ATLIS Pillar Award

Nominations are accepted throughout the year, and winners are announced annually at ATLIS's Annual Conference.
 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 ATLIS mission and vision.

Mission:  Empowering schools to thrive through technology leadership
Vision: Schools equipped for the future

2022 Awardees




Sarah Hanawald, Senior Director of Academic Leaders, One Schoolhouse

Sarah Hanawald has worked in four different independent schools, three in North Carolina, and one online where she's been a teacher, advisor, technology director, dorm parent, and academic dean. She's covered a lot of variety within those schools, working in day/boarding coeducational/all-girls, K-12 and high school. She has worked in association leadership for the past several years, previously at ATLIS, the One to One Institute and most is currently with the Association for Academic Leaders.  She joined One Schoolhouse in February 2020 (yes, that's the date) to lead professional learning. 

Outside of school, Sarah lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her spouse and two teenagers. She enjoys running (slowly) and reads omnivorously. She shares that, like a lot of families, she's been cooking at home a lot more lately, but can't wait to get back out on the road, traveling for One Schoolhouse and with her family."


Alex Inman, Chief Academic Officer, STS Education 

Alex Inman has dedicated his career to advancing educational technology by pulling together the "doers" in the industry -- even before "the edtech industry" existed. Very early in his career, he was given the choice of a debate director position at a prestigious school in the northeast or a newly created technology director position at University Lake School, a rural school in Wisconsin. He chose the latter and launched one of the earliest student 1:1 programs in the country and the first in the state. While serving as the Director of Technology and Library Services at Whitfield School, Alex launched one of the biggest Linux 1:1 programs in the world, where his students contributed to global open source projects. While there, he founded Educational Collaborators, an international consulting and professional development organization of more than 140 education experts, including numerous previous Pillar Award recipients. Believing in the power of “doers,” Alex continued in tech leadership at Whitfield and then Sidwell Friends School before committing to Educational Collaborators full-time in 2015. In 2021, Education Collaborators was acquired by STS Education, where Alex continues his progress-driven collaboration and serves as Chief Academic Officer. Alex earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication and education from Marquette University and is active in multiple nonprofits that address the unique needs of children and adults with autism and epilepsy.


 Ally Wenzel, Director of Technology, Stevenson School (California) 

Ally Wenzel serves as the Director of Technology at Stevenson School, a PK-12 day/boarding school with 750 students and 30 buildings on 50 acres of land and two campuses, in Pebble Beach and Carmel, California. Ally holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University. With more than 10 years experience in industry and 20+ years in independent education, Ally brings a wealth of experience leading and managing all aspects of an enterprise network including business processes, data workflow, all levels of physical infrastructure, database integration, authentication, access control, cloud technologies and cyber security. Ally currently serves on the faculty of the ATLIS Leadership Institute program for aspiring technology leaders, presents at annual conferences and consults with schools across the globe to share best practices from her lived and learned experience.



2021 Awardees



Hiram Cuevas, Director of Information Services and Academic Technology
St. Christopher's School; Richmond, VA 

Hiram Cuevas joined St. Christopher’s, Richmond, Virginia, in 1991 as a middle school science teacher, advisor, and coach. During his tenure, he also served as the Middle School Technology Coordinator, the Director of Summer Programs, and he is currently the Director of Information Systems and Academic Technology where he holds the Charles S. Luck II ‘51 Chair of Academic Technology. Cuevas and his team successfully integrated technology into the curriculum and led the deployment of the school's student information system, 1:1 BYOLaptop program, and website. He was also instrumental in earning recognition for St. Christopher's School as the Spotlight School at the Lausanne Learning Conference in 2015.
In addition to being a Google Certified Teacher, he is also the Executive Director of Blackbaud’s K-12 Advisory Board, a senior collaborator with Educational Collaborators, has served as the chair of the VAIS Technology Committee, and has presented at ATLIS, NAIS, VAIS, the Lausanne Learning Conference, and Blackbaud’s K-12 User’s Conference. Cuevas has also served as a mentor for the ATLIS Leadership Institute and on ATLIS’s conference planning committee.
Cuevas holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from the College of William and Mary and is a member of the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in Track and Field. He and his wife Grace, a teacher at Saint Gertrude High School, have three children: Gracie, Joey, and Aubrey. 


Dr. Shabbi Luthra

Dr. Shabbi Luthra, CEO and Founder
Consilience Education Foundation; New Delhi, India 

Dr. Shabbi Luthra has worked for more than three decades in various teaching and leadership roles in the field of educational technology and innovation leadership in independent international schools. Her expertise includes envisioning, deploying, and providing guidance in the areas of technology integration programs, staff development, building technology leadership at all levels of a school, and innovation leadership and management in schools and organizations. Her work is focused on the development of stakeholder ownership, and on the creation of learning environments that support students’ acquisition of skills for their future. She has led research in laptop learning programs and started the International Research Collaborative, a consortium of international schools that research and study their laptop programs. She presents workshops and seminars at conferences around the world and provides consultative advice to schools on technology planning, technology integration, and innovation leadership. She has served as director of Research and Development at the American School of Bombay and has led educators to study, design, prototype, and research new designs of schooling and sustainable innovation for relevant learning. 
The co-author of R&D Your School: How to Start, Grow, and Sustain Your School’s Innovation Engine, she has also led the publication of seven volumes of Future Forwards, a research publication that captures the innovation ideas and prototypes at the American School of Bombay and beyond. She is leading the use of data to inform learning in schools through the design of learning analytics and data visualizations in the Learning Analytics Collaborative. One of her graduate degrees is a master’s degree in education (curriculum and instruction) from the University of Houston. She also holds a doctorate in educational media and technology from Boston University.


 Dr. Shabbi Luthra

Jason Ramsden, Chief Information Officer
Ravenscroft School; Raleigh, North Carolina 

Jason Ramsden brings 31 years of experience to his role as Chief Information Officer for Ravenscroft School. For the last 24 years, Ramsden has dedicated his career to improving technology in independent schools both on the instructional, infrastructure, and informational levels. A sought after speaker and presenter, Ramsden has given more than 30 presentations on topics that have included leadership, data and research, enrollment management, technology, and social media for organizations including: National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Business Officers Association (NBOA), Enrollment Management Association (EMA), Association for Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS), Mid-South Independent School Business Officers (MISBO), Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS), Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), and the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS). A co-author of Communicating and Connecting with Social Media from Solution Tree, Ramsden has also contributed thought leadership articles to a wide variety of industry publications. Ramsden has been an ATLIS board member since 2016, and was the first non-founder Board Chair to lead the organization. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University and a master’s degree in education, administration and supervision, from Fordham University. 

2020 Awardees


Dr. Chris Bigenho, Director of the Virtual Learning Academy
Lewisville Independent School District; Lewisville, TX 

Dr. Chris Bigenho is Director of the Virtual Learning Academy in Lewisville Independent School District in Texas. He has more than 30 years’ experience in public and private education including administration and teaching in the K-12 environment, as well as teaching in higher education. Prior to returning to the public sector, Bigenho spent 21 years at Greenhill School where he was Director of Instructional Technology. During his tenure, he has served on multiple local, state, and national committees and think tanks and has been a featured speaker at ISAS, NAIS, and ISTE conferences and workshops. As an international educational consultant, Bigenho has spoken at schools and conferences across the United States and South America and has done extensive work with NAIS on projects including the 21st century classroom, creating dynamic online communities, and more recently, pop-up makerspaces. Outside of his K-12 work, he is an adjunct professor and published educational researcher with interests in online learning, cognition and memory related to teaching and learning, and instructional design. Bigenho received his PhD from the University of North Texas in Educational Computing, master’s degree from Pepperdine in Educational Technology, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Music and Environmental Studies. He resides in Texas where he is a husband and proud father of three children.


Barry Kallmeyer, Chief Information Officer
Hathaway Brown; Shaker Heights, OH

Barry Kallmeyer is Hathaway Brown’s Chief Information Officer. He began his Hathaway Brown career in 1997 as the middle school technology teacher and coordinator. In 2011, he took on the role of Director of Academic Technology, a position he held for four years before transitioning to CIO in 2015. In this capacity, Kallmeyer creates strategic IT initiatives that align with Hathaway Brown’s short- and long-term goals. He has overseen the implementation of numerous initiatives, including the launch of a schoolwide 1:1 iPad and laptop program, instituting faculty laptop choice, and cybersecurity training for both employees and students. He works closely with administrators, students, faculty, and parents to deliver innovative programs and services that enhance teaching and learning. Within the ATLIS community, Kallmeyer has been an ECATD mentor, an ATLIS Guide to Self Study committee member, a writer for Access Points, a participant on the new ATLIS360 Task Force, and a vocal advocate for the ATLIS Technology Impact and Efficacy (TIE) assessment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish and a master’s in education from Washington University in St. Louis.


Connie White, Director of Learning Design and Innovation
Woodward Academy; College Park, GA

Connie White serves as the Director of Learning Design and Innovation at Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia.  She is a former upper school physics, chemistry and math teacher who became one of the first tech directors of a 1:1 program in the southeast. She specializes in start-up innovation initiatives, STEAM, blended learning, technology integration, professional development, brain-based strategies, educational spaces, pedagogy, assessment, and curriculum design. Throughout her career, White has conducted hundreds of workshops and seminars around the world. She is the president of Atlanta Area Technology Educators, which is an ISTE affiliate, writes the education column for Southern Distinction magazine, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. White has consulted with schools nationally and internationally in the areas of technology, academics, and STEAM for more than 10 years. She leads Woodward Academy’s efforts in the areas of professional development, curriculum, and innovation. She was the recipient of the 2016 ISTE ISEN Outstanding Educator Award and serves as the Program Director of the ATLIS Institute for Early Career and Aspiring Technology Directors. A lifelong learner, she is currently working towards her Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

2019 Awardees


Susan M. Bearden, Director of Digital Programs

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 

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 

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


Dr. Jill Brown, Educational Technologist
Albuquerque Academy; Albuquerque, NM

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
Lakeside School; Seattle, WA

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 Lakeside School, Jamie was CIO for Collegiate School in Virginia, and 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, former Director of Information Technology (now retired)
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; Chicago, IL 

Lieneck, Director of Information Technology at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools before his retirement in 2020, 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. Before his retirement, he oversaw 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.