PR with Panache! Honors Carl Hooker as an Education Thought Leader at TCEA 2016

The director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes ISD and creator of iPadpalooza was lauded for his tireless dedication to helping students learn through technology

(Minneapolis, MN) February 16, 2016 – At its fourth annual Thought Leadership Soirée, PR with Panache!, modern-day storytellers for the education marketplace, honored Carl Hooker, the creator of iPadpalooza and director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes ISD (TX), as 2016’s Thought Leader of the Year.

At the Soirée, which was held in conjunction with the TCEA 2016 Convention & Exposition, PR with Panache! Managing Partner Jacob Hanson praised Hooker for his dedication to his students, adding, “We are so thankful that we had the opportunity to honor you and the work that you do, and we can’t wait to see what you do in the future.”

Hooker has made it his mission to provide students with the skills that will best prepare them for success in college and in life beyond school. He has pursued this goal by coordinating his district’s four-year-old LEAP personalized learning initiative, putting iPads in the hands of all 8,000 students in his district, and assembling a team of ed tech integrators known as the iVengers. When he was named one of Tech & Learning’s 2014 Leaders of the Year, Hooker said, “Part of being a great leader is hiring people who are smarter than you, and that’s how I feel about my iVengers.”

As he accepted his Thought Leader of the Year award, Hooker said, “Being recognized for my contributions means a great deal, and seeing our students create things—like the sixth-grader who built her own 3-D printer—makes everything we do even more worthwhile. We have to continue to push because there’s no ceiling on excellence.”

Hooker is the author of the six-book Mobile Learning Mindset series. He has given keynotes at multiple state and national conferences, organized a youth film festival, helped overturn a state decision to ban tablets from state testing, and taught an iTunesU course called Digital Parenting 101—all while performing his duties at Eanes ISD.

Hooker is the creator and coordinator of iPadpalooza, an event attracting more than 1,000 attendees from all over the world to collaborate on different topics in education and technology. His latest focus is on flexible learning environments, which includes replacing desks with funky, malleable furniture and determining which lighting structures will positively affect the learning environment.

PR with Panache! launched its Thought Leadership Series (which culminates with a Soirée) at the annual TCEA conference three years ago to honor the individuals who inspire their peers with their determination to transform education through technology and 21st-century pedagogy.

“We launched the PR with Panache! Thought Leadership Series to let these leaders know how much we appreciate the gigantic steps they are taking each day to help improve education in our school districts nationwide,” said Sue Hanson, founder and managing partner of PR with Panache!. “Carl Hooker is known and beloved by everyone in the industry for his creativity and innovation. There was not a dry eye in the house when Carl’s mother and wife shared their love and devotion with Carl and the crowd. We are thrilled that so many of his colleagues and supporters were with him as he accepted the Thought Leader of the Year award at our TCEA Soirée.”

Previous Thought Leader of the Year honorees include Ron Reed, the executive producer SXSWedu; Kathy Hurley, an ed tech consultant and former executive vice president at the Pearson Foundation; and Dr. Karen Billings, the managing director of ETIN, a Division at SIIA.

About PR with Panache!

PR with Panache! is a bold, fast-moving public relations and strategic marketing firm for the education marketplace with an international reputation for smart, entrepreneurial communications, content marketing, product publicity, and brand awareness. Its success is built on the achievements of its clients. Its team consistently delivers explosive results. The firm speaks the right language as it expands client brands, supports PR and marketing, or launches new products through long-established media relationships. Recently named the Best PR firm in Education by EdTech Digest, PR with Panache! is the premiere modern-day storytelling firm for the education marketplace.


Apperson to Host Feb. 24 Webinar on Grants and Funding


Additional webinar series offers expert’s advice to educators seeking to implement SEL programs


Charlotte N.C. – Feb. 10, 2016 – Assessment leader Apperson will host a free webinar on Feb. 24, 2016 focused on education grants and funding. In addition, it will partner with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children on a series of one-hour webinars starting Feb. 18, 2016 that provide an overview of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), which screens students for social and emotional competencies.


The webinars are part of Apperson’s ongoing efforts to support educators and administrators who want to implement social and emotional learning programs within their schools.


The Peering through the Funding Looking Glass webinar will take place at 3 p.m. EST, Feb. 24, 2016 and features funding expert Dr. Jennifer House, President of RedRock Reports, an education funding services company.


Dr. House’s work is informed by years of experience in district administration, as well as industry management. At RedRock Reports she focuses on the impact of funding knowledge on sales, advising clients about funding trends and execution strategies via webinars and in-person presentations. Prior experience includes holding management positions at HP and Apple Computer, as well as executive positions at Classroom Connect and Tenth Planet.


During the webinar House will discuss:


  • The federal funding landscape and its impact on spring purchases
  • The status of the No Child Left Behind Act and Every Student Succeeds Act and how they impact school funding
  • States that have significant funding initiatives
  • What grants educators should consider pursuing


To register for the Peering Through the Funding Looking Glass webinar, visit or click here. The link also provides registration information for other upcoming Apperson webinars.


Educators who want to learn more about social and emotional learning can participate in one of the upcoming 1-hour DESSA webinars which feature Social and Emotional Learning expert Paul LeBuffe, director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. The first three webinars are hosted by Devereux. The fourth is hosted by Apperson. They will take place at:



Apperson offers an online assessment and intervention tool called Evo Social & Emotional (SEL). Evo SEL helps educators measure SEL skills, provides strategies for instruction and intervention and features resources to shape the practices and mindsets of adults to help them create environments where the whole child can thrive. Evo features the DESSA, a strengths-based assessment system designed to screen students for social and emotional competencies.


About Apperson

Apperson’s K-12 assessment solutions help educators develop a 360° panorama of the student and his or her strengths, as well as areas of opportunities, that can inform curriculum decision-making and create positive learning outcomes. Whether it’s DataLink scanners, or the Evo assessment platform, Apperson’s products support and encourage a holistic learning and development approach by helping teachers turn assessment data into actionable information.  For more information, visit


Wisconsin Schools Rising to the Challenge as ORIGO Releases New Study

Increasing Achievement by Embracing the Common Core State Standards

St. Charles, MO. (Feb. 16, 2016) – Historically, the United States’ performance in mathematics has been problematic for students and is frequently cited as a subject area in need of improvement. In a new study on elementary mathematics education, several Wisconsin school districts are demonstrating the positive gains that the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) is yielding. An effective strategy, commitment to improving teaching pedagogy, and a CCSSM core program are all serving to transform their classrooms, and enabling them to significantly outpace statewide testing scores

The study examined six school districts’ elementary mathematics performance between the years 2012 and 2014. The average increase in performance was more than three times higher than the statewide average growth for the same time period. The largest single increase a district realized was 13 percent, with the average increase across all the districts reviewed being 7 percent. All of the districts utilized ORIGO Stepping Stones – a mathematics core program developed for the CCSSM. The schools with the largest gains invested in ORIGO’s Professional Learning sessions to compliment their implementation.

To read the full white paper, visit To learn more about ORIGO Education, please contact me.