ATLIS Pillar Award

Nominations will be accepted until February 17 for the 2020 ATLIS Pillar Awards, to be 
announced at the ATLIS Annual Conference in Chicago on April 6. To nominate an awardee, please use this form.

Established in 2018, the ATLIS Pillar Award program was initiated to bring attention to those often unsung heroes who exemplify the pillars of the ATLIS mission -- to inform, to connect, and to reflect.
Technology leaders make the best decisions when they are reflective, informed, and connected. ATLIS empowers its members to develop strategies, build relationships, and share best practices in technology and innovation for independent schools.

2019 Awardees


Susan M. Bearden, Chief Innovation Officer
Consortium for School Networking; Washington, DC (2018 - Present)

Susan M. Bearden has been informing technology educators ever since her eight-year tenure as Director of Information Technology at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Florida. Author of Digital Citizenship: A Community-Based Approach, Bearden also co-founded and moderates weekly podcasts for the BAM Radio Network, along with Twitter chats at #edtechchat and #digcit. She served as a US Department of Education Pioneer Fellow in 2016 and 2017, where she produced a revised and updated edition of its Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning, which was featured in an ATLIS webinar in 2018. Among her vast recognition in the educational technology world, Bearden has been named a Top 100 Edtechand ELearner Influencer and one of 50 Technology Rock stars You Must Follow on Twitter, has received the ISTE Making IT Happen Award (2015), and won the 2014 Bammy Award for School Technologist of the Year. CETL-certified, Bearden earned her BA in English and BM in Viola Performance from Oberlin College, Her Master’s in Viola Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and her AS in Information Technology from Eastern Florida State College.


William Stites, Director of Technology
Montclair Kimberley Academy; Montclair, NJ (1996 - Present)

A reflective leader with more than two decades of experience in educational technology, William Stites helped design the ATLIS Technology Impact and Efficacy (TIE) assessment and co-hosts the ATLIS Information Systems User Group. He is a frequent contributor to the G Suite User Group as well, as seen in an excerpt that focuses on off boarding users in G Suite. Currently the Director of Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, Stites evolved from third-grade teacher to primary school technology coordinator to webmaster and high school web design instructor. He also co-leads his school’s Irish Studies program. A senior collaborator with Educational Collaborators, member of the NJAIS Technology Steering Committee, and advisor to the New Jersey Educational Computing Cooperative (NJECC), he is blogger-in-chief for edSocialMedia. Stites earned his BA in Early Childhood Education from Montclair State University.


Vinnie Vrotny, Director of Technology
Kinkaid School; Houston, TX (2014 - Present)

Throughout his 32-year career, Vinnie Vrotny has connected technology leaders with each other and to their schools with a focus on developing ways to best leverage technology in meaningful and authentic ways for learners. One of the earliest supporters of ATLIS, Vrotny has served as a thought leader for many of its programs, including chairing the 2019 ATLIS Annual Conference Advisory Committee. In February of 2018, Vrotny was featured in a webinar on independent school technology policies as part of the ATLIS Leadership Webinar Series. In his fifth year as Director of Technology at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, Vrotny leads all aspects of technology across every division, department, and constituency group across his campus. Prior to his tenure at Kinkaid, he was the Director of Academic Technology at the North Shore Country Day School (IL) and Quest Academy (IL). Named a NAIS Teacher of the Future in 2013, Vrotny focuses on implementing technology enhanced learning environments for all learners, including designing physical and virtual learning spaces and environments, developing a balanced, human-centered approach to our use of technology, and protecting the privacy and creating a secure environment for the school’s users. After he earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Material Science from Northwestern University, Vrotny was a pioneer in podcasting, serving as a co-host of 21st Century Learning from 2008-2013 to explore the intersection of learning and technology, and he has been an influential contributor in ISTE's Independent and International School Educator Network.

2018 Awardees

The inaugural recipients of the ATLIS Pillar Awards are Dr. Jill Brown of Albuquerque Academy (New Mexico), Jamie Britto of Collegiate School (Virginia), and Curt Lieneck of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (Illinois).


Dr. Jill Brown, Educational Technologist
Albuquerque Academy; Albuquerque, NM (1999 - Present)

Dr. Brown has served on the Board of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), where she also founded ISTE’s Independent Schools Educators Network (ISEN). Dr. Brown received ISTE’s Independent School Educator Award in 2017. Dr. Brown’s influence has extended to the Innovation Task Force for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Closer to home, Dr. Brown served on the Board of the New Mexico Association of Nonpublic Schools (NMANS) and currently serves on the Board for the New Mexico Society for Technology in Education (NM STE) in collaboration with ISTE and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). Dr. Brown earned her Ph.D. in Educational Technology, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, and BA in Elementary Education. She conducted her dissertation research on the necessary skills for teachers to be successful technology integrators in the classroom. Dr. Brown also volunteers for the New Mexico Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and is a vocalist in a local band, CHill.


Jamie Britto, Chief Information Officer
Collegiate School; Richmond, VA (2006 - Present)

Jamie Britto, recognized in June 2016 by Info-Tech as a CIO Award winner for medium-size organizations, has been working with and learning from a variety of experts in the technology, legal, and insurance industries to understand the emerging field of cybersecurity, especially as this knowledge applies to independent schools. His recent work in cybersecurity includes articles and presentations for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Business Officers Association (NBOA), MISBO (2015), the Virginia Business Officers Institute. He has led the ATLIS Task Force on Cybersecurity and developed and led ATLIS workshops on cybersecurity designed specifically for independent schools that have been held in Washington, DC; Los Angeles; and Chicago (a fourth will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, in July 2018). Britto began his career teaching English as a Foreign Language in Valenciennes, France, and the Fairfax County Public School system in Virginia. Prior to joining Collegiate, Jamie was technology director and upper school director at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina. He has a BA in French and English from Mary Washington College and an MA.ED from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.


Curt Lieneck, Director of Information Technology
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; Chicago, IL (1998 - 2018)

Lieneck, Director of Information Technology at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, served on the NAIS Technology Task force for three years, co-managed the ISED-L listserv for six years, presents regularly at conferences, consults as a Senior Collaborator for Educational Collaborators, and currently serves on the teaching faculty for the ATLIS Institute for Early Career and Aspiring Technology Directors (ECATD). Early in his career, spanning 40 years in education, Lieneck taught elementary school at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where he developed a keen interest in how the thoughtful use of emerging technologies in the classroom reflected the Lab Schools’ legacy of constructivist pedagogy. Lieneck eventually took on the task of running the schools’ nascent technology operation in the summer of 1998. Now, nearly twenty years later, he oversees a technology team of 13 serving 2,150 students and 375 faculty and staff and supporting more than 2,000 devices. A lifelong devotee of teaching and learning, Lieneck earned a Master of Science in Teaching degree from the University of Chicago.