Communication Technology Award for Superintendents
The Communication Technology Award for Superintendents recognizes a superintendent of a K-12 school system, intermediate unit, BOCES, or County Education Office for leadership in redefining, upgrading, and integrating cutting-edge communication technology to improve and expand outreach and engagement with education stakeholders — both internal and external.
2017 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents Recipient
Scott R. Muri, Ed.D.
Spring Branch Independent School District
From his first week on the job as superintendent of suburban Houston’s Spring Branch ISD, Dr. Scott Muri revealed himself to be a strong, collaborative partner whose creativity and avid belief in technology as a tool to engage and reach stakeholders created excitement among the Community Relations team that communication was going to be a true priority. He immediately launched a #VisionLock Twitter campaign to introduce himself to the community and leverage the district’s core values as connection points and a foundation frame for his leadership, shared focus and reason for joining Spring Branch ISD. Tweeting in both English and Spanish, his near-daily tweets (@ScottMuri) reach 9,000+ followers.
Since he took the reins of the 35,000 student district in July 2015, Dr. Muri has served as the district’s lead learner and inspirer, sustaining its history of meaningful two-way engagement and communications, while trying new technology tools as part of the district’s own Learner’s Journey strategic plan to communicate and connect with families, colleagues, students, community, partners, elected officials and others with a stake in the success of Spring Branch ISD schools.
With Dr. Muri’s leadership and encouragement, nearly 100% of school campuses and administrators are now strong Twitter users. This focus has led to a marked increase in the strategic nature of messaging from school and district leaders and has included Twitter Meet Ups on a variety of topics, use of Periscope to live-stream activities and YouTube for live instructional training, and the launch of Soundcloud for podcasts from the superintendent. Along with adding a popular text-messaging component for parent notifications, the district also launched a new mobile app with multi-language translation capabilities.
The Customized Support strand of the district’s strategic plan calls for heightened education, engagement and empowerment of parents, students, and staff, new information platforms and expanded access to technology, and better access to information and communications.
Dr. Muri also challenged the Board of Trustees to begin the process of becoming a Texas District of Innovation (DOI). The process and plans developed have led to a model website used as a resource by other districts seeking DOI status, as well as a rubric of public input pathways that guide the Board’s work on all policies, including those related to DOI.
Additional initiatives underway that emphasize Dr. Muri’s commitment to transparent communication and engagement include:
- Use of PeachJar’s online flyer distribution platform;
- Xtra Credit, a new employee perks program offering discounts and special pricing at local businesses;
- Achieve-it, a cloud-based strategic planning solution that helps track, monitor and execute the strategic plan;
- HCP Anywhere App, providing district leaders with mobile access to all department documents and files, board agendas and more;
- SBISD Staff Director App, allowing employees instant mobile access to email, cell and text communications;
- Ready Rosie, a text and video-based app targeting Pre-K parents;
- Family E3 (Education, Engagement and Empowerment), a research project with a strand devoted to how technology can be used to meet and partner with families in multiple languages;
- It’s Learning, a cloud-based learning management system;
- A new district website and intranet to be launched in the summer of 2017; and
Dr. Muri’s strong leadership and commitment to “thinking differently” through a comprehensive, measurable, transparent and multi-channel communications program has allowed Spring Branch ISD to extend its communication capabilities through new apps, new cloud-based collaboration tools, and new parent engagement technologies that are moving the district forward at an impressive pace on its strategic “Learner’s Journey.”
NSPRA and Blackboard are truly proud to recognize Dr. Scott Muri with the 2017 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents.