Five K-12 technology leaders, including Zach Desjarlais from Vancouver Public Schools, were named 2017 NextGeneration Leaders on March 31. Desjarlais is the only honoree from Washington state or the West Coast.

As the district’s manager of instructional technology, Desjarlais leads a team of more than a dozen IT facilitators. He also co-led a successful district-wide implementation of Canvas and advocated for greater use of Google Apps and cloud-based productivity tools by students and teachers. To advance professional development, he helms a Future-Ready Administrators team of principals. In addition, Desjarlais is working with the district’s director of curriculum to develop a strategy for implementing new digital content and services—an effort which in 2016 led to the district receiving the Digital Curriculum Strategy Award from the Learning Counsel.

Prior to assuming his current role in 2015, Desjarlais was an instructional technology facilitator. His career with the district, which began in 2005, also includes serving as the dean of students at Hudson’s Bay High School, teacher at Bay and Gaiser Middle School, Associated Student Body coordinator, College Access Program coordinator, assessment coordinator and paraeducator. Prior to his employment with VPS, he was a student-teacher in the district.

Currently, he serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Office Moms and Dads.

Zach Desjarlais

Said Desjarlais, “Integrating the use of technology into the teaching and learning processes isn’t about the tech at all. It is about preparing our kids for what is to come not what is or was. It is about fostering a deep level of flexibility and adaptability in our students to prepare them for their future.

“I am thankful to work with a team from VPS that cares so deeply about giving kids the brightest future possible!”

“Being a Next Generation Technology Leader is about the understanding of how digital resources support the learning needs of students,” said VPS Chief Digital Officer Christina Iremonger. “Zach understands the complex nature and interconnectivity of instructional pedagogy and content-area knowledge and leverages his expertise in technology to support teachers in their work as they match their instructional strategies to individual student needs.”

The Consortium for School Networking, a professional association for school system technology leaders, and EdScoop, a news site covering technology and digital learning, annually recognize the country’s emerging K-12 leaders in technology through their NextGeneration Leaders Program. The 2017 leaders were honored at CoSN’s 2017 annual conference in Chicago, Illinois, in early April.