Mark Ray, Vancouver Public Schools’ director of instructional technology and library services, recently was named one of “20 to Watch” honorees for 2014-15 by the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network. The honor recognizes education leaders from across the country for their work exploring and embracing innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality instruction and support more personalized learning experiences for students.

Ray, whose VPS career spans more than 20 years, is the only school district leader from Southwest Washington and one of just two leaders from Washington state to be selected.

A former teacher librarian at Skyview High School, Ray oversees library services and has been instrumental in transforming the librarian role into a proactive force for technological innovation in VPS schools. He also helps direct the district’s one-to-one technology initiative, which through a community-supported levy expands learning opportunities by giving a digital device to every student in grades three through 12 by 2019.

The “20 to Watch” honor follows a Washington state Teacher of the Year Award for Ray in 2012. Ray also authors blogs and articles in Teacher Librarian and School Library Journal and is a frequent collaborator with thought leaders around innovation and change in education.

“This recognition validates teamwork and risk-taking. It is easy to do good things when you work with great educators, principals and district leaders and have the permission to try something different. Watch where we’re going next. We’re only getting started,” said Ray.

Added Superintendent Steve Webb, “Vancouver Public Schools’ nationally recognized successes in the use of educational technology are due to people like Mark who never stop asking questions. His leadership has been critical to our district’s digital transformation that is helping students develop the college-, career- and life-ready skills they will need to thrive in a digitally connected, globally interdependent world.”

Ray and this year’s honorees will be recognized at the 2015 Consortium for School Networking conference on March 16 in Atlanta and at the Technology Leadership Network-hosted luncheon at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference in Nashville in March.

The National School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education and supporter of equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership, created its “20 to Watch” list in 2006.