge this program will provide back to McMinn County Schools."
Prior to taking her current role with McMinn County Schools, Pierce spent 13 years as the Director of Technology for Loudon County Schools. She was also an education technology trainer for PCS, Inc., working with schools across Tennessee to provide instruction in the uses of technology in the classroom.
As STEM coordinator, Pierce has been instrumental in developing projects and curricula, and addressing technology issues to broaden the hands-on opportunities for students and teachers in integrating STEM into the regular academic program.
A member of the Tennessee Educational Technology Association Board of Directors for eight years - two of which she served as chairman - Pierce received the organization's Director's Award in 2006 for her broad influence on instructional technology across the entire state. In 2008, she received the International Society for Technology in Education's Making It Happen Award for her work in educational technology integration in K-12 schools.
Among her numerous, longtime certifications have been that of a Microsoft Innovator Master Trainer.
In March 2014, Pierce will join her fellow Microsoft Expert Educators at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, where she will gain insider access to Microsoft strategies and technologies, along with professional and career development opportunities and certifications. She will also have a chance to present to her peers her work in implementing educational technologies in the McMinn County School System with others in the field from around the world.
McMinn County Director of Schools Mickey Blevins said Pierce's honor was more than fitting.
"I'm proud of Jill's most recent award and the continued recognition of her expertise and the rapid growth in this field for McMinn County Schools," Blevins said. "To receive this highly competitive international honor is very fitting and well-deserved."
Information for this article is provided by McMinn County Schools and the Daily Post-Athenian