The Stilwell Award

Published: 5/23/2016 11:33 AM


KDE instituted the Stilwell Award for those outstanding partners who have helped KDE fulfill their mission to the students and citizens of the commonwealth.



Dr. William E. Stilwell was the first recipient and namesake of the award that recognized technology partnerships.  Bill passed away in April of 2014.  He was an emeritus faculty member of the University of Kentucky’s  College of Education.  He was the overwhelming first choice for this award, and naming it after him was a reflection of the selfless work he did to improve educators' access to modern technology.  Stilwell managed LISTSERVs and provided faculty support within the College 
David Couch, Associate Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Knowledge, Information and Data services stated  "I wanted to do something that recognized an unsung hero that has gone above and beyond the call of duty in the area of education technology for many years and helped  K-12 students, teachers and administrators. Bill was that person.  Even when he  retired he kept the K-12 LISTSERV in operation. It is perhaps the best example of what was intended between K-12 and Higher Ed in the 1990 education reform act."  
Every year after 2008, Bill would pop up at the right moment in his signature red suspenders and join the staff for a KY K-12 webcast to surprise a new person/organization with “The Stilwell”. He was always part of the process in selecting the award winner
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) presents the award on an annual basis. The notation on the award reads, “For personal dedication and outstanding service in education technology for the teachers and children of the commonwealth."
Stilwell often said, "This award recognizes the outreach by the University and by the College faculty and staff to the K-12 community."

2008 Stilwell Award Winner

The first Stilwell presentation can be viewed here.
Click Testimonials to view what school districts and KDE customers said during the award webcast regarding Bill as the first recipient of the award.
Click Stilwell Remarks to view the interview with Bill Stilwell after the webcast.

2009 Stilwell Award Winner

The 2009 Stillwell award winner was Bob Tarvin of the School Facilities Construction Commission. Bob has been an outstanding partner from the beginning of KERA and KETS who has helped by working with all groups to further the overall plan for moving Kentucky schools forward using technology.  Bob gave a brief overview of the School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) and its role in education technology and school construction.
Click video to see a clip of the 2009 presentation.

2010 Stilwell Award Winner


The 2010 Stillwell Award and suspenders were presented to the Kentucky Society for Technology in Education (KySTE).  Over the past few years, this organization has helped to lead in educating teachers and others in the districts on what they need to know about education technology, all above and beyond the call of duty and on a volunteer basis.  Bryan Sweasy accepted the award for the group.  

The Kentucky Academy for Technology Education (KATE) lead by Brenda Nix, Kentucky Education Technology (KET), Kristen Reed of Dell, and Keith Exley of Dell, were all deserving nominees for the award.
Click video to see a clip of the 2010 presentation.

2011 Stilwell Award Winner

Over the past 4 years the Stilwell Award has been given out to individuals or groups that make a real difference in providing educational technology to the districts in partnership with KDE. The 2011 Stilwell Award winner is Kentucky Educational Television (KET).  The KDE and KET partnership is a true example of how two government agencies should work together on common projects.

Click video to see a clip of the 2011 presentation. 

2012 Stilwell Award Winner

The 2012 Stilwell award winner is the Kentucky Academy of Technology Education (KATE).  KATE was created in 1996 as a collaborative effort designed to improve instruction and learning in Kentucky schools. The mission of the Kentucky Academy of Technology Education KATE is to impact student learning by promoting best-practice uses of technology and 21st Century Learning. KATE is committed to providing visionary leadership and high-quality resources that are readily available to educators in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Click video to see a clip of the 2012 presentation.
2013 Stilwell Award Winner
The 2013 Stilwell Award and the accompanying red suspenders were awarded to three exemplary partners January 21, 2014.  Apple (iTunesU), Microsoft (Office 365), and Tyler Industries (MUNIS to the cloud) have all recently completed large scale successful KY K-12 projects that benefit all 173 school districts and have received national recognition.  Moreover, each of these KETS partners has taken the time to understand our business and intricacies of how we operate.  In doing so, they have worked to help us provide innovative enterprise solutions and continue to move Kentucky schools forward utilizing technology.
These three vendors were awarded their plaques and suspenders during the January 21, 2014 District/CIO Webcast hosted by Thomas Nelson High School.  David Couch, Associate Commissioner for the Office of Knowledge, Information and Data Services (KIDS) presented this annual award along with Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Roger Marcum.
Click video to see a clip of the 2013 presentation.

2014 Stilwell Award Winner

The 2014 Stilwell and the accompanying red suspenders was awarded to Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner, Hiren Desai.  Hiren leads the Office of Administration and Support which provides oversight, direction and support for the financial and physical resources of KDE and school districts.
After receiving the award, Hiren commented, “It's rare that I am reduced to almost tears in public, but my colleague, David Couch, did that to me today. I don't deserve this by myself and I want to thank and acknowledge all the incredible staff in the Department of Education's Office of Administration and Support who are tireless users, enablers and champions of education technology in the day-to-day mission of the agency. They are the true unsung heroes of the agency, much like Mr. Stillwell, and I am just glad to represent them. Thank you team!”
Click video to see the link to the 2014 presentation.
2015-2016 Stilwell Award Winners
The Kentucky Department of Education recognized two Kentucky lawmakers, Representative Kelly Flood and Senator David Givens, with the 2015-16 Stilwell Award for their personal dedication to and support of education technology.

Rep. Flood of Lexington and Sen. Givens, who is from Greensburg, were successful in their efforts to get an additional $5.8 million appropriated during the 2014-16 biennium in support of five major education technology projects. The initiatives came to fruition in 2015 and 2016, and continue to benefit teachers and the children in each of the state’s 173 school districts. 
The projects include:
• faster Internet speeds. In August 2015, Kentucky became the first state in the nation with fiber connections in all schools and district offices that provided at least 100 kb per student of Internet speed.
• firewall protection from cyberattacks. In November 2015 all 173 districts had this in place.
• an Internet content management system that maximizes the 100 kb per student/digital citizenship. Almost all school districts have transitioned successfully to the new system; the remaining six districts are expected to make the transition this summer or when their existing contracts end.
 additional financial assistance to school districts for technology. The state was able to stretch state funds by taking advantage of the federal E-rate program and was able to help more school districts replace their aging computers.
• Kentucky’s first IT Academy for K-12’s students. The Kentucky K-12 Microsoft IT Academy launched successfully in August 2015 and has since been renamed the Kentucky K-12 Imagination Academy. Since its inception, students have taken 40,000 IT-related courses and completed more than 25,000 of them. Kentucky K-12 students have successfully completed more than 6,000 professional IT certification exams – the best of any state in the nation during its inaugural year of implementation.
“Rep. Flood and Sen. Givens are great champions of these as well as other education technology initiatives,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “They understand the importance of technology in student learning and in preparing students for the world they will enter after they graduate from high school.”
Click to see the links to the video presentations below:


Janice Harris
Office of Education Technology
300 Sower Blvd., 4th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2020 ext. 2446
Fax (502) 564-1519