2017 Individual Leaders in Excellence Alexis Bushman by Alexis Bushman Alexis Bushman Marketing Communications Manager Read time: A Skyward Leader in Excellence is an innovator, a trendsetter, a forward thinker. He or she inspires peers by finding creative ways to use Skyward software to improve operational and learning outcomes throughout the school or district. We want to recognize and congratulate these individuals for their ongoing commitment to leadership, learning, and continual improvement. We are proud to present our 2017 individual winners, in alphabetical order: Jacque Deckard Data Management Coordinator Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, IN When Mooresville Schools began using Skyward in the summer of 2015, data management coordinator Jacque Deckard stepped up to provide families, staff, and students with the assistance they needed during the transition. From arranging group training and one-on-one help for staff members to assisting parents at kindergarten sign-up and back-to-school nights, Deckard’s leadership helped ensure a smooth transition, and she continues to help her district get the most out of their investment. In less than two years, Deckard has helped integrate countless Skyward features that save time, ensure accuracy, and improve communication. She has set up the system to automatically integrate with the LMS on a nightly basis, created effective Skylert messaging, and integrated RevTrak to accept payments directly through Skyward and the Skyward app. District communications have been streamlined thanks to Deckard’s work integrating the Skyward calendar application with the district website and electronic sign software. School secretaries can now post event information one time in Skyward and that information automatically updates the other systems, saving time and reducing the possibility for error. Deckard’s influence extends beyond Mooresville, as she serves as a Skyward leader for other area districts. She recently graduated from the Morgan County Leadership Academy (MCLA), an organization that works to build a stronger community by bringing together a diverse group of emerging and existing leaders to enhance their leadership skills and inspire a commitment to serve. She is vice president of the Indiana Steering Committee and is the Skyward representative on the UNITE board for the state of Indiana. “Jacque has been an invaluable Skyward system administrator since its implementation two years ago,” said Kyle Davis, technology director at the district. “She has provided training to countless members of our staff and extended the knowledge beyond the district to parents and other school systems.” Jennifer Dossett Information System Specialist Alcoa City Schools, TN Jennifer Dossett’s official duties as the information system specialist at Alcoa City Schools put her at the helm of all student state reporting. This alone is a great responsibility, but it’s Dossett’s unofficial duties that truly make her a Leader in Excellence. She provides training and troubleshooting for colleagues, parents, and even leaders in other districts, and she has presented at the state and national level on a variety of Skyward-related topics. Dossett’s primary responsibilities are to ensure the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of data so her district can receive all entitled monies. It is also her duty to satisfy reporting requirements, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local rules and regulations. To accomplish these important tasks, she starts with Skyward's Student Management Suite. Dossett verifies data using reports and data mining, and is the driving force behind several initiatives to improve data quality, such as the yearly Online Enrollment Verification using Online Registration. The district has improved the percentage of parents using Online Registration from about 25% in 2014 (the inaugural year) to approximately 85% for the 2016-2017 school year. Much of the increase is due to Dossett’s efforts to make the process more intuitive and less time consuming. Dossett has served as an “unofficial” member of the Tennessee Skyward Steering Committee. In 2016, she presented information on School Front Office Training and Engagement at the statewide Fall Attendance Conference and led a session on transportation reporting at the Tennessee Skyward User Group Conference. She is a regular iCon attendee and presented information on data mining at Skyward iCon 2015. Be sure to congratulate her when you see her this March at iCon 2017! “Jennifer is one of the most important people in Alcoa City Schools,” said Lisa Berry, director of technology at the district. “She has created a culture in our school system where everyone knows to begin with Skyward to find the data they need.” Scott Hansen Director of Technology and Information Systems Marion County School District, FL As director of technology and information systems at The School Board of Marion County, FL (SBMC), Scott Hansen has a vested interest in creating simple and efficient access for students, staff, and parents. Part of that duty is ensuring SBMC staff has access to the just-in-time knowledge and in-depth information they need to master their roles. Hansen led the customization of the Skyward Professional Development Center (PDC) project, putting him at the forefront of a whole new approach to PD. The PDC helps SBMC staff stay up to speed on the product and achieve new levels of proficiency. Hansen continually communicates the value of Skyward to fellow district leaders to ensure they are capitalizing on all the value that Skyward has to offer. Skyward has helped eliminate 11 third-party enterprise applications being used across the school district. “Scott’s leadership is a direct reflection of his commitment to providing the students in his district with the best technology programs possible,” said Ray Ackerlund, chief marketing officer at Skyward. Congratulations to our three individual award winners! Each individual will be recognized this spring at iCon, the premier event for the Skyward community. This year's conference will be held March 8-10 at the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, FL. Alexis Bushman Marketing Communications Manager Share this story: Want tips, tricks, and feature updates delivered to your inbox once a month? Sign up here!