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Radley teacher named Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year

Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 11:22:58-05

EAST HELENA — Teachers make a significant difference in our communities and often are not recognized for their impact.

Still, one East Helena teacher was awarded for her work at the largest educational technology conference in the northwest region.

K.D. Jones started working at R. H. Radley Elementary School right out of college 19 years ago.

"Getting to work with students is the bright spot of my day," Jones said.

She is the school librarian and media instructor and teaches the gifted and talented program.

"I was born into education. Both of my parents were educators," she said.

The 53rd Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference (NCCE) was held on the week of February 12 in Seattle, WA.

Educators from Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Alaska were nominated for the award, but Jones was the sole winner of Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year.

NCCE Award

The principal of R.H. Radley, Gus Somerfeld, said, "If you have somebody like K. D. Jones, she's going to get the job done, and she's going to go above and beyond what's expected of her."

Jones was nominated for the award by her fellow teachers.

She said, "This award is a reflection of all my experiences along the way and the people I've interacted with. Whether it be family or friends, former teachers that I had, colleagues, or students themselves, each of those interactions have really shaped who I am as an educator."

The award's goal is to "recognize excellence...focus professional attention on quality technology education...increase public awareness of the importance of quality technology education...[and] model quality use of a variety of technologies."

Jones teaches her students website design, coding, and info-graphics, among other things.

Students working on slideshow

"We do try to give a wide variety of exposure so that we can catch a number of students in their area of interest to let them know that really there's a tech tool that will be helpful for everyone," Jones said.

Somerfeld says that R. H. Radley would not be the same without Jones.

"If we didn't have K. D. Jones, unfortunately, I think there would be a lot of gaps that would exist here, and things would slip through the cracks," he said.

Jones enjoys that teaching allows her to be a life-long learner.

She said, "I don't have to be an expert in the field of technology. I just get to be a learner that's willing to share."

The NCCE will start accepting nominations for 2025 next January.

This is the second year in a row that a teacher from R.H. Radley Elementary won Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year.